Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

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KBD47
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Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by KBD47 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:20 pm

Curious what you guys think about this. My feeling is Firefox should get over its Chrome envy and do its own thing. Firefox is turning add-on developers against them, which seems a very bad idea
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/new ... hrome-copy

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by xenopeek » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:32 pm

Here is the announcement from Mozilla itself: https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2015/08 ... x-add-ons/

I'm not an extension developer but it reads like something I want. Better protection against malware, shorter time to review extensions, faster browser (multi process), and easier for developers to port their extensions between browsers (the new extensions API is close to Blink used by Chrome / Opera / Vivaldi).

Signed extensions: Firefox 41, due in 4 weeks, will not run unsigned extensions unless you toggle an option. Firefox 42, due in 10 weeks, won't run unsigned extensions at all. Taking a look at my extensions, all but one are already signed. But then extensions signing was introduced back in February this year so not really a surprise most work on this is probably already done.

New extensions API: The new extensions API won't be in Firefox till Firefox 43, due in 4 months. For 6 months after than date (10 months from today) there will be wrappers and shims to enable extensions that haven't migrated to the new extensions API yet to continue to work. Today 1 in 5 extensions are already working with the new extensions API or can be shimmed: http://arewee10syet.com/. Yes Adblock Plus isn't compatible, but uBlock Origin is. As if I needed another reason to use uBlock Origin :lol:

The new extensions API isn't set in stone; as mentioned here https://billmccloskey.wordpress.com/201 ... n-changes/ they are working with extension developers (like NoScript's developer) to provide what they need.

I'm looking at it from a user perspective. I've recently tried a bunch of other browsers (like Opera, Vivaldi, Maxthon, Qupzilla, Epiphany, and Arora) but none come close to how I can customize and configure Firefox. I have perhaps 10 browsers installed currently, left over from recent experimenting, but Firefox remains my favorite.
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by Cosmo. » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:36 pm

What is the matchless specialty of FF in comparison? The possibility to customize it to the user's needs. Extensions are one important method to accomplish thiis. Seeing 347 comments at the Mozilla blog, where you need a microscope to find the positive reactions, makes clear, that the users are uncertain, what this brings in the future.

Mozilla promises, that they will find a way to make most of the extensions continue to work. Well, I remember at least 2 things, where they promised something, what they did not keep. So I do not expect anything, but I am rather sure, that if a greater amount of add-on developers give up and the customization gets more painful, the loss of market share will continue. Compare it with Opera, never a great browser in sense of market share, which is now below 1 % (and falling) in the desktop segment. Firefox had lost in the last year 6 %, half a year ago it was less than 4 % (also for the last 12 months), that means the only point where they are growing is the speed in loss of users. They dropped from about 19 % to 12 % in 2014, that means one third of the users went away. In other companies people would have been deaf because of the alarm bells. Having had a peak of 30 % market share they are constantly loosing since 2011, about the time Mozilla introduced the rapid release cycle. That are not opinions, but numbers.

Users who can remember the browser-war at the end of the last century know, that in the nineties the Netscape Navigator had a market share of 80 %. In a few years it was factually dead. Surely because of the Microsoft money and man-power, which the company put into the Internet Explorer, but also because of mistakes, that the Netscape management did. Is it a coincidence, that now Mozilla - the successor of Netscape - is going the same way as the mother, shoveling their own grave? Mozilla Foundation chief is Mitchell Baker, formerly working for Netscape! Seeing, that in the last months several leading Mozilla employees have divided from their company, in March 2014 alone the half of the members of the board of directors, one of them the former CEO John Lilly, doesn't sound healthy.

To the topic's title: Will Firefox become Chrome 2.0? If things go further in the wrong direction it will at best become Chrome 0.2 and Opera can at one day proudly announce, that they had beaten Firefox.

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by KBD47 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:14 pm

I think those who use less popular or poorly supported add-ons are probably out of luck. Some developers have said they are not going to move their add-ons to the new Firefox vision:
http://www.downthemall.net/the-likely-e ... wnthemall/
My concern is people are going to ask the question: If Firefox is just like Chrome, why not just use Chrome?
Add-ons have kept some people on board with Firefox, if they lose them, they are going to be left with what: 3%-5% of browser users?

