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Firefox 29 released

The Firefox 29 release is now available for download. New features include an extensive new user interface customization mode, a new menu in the right corner of the screen, "sleek new tabs," better Firefox Sync integration, and more; see the release notes for more information.
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Classic Theme Restorer

Posted Apr 29, 2014 14:13 UTC (Tue) by xose (guest, #535) [Link]

Get the old UI with Classic Theme Restorer.

Classic Theme Restorer

Posted Apr 29, 2014 15:37 UTC (Tue) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Yes, I was quite taken aback by the UI changes in FF29. I'm too lazy to go through the steps of undoing them, so will probably just get used to them. Anyway, it's making FF look more like Chrome (which I also use quite a bit) so maybe it's not such a bad thing.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 29, 2014 19:28 UTC (Tue) by _xhr_ (subscriber, #92665) [Link]

Finally, the new user interface is available. Gone is the bulky old design.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 29, 2014 20:23 UTC (Tue) by b7j0c (guest, #27559) [Link]

new ui is nice. ff on android seems meaningfully snappier

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 29, 2014 21:43 UTC (Tue) by patrick_g (subscriber, #44470) [Link]

Juste tried ff on android. It seems impossible to set a default home page. If it's really the case then it's not usable.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 29, 2014 22:13 UTC (Tue) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

What I do is instead of setting a shortcut to the application on the homepage is to put a bookmark link with the browser icon on the home screen. Works similarly and I use the "Recent App" functionality most of the time.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 3:18 UTC (Wed) by rsidd (subscriber, #2582) [Link]

You have a strange definition of 'usable'.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 9:49 UTC (Wed) by Aissen (guest, #59976) [Link]

There's no homepage because the app lifecycle is completely different on mobile. Android guidelines (and since the first version) advise to always show the app in the same state as when the user left it. Then there can be no concept of "start page" since the app is only started once (after install), and then always continued.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 10:33 UTC (Wed) by sebas (subscriber, #51660) [Link]

Chrome has something like a bookmarks overview when no tab is open, that is a useful thing to my usage pattern.

Otherwise, calling FF unusable because of a lack of bookmarks startpage sounds a bit harsh.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 19:17 UTC (Wed) by patrick_g (subscriber, #44470) [Link]

Yes I agree, I was a bit too harsh. Actually I'm getting used to this interface.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 29, 2014 22:25 UTC (Tue) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> new ui is nice.

Yes, really smooth. Great work Mozilla folks!

Better sync?

Posted Apr 29, 2014 22:14 UTC (Tue) by job (guest, #670) [Link]

Can someone who have upgraded please decipher the marketing language here?

"Improved cloud sync", what does that mean? Can I still use my old sync server? Will I lose functionality compared to users who opt in for the latest in cloud greatness?

Better sync?

Posted Apr 29, 2014 22:34 UTC (Tue) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

If you run your own server, I believe the advise is to wait a bit before migrating your sync to the new system. Because I believe it will be possible to run your own again, just not right now. The old sync hasn't been removed though. So it should keep working.

At least that is what I read like a month or 2 ago, not sure what the current status is.

Better sync?

Posted Apr 30, 2014 12:06 UTC (Wed) by job (guest, #670) [Link]

Thanks. So I take it there is a new sync protocol in the latest Firefox, with no server released yet, but that it can still use the old protocol? It would be wonderful if they actually put these things in the release notes.

Better sync?

Posted May 1, 2014 4:49 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

It looks like the server is available[1]. It just moved repositories. I just updated my server (it was a WIP, so I just bumped it anyways), but trying to get Firefox to sync with it isn't working since it seems I have to go through Firefox Accounts rather than just having accounts on my server too (unless there are some docs missing?).


Better sync?

Posted May 1, 2014 5:01 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

Looks like mobile Firefox is limited to the official server for now as well[1][2] (though 33 *might* have support (~6 months)).


Better sync?

Posted May 2, 2014 14:42 UTC (Fri) by job (guest, #670) [Link]

Thanks again. In the Bugzilla comments there is a handy preference that can be set:

services.sync.fxaccounts.enabled = false

I should be terribly disappointed in Mozilla, but I sort of lost faith a long time ago. It's easy to see how someone who actually learns their living from user supplied data would release a product where third party sync was broken. But Mozilla presumably doesn't, so why did they?

