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Author Topic: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions  (Read 3554 times)

xtabber

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Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« on: August 22, 2015, 11:11:32 AM »
Mozilla has announced that they will be replacing add-ons with a new WebExtensions API that will be compatible with Chrome and Opera. XPCOM and XUL will be deprecated and all developers expected to convert their add-ons to the new API within the next year.

As part of this transition, beginning with Firefox 41, due to be released September 22, 2015, only add-ons signed by Mozilla will work with the browser.

You can read the Mozilla announcement here.








ewemoa

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 01:20:19 AM »
Thanks for sharing this.

Curt

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 02:45:20 AM »
Quote from: Mozilla
To help the add-on development community understand how we will enable these improvements, we are making four related announcements today:

    We are implementing a new extension API, called WebExtensions—largely compatible with the model used by Chrome and Opera—to make it easier to develop extensions across multiple browsers.

    A safer, faster, multi-process version of Firefox is coming soon with Electrolysis; we need developers to ensure their Firefox add-ons will be compatible with it.

    To ensure third-party extensions provide customization without sacrificing security, performance or exposing users to malware, we will require all extensions to be validated and signed by Mozilla starting in Firefox 41, which will be released on September 22nd 2015.

    We have decided on an approximate timeline for the deprecation of XPCOM- and XUL-based add-ons.


For our add-on development community, these changes will bring greater cross-browser add-on compatibility, but will also require redevelopment of a number of existing add-ons.

We’re making a big investment by expanding the team of engineers, add-on reviewers, and evangelists who work on add-ons and support the community that develops them. They will work with the community to improve and finalize the WebExtensions API, and will help developers of unsupported add-ons make the transition to newer A

Forgive me for not (yet) giving praise.

But Thank You for telling, xtabber.

40hz

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2015, 08:07:54 AM »
I sense a little circling of the wagons at work here. But I'm hoping I'm wrong.

However...

Requiring an extension be certified before it will work (in the name of "better security" for end-users) just the old walled garden argument once again. I'm pretty disgusted to hear Mozilla saying it. But Mozilla is like so many other "open" projects that woke up one day and realized they were (theoretically) giving away a few million and not seeing much in return money-wise. Do I detect a hint that they're having some hopes Google will buy them out eventually?

Time was when the open project crowd had more faith in their users - as well as considerably more respect. The philosophy used to be: "We can only advise. You're free to do whatever you want - including completely borking your system if you choose not to listen to our advice. It's your system and your decision - not ours."

Now it seems that Mozilla (having previously decided - after much faux hand-wringing - to cave in and embed DRM support in FF) has now determined that their users also need a nanny.

My but how times have changed!

(It's enough to make me sick.) >:(

ewemoa

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2015, 08:36:51 AM »
So have you found a good alternative browser yet ;)

40hz

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2015, 12:42:42 PM »
So have you found a good alternative browser yet ;)

No...although (against my better judgement and personal philosophy) I find myself using Chrome (and Chrome derivatives) more and more as FF seems to want to freeze or get hung up more often than I'm willing to put up with. The only browser I get more annoyed with is Safari - which seems to have problems with everything lately. But since it's an Apple product, that's no surprise to me.

I'm kinda glad I don't spend one fiftieth as much time online as I used to. If I were as heavy a user as I was formerly was, I'd be beside myself. The twenty minutes or so I'm online most days (these days) makes this web nonsense marginally easier to put up with.

FWIW, if MSoft ever gets their act together with Win10 (which they will...eventually) their newest browser looks to be moving into position to be the most promising of the lot. But only time will tell.

P.S. If you know of a better browser, or one you're currently having luck with that also runs under NIX - please let me know! :Thmbsup:

Innuendo

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2015, 12:54:35 PM »
I don't know if I detect a hint of Firefox wanting to be bought out by Google, but I do detect one of them becoming what the original developers of Firefox were fighting against.

I'm currently using Pale Moon. It's not perfect, but it has x86 & x64 versions available for Windows & it looks like they have a version for Linux as well. It's a Firefox fork that has ripped out all the silliness that Mozilla has implemented lately (user-tracking telemetry, Australis, social media features, etc.) all the while being able to use most Firefox extensions (and not requiring they be signed).

Pale Moon is currently trying to distance themselves even farther from Firefox by coming up with their own web engine to replace Gecko. It's still early days on that so it remains to be seen how fruitful that endeavor will be.