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by xenopeek » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:49 am

10 months is a lot of time. I'm not hurrying to any conclusion. And is it a bad thing that poorly supported add-ons either die off or find a new maintainer because (finally) some user of it steps up to take over the work? I've not seen anything that made me think "Firefox will become Chrome 2.0".
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by benbadge72 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:59 pm

Recently started using Pale Moon. Not cared for branded or unbranded Chrome. Opera to me is not as intuitive. Have tried Midori, Epiphany (browser), Gnome's Advanced Browser, Netsurf, Iceweasel, Iceape.

Pale Moon is nice. Worked in Debian, works in Mint.


* reads self's own post, scratches self's head ... looks at self's words all befuddled like ... sees the problem, fixes it hopefully ...*

Pale Moon is nice. Worked in Debian, works in Mint.
Debian and Mint last I checked were Linux distrobutions. Thanks. :)
Last edited by benbadge72 on Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by Pierre » Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:43 am

it sure has the potential to push people over to "Firefox clones".

this Guy has a rant about it:
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/fire ... uture.html

but - whether it is the End of Firefox, as we know it?.
- only time will tell. ..

now then, - just how many of those 'clones' will work on a Linux O/S ?.
- more playtime. ..
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by Night Wing » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:42 am

Pierre wrote:it sure has the potential to push people over to "Firefox clones".

this Guy has a rant about it:
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/fire ... uture.html

but - whether it is the End of Firefox, as we know it?.
- only time will tell. ..

now then, - just how many of those 'clones' will work on a Linux O/S ?.
- more playtime. ..
I use 32 bit windows Pale Moon in 64 bit Windows 7 and 64 bit linux Pale Moon in 64 bit linux Mint (17.2). In both operating systems, Pale Moon is my default browser.

Pale Moon was once a clone of Firefox but sometime in 2014 (I can't remember exactly what month), Pale Moon became a true "fork" of Firefox and a fork is not a clone. Pale Moon even has its own GUID. Starting with Pale Moon 26.0 when it is ready for public release, Pale Moon will no longer use the Gecko engine, it will use the Goanna engine.

If you insist on calling Pale Moon a clone of Firefox, then go over to the Pale Moon forums site, register to become a member and ask the developer of Pale Moon (Moonchild) to explain to you in every detail what the difference between a clone and fork is and the reasons why he forked Pale Moon and the main reason is, he didn't like the direction Mozilla was taking Firefox.

http://forum.palemoon.org/index.php

In closing, with you calling Pale Moon (now) a clone of Firefox is...........misinformation on your part.
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by xenopeek » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:33 am

For the folks that are for some reason worried about Firefox because it will over the next 10 months (if the period is not extended) in phases migrate to a new extension API, potentially leaving incompatible and unsupported add-ons in a state where they can't be used with Firefox release 10 months from now (if really nobody cares about them in that time frame), then how is Pale Moon a solution for them for their Firefox add-ons that they can't do without. Won't those be equally unsupported on Pale Moon? It's not till 10 months from now that these potentially become a problem on Firefox, I don't get what the rush is.

Unsupported add-ons have been a problem in the past for me. Just like then, I'll just find an alternative that is supported if needed. Few months ago when Youtube changed it's API several Youtube preferences add-ons ceased to work. The one I was using had apparently become unsupported so I tried a few alternatives and found another one, a well supported one, that I liked. Whether there is a new extensions API on the horizon 4 months from now or not, unsupported add-ons are always a problem. Pale Moon isn't a solution for that. Unsupported = unsupported.

Pale Moon has its own add-ons (I count just over 30) and with some alterations can use add-ons compatible with Firefox 24. I doubt Pale Moon will be compatible with the new extension API used in Firefox. Already over a 100 add-ons are readied for the new extension API. If some of my add-ons aren't compatible yet with the new extension API in 4 months when Firefox 43 arrives, I'll see over the next 6 months after that how I can help the developers of those add-ons with their migration. If those add-ons turn out to be unsupported, that's as good a time as any to clean ship and find some supported alternatives.

