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Mozilla To Ditch Firefox Extensions?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the greasemonkeying-around-with-a-good-thing dept.

Mozilla 415

An anonymous reader writes "Although some have raised concerns about how sane switching to Jetpack is, it seems that Mozilla's new gadget is bound to replace the powerful extension mechanism we know. Maybe Mozilla wants to replace all the great add-ons we use daily with gadgets that add an entry to the Tools menu, or maybe they just want to draw thousands of inexperienced developers into putting together a bunch of HTML and CSS that won't integrate in the UI. It seems to me that in light of recent decisions we've discussed before, Mozilla isn't going in the right direction. What do you think ?"

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415 comments

TOO MANY LINKS man! (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714948)

Seriously. Provide a link to the main stori(es) and that's about it. All this extra stuff is simply extraneous. How can we RTFA if we don't know which is the real frikken article?

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714970)

I always wondered why there wasn't a read more link or something after the story summary. Sure would make it much easier to know which article is the main one.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714994)

The summarize:

Mozilla is implementing Opera's User JavaScript.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715008)

I believe all Chrome extensions are pure HTML and JS. Many people have criticized that learning how to use XUL is a pain, and that most memory leaks and instability issues come from poorly coded extensions. Everytime Firefox has a major release, they break all old extensions. People either update/re-write their extensions or they don't work anymore. If Mozilla says the latest Firefox requires your extension to operate as pure HTML and JS, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (4, Interesting)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715236)

WTF? What about all those extensions that change Firefox UI, like Vimperator? Or those that use XPCOM to write files and launch apps? How can you do that in HTML and pure JS?

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715266)

WTF? What about all those extensions that change Firefox UI, like Vimperator? Or those that use XPCOM to write files and launch apps? How can you do that in HTML and pure JS?

Look, it's a web browser. If you want an operating system, go download Emacs.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (5, Insightful)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715370)

The only reason I'm currently still using Firefox is because of some unique extensions, you can fully control how your browser looks and how it operates. With this functionality removed I would have no reason left to stick with Firefox.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (5, Insightful)

bheer (633842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715480)

Mark parent +1 insightful. Compare Chrome's adblocking vs Firefox's, for example. Firefox wins. And there are lots of cool, useful addons, like TabHunter, which is a cool way to navigate through lots of tabs. Or FireFTP -- an FTP client that works wherever Firefox does. Or DownThemAll, a download manager that works wherever Firefox does. And so on.

I think what Firefox _really_ needs is a Chrome-like Task Manager that shows you exactly how much memory/CPU/network your add-on is consuming. For example, on Chrome I know that the Gmail checker add-on takes 10MB memory, and ~0 CPU/network. I can always uninstall it if I think that's too much. Maybe when Firefox's Electrolysis project for per-process tabs goes mainstream, this feature will be implemented.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715402)

Do you even know what Vimperator does? It's not an app inside Firefox, it's a completely new interface system, based on Vim, for the browser. It doesn't make sense saying "just download an app".

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715460)

Who said that can't be implemented in a custom Javascript API?
Google have already done it with their take on Extensions.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715498)

If you want a fully customisable browser, maybe you would be interested in Uzbl [uzbl.org] , the web-browser that is built around the Unix software philosophy.

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (5, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715006)

I disagree, the links seem appropriate in their respective contexts.
However, TFS' question strikes me as superfluous -- FF already has lots of extensions of questionable quality. They're simply looking to transition to a new implementation of extensions, which hopefully will bog the browser down less and create fewer security issues by sticking with simpler code. Can't see how that would be "the wrong direction", frankly...

Re:TOO MANY LINKS man! (4, Insightful)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715406)

You're half right IMO - the extra links provide some useful context, but it's incredibly irritating not knowing which is the main article.

I realise this goes against all tradition, but why not just have the main link prominently displayed above the summary?

This is slashdot !! I don't need to think !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714952)

I think maybe a little ??

Call it Niggerfox (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714958)

A bunch of shit that doesn't work.

Fucking coons.

Car Analogy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714962)

Removing extensions from Firefox is like removing the guns from a tank.

Re:Car Analogy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30714976)

So it'll be an APC now? ...yeah thaaat'll work.

Re:Car Analogy (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715208)

or an armoured engineer vehicle, or an anti-mine vehicle . Happened a lot in WWII.

[Back on topic] I will just stay with the last version of 3.5.x or maybe swith to Seamonkey.

Toughts About Direction (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714972)

I never did think Mozilla was headed in the right direction. I've long shunned their browsers because, to me, they were bloatware, overly complex and bug-prone and not even offering the features I'd come to love in the competition.

But that didn't prevent Mozilla from making a very successful browser.

So, if now I say that I don't think they are headed in the right direction, what does that really tell anyone? Obviously, their success depends on other things than what I think about it. I wish them all the best, I hope they'll enjoy working on their products, and we'll see how they pan out in practice.

