Soylent Green Is People!

And making Firefox 3 ignore extension compatibility checking is wrong!

Firefox 3 is really close final release. Many of you have started using Firefox 3 for your daily browsing, as have I. You might discover that some of the extension you love have not been updated to Firefox 3 or maybe just not updated to the latest beta. So you search the web and find posts and tools for magically making old extension “work” in Firefox 3.

The Lifehacker post says “Make Your Extensions Work with the Firefox 3 Beta.” Nightly Test Tools adds a button to “Make all compatible.” This is snake oil my friend and you could be faced with nasty consequences.

These methods DO NOT make your old extension updated to work in Firefox 3. They turn off Firefox’s builtin extension version checking system. These methods should only be used for testing, not everyday browsing.

More than a few of the top-crashing bugs (reported when Firefox crashes) are due to users running old, incompatible add-ons. Please, turn on the compatibility checking. If you can’t wait for your favorite add-on to be updated, maybe it’s time to look for a new add-on. Firefox 3 is the leanest, fastest, most feature packed version we have ever released. Don’t foul it up with old crappy add-ons.

8 Replies to “Soylent Green Is People!”

  1. I thought that it shouldn’t be possible for add-ons to crash the browser (unless the add-on has binary components). Isn’t this true … ?

    (Of course you are right that incompatible add-ons should not be installed blindly. I am just curious … )

  2. I rely on UI and productivity changing extensions that I hate doing without… and are reluctantly not upgrading until they’re supported. Do you know if there’s an extension that can check which extensions I have installed in FF2 are compatible with FF3? If so, why isn’t such a tool included with FF? 🙂

  3. Kenguru, a very many of the most popular extensions (perhaps even a majority by usage) do have binary components and they are pretty much guaranteed to crash Firefox if they’re allowed to load against the wishes of the compatibility checks.

    – A

  4. Totally agree, to often you read that there is an extension that updates other broken extensions to work with new versions of FF.

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to convince the author of the “Nightly Tester Tools” extension to change the phrasing in the tool from “Make compatible” to “Bypass compatibility check”.

    Even if it still might be a bad idea to do that (bypass check that is), it might make less people believe that it does some kind of magic voodoo on incompatible extensions.

  5. <rant>

    As a long time extension developer (and previously a developer on Flock), I understand that versioning is important.

    That said, I think Mozilla has dropped the ball on coordinating releases and extension support.

    1) Extension developers have no time to test/update their extensions before mozilla software updates occur.

    2) Because mozilla has code freezes for each release, but they appear to not mean anything (large changes are committed after the freeze, thus extension developers get no head start)

    3) After uploading a new release to it can take multiple days to a week for an editors review and users being able to get the update.

    4) Users of the addon have no insight into any of this, and blame the extension developers because mozilla’s story is “extension developers need to update their extension.”

    There is no acknowledgement that the developer might be keeping up to date, testing, contributing patches and new features to firefox 3, and uploading a new version to as soon as they are allowed – only to have 1 week of waiting in line for some editor to spend a few minutes looking at your extension.


    Will extension developers be given a chance to update their extension on to say they are compatible with 3.0 before the world gets the official firefox 3 release? Will addons editors be able to review updates in a timely manner?

    Or is it business as usually – changes until the last minute, and ship it with a broken extension experience because of the lack of coordination?

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