Anyway, if you're happy with Pale Moon good for you. There are plenty of web browser to choose from on Linux and there's probably one for everybody. (I did a web standards compatibility and performance test on 23 web browsers recently, and there are probably lots of web browsers for Linux I didn't test yet.)
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by KBD47 » Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:54 pm

Pierre wrote:it sure has the potential to push people over to "Firefox clones".

this Guy has a rant about it:
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/fire ... uture.html

but - whether it is the End of Firefox, as we know it?.
- only time will tell. ..

now then, - just how many of those 'clones' will work on a Linux O/S ?.
- more playtime. ..
He outlines my concerns. Firefox will never do a better job of being Chrome than Chrome itself.

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by xenopeek » Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:11 pm

Pierre wrote:this Guy has a rant about it:
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/fire ... uture.html
That guy appears to not have read anything about the new extension API or extension signing. It's one big rant filled "what-if" speculation piece not based on, or providing, any facts.

Whenever you get emotional about some "it's the end of times!" article you've read, ask yourselves what Clem would do. He would wait it out and see what the situation is once the software is actually available :wink:
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by DrHu » Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:43 pm

Opera was the best browser alternative, and just like the KDE desktop lots of customization immediately available
--and yes I know about Chrome :/flags choices

And being too small and independent Opera folded their own tent and fell in with Google for their latest releases of Opera
--so far they haven't seemed to make it so different from chrome as to be noticeable: and that was their point I guess

Firefox comes installed with Mint 17.2, but I added Opera and downloaded the stable chrome as I didn't see Chrome as an option in the package manager when I checked
--I used to find Firefox slow to start, but it has improved; however that still doesn't persuade me to use it instead of my preferred choice(s)

I also tend to avoid most addins/plugins
--I especially don't need extra toolbars

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by Cosmo. » Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:16 pm

The article by dedoimedo has pro and has cons, because it is subjective. With subjective statements one can declare his point of view, but surely not claim to be objective.

The numbers I gave already are objective parameter about what the users think and - most importantly - what they do. And those numbers show since years dropping importance in sense of market share and only the speed how it drops is increasing.

I also wrote, that the responsible leaders at Mozilla seem to shovel themselves the grave of their browser, and this is still Mozilla's most prominent product.
For the tenth anniversary of Firefox front woman Mitchell Baker wrote:
Mitchell Baker wrote:Firefox did win in the desktop era
Remember: That was at the end of 2014, the market share had dropped from the 30 % peak to about 12 % (only desktop browsers) at that time. In other words, Madam Baker sees it as a winner to loose nearly two third of the users. I cannot imagine, how anybody could judge those facts as a winner career of the browser. But I have the imagination, that there are some people who loose the relationship to reality. (And I cannot remember, that in any other company a chair(wo)man with less than the half of this flops would not have been fired since a long time.)

In one point I expressively agree with dedoimedo: Whoever tries to exceed Google with another Chrome-adaption will loose. That is not what the Firefox-user expects. The Firefox-user wants a mostly configurable and customizable browser - that is what until now makes the uniqueness of Firefox. E.g. Xenopeek has this expressed this with this words:
xenopeek wrote:none come close to how I can customize and configure Firefox
Precisely this is the situation at now.

If this gets lost - regardless if the interfaces get removed or because the extension-developer get annoyed - Firefox will loose the one pro, which separates it from the others important competitors.

If you take a look at the AMO (Addons Mozilla.org) page, than you will find, that one of the most popular extension (number of users) is the Classic Theme Restorer, which does - in difference to most of the big ones - only exist since FF 29 (and has exact the function to correct, what Mozilla made worse); it ranks on place 35 of nearly 15.000. In the list of highest ranking this extension has 1st place. That is not a coincidence. This extension does not even have the AMO award "presented". It is obvious, that and why Mozilla does not like it; if they would, they could have added the options to choose between the "Australis"-way and the previous look and feel into the core instead of tons of web-designer tools, which the average user never uses (and gets confused if he accidentally hits the according shortcut).
I know from the developer, that this extension uses exactly that interface, that Mozilla wants to drop. Coincidence? I don't know, if it is possible to do the same functions with another API; but I can imagine, that the kind of realism of Mozilla will at least make them happy, regardless how many users this might cost ("Firefox did win again").

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by KBD47 » Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:39 pm

What concerns me the most is Firefox chasing Chrome Extensions to work on their browser. If you are not leading, you are following, and Firefox is clearly following Chrome instead of paving their own path.
My guess is we are going to see lots of Firefox forks in the next year or two, along with the forks that are already out there becoming increasingly popular.