Re:Toughts About Direction (3, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715072)

...and not even offering the features I'd come to love in the competition.

FF had tabs long before most other browsers (except perhaps Konquerer), had anti-phishing, and in general was once light and fast.

As for features today? AdBlock Plus, BetterPrivacy, NoScript... those three alone are more than worth the weight, not to mention the tons of multimedia add-ons.

Also, FWIW, Firefox isn't the only big boy on the bloat scale, at least in Windows. IE only appears light because it has a habit of stuffing most of its weight into a pile of processes hidden under the catch-all name of "svchost.exe", with additional chunks hidden in the OS itself.

As a sysadmin, I love the fact that I get far better diagnostic info from Firefox when something isn't working right (especially in troubleshooting certificate errors).

Safari and Chrome aren't bad, in fact they're pretty good. OTOH, I stick with Firefox because it's nearly universal - from Linux, to Mac, to Windows, to FreeBSD... Most of the others go a good distance in cross-platform as well, but not as far. IE I only bother with for work and work-related sites (boss drank the koolaid and asked for seconds).

So insofar as the 'bloat' goes, I don't mind that as much, given the featureset.

Re:Toughts About Direction (5, Informative)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715106)

FF had tabs long before most other browsers (except perhaps Konquerer)

I think that feature (and many others) were primarily copied from Opera.

While I do think Firefox is bloating, and really think they've made some questionable decisions (such as force-feeding the terrible Awesomebar), I can't think of anything wrong with this move. The extension model needs revision, and only elitist bastards would be upset that they're making it simpler and more accessible.

Re:Toughts About Direction (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715204)

The extension model needs revision, and only elitist bastards would be upset that they're making it simpler and more accessible.

And possibly more limited. Are jetpacks really going to have the same full access to Firefox internals? Not every useful extension repaints the UI.

I'm also concerned that the bar is already low enough that most of the extensions out there are total crap. By setting the bar on the floor, every idiot will be able to produce terrible jetpacks. Do you really want to wade through 100,000 crappy jetpacks to find the dozen nuggets?

The Apple app store is already getting there. Search for some useful term, and there are two dozen apps that pop up, and you waste half an hour wading through them all to find one that's reasonably close to what you want. Will Firefox really be better if adddons.mozilla.org starts featuring jetpacks that are no better than a "Lady Gaga-fier" or a "DUDE!!1! I MAD A J3FF PHILT3R!!11!!"

Elitist bastards live better than the standard rabble because they set the bar higher. Not everybody wants to be surrounded by crapware.

Re:Toughts About Direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715388)

I don't want any crappy jetpacks

The thing you rely on to not cut out while you're hundreds of feet in the air is just not something you cheap out on.

Re:Toughts About Direction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715470)

So you're arguing that we should make creating Firefox extensions difficult because good programmers make good software?

I wanted to be clear because there are about a thousand arguments against such a position - of which I'm enumerate a few:

1) good programmers != good application designers
2) good programmers may not have the next cool idea
3) even good programmers would like programming to be easier
4) making programming more difficult than it has to be is NEVER A GOOD IDEA
5) good programmers might not say "Lady Gaga-fier" but will say some stupid 3l33t non-sense. ...

That said, I do hope that they keep extensions around for a while, as it seems Jetpack doesn't do everything yet.

Re:Toughts About Direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715264)

(such as force-feeding the terrible Awesomebar)

I've seen this flamewar play out many a time, so here's the short version - there's nothing terrible about increased usability.

Re:Toughts About Direction (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715116)

The add-ons (their functionality specifically) that you mention are in no way exclusive to FF. You just think they are. Similarly with tabs - it was not only Konqueror that had them, in the times before FF even existed

As for bloat - I imagine suggesting much lighter alternatives won't go down well, so try this: run Seamonkey instead of FF for some time. It's almost hilarious that Seamonkey is for long time faster, specifically in "snappy" area, able to survive much heavier browsing and more stable generally.

Re:Toughts About Direction (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715144)

> FF had tabs long before most other browsers (except perhaps Konquerer), had anti-phishing, and in general was once light and fast.

Firefox was far from being the first browser with tabs. NetCaptor introduced them, Opera implemented them in 2000 while Mozilla was 2002. As for your vaunted Konqueror, that browser didn't have tabbed browsing until 2003.

Re:Toughts About Direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715238)

> FF had tabs long before most other browsers (except perhaps Konquerer), had anti-phishing, and in general was once light and fast.

Firefox was far from being the first browser with tabs. NetCaptor introduced them, Opera implemented them in 2000 while Mozilla was 2002. As for your vaunted Konqueror, that browser didn't have tabbed browsing until 2003.

Thanks for checking wikipedia for us! We couldn't have done it without you!

Re:Toughts About Direction (3, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715360)

IE only appears light because it has a habit of stuffing most of its weight into a pile of processes hidden under the catch-all name of "svchost.exe", with additional chunks hidden in the OS itself.

