My Firefox 37 extensions and addons (sort of)

April 10, 2015

A lot has changed in less than a year since I last tried to do a comprehensive inventory of my extensions, so I've decided it's time for an update since things seem to have stabilized for the moment. I'm labeling this as for Firefox 37 since that's the just out latest version, but I'm actually running Firefox Nightly (although for me it's more like 'Firefox Weekly', since I only bother quitting Firefox to switch to the very latest build once in a while). I don't think any of these extension work better in Nightly than in Firefox 37 (if anything, some of them may work better in F37).

Personally I hope I'm still using this set of extensions a year from now, but with Firefox (and its addons) you never know.

Safe browsing:

  • NoScript to disable JavaScript for almost everything. In a lot of cases I don't even bother with temporary whitelisting; if a site looks like it's going to want lots of JavaScript, I just fire it up in my Chrome Incognito environment.

    NoScript is about half of my Flash blocking, but is not the only thing I have to rely on these days.

  • FlashStopper is the other half of my Flash blocking and my current solution to my Flash video hassles on YouTube, after FlashBlock ended up falling over. Note that contrary to what its name might lead you to expect, FlashStopper blocks HTML5 video too, with no additional extension needed.

    (In theory I should be able to deal with YouTube with NoScript alone, and this even works in my testing Firefox. Just not in my main one for some reason. FlashStopper is in some ways nicer than using NoScript for this; for instance, you see preview pictures for YouTube videos instead of a big 'this is blocked' marker.)

  • µBlock has replaced the AdBlock family as my ad blocker. As mentioned I mostly have this because throwing out YouTube ads makes YouTube massively nicer to use. Just as other people have found, µBlock clearly takes up the least memory out of all of the options I've tried.

    (While I'm probably not all that vulnerable to ad security issues, it doesn't hurt my mood that µBlock deals with these too.)

  • CS Lite Mod is my current 'works on modern Firefox versions' replacement for CookieSafe after CookieSafe's UI broke for me recently (I needed to whitelist a domain and discovered I couldn't any more). It appears to basically work just like CookieSafe did, so I'm happy.

I've considered switching to Self-Destructing Cookies, but how SDC mostly works is not how I want to deal with cookies. It would be a good option if I had to use a lot of cookie-requiring sites that I didn't trust for long, but I don't; instead I either trust sites completely or don't want to accept cookies from them at all. Maybe I'm missing out on some conveniences that SDC would give me by (temporarily) accepting more cookies, but so far I'm not seeing it.

My views on Ghostery haven't changed since last time. It seems especially pointless now that I'm using µBlock, although I may be jumping to assumptions here.

User interface (in a broad sense):

  • FireGestures. I remain absolutely addicted to controlling my browser with gestures and this works great.

    (Lack of good gestures support is the single largest reason I won't be using Chrome regularly any time soon (cf).)

  • It's All Text! handily deals with how browsers make bad editors. I use it a bunch these days, and in particular almost of my comments here on Wandering Thoughts are now written with it, even relatively short ones.

  • Open in Browser because most of the time I do not want to download a PDF or a text file or a whatever, I want to view it right then and there in the browser and then close the window to go on with something else. Downloading things is a pain in the rear, at least on Linux.

(I wrote more extensive commentary on these addons last time. I don't feel like copying it all from there and I have nothing much new to say.)


  • HTTPS Everywhere basically because I feel like using HTTPS more. This sometimes degrades or breaks sites that I try to browse, but most of my browsing is not particularly important so I just close the window and go do something else (often something more productive).

  • CipherFox gives me access to some more information about TLS connections, although I'd like a little bit more (like whether or not a connection has perfect forward secrecy). Chrome gets this right even in the base browser, so I wish Firefox could copy them and basically be done.

Many of these addons like to plant buttons somewhere in your browser window. The only one of these that I tolerate is NoScript's, because I use that one reasonably often. Everyone else's button gets exiled to the additional dropdown menu where they work pretty fine on the rare occasions when I need them.

(I would put more addon buttons in the tab bar area if they weren't colourful. As it is, I find the bright buttons too distracting next to the native Firefox menu icons I put there.)

I've been running this combination of addons in Firefox Nightly sessions that are now old enough that I feel pretty confident that they don't leak memory. This is unlike any number of other addons and combinations that I've tried; something in my usage patterns seems to be really good at making Firefox extensions leak memory. This is one reason I'm so stuck on many of my choices and so reluctant to experiment with new addons.

(I would like to be able to use Greasemonkey and Stylish but both of them leak memory for me, or at least did the last time I bothered to test them.)

PS: Firefox Nightly has for some time been trying to get people to try out Electrolysis, their multi-process architecture. I don't use it, partly because any number of these extensions don't work with it and probably never will. You can apparently check the 'e10s' status of addons here; I see that NoScript is not e10s ready, for example, which completely rules out e10s for me. Hopefully Mozilla won't be stupid enough to eventually force e10s and thus break a bunch of these addons.

Written on 10 April 2015.
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Last modified: Fri Apr 10 02:14:56 2015
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