If you like what Firefox used to stand for without the detour into Crazy Town that the Mozilla devs have been on lately, you may want to give PM a go.

Curt

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2015, 01:01:29 PM »
FF seems to want to freeze or get hung up more often than I'm willing to put up with.

Could "Encrypted Media Extensions" (EME) be the problem? Like some of the other latest Firefox browsers, version 40.0.2 also comes in a "EME-free" version: https://ftp.mozilla.....0.2/win32-EME-free/ I am running this version and it is faster than the normal 40.0.2 -

I have no idea why "Encrypted Media Extensions" should make a difference, but on my PC it did. Not much, but some.



TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2015, 04:20:26 PM »
...
Requiring an extension be certified before it will work (in the name of "better security" for end-users) just the old walled garden argument once again. I'm pretty disgusted to hear Mozilla saying it. But Mozilla is like so many other "open" projects that woke up one day and realized they were (theoretically) giving away a few million and not seeing much in return money-wise. Do I detect a hint that they're having some hopes Google will buy them out eventually?

Time was when the open project crowd had more faith in their users - as well as considerably more respect. The philosophy used to be: "We can only advise. You're free to do whatever you want - including completely borking your system if you choose not to listen to our advice. It's your system and your decision - not ours."

((Tao Comment - though also they used to try really hard to make levels of fixes if you did indeed torch your system - not quite as ruthless as the original statement made it sound.))

Now it seems that Mozilla (having previously decided - after much faux hand-wringing - to cave in and embed DRM support in FF) has now determined that their users also need a nanny.

My but how times have changed!

(It's enough to make me sick.) >:(


But yeah, Mozilla and FF used to be the vanguard of moving away from Microsoft's old domination. It was the first (and fairly easy) experience of deciding what Choice meant.

And the Add-ons are STILL why I use FF clones today - no other browser has the spread of them. So if they're "doing things" to all that, I'm nervous ...

... "giving away millions" ... that was the point, right? So that we could work on "level three" problems or whatever (made up terminology on the spur for this post), so we didn't have to keep re-inventing level-1 solutions. That's what crushed a lot of great potential B+ grade scientists in the past - they kept having to start from nothing so often the B+ types gave up and faded away.

But I'm trying not to see this as a 15 year Long Con - I do truly think the philosophy was once there, but people with money and long memories maneuvered us out of it.

 >:(

Attronarch

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2015, 02:38:31 AM »
Saddening.

ewemoa

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 07:07:04 PM »
P.S. If you know of a better browser, or one you're currently having luck with that also runs under NIX - please let me know!

Still looking...I tried some things under:

  https://wiki.archlin...nternet#Web_browsers

But some look / went unmaintained.  On a side note, others have mentioned Pale Moon -- I haven't found a package for it for the flavor of *NIX I'm using though so it may be a while before that gets tried.

In the mean time, I've started to migrate my data out of browsers (e.g. bookmarks) so that when the inevitable security problems occur, perhaps the damage will be limited :)

app103

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2015, 11:16:51 AM »
I don't know if I detect a hint of Firefox wanting to be bought out by Google, but I do detect one of them becoming what the original developers of Firefox were fighting against.

I'm currently using Pale Moon. It's not perfect, but it has x86 & x64 versions available for Windows & it looks like they have a version for Linux as well. It's a Firefox fork that has ripped out all the silliness that Mozilla has implemented lately (user-tracking telemetry, Australis, social media features, etc.) all the while being able to use most Firefox extensions (and not requiring they be signed).

Pale Moon is currently trying to distance themselves even farther from Firefox by coming up with their own web engine to replace Gecko. It's still early days on that so it remains to be seen how fruitful that endeavor will be.

If you like what Firefox used to stand for without the detour into Crazy Town that the Mozilla devs have been on lately, you may want to give PM a go.

I love Pale Moon and this news has me a bit worried about the future of the add-ons that I love and have come to depend on. Currently, most of them are hosted and made available through Mozilla's add-ons site. What will happen with that, once the add-ons are phased out by Mozilla? Where will one go to install them? Is Pale Moon ready to pick up the pieces of that and duplicate the entire collection on their own servers? What about the add-on developers? Will they be willing to still support add-ons for what are currently considered Firefox compatible browsers, once they are not really compatible any more?

wraith808

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2015, 12:00:32 PM »
From a different perspective, I actually like the news.  What kept me in one browser or another was really the availability of add-ons.  Some are on Chrome, so that even though i want to move- to try Pale Moon or something else- I find that I can't.  I need this one for work, or that one for home.  And even if there is a similar one on another platform, getting used to the changes and differences is a point of resistance in change.  Using something different is enough of a point of resistance.  We don't need more, IMO.

