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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:49 am 
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If you presume that the one-executable-per-tab model is needed, then the old extension system would be difficult to graft onto it. For similar reasons NPAPI plugins will likely be axed too.

Now, I don't think the model is needed or required except to maintain feature parity with Chrome (and since that feature is "gobble up all RAM in the system so nothing is left for other programs" its not a particularly useful feature), but if one concedes that point then the rest kind of falls into place.

I see kids just about every day who complain their systems are running glacially slow, and I'm almost at the point now where I'm going to not even look at the system and just tell them to quit Chrome.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:30 am 
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MonkeyBoy wrote:
If you presume that the one-executable-per-tab model is needed, then the old extension system would be difficult to graft onto it. For similar reasons NPAPI plugins will likely be axed too.

Now, I don't think the model is needed or required except to maintain feature parity with Chrome (and since that feature is "gobble up all RAM in the system so nothing is left for other programs" its not a particularly useful feature), but if one concedes that point then the rest kind of falls into place.

I see kids just about every day who complain their systems are running glacially slow, and I'm almost at the point now where I'm going to not even look at the system and just tell them to quit Chrome.

I'm not at all sure about this, but aren't you perhaps confusing multi-process, aka, "electrolysis/e10s," with Web Extensions? The latter involves the demise of the XUL programming language, making it necessary to rewrite all current Firefox addons to make them Chrome compatible. As far as I can tell, don't think multi-process looms as an impending addons catastrophe like Web Extensions.

http://arstechnica.com/information-tech ... xtensions/

http://arstechnica.com/information-tech ... d-details/


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:55 pm 
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My understanding is that the XUL extension model would require every extension to be loaded into each executable environment, which would balloon memory requirements for each executable environment. Imagine every tab loading its own unique copy of every extension you have installed, on and on and on for tab after tab. The band-aid they have in place basically allows extensions to be loaded once and interact with multiple executable environments like they're a single environment.

BTW, I've discovered that disabling multiprocess from my previous instructions can introduce some seriously laggy behavior, so if you want to avoid multiprocess its best to go to ESR 45. Apparently Mozilla assumes multiprocess will be enabled in 49, which allows one tab to completely hang up all other tabs, including delaying the ability to switch between tabs.

So. Yeah.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:36 am 
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Do I have this right: XUL and multiprocess are incompatible, mutually exclusive? If so, I would think that the main reason for Mozilla implementing multiprocess is to allow extensions to be Chrome compatible, via the new Web Extensions API (although I seriously doubt that being a Chrome wannabe will gain them any more market share), not to reduce memory or processing consumption, which in versions up to 49 is high but manageable (for me in 45 ESR it's usually not much more than 900 MB.) But I never have more than four or five tabs open, and frequently close and reopen FF, not set to restore previous session. So could be others are finding Firefox with multiprocess a blessing.
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Apparently Mozilla assumes multiprocess will be enabled in 49, which allows one tab to completely hang up all other tabs, including delaying the ability to switch between tabs.

So. Yeah.

If that's how it's actually working in 49, maybe not much of a blessing.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:38 am 
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Basically the XUL model requires every executable to have its own copy of an extension to be loaded, since it has the ability to modify so much of the environment of that executable. Basically think of each tab in Firefox as a whole new copy of Firefox running, with all the memory penalties therein. They've implemented a model right now where the XUL is loaded once and affects multiple processes but its a hack, in that its not compatible with every extension and very slow. Web Extensions, being unable to do much in the browser, will have a smaller memory footprint and I don't know much more than that because I'm not particularly fond of them. Maybe it implements the same load once interact multiple executable model without the speed penalty, but it probably loads into every executable but because the memory footprint is lower. For the moment it looks like multiprocess Firefox starts a single Firefox executable and spawns multiple child threads for each tab, which allows them to do the XUL compatibility mode.

As for 49, in the default configuration it doesn't get hung up. But if you attempt to disable multiprocess then it gets really... annoying...

As for tabs... my minimum at work is 12 tabs, since those are all my home pages. It goes up from there. Firefox is currently using 370MB of RAM with another 390MB of virtual memory. But I haven't done anything besides load my home pages and start interacting with this tab at this point. And I think I haven't edited my about:config back to default yet.

Edit: Nope, hadn't. With restoring defaults then quitting/reloading it jumped another 40MB and 60MB to 410MB RAM and 450MB VM. The interesting thing is that using a single executable like this means on Win32 they can't allocate more than 2GB of RAM. Before in the old model I was regularly hitting 1.2 to 1.3GB and memory requirements will have increased... so it's going to be interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:34 pm 
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Thanks MB, been extremely preoccupied and haven't gotten a chance yet to get my head around all this (if I ever will).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:07 am 
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Now that I have more time, read again. Got it. But still don't know which "underhood changes" Anon was referring to which he said "were necessary, but maybe a little painful for some people to adapt to." (Which people, extension developers, or general users?) But I guess that's for Anon to reply.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:05 am 
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Pretty sure he was referring to developers, although users will also need to deal with more limited extensions. Although how many user have extensions installed that won't be as effective under the new model is an open question. I've always run a limited number of extensions (although I do have about 20-ish extensions installed, all but 2 or 3 are disabled unless I need them), and I know a lot of people who don't use any at all nor even know they exist (these people typically run Safari or IE until their system gets infected, at which point they come to me).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Sorry, I've been as busy as usual recently.