One shouldn't have to piece together information about known regressions from Bugzilla comments, but there you go. Now all I have to find out is what an FxAccount is and if it's my Persona account or yet another new shiny cloud misfeature.

Better sync?

Posted May 2, 2014 14:48 UTC (Fri) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

It seems to me that because the preferences live in Firefox's store, the sync can't know where to sync with and redirecting the store to ask the Android store is apparently non-trivial. It is on their roadmap, just not here today.

And what do you install instead? It's not like Chrome's sync is in a better position. At least you can get the source to Mozilla's services.

Better sync?

Posted Apr 30, 2014 18:03 UTC (Wed) by nileshtrivedi (guest, #95332) [Link]

The new Sync protocol uses Firefox accounts. Earlier, all the data used to be encrypted and for every new device, you had to either pair it with a numeric code or use a recovery key. Mozilla did this in order to do end-to-end encryption so that you didn't have to trust Mozilla but many users found it confusing (they expected pairing to happen with just a password).

If you use your own sync server, don't migrate to the new Sync yet. This page has more details:

Better sync?

Posted Apr 30, 2014 18:07 UTC (Wed) by nileshtrivedi (guest, #95332) [Link]

Adding more details:

The data is still encrypted on client-side but the key is not randomly generated but instead, derived from the password. (This is how Chrome Sync works as well).

Also, the new Firefox version cannot be used to add a new device to the old sync server. So for any new devices, stick to the previous version of Firefox.

Better sync?

Posted May 1, 2014 7:47 UTC (Thu) by TomH (subscriber, #56149) [Link]

So the new protocol only allows Mozilla to read my sync data at the moment that I login then, assuming that I trust them to only store a hash of my password and therefore only to have access to the actual password at the moment of login?

Well I suppose that's better than I thought, but I still prefer the old system where they can never access the content of my sync data.

Better sync?

Posted May 2, 2014 15:11 UTC (Fri) by Jan_Zerebecki (guest, #70319) [Link]

"Neither your password nor the derived “unwrapping” key are ever transmitted to Mozilla." -

Better sync?

Posted May 2, 2014 15:22 UTC (Fri) by TomH (subscriber, #56149) [Link]

Ah, that's good then, and I see they've actually written a readable explanation of how it all works at last. The previous effort was so long winded I gave up trying to understand the detail.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 8:00 UTC (Wed) by cabrilo (guest, #72372) [Link]

So far, I don't see that many changes in the UI. Except for the sleek look, it seems that extensions that were in the status bar before are now in the top toolbar. That's actually not such a bad idea. The toolbar seems customizable, so I can even move about extension icons (which I am not sure if I was able to do before).

Slashdot crowd had me worried, but so far, everything seems to work very nice.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 20:40 UTC (Wed) by JMB (guest, #74439) [Link]

Being late in the game - got the update offered for Xubuntu 14.04 just now.
I am shocked about the UI. It is interesting that most people (after LWN comments) seem positive about it.
An add-on (which may be broken rather sooner than later - like many examples before) with lots of additional work to come not even near the former UI is no option.
For now I am back at FF 28 and will consider switching to another browser
After using lots of browsers in more than 20 years (Mosaic, Netscape, W3C testbeds, Firefox, Chrome, ...) I would not use that UI.
If it is really forced to users similar to KDE4 or GNOME3 I will switch and won't go back - and I am quite sure that many will do the same).
From my point of view such radical changes without asking users is just commiting suicide - especially if there is no gain in the changes itself.
They may get some new users - but will also lose several ones.
Maybe I am wrong - but switching back after a few minutes is not my usual habit (I really worked weeks with GNOM3 and even months with Unity before switching - and at least Unity seemed promising for special purposes).
The new Firefox UI is a clear no go for me - and this can not be changed with UI tweaks.
Why is it so common to change UIs radically despite of a huge user base which seems to come along with the former UI and is _accustomed_ to it?
And why is it not based on feedback or real studies of actual users?
And why are the most experienced users (in the cases I know of) those who are not happy with the changes?
Interesting times ...

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 21:38 UTC (Wed) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

Is there anything specific you don't like about the new UI? I didn't see anything there…just vague comparisons to KDE4 and GNOME3.

