Firefox 57 Lands, Faster Than Ever - And Power Users Fire Back

Firefox 57, the first release of Firefox that jettisons XUL-based addons, has arrived, with the community mostly intact. Supporting new branches of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, most Joe Users will see major benefit in terms of responsiveness. It’s certainly much snappier on my aging Athlon x64 based system. And it receives regular updates from the Firefox team.

The old guard of power users have mostly settled in two communities: (FF27-based) Pale Moon, and the newer (FF52-based) Waterfox. This morning, Pale Moon devs fired an opening salvo in the war for browser share: a new fork of Firefox called Basilisk, which aims to support all types of FF addons (XUL, Jetpack, Webex).

There are advantages to sticking with mainline Firefox: rapid updates, a dedicated security team, and widespread server-side support on websites.

But those left behind by Firefox’s radical changes will benefit from the forks.


@enso would probably be horrified.*

I’m going to give Basilisk a roll this coming week - I’m a very… niche-use user, so I’m intrigued by the new code re-base and support for webex (on top of XUL and Jetpack).

1 the PM team has a very cavalier approach to backporting code, and an absolute reliance on upstream security patches.

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I’m currently using 52 ESR.

The Stylish update broke several of my accessibility tools, but I was able to restore an older version and block auto-update.

The Firefox 57 update would probably leave me unable to use the web, until I found new accessibility tools, which would be very hard because I’d be unable to use the web without getting punched with flashing, zooming, and other animation.

Some reports indicate that webextension-only would NOT allow users to install tools to protect ourselves:

I’ve searched, and haven’t found other browsers, besides Firefox pre-57 and its cousins, which allow users to block as much animation, or don’t punch users with even more animation.


52ESR user profiles should1 be able to transfer over to Basilisk without much of a hitch. After Basilisk is installed, that is.

To do so:

  1. press Win + R
  2. type: %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox
  3. press enter
  4. Copy the Profiles folder
  5. press Win + R
  6. type: %APPDATA%\Moonchild Productions\Basilisk\
  7. paste
  8. profit!

Some webshites may require a Firefox useragent string. I use User Agent Overrider with the additional useragent string set:

Windows / Firefox 57: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64; rv:57.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/57.0

Basilisk may be a good long-term solution for you.

  1. Pale Moon user profiles… were not so pretty.

I had a thought a few weeks ago, after you last brought this up1: for the users who are abandoning Firefox FF is not software, it’s an operating system for the software (extensions) they’re actually using. And so those users will go to whatever operating system will give them the best experience using the software they want.


Non power user here. My experience? FF version 56.something stopped working this morning. Any link just brought up a blank tab with no explanation. I finally downloaded version 57 using Edge.

Pros: definitely faster.

Cons: NoScript is gone. Mozilla promises a Quantum-compatible version by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I’m running every script that every website I go to wants me to run.

(I know you people have nothing to do with this, I’m just venting as a powerless user.)

Edit to add: I now have something called Pocket that fills every new tab with every page I have visited and other “suggested by Pocket” links. Online instructions to remove it start by telling me to enter about.config in the address bar. When I did this I repeatedly got “server not found” or a similar message, but it finally worked and I toggled Pocket to “False”. This removed the Pocket button from the address bar (which might have been actually useful) but left all the history and “suggested” links. Apparently Pocket is baked right into FF and cannot be removed, only disabled.




I’m between a typical user and power user, closer to the user side, and I’m just relieved that uBlock and PrivacyBadger still work. But I miss Classic Theme Restorer.

Oh well. Progress. It’s faster, but then my new computer is 10 years younger.

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I’m really liking how much faster 57 is, it’s a dramatic improvement. For me, uBlock Origin is the only extension that I have enabled (and occasionally LastPass if I need access to work stuff). Even as a nerd who likes to tinker with things, and a web developer, I don’t see the need for lots of extensions.

I know there are certainly some cases like accessibility where extensions not working is a problem, but I can’t see switching to a fork just for a bunch of those extensions that add things like My Little Pony characters dancing across the page or whatever it is that they do.


having used chrome for ages I am giving FF a proper go this time around. it does seem snappier so far.

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pfft there is still software out there with vendors making new versions even that won’t run on x64 platforms.

there are days when it is good I can’t get near the developers with a clue bat.