The general answer is that there are many significant changes that will annoy everyone, and many of them will eventually result in a better browser.

Here are some of the changes that I can think of and a subset of whom they will affect:
* Electrolysis - necessary change - affects everyone
Moving to a multi-process model is necessary as single-threaded performance in desktop computers stagnates. It's probably the right way to isolate different tabs, and it will make it much easier to use the hardware to it full potential as the world moves to much more parallel systems. With this changes comes a grab bag of other tradeoffs, like the potential for even greater system-wide resource exhaustion and complications sharing state between different parts of the browser. This affects addon developers (due to API changes to make it work), core developers, end users, and everything else. It's a big change.

* Abandonment of XUL (and XPCOM) - probably necessary - affects developers, users indirectly
XUL and XPCOM are great for it's flexibility, but they also allows a degree of mischief that's harder to tolerate in a more hostile web and with the hardware trends that demand Electrolysis. Abandoning XUL and XPCOM is a serious tradeoff in favor of performance, streamlined development, and ease of enforcing security, at the expense of existing addons and certain capabilities in addons. It will be a good tradeoff if Mozilla provides a few crucial hooks outside the basic WebExtensions to keep Firefox highly customizable. Although I haven't personally used XPCOM, its easy for me to imagine the misery its ubiquitous exposure through addons could wreak in trying to get Electrolysis and Servo working in any sane way. This change is, however, the most fraught with danger and I could easily see it injuring everyone in the process(es). The fact that Mozilla has been willing to consider WebExtension API improvements is, however, heartening. For example, Mozilla makes available reliable origin information that helps security addons work nicely in ways that are not compatible with Chrome. Mozilla anticipates additional improvements like this, but even so this will be a burden on addon developers.

* Servo - a nice improvement - affects core developers
Servo is another piece of the parallelism puzzle. Making it work might be difficult maddening and pointless if addons need to retain unfettered access to Firefox internal state.

* WebExtensions - not necessary, but something like it is - affects developers and users of incompatible plugins
Basically, something had to replace all the old crufty stuff mentioned elswhere in this post that's a drag on development, performance, security, and general sanity. WebExtensions as a starting point seem like a reasonable choice. Since killing a lot of old addons represents a danger to Firefox, making it easy for addon developers on other system to write addons for Firefox may be a dim silver lining around the disappearance of lot of existing addons. But compatibility is not the primary goal: rather Mozilla appears to be taking (most of) the basic features available to addon authors in other browsers and allowing Firefox addons to do (some) things that other browser don't allow. That is, this will be a subset and superset of the addon API used elsewhere. See also comments about abandoning XUL + XPCOM. Bottom line, this is a dangerous change, but probably an appropriate change given the other architectural changes, and possibly the least bad option. In comparison, a brand new Firefox-only API would be worse.

* Google-Chromification of the interface - not a nice change - affects users
With the other changes, addons won't be able to change the general interface. This means we're stuck with a clone of Google Chrome, which sucks.

* Death of NPAPI - Won't miss it - affects plugin developers and end users
NPAPI plugins were a bad solution to a worse problem in the 1990s. The interface is extremely old and deserves to go away. This will, however, affect users who still rely on old-fashioned browser plugins and developers who haven't written alternative systems to provide similar functionality. In the case of Flash, it will also mean it's slightly more likely that your browser will have an up-to-date copy. It may suck for people who are still using plugins for core business processes, which probably mostly boils down to employees of large businesses. There are still a lot of pointless browser plugins beyond Java and Flash. These will mercifully die. Corollary: ActiveX was also wrong.

Overall, Mozilla is seems to be answering the question, "if we were writing a brand new browser from the ground up today, how would it be different from the Firefox we have right now?" Having imagined that browser, they're steering Firefox toward those changes. In the end it will result in a faster, more secure, more stable browser with a crappier less customizable interface. Most of the changes are substantive architectural changes, not superficial changes commanded by startled executives, and in the end most of them will result in a better browser. The transition may, however, be uncomfortable for a lot of developers and users alike.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:29 pm 
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Sadly I don't entirely know what Mozilla is going to do for implementations that require a plugin.

It's more than a little bizarre that they won't be completely retiring NPAPI and will instead keep it going in a zombie like not-dead not-alive state for, of all things, Flash. The #1 infection vector for Firefox is being explicitly kept alive.