This is exactly why sysadmins shouldn't pretend to be developers, and vice-versa. I don't use IE a lot (only if Firefox and Chrome both fail) but this statement is just wrong, a lazy repeating of a tech 'urban legend'. Go run Process Explorer and it'll show you what the svchosts are doing (hint: hosting services like DNS clients, etc). As for "additional chunks hidden in the OS itself", where exactly is this hidden, especially now that modern IEs don't even have any filesystem-browsing capability?

IE (like Mozilla, like Chrome) uses a lot of DLLs, but memory use etc is counted per process, and what IE reported upto IE7 was actually a fair representation of what each process used. With IE8 on, there are per-site processes like Google Chrome (not per-tab for both browsers as usually thought -- in fact, IE8 released this feature before Chrome) and you can get a better idea of how much memory a site is consuming.

Re:Toughts About Direction (2, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715384)

abit of stuffing most of its weight into a pile of processes hidden under the catch-all name of "svchost.exe"

No it doesn't, you don't know what you're talking about.

with additional chunks hidden in the OS itself.

Those are called shared libraries, and every OS worth its salt uses them. I'm sorry you think its logical for Windows to reimplement and reload a web browser in every application that uses one (which is most now days) rather than sharing them. Sadly, again, this is something that every half way decent OS does, including whatever you're fanboying for, I'm sure.

As a sysadmin, I love the fact that I get far better diagnostic info from Firefox when something isn't working right (especially in troubleshooting certificate errors).

As a general rule, when I start talking about being a sysadmin, I'm well past any diagnostic capabilities the browser has and I've already probably pulled out tcpdump and/or dig. If you mean web developer tools, then sure, Firefox has some neat stuff.

So insofar as the 'bloat' goes, I don't mind that as much, given the featureset.

Sadly, I don't think you even understand why its bloated.

Re:Toughts About Direction (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715074)

I thought it was headed in the right direction... back before it was called Firefox. But by the time the 1.0 milestone rolled around, the browser was pretty bloated. I remember the IT department at university was recommended its use over the old, security hole-filled Internet Explorer 6. The problem was, the browser kept generating a huge >1MiB prefs file, which was problematic since a regular user's roaming profile capacity was really small.

I use Firefox now, because it's probably the best overall choice. I was a dedicated Opera user, but its compatibility with web pages and speed lagged behind its competitors. Compared to how much Opera packs into a small installation size, Firefox is a little hefty. But for speed, compatibility and support for useful add-ons (e.g. Flashblock), there's really no better choice than Mozilla Org's browser.

Re:Toughts About Direction (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715134)

I get an impression that too much weight is given to synthetic benchmarks when determining "speed" of browser. Specifically, js-only benchmarks.

Where's overall speed of browsing, snappiness of UI, especially after a long session with many tabs open?

Re:Toughts About Direction (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715304)

useful add-ons (e.g. Flashblock)

Seriously? WTF? Why not just remove or not install flash? I have gone for YEARS without flash. If a website 'requires' me to use flash, I will find a different website. Why in the name of Justin Timberlake would I install an add-on to block another add-on I installed?

Re:Toughts About Direction (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715096)

I initially chose Firefox for all the "wrong" reasons. It was open source, where IE was not. It was more secure by virtue of its smaller adoption footprint, where IE was the fat target. And it was not by Microsoft. I did not choose it because it was feature rich, or less buggy.

Since then I have grown to appreciate it more and more, mostly through the added value I get from extensions. Surfing is definitely faster. I have many more convenience options. I have control over the typical crap that blocks the content off most web sites.

The big questions I have are: why make developers of perfectly good extensions rewrite their code? For that matter, will some of them give up because they don't want to reimplement their code in Jetpacks? Or maybe they've already stopped supporting their old extensions, and now they'll just die.

Given all that, I wonder if his comments were more to stir up community reactions than an actual product roadmap?

Re:Toughts About Direction (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715328)

Hanging my post randomly: I think we now need a "Twitter feed blocker" extension. It's all text, so I can't block it with AdBlock Plus. And it's constantly changing, which is very distracting from reading the text that you went to that page to read to begin with (which is of course their goal, to get more "stick time", but that's not my goal, and I'll view only the content I want thankyouverymuchgetoffmylawn).

Re:Toughts About Direction (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715422)

It doesn't sound like the old extension mechanism is going anywhere:

http://steelgryphon.com/blog/2010/01/09/on-personas-and-themes/#comment-107468 [steelgryphon.com]

(that comment is by the blog author; the key part is "I personally don't think we're anywhere near the point where we can look at the old-style extension model and claim it's not needed anymore. But the goal is to drive everything that can be moved to Jetpacks to that model, because it's a better model for users and developers." )

this isn't news... (5, Insightful)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714984)

It's rabblerousing. Slashdot, news for the hard of thinking.

Editors, please try to give these stories at least a pretense of fairness. Unless you need this for your application to work at Fox News.