Even if I had 2 years of warning, I wouldn’t have been able to reprogram my brain. I need accessibility tools to use the web. From what I’ve read, webextensions can’t block as much of the blinding and migraine-inducing animation as Xul could. Calling people’s accessibility tools “boat anchors” is insulting.


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Mozilla’s kicking people off the new versions of Firefox.

You’re spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about older versions of Firefox, and Basilisk, and other alternatives. I’ve tried Chrome’s web-page, as well as Opera, Vivaldi, Safari, and others, and none of these are accessible.

You insult those of us Mozilla’s kicking off.

So is it so surprising that I for one react with fear, uncertainty, and doubt about how long I’ll be able to use the internet? And anger about the standards of 2017, which enable more and more animation, without addressing accessibility tools to block that animation?


Yes you did:

P.S. I wrote this in response to Enso’s P.S., which came after my previous reply.

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It’s been the sort of week that makes one feel like complaining, and since this thread is on one of the many annoyances, I’m going to indulge. Sorry for everyone whose time this wastes; you have been properly warned. I can move it to the whining thread if you like.

I’m not a power user, and have generally enjoyed FF with minimal adjustments, but FF57 still has managed to start me off with distaste. Because – and I’m not sure I’m unusual in this – it’s annoying to be worrying about other things, and then have your UI shift from what you’re habituated to. Sure, the changes are little, but involuntary so irksome.

And on this I maybe am alone, but I am not able to get used to the new tabs. No other program I have looks like them, and I’m glad of that, since they now come with a glowing blue indicator that breaks the top line. It’s like having a one-tile-out-of-place mosaic, a one-step-too-short staircase, a one-letter-off kerning right in my browser. Small but always feels like it needs fixing. It’s actively uncomfortable to have in a program I use all the time.

Needless to say the documentation is only about how much I should love what they did. If you don’t, it’s on you to figure out what you can change. Spacing is in options; is tab highlighting? Initial searches only find compliments on how much people who didn’t like Firefox should like this one.

After some time it turns out I can fix it by creating and editing userChrome.css. Awesome. You know, it would have taken less time to install something like Opera. The question left is, which do I think is more likely to be something I can stick with, without it abruptly shifting again? It’s hard to say, but FF is not exactly showing it’s anything they care about.

And that’s speaking as someone who doesn’t have any serious limitations in what they can use, just enough UI experience to feel when something is out of place. So yes, I can easily imagine lots of people with even moderate requirements would be seriously worried about being excluded by updates that can change what they need at any time. Why wouldn’t Mozilla?

MarjaE linked a worthwhile article about edge cases; but even without that, I don’t know anyone who appreciates bundling interface redesigns with important updates. Why the heck do companies, let alone one dedicated to “service for people” and keeping things “accessible to all”, not get that?

There, that’s the end of my venting. Congratulations on reading to the end of it; I wish I had something here to make it worth your while, but not today. :expressionless:


I haven’t seen even a beta version of NoScript for FF57 so far, and I’ve been looking. The developers were initially saying that the updated version would be out the day after 57’s release… and then that expanded to “end of the week”… and I haven’t seen any new updates since.

I went ahead and updated… I don’t use a LOT of addons, so NoScript’s the only one that I’m really waiting on. I do really miss Download Statusbar, since it made it a lot easier to monitor my downloads and act on them when finished.

I’m also not fond of the tabs going all the way to the top of the window, since it means hunting for a spot to use to drag the window around - I actually re-enabled the menu bar just to “correct” that issue (you can also enable the window border, but that doesn’t get themed and looks ugly). While I was at it, I moved some of the controls like the home and refresh buttons to more logical places (my mouse is normally on the right-hand side of the window, and that’s where the “new tab” button is, so why make me go all the way to the left side just to go to a home page?)

On the bright side, the upgrade does seem to have gotten rid of the issue I was having where FF would occasionally just randomly freeze for periods of time after it had been running for a day or so.


Firefox for Android is fantastic. I don’t use many addons on mobile (just uBlock Origin and Greasemonkey) and it seems to be snappy enough. It’ll always use more battery than Chrome, and I’m OK with that.

(I don’t understand the outcry against Australis - then again, I used FXchrome.)

Giorgio Maone (NoScript author) talks about options for NoScript users here (from 2017/11/14):

Let me repeat that: your safest option for the next few days is Firefox 52 ESR, which will receive security updates until June 2018.

That’s “safest” with respect to NoScript functionality, which he says isn’t all there yet for the WebExtensions version, and not with respect to the safety of Firefox itself.