How ready my Firefox extensions are for Firefox Electrolysis

January 7, 2017

Firefox Electrolysis is Mozilla's push to improve Firefox by making it multiprocess, but this requires a fundamental change in how Firefox extensions interact with Firefox. Mozilla is strongly pushing Electrolysis in 2017 and as part of that is strongly working on deprecating the old (current) Firefox extensions API. Their current schedule entirely abandons old extensions by roughly December of this year (2017), with Firefox 57. Mozilla has made available an extension, Add-on Compatibility Reporter, that can tell you if your extensions are compatible with the modern way of doing things. This is a lot more convenient than going through arewee10syet, so I've decided to write down the state of my regular set of extensions (note that I now use uBlock Origin) and my essential set for basic profiles.

In my essential set, things are simple. FireGestures and uBlock Origin are compatible, but Self-Destructing Cookies is not. That's not great news; SDC is an excellent low-friction way of defending myself against the obnoxious underbrush of cookies. I can't see any sign on SDC's page that an update to add Electrolysis compatibility is in progress, although it might be something that's quietly being worked on.

In my main browser with my regular set of extensions, well, things get mixed:

  • NoScript is compatible (as are FireGestures and uBlock Origin). In less core extensions, so is HTTPS Everywhere and even CipherFox (which I could really uninstall or disable at this point without missing anything).

  • my current cookie management extension, CS Lite Mod, is not compatible but I already knew it was obsolete, not getting updates, and going to have to be replaced someday. It's not clear if there's a good Electrolysis compatible cookie blocking extension yet, though (especially one that doesn't leak memory, which has been a problem in my earlier attempts to find a replacement).

  • FlashStopper is not compatible. Stopping video autoplay on Youtube is not really something I consider negotiable, but in theory NoScript might start working for this. In addition, the 'development channel' part of the addon's page suggests that a compatible version is in progress (see also).

  • It's All Text is not compatible. That's going to hurt a bunch, especially for writing comments on Wandering Thoughts. There's an open issue for it but it's been open since 2015 and apparently the original developer doesn't do much with Firefox any more (see also).

  • Open in Browser is not compatible. I like OiB but it's not a core part of my browser experience the way some of my extensions are. There's an open issue in the project about this.

Without a cookie management extension and with uncertainty about others updating in time (especially since I generally follow Firefox's development version, effectively Firefox Nightly), my most likely action is to simply not update to a version of Firefox that drops support for old extensions.

(The Firefox release calendar suggests that the development version will stop supporting old extensions sometime in June or July, so I really don't have all that much time left.)

Comments on this page:

By Bob at 2017-01-07 11:30:18:

You should try out uMatrix, I think it would cover your use of Noscript, uBlock Origin and CS Lite Mod nicely. It is made by the same person who makes uBlock Origin.

By cks at 2017-01-08 00:55:37:

uMatrix is an interesting idea but my current view is that I don't really want to spend that much effort exerting fine control over what my browser does and doesn't accept. NoScript, uBlock Origin, and CS Lite Mod all mostly just work without me having to do anything, and as separate things they're generally relatively easy to adjust if necessary.

Written on 07 January 2017.
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Last modified: Sat Jan 7 01:55:04 2017
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