Re:this isn't news... (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715022)

Slashdot has *always* been very biased. Slashdot is pro Linux and Apple, and very anti Microsoft for example.

It really gets me that people only identify bias that they don't agree with, and then assume that bias that matches your views isn't considered bias.

MSNBC and Fox News are equally biased for instance, but it seems Fox News gets called out for it considerably more.

Re:this isn't news... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715138)

TBH, Microsoft kind of earns it... unless called out publicly, they do have a habit of regularly doing things that seem designed from the start to squash innovation, destroy computing freedoms, and in general make tech a raging PITA for anyone who isn't them.

Also, Microsoft tends to get a pass far more often than other corps... take the whole Danger data loss affair. About a week of techie outrage, a couple days of MSM mentions, and that was it. If it was Oracle, IBM, or one of the other big boys who borked customer's data, you can bet hard money that the mainstream media would have called for some CEO's head on a platter. You could also bet hard money that the whole 'cloud' hype would have come to a crashing halt... instead of carrying on like nothing happened. Hell, if that happened to a smaller player, that small player would've been Chapter 11 within a month.

Re:this isn't news... (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715220)

Microsoft, via the Gates Foundation, killed legislation that would have removed intellectual property restrictions from drug markets in poor countries. They actively and for their own gain perpetuate the death and suffering of millions and millions of people. Who gives a flying fuck what they did about innovation in the IT industry compared to that? They're no better than any other mass murderers.

Re:this isn't news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715534)

Sauce?

Re:this isn't news... (1, Insightful)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715552)

Microsoft, via the Gates Foundation, killed legislation that would have removed intellectual property restrictions from drug markets in poor countries. They actively and for their own gain perpetuate the death and suffering of millions and millions of people. Who gives a flying fuck what they did about innovation in the IT industry compared to that? They're no better than any other mass murderers.

Have anything to back this up, or are you just talking out of your ass?

Re:this isn't news... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715230)

Microsoft has done plenty of evil things. Yet when they do something nice, such as opening tons of documentation to the Samba team, people spin it as part of some evil scheme. In reality, it is a nice move largely predicated by the EU judgement against them.

While I share the general dislike for Microsoft, it doesn't change that /. is very biased against Microsoft at the same time.

Re:this isn't news... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715316)

Microsoft has done plenty of evil things. Yet when they do something nice, such as opening tons of documentation to the Samba team, people spin it as part of some evil scheme. In reality, it is a nice move largely predicated by the EU judgement against them.

Thus you've answered your own question - they did something nice not out of altruism or community, but in an effort to avoid punishment for something. Would they have done it if the specter of EU punishment for other anti-competitive actions hadn't been looming? I'm thinking not. I won't even have to bring up the whole "embrace, extend, extinguish" ethic they provably have.

Re:this isn't news... (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715416)

Internal documents prove that embrace, extend, extinguish was at the very least a tactic they used in the past.

Are they quite as evil today? That's hard to say. Microsoft does seem to be opening up and playing a little nicer.

Gates isn't CEO anymore. Ray Ozzie doesn't come across as quite so evil. Ballmer is still there. And I don't assume every division and team at Microsoft is staffed by evil people.

I'm not saying Microsoft is a great company. I'm simply saying that the /. bias is to assume every move is pure evil.

Perhaps a better example might be Google. They donate tons of code. They open up all kinds of things. They develop for Linux. They pay for Summer of Code. They pay staff members to do nothing by contribute upstream (like Andrew Morton, one of the most influence kernel hackers). Yet every few days I see a Slashdot story on how evil Google is, and how they aren't open enough.

Slashdot shows repeated bias that as a large corporation, they must be evil, regardless of all evidence to the contrary.

Compare that to Apple's repeated evil actions, and how Slashdot treats Apple as the greatest company on the planet.

Re:this isn't news... (4, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715466)

Microsoft did nothing "nice". They were dragged, kicking and screaming, into court and had their fingers slapped to the tune of over one billion US dollars by the EU for their misbehavior. And they attempted to poison the well by inserting patents into the published documents, patents incompatible with GPL software such as Samba. There are plenty of references to the court cases, but the interview with such developers of Samba as Jeremy Allison at http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070919214307459 [groklaw.net] are particularly enlightening.

The Samba site also has this note about the patent encumberment and GPL incompatibility Microsoft tried to slip in: http://us1.samba.org/samba/ms_license.html [samba.org] .

And if you think there's anything "nice" about their efforts, go read the documentation. It was apparently written by monkeys trying to produce Hamlet, and bears little if any resemblance to how the protocols actually work.

Hello Godwin, calling Godwin ... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715492)

While I share the general dislike for Microsoft, it doesn't change that /. is very biased against Microsoft at the same time.

Did your post actually have some information while still being developed in your brain, and only became content-free once typed in? The unquoted part has no content either, first complaining that releasing document is treated as evil, then admitting it was only released under duress. But it is the quoted sentence that really shines with its meaninglessness.

