Mozilla Addresses Problems with Add-Ons and Firefox Releases

by Sam Dean - Sep. 27, 2011Comments (2)

As the Firefox browser has moved toward a new rapid release cycle, have you been lamenting the performance of some of your add-ons? If so, you're not alone. Add-ons are among the primary reasons why many users favor Firefox, and there have been some glitches as new versions of the browser have arrived at a machine gun pace. The issue is not lost on Mozilla, which is taking action. "Towards the end of last year, the need for a faster Firefox release cycle was apparent, and nearly every team at Mozilla began preparing for the major changes afoot," says a new Mozilla post. "Add-on compatibility has always been a huge barrier to releasing more often, so it was critical we have a plan that wouldn’t leave add-ons or users behind."

As we reported back in June, while many users applaud the rapid release cycle that Mozilla announced for the Firefox browser back in February, not everyone is thrilled. Some users have had bad experiences with their add-ons and new versions of the browser.

It's good to see that Mozilla is recognizing some of the shortcomings in its handling of add-ons and new browser versions (and the company has also implemented better processes for add-on developers). As the new post says:

"Our compatibility plan has two notable shortcomings: it doesn’t work for add-ons with binary components and it doesn’t work for add-ons not hosted on AMO. The vast majority of add-ons don’t contain binary components, which must be recompiled with every version of Firefox in order to continue working. And while we know a lot about add-ons that are hosted on AMO, we didn’t know much about the other add-ons in Firefox’s ecosystem."

The best news in the Mozilla post is that Firefox 8 (due in beta this week) corrects a number of the problems with add-ons. This version of Firefox sounds like a must-have offering for those of use who love our Firefox add-ons. In the meantime, when add-ons aren’t compatible, Mozilla is asking users to take advantage of the Add-on Compatibility Reporter.

John Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


I have the 5 installed i dont actually use, i use Avant browser as my main browser

Te changes are not sifnificant

if you have firefox 4, 5, 6, 7 you wouldnt know the difference at first unless you check

0 Votes

As the maintainer of a browser extension developed across Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera I gave AMO a chance, but was sorely disappointed.

I release updates to my plug-in every few weeks to incorporate changes requested by the community that the plug-ins support. Unfortunately since AMOs plug-in update process takes horribly long it doesn't allow me to iterate at the pace that I want to. (The last approval cycle I went through took longer than 4 weeks from submission to approval)

As a result of this frustration I moved to publishing the plug-in on my own. It's annoying that I have to update the plug-in manually every time Mozilla releases a new version... but it's much less annoying than having to wait almost a month before users start getting new versions of my plug-in.

0 Votes
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