The Next Firefox ESR (31) is Almost Here

Firefox 30 will be released tomorrow (June 10, 2014). That means the Firefox 31 ESR is only six weeks away (July 22, 2014). There will 12 weeks of overlap where both the Firefox 24 ESR and the Firefox 31 ESR are supported to allow for qualification. Support for the Firefox 24 ESR will official end with the release of Firefox 33 on October 14, 2014.

So what should you expect in the Firefox 31 ESR?

The biggest change is Australis. It’s a completely revamped UI for Firefox. Besides changing the overall look and feel of Firefox, it also removed the add-on bar, as well as the ability to put the browser tabs on the bottom. Because of these changes, I will be deprecating my ancient add-on that tries to make things look more like Firefox 3.6. If you really want to make Firefox look like it was before Australis, you can use the Classic Theme Restorer add-on.

The Firefox 31 ESR also contains a completely rewritten version of Sync that uses Firefox Accounts. The current plan is to retire sync as soon as Firefox 31 comes out, so if you are using the old Sync in your organization, you should have your users migrate as soon as possible.

Another big change in the Firefox 31 ESR is the removal of Configurable security policies. These were actually removed in Firefox 29 by bug 913734. It was determined that the inability to link local files from web pages had a major impact on enterprises, so it was added back in bug 995943 (thanks Bobby Holley), but all other policies including clipboard access have been removed. I am working on an extension that will restore the clipboard policy, and I will probably add this to the CCK2 as well. If you need additional security policies, please comment on this post and I will investigate adding them.

If you’re interested in finding out about other changes in the Firefox 31 ESR, you can read the end user release notes for the various releases (24.0, 25.0, 26.0, 27.0, 28.0, 29.0, 30.0). You can also read the developer notes for versions 25 through 31 for more detailed information.

If you’re using CCK2, the latest version CCK2 already contains support for Australis. If you’re not using it, you should be. It’s the easiest way to customize Firefox for your organization.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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21 thoughts on “The Next Firefox ESR (31) is Almost Here

  1. Tabs-on-top mandatory I knew, and didn’t like; but no more cut-copy-paste at all? What is that silliness? Or have I misunderstood? And it seems I was right not to use Sync to keep Firefox in sync with SeaMonkey.

    Looks like _my_ policy will be to go on using SeaMonkey more and more, and rather than retire Fx24ESR in favour of Fx31ESR, keep using Fx24ESR to browse any site (including, apparently) which give trouble to SeaMonkey, and as a fallback for ChatZilla when cZ-on-Sm gets ping-timeout because the Suite is too busy. No more updates; and if that makes me look like someone driving a Ford T in the 21st century, well, the Ford T hadn’t got built-in obsolescence.

    • Don’t buy a new car, then. Every six weeks you have to take it back to the dealer to get it upgraded or it won’t run on the current roads. Oh, and if you have a new car you HAVE to trade it in every 11 months and get one that’s totally different, including the location of the steering wheel (which they’re removing in 2016) and the brakes (which they’re removing in 2017, as they’ve found they cause the car behind you to suddenly meet up with the rear of your car.. I’d say bumper, but those were removed in 2004, because with a bumper on the rear they found the car wasn’t damaged enough to make people replace the car if they had an accident….)
      All tongue in cheek, but you get the idea.

  2. Tabs-on-bottom has only been possible through addons since Firefox 28 or 29; the option stopped working.

    Or are you saying the addons are going to stop working as well?

    • Firefox 29 is when tabs on bottom was removed (with Australis).

      The add-ons will continue to work. I’m just saying that it won’t built in to Firefox.

  3. any chance you could bring back “click to play” plugins it appears to have been removed plus when they released FF23 they changed it to click to play per site which any body in their right mind would know is less secure then “click to play” per element.

    I know I could use flashblock but it hasn’t been upgraded in a while so it’s a bit buggy and you never know which release is going to make it incompatible at this rate.