Most people share the general dislike of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Benedict Arnold, and Captain Hook. That doesn't make it worth commenting on as if all bias is politically incorrect.

Just because something is disliked doesn't make it bias.

Re:this isn't news... (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715542)

They didn't open up documentation on networking protocols to be nice, they did it because the EU was holding a gun to their head.

Equally biased? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715374)

MSNBC and Fox News are equally biased for instance

If you think that MSNBC, or any other major news station, puts out a tenth of the lies that Fox News pumps out constantly, you're biased and deluded yourself.

Re:Equally biased? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715454)

I refuse to watch Fox News or use them as a source. I loathe biased news. But MSNBC is just as biased.

I once considered a career in journalism. I spent the past few years working for a newspaper (in IT though, not as an editor, though I almost crossed over at one point).

The sad thing is that biased news sells better. People prefer it. And they'll argue it isn't bias so long as it supports what they already want to believe. But it is very much bias.

There seem to be very few people in this country who give a shit about objective, responsible journalism.

Re:Equally biased? (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715514)

Absolutely. I can't believe the masses of people who believe Fox has anywhere near the integrity of MSNBC; it's outrageous the amount of deceptive spin and bias that characterizes Fox. Yes, MSNBC has a very noticeable liberal/democratic/"left" bias, but it is OBVIOUS and a politically-right viewer can still watch MSNBC for legitimate political coverage. A viewer who leans to the left can NOT watch Fox without being overwhelmed by absolute bullshit, and the conservatives/republicans who watch Fox are sadly roped in and held hostage by the out-of-context propaganda.

Re:this isn't news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715378)

I see your point and partially agree, but since where is /. "pro Apple"? Every Apple story on this site is met with large amount of Apple and Steve Jobs bashing. (with some fanboy trolling mixed in) On Slashdot, everything Apple is considered too shiny, too expensive and only for "fanboys" who worship Steve Jobs.

Re:this isn't news... (0, Offtopic)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715432)

There are users with conflicting opinions, but the /. staff of editors pick which stories to put on the site, and what summaries to put with them.

When I say that /. has a bias, I refer to the staff. The userbase is a little more diverse.

Re:this isn't news... (3, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715512)

Slashdot is pro Linux and Apple, and very anti Microsoft for example.

It really gets me that people only identify bias that they don't agree with

You've never been to the games section, have you? It's *very* pro-microsoft. Or maybe you really get yourself for not identifying the biases that that you agree with?

Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (4, Funny)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30714986)

OMG programming is HARD! We need to reduce features and make it simpler so any moron can do it!!!

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (2, Insightful)

TuaAmin13 (1359435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715016)

It's going to be like the new AppMakr framework that allows any idiot with an RSS feed or twitter account and $200 to make an iPhone app. You'll have to wade through more junk to find the good stuff.

I don't doubt that there will be good add-ins via this. There's just going to be so much more trash.

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (2, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715030)

That was actually one of the things I was thinking of. Do we really need to lower the barriers to entry? Are good ideas really going missing because "extensions are too hard?"

As a consumer of extensions, I have installed about 20 out of the 8,000 available. If I have a catalog of 80,000 jetpacks, does that mean I have to look through 10 times as much crap just to find the 10 useful ones?

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (3, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715132)

Extensions were broken from day one. You only need to look at the fact that they are bound to specific versions for proof of that. Extensions see too much of the internals of the browser without any insulating abstraction. This means they are insecure, unstable and break when new versions are released.

This is in some cases a strength, because extensions can be very powerful, but it also a huge liability for both the programmers of the extensions, and for the programmers of Firefox itself.

This change would just be a long overdue fix for this fundamental problem.

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715296)

Yet the extensions I have that are specifically bound to internals are exactly the ones that provide me with the most utility. The All-in-One Sidebar, Fission, FxIF, Cookie Button, FEBE, CLEO, User Agent Switcher, Xmarks, Exif Viewer, Aging Tabs, all those are bound to specific versions of Firefox because they're doing more than simply tampering with the http stream.

Could Firefox handle the binding any better? Sure. Could the team provide a route to handle backward and forward compatibility better? Again, yes. But that's a detail in an abstraction facade, and not what it looks like jetpacks are trying to be. Jetpacks look like "Greasemonkey scripts made official" with Mozilla's blessing. (Or maybe I'm seeing them as more limited than they plan for them.)

Maybe that's it. Perhaps Mozilla should instead be looking at adopting and integrating Greasemonkey technology, instead of trying to reinvent it.

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715162)

OMG programming is HARD! We need to reduce features and make it simpler so any moron can do it!!!

Pretty much true. You seem to have actually spit out a true statement in an attempt to make a sarcastic rant.

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715284)

Yes, we need to reduce features IF we want any moron to do it. But do we want any moron to do it? I don't.