It also sounds like they're working with NPAPI publishers to roll their plugins into Firefox itself. Unity's plugin, of all things, is now implemented inside Firefox. Do they have Linux kernel envy?

I get that PPAPI isn't perfect since it's essentially geared for Flash (which makes sense since that's what Google created it for, long before it was ever rolled out into a public API), but to keep NPAPI around for Flash rather than implement PPAPI because it's geared for Flash seems counter-intuitive.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:09 pm 
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Yeah, not sure what's up with that, but I'm optimistic Flash via plugin will go away eventually.

I had been under the impression that they'd roll it in to Firefox the same way that Google does, along the lines of "hold your friends close and your enemies closer," but alas that appears not the case. I really, really want Flash to finally die forever.

Also not sure what will happen to Silverlight (which is merely Microsoft's ill-timed response Flash).

Java will also be a significant problem for some users, but it needs to die (in the browser) as well. At least Oracle will be killing its NPAPI Java plugin pretty soon...of course it's already in Oracle's nature to avoid doing anything it can get away with not doing.

All of this will, however, be painful for some users and developers.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:13 am 
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Anonymous wrote:
* Google-Chromification of the interface - not a nice change - affects users
With the other changes, addons won't be able to change the general interface. This means we're stuck with a clone of Google Chrome, which sucks.

Looks like CTR will not be able to offer much respite. From Aris, the developer (but could be out of date):
Quote:
If it will be possible to modify browser ui via HTML5 in the future, CTR will require to be rewritten from the scratch anyway as none of its current code would work. I will look into this once Mozilla starts offering "developer / alpha / test / ux" builds of the "new Firefox". No need for speculations about what will and will not be possible. Mozilla really should have released some kind of developer build of their new Firefox along with the initial announcement of dropping XUL.

And re. Stylish, which I rely on to a great extent, maybe a little hope there. Doubt it, but wondering if most of the current scripts I use will continue to work (I suppose that userChrome, as an alternative, will disappear):
https://forum.userstyles.org/discussion ... or-firefox


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:33 pm 
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My guess is that anything that changes the appearance of the Firefox UI will break with the death of XUL. I will greatly miss Classic Theme Restorer.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:55 pm 
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Silverlight is actually EOL'd and is only on life support for bug fixes for the next couple years, then it's not even going to have that.

Given that Chrome removed support for NPAPI plugins in 45, and its the most used browser, any site using it has to be well in the middle of a transition completely off Silverlight.

Its kind of funny that Amazon moved from Flash to Silverlight only months before Silverlight got the axe. But the MPAA gets what the MPAA wants and who gives a crap about anyone else's expenses...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:00 pm 
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That's good to hear. Silverlight will not be missed.

The writing is on the wall for Flash.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:55 am 
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...So let's sum up. My only available path forward is to spend the better part of a year, probably more, on the tedious and stressful task of rewriting one of my add-ons and part of another, both of which will result in only already existing functionality that brings me no gain and in which I have no personal interest, to retain maybe a third of my current user-base, in favor of a system that will exist for reasons with which I don't agree, with further development of novel features being subject to a bottleneck on Mozilla's side rather than on myself.

Adding to that, Firefox and my add-ons are not my life, by themselves they don't and will never support me by far, nor am I a Mozilla paid employee who can spend his (full-)time working on his add-ons and on Firefox itself to add the ability to support them (because I also don't expect, or even want, anyone at Mozilla to do my work for me, as that kinda defeats the point of them being my add-ons, that's the whole thing that lured me in to this add-ons world in the first place).

Oh, by the way, I already did all that. It took me a year and a half of extensive rewritting to make my add-ons e10s/multiprocess compatible, something that is being rolled out only now, all with the prospect of a long-lasting life for them. And the WebExtensions announcement was made not two months after. "Demotivating" doesn't quite cover it...

No, that's not going to happen.

http://fasezero.com/lastnotice.html


See also
http://www.ghacks.net/2017/01/28/firefo ... ver-quits/


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:18 am 
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The fun of computers used to be making them do what you wanted, but more & more we're just slaves to doing what the computer wants. :upset:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:47 pm 
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Firebug is dead to me.

It's now "integrated" with Firefox built-in development tools, and is horrible broken confused ugly heap of crap. I am not fond of the Firefox developer tools in general, and detect no traces of Firebug's integration. Firefox bugs that the Firebug people say will help make the dev tools more Firebug friendly have been stagnant for several years.

This affects me a great deal. Without certain dev tools in the browser it's an awful lot harder for me to do my work. I may end up switching to Chrome just for the better dev tools, if they're actually better. I lost two hours trying to get basic console logging to do something sort of right in Firefox 51 on a coworker's computer, then I gave up. For now I can keep Firebug usable on my computer, but by Firefox 57 it'll be a goner, and it looks like the built-in tools won't save me. So Chrome (or maybe Chromium), here I come.

- Anonymous


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