Firefox 57 Quantum (was Farewell Firefox)

I’ve been using and promoting Firefox since firefoxnytadthe beginning when it was named Phoenix back in 2002. When the Firefox team wanted to place a full page ad in the New York Times I even chipped in some cash and had my name included in the list of supporters.

However today a new era has begun for Firefox and it eliminates the only reason I’d still been sticking with Firefox for 15 years. With the loss of NoScript I can’t think of any reason to keep using Firefox. Two other extensions I’ve relied on, TiddlySaver and Zotero, had made stand alone desktop programs to replace the loss of local file saving in Firefox. NoScript doesn’t have that option and I’d hoped it would continue but alas the Firefox team obviously felt it wasn’t worth any effort to help get it working :-(.

So long Firefox it was a great 15 years. see 11/18 update

Update 11/15/2017

I failed to mention that there was a perfectly good security reason for removing some capabilities in Firefox extensions. While the security hole shown at the link would not affect me it could easily have hurt normal users.

The NoScript Author has now published an article originally saying a new Firefox 57 compatible version of NoScript would be available today but now saying by the end of the week and adding some screen shots. Looking at the screen shots the new UI is very poor compared to the old NoScript and poor compared the UI of uBlock Origin. Since I spent quite a bit of time getting to know uBlock Origin on Chrome yesterday, I don’t think I’ll bother trying the new NoScript when it eventually comes out (I never count on time promises from solo free software developers). see below

Update 11/18/2017

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone

Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

This has proven to be so true, after a few days with uBlock and reading up on alternatives I’ve come to the conclusion that with the single exception of NoScript every script blocker out there is really more of an advertising and web analytics blocker. That is not at all what I want! I always white list all the well known analytics companies because as a webmaster I know how useful it is to know about who is utilizing your site. When ever I visit a site and find useful content I immediately do a temporarily allow all to let through the advertising and let the web owner get there revenue (it ain’t cheap to offer good free stuff on the net).

The one thing I absolutely want to happen when I visit a site for the first time is to block every single last bit of scripting that comes from a source not on my white list. AFAICT NoScript is the one and only script blocking system that does this which makes it the one and only true script blocking tool for security purposes. The loss of NoScript has made my web usage so incredibly slow the last few days because I now have to stop and be think about how much danger is in clicking a link.

I have now installed Firefox 52 ESR and NoScript 5.1.7, removed uBlock from Chrome and plan to re-install Firefox 57 as soon as NoScript is ready.

Update 11/19/2017

The Firefox 52 ESR install screwed up my PC very badly, LastPass, Xmarks and Firefox all become incredibly buggy and unstable. In the end I had to uninstall Firefox and all instances of LastPass, manually remove all Firefox profiles, and manually edit the registry to remove every reference to Firefox. Things got so bad that LastPass in Chrome was no longer working properly. I’ve now got LastPass in Chrome working properly and I’ve got Firefox 57 installed with LastPass working. Hoping a compatible version of NoScript comes out soon.

With everything stable again I ran some timing tests to see if Firefox really is faster in my real world usage. I’m sure the benchmark results mentioned by Mozilla are true but benchmarks are a long way from real life web usage. My tests show Chrome is still slightly faster than Firefox on loading a variety of pages I regularly visit by about 3 tenths of a second. So other than the fact that it is the only browser that has NoScript there is no real reason to prefer it over Chrome for me.

Update 11/20/2017

The new version of Noscript is out!
Also, Xmarks came out of beta and is working well now too!