Re:Same as microsoft, gnome, etc dumb it down (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715494)

I read their statement and distilled the essence of it down. I was being 'mean spirited' in how I worded it which may come across as sarcastic but that's just a bonus.

Is referencing dumb or smart? Is it really code? (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715280)

I checked out the featured "jetpack image editor" [mozillalabs.com] and how EASY it is to write such a complicated feature in JUST 14 lines. [azarask.in]

Gluing in some one elses code is not coding: $.get("http://developer.pixlr.com/_script/pixlr_minified.js", function(js){ ... } )

In fact, how many levels of derivation could a popular feature possibly use, my plugin references yours, references a library, that includes another external, etc.. all because some kiddies liked another kiddies script ad infinitum.

How many dependencies on servers having uptime, and being secure? Imagine a world of plug-ins that rerference each other so heavily that a cat on a certain keyboard could crash everyones extensions.

Re:Is referencing dumb or smart? Is it really code (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715354)

How many dependencies on servers having uptime, and being secure? Imagine a world of plug-ins that rerference each other so heavily that a cat on a certain keyboard could crash everyones extensions.

"Dr. Schroedinger, the veterinarian is on line one. He said something about your cat, but then my computer locked up."

Mozilla To Ditch Firefox Extensions? (3, Interesting)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715010)

Jetpack is a Mozilla Labs project that enables anyone who knows HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create powerful Firefox add-ons. Our goal is to allow anyone who can build a Web site to participate in making the Web a better place to work, communicate and play.

Or may be they are going in the right direction. If companies such as google, litl webbook and projects such as bespin are thinking along the lines of creating a GUI/web platform its possible that their's a new direction that computing is headed. One where older heads like us may not necessarily think to go.There are many parallels in computing (PC, Minicomputer, Internet) Not saying the above is so (I find the above net GUI idea restrictive), it just pays to think about possibilities, such as a more robust GUI without the need for adding complex libraries.

Yeah, uh... (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715012)

...or maybe they just want to draw thousands of inexperienced developers into putting together a bunch of HTML and CSS that won't integrate in the UI...

And this is different than the current system how? Sure, there are TONS of great add-ons/plug-ins/whatever-they-are-called for FF, but honestly, the entry bar is pretty low, and for as many great ones there are, there are two crappy pieces of shit.

Re:Yeah, uh... (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715100)

And this is different than the current system how? Sure, there are TONS of great add-ons/plug-ins/whatever-they-are-called for FF, but honestly, the entry bar is pretty low, and for as many great ones there are, there are two crappy pieces of shit.

Just like people. Mozilla imitates life.

Is that you Steve? (5, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715024)

From the linked Firebug blog, paragraph 2 states, in its entirety:

"I don’t think these changes will have a big impact on Firebug. Firefox will continue to support extensions while the jetpack technology matures. We can adapt as we go along."

I think that if you want to spread FUD you should make sure that you don't link to a web page that makes this statement in the second paragraph Mr. Billmer.

Here's an idea... (3, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715032)

...or maybe they just want to draw thousands of inexperienced developers into putting together a bunch of HTML and CSS that won't integrate in the UI...

Just change the scripting engine to PHP... IT'S A JOKE...

Bad idea (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715044)

Extensions and the customization they provide is THE reason I use Firefox. If they are so foolish as to eliminate this capability, they're going to lose a lot of users. If this happens, I won't upgrade for as long as I can, and when I'm eventually forced to switch, I'll find a browser that supports allowing me to customize it. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the OSS community forks the project over this.

Re:Bad idea (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715306)

Me too: power extensions are THE feature that differentiates Firefox from other browsers. If they don't have that, why will people choose Firefox?

No more AdBlock with JetPack (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715050)

Right now, it looks like AdBlock, Flashblock, CustomizeGoogle, and my own AdRater couldn't be implemented under JetPack. The Jetpack API documentation [mozilla.org] has a section "Content - Methods for interacting with web pages. [mozilla.org] That's the mechanism anything that deals with ads needs. That leads to "Page modifications" [mozilla.org] , which leads to This documentation is under development. Please see the page modifications API proposal for now." [mozilla.org]

That leads to Jetpack Extension Proposal #17 - Page Mods [mozilla.org] , which discusses how to implement Greasemonkey-like functionality using Jetpack. Current status is "Implementing (since May 27, 2009)".

So the functionality needed for AdBlock, etc. is vaporware. It's not even clear that, if implemented, the proposed mechanism would support AdBlock. The author of Adblock Plus wrote last month "Jetpack has to support Adblock Plus, not the other way around. As it is now, Jetpack isn't suitable for complicated extensions." [adblockplus.org]

It's significant that Mozilla gave priority to implementing "themes" and such, which are needed for vendor-branded browsers, while putting off implementation of user-oriented features like ad blocking. Is this a back-door effort to get ad-blocking out of Firefox?

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (4, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715108)

Since you gave your conclusion first, I made the silly mistake of assuming you actually supported it somewhere in your post instead of undercutting it by demonstrating it isn't clear one way or the other.