    • I have click-to-play in Firefox 24 ESR but it takes more than a snap of the fingers:
      1. Browse to about:config and, if told that this might void your warranty, promise that you’ll be cautious.
      2. Type “plugins.” without the quotes into the Filter input box.
      3. You should see the line
      plugins.click_to_play default boolean false
      Double-click it to make it *true*. The line should become bold.
      4. Go to the addons manager and select the Plugins tab.
      5. Select one after another all the plugins which you want to make clik-to-play. Open the roll-down widget on the right side and note that one more option has appeared: “Ask to Activate” in addition to “Always Activate” and “Never Activate”. That’s the click-to-play option.
      6. It’s not finished: whenever you use the click-to-play functionality, a doorhanger will ask you if you want to whitelist this plugin on this site (e.g.: Allow to run “Adobe Flash”?) Think twice before you click “Allow forever” because I don’t know how you can change your mind if you do that. But you can click “Allow now” and it won’t extend to other pages, or even to this one after you reload it.

      In addition, if you want to keep the option even if someday the Firefox gurus decide *twice* to change its default (from false to true then back to false; not that I’d think they’d do it, but one never knows: it could also happen if you downgrade/upgrade a single profile to Firefox versions on both sides of the default change) you can add the line
      user_pref(“plugins.click_to_play”, false);
      (with quotes around the pref name but not around the word false, and with a semicolon at the end) in a file named user.js and located in your profile. That file does not exist by default, and Firefox (or Thunderbird or SeaMonkey) reads it only at startup and never writes it. Or you can use Mike’s CCK to lock that pref in if you want to distribute Firefox to your employees or family members with click-to-play locked-in.

  4. Hi,

    I’m trying to deploy Firefox 31 ESR on my corporate (1,000 machines).
    I use mozilla.cfg to set the various parameters (proxy, etc).

    But now I’m in trouble with click-to-play: even I have set plugins.click_to_play to false, the click to play is still enabled, for i.e., java… I need to let the java plugin to be always enabled. There is a way to do it?

  5. Hi,

    I’ve made a 31ESR installation over an 24ESR and the ex Firefox button (top left dropdown menu button) has subsisted at the same place (and it works). I can take it out only by draging it down in personnalization mode.

    • Can you send me a screenshot?

      That code was completely removed from Firefox 31. I don’t understand why it would be there…

  6. Hi Mike,

    We currently deploy FF 24 ESR and now need to upgrade to FF 31 ESR. However, we have an app that depends on javascript clipboard access, which no longer works with the recent security policy changes. I tried the experimental extension code attached to bug 913734, but it doesn’t seem to work. Did you ever implement the extension to re-enable the old security policies that you mention in this post? This is a critical app for us, so we are in somewhat of a bind now.

  7. hi,
    I have updated the Firefox from esr24 to esr31,and there is a bug(?) appeared when I want to access my website.
    can you give me some advice ?

    the detail:
    The setting of Firefox is [show my windows and tabs from last time]
    The last time opened page is the homepage of my website.
    [This is the expiration of user authentication.]is appeared when I opened the Firefox.
    and in the situation if I access the homepage directly(I have set the homepage as a bookmark,
    so I click the bookmark directly), the message is disappeared.

    The situation appeared when I update Firefox from esr24 to esr31
    And returned back to the esr24,There is no problem. There is also no problem in the version
    before the esr24.

    I have heard that the sslv3 is disabled by default in the esr31.
    Is there a relationship of this ?

  8. This is why I quit using Firefox, it breaks things with every release, drops features it once had, and extensions that worked only a month ago won’t work with a current release. Their last GOOD extended release was 24, and it went out of support after only 11 months, not even long enough to get the bugs worked out, and they’re now on version 40? What a stupid organization Google turned Mozilla into while it was in control. Google might be able to release a new version every other week that doesn’t CHANGE EVERYTHING but Mozilla, alas, has forgotten how to quit releasing CRAP that breaks every six weeks, or at the most, what, 11 months, which isn’t even long enough time to test to see if you like it. The current version which is ALWAYS broken, EVERY 6 weeks, (which is a blink of an eye for someone who might only turn on the computer once a week) you have to deal with trying to update extensions they broke, learn a new user interface, etc, when you have only used the thing SIX TIMES. Ridiculous.