The reason I'm still on iOS?  The apps.  That's the lock in.  And that's the same for any platform.  The accessories are what keep you there in general, even as frustration mounts.  Removing that seems like it would be a good thing, which is why I'm really surprised at the negativity towards it.  And I haven't seen any argument that trumps that, which makes me think that with the uniform negativity towards it... I'm missing something.

Can anyone clue me in?

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2015, 12:22:13 PM »
From a different perspective, I actually like the news.  What kept me in one browser or another was really the availability of add-ons.  Some are on Chrome, so that even though i want to move- to try Pale Moon or something else- I find that I can't.  I need this one for work, or that one for home.  And even if there is a similar one on another platform, getting used to the changes and differences is a point of resistance in change.  Using something different is enough of a point of resistance.  We don't need more, IMO.

The reason I'm still on iOS?  The apps.  That's the lock in.  And that's the same for any platform.  The accessories are what keep you there in general, even as frustration mounts.  Removing that seems like it would be a good thing, which is why I'm really surprised at the negativity towards it.  And I haven't seen any argument that trumps that, which makes me think that with the uniform negativity towards it... I'm missing something.

Can anyone clue me in?

The best way I can describe it, is about "mood of the times". This announcement to me feels symbolically like the middle of a Hold'Em poker game where they "show a card", they're holding two secret ones, and there's still an unknown card or two left on the deck to turn over.

So, "all add-ons being forced into Chrome Compatible Extensions"?! That's just massively complex of a market positioning to take in from one well-polished announcement. So this is *totally* a thread to watch all "time capsule" style and see when another card shows up from the top of the deck.

And yes, with the spinoffs of FF, the Add-On API's and so on have been there forever. Will developers have to now produce *two* versions of each add-ons, with different backbones? Some of the small hobbyist add-on devs simply will collapse and retire their add-on!


wraith808

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2015, 12:36:09 PM »
And yes, with the spinoffs of FF, the Add-On API's and so on have been there forever. Will developers have to now produce *two* versions of each add-ons, with different backbones? Some of the small hobbyist add-on devs simply will collapse and retire their add-on!

Why would they have to create two versions?  This seems like it would just need one.

Quote
For some time we’ve heard from add-on developers that our APIs could be better documented and easier to use. In addition, we’ve noticed that many Firefox add-on developers also maintain a Chrome, Safari, or Opera extension with similar functionality. We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors.

That doesn't say what you're inferring.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2015, 12:42:32 PM »
And yes, with the spinoffs of FF, the Add-On API's and so on have been there forever. Will developers have to now produce *two* versions of each add-ons, with different backbones? Some of the small hobbyist add-on devs simply will collapse and retire their add-on!

Why would they have to create two versions?  This seems like it would just need one.

Quote
For some time we’ve heard from add-on developers that our APIs could be better documented and easier to use. In addition, we’ve noticed that many Firefox add-on developers also maintain a Chrome, Safari, or Opera extension with similar functionality. We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors.

That doesn't say what you're inferring.

Well, this is why I'm thrashing a little. So I'm guessing "Firefox Main Branch" will use the new API. What about Pale Moon? And what about Comodo IceDragon that's forked off FF 38.x?


wraith808

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Re: Mozilla to replace add-ons with Chrome compatible extensions
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2015, 12:57:22 PM »
And yes, with the spinoffs of FF, the Add-On API's and so on have been there forever. Will developers have to now produce *two* versions of each add-ons, with different backbones? Some of the small hobbyist add-on devs simply will collapse and retire their add-on!

Why would they have to create two versions?  This seems like it would just need one.

Quote
For some time we’ve heard from add-on developers that our APIs could be better documented and easier to use. In addition, we’ve noticed that many Firefox add-on developers also maintain a Chrome, Safari, or Opera extension with similar functionality. We would like add-on development to be more like Web development: the same code should run in multiple browsers according to behavior set by standards, with comprehensive documentation available from multiple vendors.

That doesn't say what you're inferring.

Well, this is why I'm thrashing a little. So I'm guessing "Firefox Main Branch" will use the new API. What about Pale Moon? And what about Comodo IceDragon that's forked off FF 38.x?




They'd choose whether to integrate it, I'd suppose.  But that would be their choice.