You did make a populist plea, though. I'll give you points for excellent rabble rousing technique.

Complicated extensions are the reason I use FF (2, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715110)

I actually sometimes find myself preferring Safari for actual web-browsing... especially for Slashdot! Firefox seems to slow down when loading long discussion pages, whereas Safari is quite fast. But extensions are Firefox's killer feature. AdBlock Plus, but also Zotero (citation management, only available for Firefox), Greasemonkey + DownloadThemAll... without the extensions, there's little that would make me prefer Firefox to Safari.

Re:Complicated extensions are the reason I use FF (1)

kerashi (917149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715184)

Agreed. If I could no longer use the complex extensions I have grown attached to (NoScript and DownThemAll among them) I would use something other than Firefox. Extensions are about the only thing that Firefox has that keeps me from switching to another browser.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715120)

You have an interesting point but, do you have any links to support what you're saying?

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715166)

Is this a back-door effort to get ad-blocking out of Firefox?

If Firefox wants to turn itself into another Internet Explorer, I say let them. It's their foot. From a UI perspective, most browsers are largely at parity nowadays anyway, and Mozilla should realize what it is that has made Firefox the most popular non-Microsoft browser. Put it this way: the reason I've used Firefox extensively for the past few years is the security plugins that are available. If you take that away from me, I have no real reason to stick with Firefox, and probably won't. Now, I've never written a Firefox plugin, and I'll take some people's word for it that the model needs updating. But simplifying it to the point where the browser will lose substantial functionality seems like a major backward step.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (2, Informative)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715212)

You realize in their demo video, they write a adblock like jetpack with 80 lines of code.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715242)

You realize in their demo video, they write a adblock like jetpack with 80 lines of code.

A demo of undocumented features, perhaps? The manual says those features aren't implemented yet. If the Mozilla crowd wants developers to use their new API, they'll have to document it.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715386)

I'm pretty sure there are several extensions out that do similar things as UnAd which simply use CSS masking to remove the ad frames.

I'm also pretty sure AdBlock actually refuses to even load the ads and saves bandwidth, whereas these extensions do load them, but hide them.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715272)

"Is this a back-door effort to get ad-blocking out of Firefox?"

If that happens, it's time to relentlessly savage Firefox and do everything practical from a geek perspective to reduce its adoption.
That would be a deliberate betrayal of the user base, because extensions are the only reason to use Firefox.

The makers of ANY software should know their users will turn on them in a heartbeat when they choose to screw up.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (2, Insightful)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715366)

"Is this a back-door effort to get ad-blocking out of Firefox?"

If that happens, it's time to relentlessly savage Firefox and do everything practical from a geek perspective to reduce its adoption.
That would be a deliberate betrayal of the user base, because extensions are the only reason to use Firefox.

The makers of ANY software should know their users will turn on them in a heartbeat when they choose to screw up.

Or exercise some good ol' open source muscle and fork it. Isn't that supposed to be one of the benefits of open source? You aren't enslaved to a particular developer if a feature you want/need is dropped or not developed.

Re:No more AdBlock with JetPack (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715410)

Yes, it is, because when they announced the Jetpack stuff, they also told us all that standard extensions were going away and we'd all have to adapt to the Jetpack API.

Wait a second, they haven't done that.

Can be done right... (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715052)

Chrome extensions are entirely HTML/CSS/JavaScript, and so are many Chrome pages (the New Tab Page, the Downloads Tab, etc). I'd tag this badsummary, because it's not the idea of Jetpack that's the problem here, it's the implementation. From the first article, which is the only one that seems to be seriously concerned:

I like its power, I dislike its syntax. I _really_ dislike its syntax.... images are inline as data URLs because Jetpacks misses offline support and packaging; the HTML element inserted into the statusbar has to be precisely positioned and that will suck depending on the preferred user's font size;

Contrast to Chrome's extension API, which is fairly clean where it isn't strictly what's already available to any webpage. In particular, those two issues are addressed: Chrome extensions are packaged (more or less) as a cryptographically signed zipfile, so you can have separate images, scripts, etc; there are currently very well-defined ways to add a button either to the URL bar or to the browser itself, and when toolstrips were available (I don't think they are anymore), they were exposed as HTML pages with most of the work done for you in predefined CSS, so no absolute positioning (at least not that you have to do yourself).

integration with native or native-alike (hear xul) UI and cross-platform issues, a major concern

Basically, the article seems to be assuming there are (and will always be) advantages to XUL. To me, the answer to this is not to expose XUL, but to fix/extend the HTML used. In a way, I think Chrome proves that users really don't care that much about the UI looking and feeling "native", but care much more about it being themable.

Re:Can be done right... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715474)

I'm not sure what OS you use, but Chrome looks native on the OSes I run it on, its hard to care about something that doesn't exist.