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 1, 2014 12:02 UTC (Thu) by JMB (guest, #74439) [Link]

The point important for me is that people who liked FF28 and before are no longer in the game - thus I did not list the changes which bother me.
As said before, any add-on may not work in future - like oribit scheme and many add-ons which I used to install.
So I would not trust add-ons to be there in a few years - and thus got really minimalistic.
To say no has a reason - many things are similar to Chrome - I played with Chorme and it is faster, has much better Flash support (really built-in without a crappy plug-in and updated to current versions), but I really dislike the UI.
Now the clear menus of FF are gone (which are not enough but have to enhanced by "about:config" - but this is another story) and similar to Chrome there is the `garbage can' on the right where several menu items are burried.
If I am forced to get accustomed to a Chrome-like UI, the 1st thing would be to give Chrome a try - which is faster and more compatible with content.
So if Mozilla wanted to release their users to the other big browser, this was the best they could to reach that goal.
I liked the menus - the efficient tabs - I knew which scheme and which 2 add-ons I need and had just 5 preferences to change ... a routined job.
Now it starts with FlashVideoDownloader icon to the extreme left (i.e. 1st place for an add-on! - before it was sanely put next to the URL bar), I could not find things I used several times a day in several minutes (that was were GNOME3 and Unity came to my mind) and experienced the striking similarity with Chrome - which I only put to 2nd place because of its UI (on old computers it's impressive how FF is wasting performance compared to Chrome - but I have quite fast machines anyway ...).
If I had no choice I may have played longer - tried the classic UI addon ... but why. To rely on an add-on which may be abandoned in one of the next few FF release as many before?
That's the reason I hate the scheme and add-ons - it is not clear they are around next time and I was bitten several times in the past.
If a user who is happy with an UI is forced to a new one he/she is well adviced to consider alternatives.
So it's not a matter of wish list to fullfill to be a happy user again - it's a matter of classic UI as option in standard browser or clear focus on alternatives.
And the new UI is not superior in any way - it's inefficient (similar to ribbons in M$ office - but fans do exist even for this change - I hope Libre Office will not use Ribbons as only UI if they are allowed to do it. ;-).
But I really would like to see a list of efficiency improvements by the new UI (from non-Chrome users/co-users of cause ;-).
Not just "it's fresh - as it is new" - and IMHO using an UI similar to a `rival' (or {former} main sponsor - you name it) is neither fresh nor new.
After users are forced to use the UI I would like to see Mozilla asking their users what UI they prefer - and if more than 30% would vote for classic Mozilla should do more than allowing an incomplete classic add-on.
The question from my point of view - why did Mozilla not try out new UI design changes via add-ons and look how many times they are used? Maybe they knew it would not be that numerously taken?
The 1st part of the name UI is user - so they should decide what is efficient for _their_ workflow.
KDE4/GNOME3/Unity lost huge parts of their user base - when will companies / developers / ... learn?

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 1, 2014 13:34 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

I guess the UI doesn't bother me that much since I use the keybindings heavily. The main things I search the UI for is "restore last session" on a reboot/X restart. One thing that did change that is going to take some getting used to is RequestPolicy being in the top bar. But since it was the last holdout below, I actually gained vertical pixels here.

As for supported addons, wasn't Jetpack (or similar) supposed to fix that problem?

Either way, I'll believe the "mass exodus" scare stories for when browser numbers are available.

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 3, 2014 12:53 UTC (Sat) by JMB (guest, #74439) [Link]

Well, I must clarify the situation.
I have started clean on my system now - without add-ons, themes, any configuration before 29 - and the situation is totally different.
First of all - I use walnut2 (nice theme) which has as side effect that rearranging icons from firefox-menu-icon is not possible and that the placement of icons in the URL bar (e.g. Flash Video Downloader) are in strange places.
So even though it is said to be compatible it is not.
Combined with classic theme it is usable (and to rearrange one can disable walnut2, rearrange and enable walnut2 again ...).
Other themes (like orbit orange and others I liked) are not available for FF29 - so my statement about incompatibility holds - same as about inefficiency of the new standard theme.
But one could use it ...
First thing for giving it a further try were the fixed vulnerabilities in FF29:
which is enough to say that staying on FF28 for several weeks is not sane.
Second is a problem with Xubuntu 14.04 which I want to solve: system is rejecting loading locally stored SWF files with browser ... same with FF28/29/Chrome-stable ... from Internet there is no problem ... and a clean start does not change anything.
I don't even know a package for bug filing ... just made a comment in an existing thread:
Seems that final versions are currently not suitable for me - should check my karma. :)