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by z31fanatic » Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:26 pm

KBD47 wrote:What concerns me the most is Firefox chasing Chrome Extensions to work on their browser. If you are not leading, you are following, and Firefox is clearly following Chrome instead of paving their own path.
That's how the world works. If you can't beat them, join them :wink:

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by xenopeek » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:15 am

Cosmo. wrote:the market share had dropped from the 30 % peak to about 12 % (only desktop browsers)
Percentages of what though. Without absolute numbers this doesn't tell the whole story. The number of Internet users keeps growing year over year. It was back in 2010 that Firefox was at 30%. Since then the number of Internet users has grown from just under 2 billion to well over 3 billion by now. And where does the number 12% come from, because on Wikipedia it shows 4 difference sources (scroll down to desktop browsers) for market share and they indicate market share somewhere between 12% and 18% at the time. Now which is it? Anyway. Statistics. Numbers don't mean anything unless you know the whole story, and we don't. Certainly there will be more users on Chrome than on Firefox but is this mostly causes by existing users leaving Firefox or by new users not adapting it as they are more familiar with Chrome from its mobile domination?
Cosmo. wrote:Whoever tries to exceed Google with another Chrome-adaption will loose. That is not what the Firefox-user expects. The Firefox-user wants a mostly configurable and customizable browser - that is what until now makes the uniqueness of Firefox
That's not what the new extension API or extension signing is about. Perhaps read the introduction here https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebExtensions and the FAQ here https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebExtensions/FAQ. The new extension API isn't about becoming Chrome in any way; they are taking inspiration from Blink's extension API as one that is mature and proven for the goals Mozilla has. I'm a Firefox user and I want a multiprocess Firefox and I want better security for extensions. These steps will make that possible.
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by Cosmo. » Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:52 am

xenopeek wrote:Percentages of what though. Without absolute numbers this doesn't tell the whole story. The number of Internet users keeps growing year over year. .... Since then the number of Internet users has grown from just under 2 billion to well over 3 billion by now.
Quite right: The number of Internet users grew for about one third, not for two third!
Simple math: 30 % of 2 billion are 600 million, 12 % of 3 billion are 360 million. Makes an absolute loss of nearly half of the users. With still 600 million users Firefox would have to have about 20 %, not even the most friendly value from Statcounter (I come to it later back) reaches that. What you named the whole story does it make look even worse. But even if Firefox would have not lost absolute numbers of users, but "only" relatively, this would be nothing, what a normal human would call "winner". (Baker herself pointed out on the one or other place that Mozilla is not a normal company.) It is, as if a person would go constantly downstairs and claims at the same moment that he goes upstairs. IMHO such a person is either not be taken serious or not honest.
Mozilla says - readable again an again - that they want to make the Internet better. Even with Mozilla-glasses this is impossible, if you do not grow, but loose.
xenopeek wrote:And where does the number 12% come from, because on Wikipedia it shows 4 difference sources (scroll down to desktop browsers) for market share and they indicate market share somewhere between 12% and 18% at the time. Now which is it?
As you saw I took the first line of the tables. And now an interesting part: If you click the picture for the usage share, where the caption tells, that it is taken from the StatCounter-data (remember: those with the most Firefox-friendly values) than you can see raw data as numbers. And surprise, surprise, what does it give for Firefox? 11.x % for the end of the reporting time! (Also viewing the picture in high resolution shows, that the line for Firefox is far more nearer to 10 than to 20.)

Anyway: Not the exact values indicate the real problem, but the direction of their movement. The last paragraph in the Firefox-Article summarizes at the point.
xenopeek wrote:
Cosmo. wrote:Whoever tries to exceed Google with another Chrome-adaption will loose. That is not what the Firefox-user expects. The Firefox-user wants a mostly configurable and customizable browser - that is what until now makes the uniqueness of Firefox
That's not what the new extension API or extension signing is about.
Where did you read the word API in my quote? I said, that anybody will loose, if he tries to adapt Chrome. Australis is one of those adoptions, and Australis has nothing to do with extensions at all. (But extension can be used to correct this big mistake.) Removing an API might lead out of one of the given reasons that customization possibilities gets reduced or partly lost. And that is exactly the point where the uniqueness of Firefox gets hurt.

