There are some pretty major changes coming in Firefox 21 that you need to be aware of if you are going to deploy it. Here’s the details.
In order to support the metro version of Firefox, most of the Firefox code was moved into a subdirectory called browser. This means that all configuration files except the autoconfig now go into the browser subdirectory:
So just about every blog post I’ve ever done on this stuff doesn’t apply starting with Firefox 21. Also be aware that these changes will be in the ESR 24.
In addition, there is a new feature called Firefox Health Report that is on by default. You can see it by going to about:healthreport. This feature sends data about Firefox to Mozilla. You have two choices here. If you want to be able to see the data, and just not have it sent to Mozilla, set the preference “datareporting.healthreport.uploadEnabled” to false. If you want to turn it off completely, set the preference “datareporting.healthreport.service.enabled” to false.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years. It seems like only yesterday that I was working with the Netscape for OS/2 team to make sure that all the back-end OS/2 changes made it into the source code release.
Being a contributor to Mozilla has allowed me to have some amazing experiences.
- Working with some incredible people in the partner engineering center at Netscape. I couldn’t possibly name them all, but a lot of the Mozilla relationships I have now started in that building.
- Leading the team that ported Mozilla to OS/2 as the IBM Web Browser.
- Leading the team that ported Firefox to OS/2.
- Traveling around the world talking to people about OS/2 browsers.
- Getting to meet Sergey Brin in the early days of Google at Technical Advisory Group meetings with Mozilla, IBM, Google, Red Hat and others.
- Taking Blake Ross to meet Sam Palmisano, the CEO of IBM, to talk about Firefox.
- Working with IBM Israel and IBM Egypt to get bidirectional language support (Hebrew and Arabic) into Mozilla.
- Working on Operator and getting microformats support into Firefox
- Creating the CCK and enabling hundreds of enterprises to customize and deploy Firefox.
- Releasing a Firefox version of IE8 Activites before IE8 had it.
- Starting Kaply Consulting after leaving IBM which enabled me to continue to develop and advocate for Firefox.
Thanks, Mozilla, for 15 years. And thanks to all the people who have helped me get here.
I’ve got some updates to the CCK Wizard, but they’ve been taking a back seat to other work. I’ve finally got them together in this new beta. You can download it here.This one has the ability to remove the add-on discovery UI as well as support for modifying the default click to play list (thanks to Nils Sprenger and Tim Stecher).
I’m releasing this on Friday of this week, so if you have problems, please let me know.
There have been sporadic reports of bookmarks not working and certificates not installing. If that happens to you, I can’t debug it without the XPI, so please send that to me if you have the problem.
I was recently asked if there was a way to silence the Firefox installer. There are actually a number of customizations you can make to the Firefox installer without rebuilding it, like silencing it, changing the install directory and more.
Rather than go into detail here, the best place to point you is an entry on the Mozilla Wiki – Installer:Command Line Arguments
I personally hate the fact that when you bring up the Add-on Manager, the URL bar goes away. If you’re annoyed by that as well, I’ve created an add-on to solve that – Always Awesome Bar.
With this add-on installed, URLs that typically make the URL bar go away behave like normal URLs.
Recently I was asked if there was a way to allow only certain sites to install add-ons but block any other sites that try to install add-ons. While Firefox does not have a built in way to do this, I was able to figure something out.
Recently in response to this post about integrating add-ons into Firefox, I was asked why some add-ons don’t work properly in the distribution/bundles directory. That’s a great question and it deserves its own post.
In an earlier post, I showed how to disable safe mode, but unfortunately that method doesn’t work anymore. I’ve since discovered a way to disable safe mode. It’s not as good as before, but it does work. I’m going to assume that you’ve read the earlier article as well as this article about customizing Firefox by writing a simple extension.
I just want to remind people that read my blog that Firefox 17 is the next Extended Support Release for Firefox. It’s currently available in the beta channel. You should be testing with this. A lot. (I would hope you started testing when Firefox 17 was in the Aurora Channel).
The Firefox 10 ESR will be supported for 12 weeks after Firefox 17 to give you time to test and deploy, but if there are major issues you need to find them now.
PLEASE don’t put off testing Firefox 17 until the ESR is released.
You also need to know about some Firefox changes that will affect you.
- Customized preferences file should go in defaults/preferences, NOT defaults/prefs. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating.
- It is no longer possible to prevent the safe mode dialog via the method I posted here. There is no way to prevent a user from entering safe mode. A bug has been opened.
- Changing application.ini no longer works. I know people were using it to disable the crash reporter. They were also using this method to modify Firefox to coexist with another Firefox (different profile directory, appname, etc.). There are workarounds for this, but they involve passing a parameter when you start Firefox. Take a look at bug 723493 for more details.
- The ability for a user to switch to tabs on bottom has been removed completely, but it can still be done via a preference (browser.tabs.onTop).
I will be updating the CCK Wizard soon to make sure it works properly with Firefox 17.
Recently I’ve seen a lot of questions around why defaultPref in an autoconfig file doesn’t work to set the Firefox hompage. For example this:
does not work.
This post should clear things up (and show you how to make it work).