Let them do something about the memory leaks (2)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715062)

Without Firefox folks doing something about these leaks, I will continue to bash their otherwise good product.

Heck, leaving Firefox running overnight on Windows XP means a reboot for the computer since it becomes unusable after Firefox has consumed megabytes of memory! This is insane.

May be the upcoming 4.x release series will have all the goodies one can be proud of. Time will tell.

Re:Let them do something about the memory leaks (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715148)

I've had Firefox running for weeks on my little netbook and the memory consumption hasn't moved. This includes running AdBlock and YesScript (like NoScript, but trades paranoia for convenience) and using several JavaScript heavy sites (like Slashdot! I don't normally get caught up in bring back the old thinking, but damn. This new UI here is mostly awful. Only the inline posting is worthwhile to me.)

Really I'm just Fox News balancing your anecdote because why not... but just for kicks, are you running any extensions with poor memory behavior? I won't say the Mozilla team has grasped the handle of the memory consumption problem, specifically, but Firefox definitely doesn't leak like it used to.

UI Integration? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715076)

"Integrating with the UI"? So whatever happen to XUL [wikipedia.org]

Mozilla has been floundering for a long time (5, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715156)

When Firefox was first released, it was a breath of fresh air -- a fast, effective browser that discarded the bloat which plagued Seamonkey.

Firefox laid the groundwork that has brought us to the current state of browsers... there's a competitive market, except in the business space, where the inability to manage browser settings has made the enterprise the last refuge for Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, the project doesn't have the desire to expand its impact further -- they refuse to accept bug reports or feature requests regarding issues that are critical to business users, and shout you down when you try to complain.

So you have this great browser, but you can't script the install, can't manage update distribution (ie. autoupdate is not appropriate in many use cases), and manage config in a sane way.

Now instead of fixing those issues, they are "fixing" something that isn't broken -- the extension system that makes Firefox so cool for so many people!

Re:Mozilla has been floundering for a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715260)

MSI installers for Fx are on their way.

Ditching extensions sounds good to me... (3, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715226)

I have never liked the Firefox design, and I have never trusted the XPI installer mechanism. Switching to an extension mechanism that doesn't open up the whole performance and security bag of worms the Firefox extensions do would be worth trying.

I'll just go to Chrome (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715254)

Extensions - specifically AdBlock Plus and LiveHTTPHeaders - are the only reason I use Firefox over Chrome. If those extensions go away I'll have no reason to continue using Firefox over Chrome, which is insanely fast by comparison.

Chrome tab handling sucks (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30715352)

One area where FireFox (or even IE) is better than Chrome is in the tab handling.

Chrome should ALWAYS open up new tabs adjacent to the source tab, but it doesn't! At least as of recent versions I've got (maybe they've fixed it by now).

Chrome's tab handling is terrible for me. If I'm on tab "A" and open up a new tab with "middle click", it opens up tab "B" adjacent to "A", which is good BUT the next new tab is adjacent to "B", not "A"! And the next is adjacent to "C".

This sucks in a major way.

Why? Because if I open up a few new tabs from various tabs, and I ask people to predict where the next new tab is going to appear, most of them CANNOT predict where it will appear. Those that do will need to keep in their heads the history of the tabs. So it is not much better than random in practice.

Where the latest new tab appears is important. It's the one you finally decide you want to read NOW - the rest you didn't mind reading later.

I agree that Firefox is slow. It takes ages to launch - it's a badly designed browser that's been patched up over the years to be better.

Definitely a bad move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30715364)

...and I must say that for the last few months I've been using daily builds of Chromium for linux and the beta for Windows simply so that I could use extensions. However, most of the extensions are just horribly written or simply do not work or work as well as their FF counterparts. Not to mention that I believe that some functionality provided by FF extensions as they are now could NEVER be implemented in a simpler extension framework if it's anything like Chrome's. (The only Chromium extension that is even close to it's FF counterpart's functionality are the session managers, which I use "fresh start" ATM as most of the others(forgotten which now) were broken in various ways, as are some of the ad "block" extensions, none of which work as well as Ad Block+ and noscript anyways.)

As far as FF extensions, I primarily install Ad Block+, noscript, session manager, tabmixplus, and greasemonkey which NOTHING similar exists for Chrome. The Chrome adblocks merely hid display elements, and so far I've turned up nothing like noscript for it. I suppose that you could argue that greasemonkey is sort of builtin already as the default is js scripting, but I must admit that I really don't use much greasemonkey functionality any longer and have pretty well forgotten all of it's nifty features.

Speed:
Seemed like last Fall that chrome(beta)/chromium felt faster than FF AND had some useful extensions.however I've found performance problems popping up with the Windows beta of Chrome while the linux version daily builds still seems as quick as ever with approximately the same extension set and environment(open tabs, etc.). In fact performance seems to have degraded enough that I'm actively considering going to daily builds for the Windows version if not back to FF primarily as Chrome beta is significantly slower than FF.

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