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 7, 2014 18:54 UTC (Wed) by ScottMinster (subscriber, #67541) [Link]

Not the original poster, but I just installed FF 29 on my Windows work PC to check it out. Fortunately, I don't use that computer for actual browsing. Some initial impressions:

* The menu bar is now in the title bar. If I turn off the menu bar, the title bar disappears. This means that I also lose all window controls, such as minimize, maximize, closing, and even window movement (no alt+button1 to drag on Windows)! This is on Windows 7 using the classic theme, btw.

* Losing the traditional title bar means I don't see the page's title on the window. Minor, but a little annoying.

* I use the tree style tab extension. The new rounded tabs look exceptionally silly there, as there are huge misplaced images on either side of the tab. Also, the tab height is about twice as big as it use to be, meaning that I could only open half as many tabs before it requires scrolling. Arguably, this is an incompatibility between base FF and an extension, but it is a completely unnecessary one.

* The "icon" menu is interesting, but not at all as useful as the traditional text based menus because it can only hold a small subset of functions.

* The new customize mode is more confusing. It took me a while to figure out how to exit the customization mode. Who would have thought that one of the buttons on the icon menu that I was editing was actually a real button?? The dialog based version was easier to understand. Maybe the "done" button should not look like it was part of the UI being customized.

* Using the classic theme restorer addon, I was able to restore most functionality. It even made the tabs in tree style tab not as tall. But it is frustrating that someone had to make an extension to fix all these things. How long will this extension work?

Of course all this is on the Windows version. I haven't dared upgrade on Linux where I do most browsing. Does anyone know if these changes affected that version, too?

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 8, 2014 0:41 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> The menu bar is now in the title bar. If I turn off the menu bar, the title bar disappears.

Not sure; I don't use decorations. The title is shown by xmobar though which is 100% outside Firefox's control.

> The new customize mode is more confusing. It took me a while to figure out how to exit the customization mode.

While the button at the top works, I have a big green "Exit Customize" button in the bottom right.

I don't use tab trees, but yeah, it's largely the same.

Firefox 29 released

Posted Apr 30, 2014 22:08 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

I've just installed "Classic theme restorer" plugin.

What I hated in the new FF:
1) Fugly tabs. They waste like 20% of space for the stupid curved corners.
2) Default button layout.

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 1, 2014 3:34 UTC (Thu) by kenmoffat (subscriber, #4807) [Link]

Really ? You guys must have a lot more in your setup than I do.

I read the slashdot comments while I was downloading 29, made a note about how to fix it if it was as bad as people said, and then compiled it. Colour me unimpressed by curved corners on the tabs, and something is different about all the icons moving to top left - but I could not honestly tell you _how_ it has changed, so my impression is that yes, it has changed, but the difference is not important.

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 2, 2014 4:57 UTC (Fri) by tcrever (guest, #69157) [Link]

I don't like the position of the menu button. I suggest a couple of changes:
- Put the menu button in the left top corner (in the same place than the old firefox button). The same way the pinned tabs look but with the menu icon.
- Change the lines color on the menu icon to orange! (It is really important to leave some orange on the browser for identity purposes).

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 3, 2014 18:35 UTC (Sat) by AngryChris (subscriber, #74783) [Link]

I don't understand. The new tabs don't waste any space (at least no more than the old tabs). The sloped edges overlap the tabs next to them. Each individual tab is wider without making the overall tab bar any wider because tabs next to each other share the same space.

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 3, 2014 18:52 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

They do take additional space. Perhaps not 20%, but it's still noticeable.

Also, I really hate that it became visually difficult to distinguish individual tabs.

Firefox 29 released

Posted May 5, 2014 9:19 UTC (Mon) by tcourbon (subscriber, #60669) [Link]

I still manage to fit the same number of tabs into my windows without it having to display the scrolling arrow. So I fail to see how it waste any space in a noticeable way...

Granted the high contrast between active and inactive tabs thing was done so all inactive tabs fades into the background. (That didn't pose me a usability problem since I use the icon/title to activate a tab but I understand how it could disturb someone.)

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