For getting e.g. rounded tabs (Australis) and such things no one needs to use Firefox. And integrating an in principle problematic feature as pocket into the core and setting it on by default is something, what decreases security. So far about the claim for better security. There was several years indeed an issue, where the reviewers overlooked something in extensions (they are humans), but later after some complaints they removed the extensions. This example makes clear, that this is nothing what you can prevent with a new API or with signing. The only way to prevent that would be to not use extensions at all. But that would also include e.g. NoScript and at the end the browser would be less secure.

The most vulnerable parts of a browser are in the first place the plugins and at the second part javascript. Removing the option for disabling javascript from the GUI some versions ago was the contrary of enhanced security (I admit, that NoScript does a better job). And now Mozilla claims(!) - not proofs - that they will enhance the security in regard of extension, which they host and review themselves. They also reviewed and hosted the extensions in the above given example. In these days the extensions would have got automatically signed (see the faq). So where is the added security? I can only recognize, that the imagination for the users about security gets enhanced, and that leads in general to deceased security. Placing the word "security" in a substantiation does always sound good and makes most people think "I agree". This method gets also used by scareware-authors (I don't say that Firefox is scareware or comparable with scareware), so entering a nice sounding word does not convince me at least, if there does not follow anything substantial.

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by xenopeek » Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:28 am

You're taking my numbers where you can't take them. 2 billion vs 3 billion (end of 2014 BTW, so missing 2015 growth) is the number of persons with access to the Internet. That doesn't mean desktop users only, so you can't use these numbers with that 30% and 12% desktop users market share.

We'll have to agree to disagree on anything that Mozilla has been doing with Firefox having been done to become a Chrome clone. That's not how I see any of the changes done or announced. Mozilla is specifically reaching out to developers to ensure the things they need to make their extensions possible gets a place in the new extension API. Like the hooks that NoScript needs. This new extension API isn't about making less customization possible as I read it.

I like the new interface for example and I don't see how it has anything to do with Chrome. Australis fits perfectly with the paradigm also implemented in GNOME 3, KDE 5, and OS X applications; where the classic cascading menu has been replaced with flat gear / donut buttons for quick access to most used functions.

As for extension signing, that is (as I read it) because there are extensions available for installation from other websites but that makes it hard for Mozilla or Firefox to protect its users from malware extensions. Like malware extensions piggy-backing on he name of very popular extensions to dupe users. Forcing extensions to be signed makes all this easier as:
  • Unsigned extensions, so those from other websites, are blocked by default—this cuts off a route for malware extensions.
  • Signed extensions from the Mozilla website are known to Mozilla. If one of those turns out, or later includes, malware it is very easy to add it to the blocked extensions lists for all users.
I don't see how you don't see that is a security improvement. We'll have to agree to disagree on this point also :wink:
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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by Cosmo. » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:28 pm

xenopeek wrote:You're taking my numbers where you can't take them. 2 billion vs 3 billion (end of 2014 BTW, so missing 2015 growth) is the number of persons with access to the Internet. That doesn't mean desktop users only, so you can't use these numbers with that 30% and 12% desktop users market share.
I took what you provided. But if we now come to the result, that the numbers of Internet desktop users did grow very less, than the mathematical results for Firefox get accordingly even worse.
xenopeek wrote:We'll have to agree to disagree on anything that Mozilla has been doing with Firefox having been done to become a Chrome clone.
Agreed. That is IMHO quite a normal thing in such a thread in the chat board.
xenopeek wrote:I don't see how you don't see that is a security improvement. We'll have to agree to disagree on this point also :wink:
As I explained it above with the given example. I don't see why you don't see the problems. :wink: In this sense: agreed again.

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Re: Will Firefox Become Chrome 2.0?

Post by BigEasy » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:58 pm

Night Wing wrote:If you insist on calling Pale Moon a clone of Firefox, then go over to the Pale Moon forums site, register to become a member and ask the developer of Pale Moon (Moonchild) to explain to you in every detail what the difference between a clone and fork is and the reasons why he forked Pale Moon and the main reason is, he didn't like the direction Mozilla was taking Firefox.
All Palemoon addons is Mozila addons (addons.mozilla.org).
Still wondering how to call that: clone or fork? Now and then.
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