Firefox 57: an overview of what's new (with resources)

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by summerheat, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    There has been a discussion about Firefox 57 in several threads here. @paulderdash suggested to create a new thread, though, which specifically covers FF 57 and webextensions. Okay, I'm trying to summarize the most important changes with links to resources which provide more information.

    Firefox 57 will be released on 2017-11-14. It will be a milestone release as it will be the (preliminary) end of a massive overhaul with significant changes in its architecture. The most important changes are:

    • Multiprocessing implemented via the Electrolysis (or e10s) project which aims to make FF more stable, more secure and faster.
      1. The most important part is probably the introduction of multiple content processes. It seems that it is planned to determine the number of processes depending on the amout of available RAM. However, you can manually choose the number with dom.ipc.processCount in about:config.
      2. Similarly you can also choose to run add-ons in their own process(es).
      3. Local file access is also moved to an own content process via browser.tabs.remote.separateFileUriProcess
      4. Multiprocessing is the basis for sandboxing and process separation. In FF 57 Nightly Level 3 is enabled. This should bring FF more or less on par with Chrome.
    • Quantum is "Mozilla's project to build the next-generation web engine for Firefox users, building on the Gecko engine as a solid foundation. Quantum will leverage the fearless concurrency of Rust and high-performance components of Servo to bring more parallelization and GPU offloading to Firefox." This will increase both performance and security as those components are written in the Rust language which will prevent many pitfalls (like the infamous buffer overflows) often resulting in security flaws. Btw, here's a very interesting article about Quantum CSS (aka Stylo).
    • Firefox will get a new design called Photon. A newer blog post with some nice pictures is here.
    • The most controversal change happens in the extension system. Legacy XUL-based add-ons won't run anymore. Only webextensions will be compatible with FF 57+. The rationale for this decision is, at least, two-fold: 1. As legacy add-ons had unlimited write permission for about:config, this often caused incompatibilities and unstabilities in the past. This is no longer possible with webextensions as they communicate with FF exclusively via specific APIs. 2. Webextensions are more secure as they are only allowed to do what is explicitly specified in their permissons and what is possible via the APIs they are using, and they can run in their own process(es) which also enhances browser stability. Note also that the webextension APIs apply a rather strict Content Security Policy (CSP) to all add-ons.
      The downside of this change is that quite a number of beloved legacy add-ons won't work anymore and cannot be rewritten as webextensions. 3 hints:
      1. On AMO you can find the list of add-ons which are compatible with FF 57+ on https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search/?tag=firefox57 . This list is getting larger and larger (right now about 3,800 results), and chances are that you can find replacements for some legacy add-ons. Note that some well-known add-ons like uBlock Origin and uMatrix are not yet on that list but are already available as webextensions in the development channel on their AMO sites.
      2. There is this spreadsheet which suggests alternatives for legacy add-ons.
      3. Many additional APIs are already approved by Mozilla and many are still under discussion. Many of them will probably land in FF 57 but some of them might only get implemented after FF 57 is out, so chances are that in the future add-ons will be available for which necessary APIs are still missing today.
      4. A nice collection of webextensions related to security and privacy compiled by @siric is available here. Other collections with webextensions can be found here.
    • Not directly related to above big overhaul but still very important is the Tor Uplift Project which aims "to land all Tor Browser patches so that Tor can directly use Firefox main trunk instead of a fork". These patches will considerably improve the resistance against fingerprinting and tracking.
    Please add more info as necessary!
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  2. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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  3. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Thanks for starting this thread!

    I'm going through your link on Stylo. Very educational even if I understood < 1%! Looks like it's been enabled by default for me on Linux. I have just the two extensions, Stylus (instead of Stylish) and the dev version of ublock origin.
    Code:
    layout.css.servo.enabled;true
     
  4. RockLobster

    RockLobster Registered Member

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    Yes great idea for a new thread we don't promote Firefox nearly enough. On the other 15 threads about Firefox.
     
  5. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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    @summerheat Just testing some WebExtensions you listed elsewhere in a new FF 55 profile, in preparation for FF 57 ...

    Canvas Defender 1.1.0 true @canvas-shadow

    Unfortunately this seems to block loading of my Gmail ... CanvasBlocker is being ported though.

    Open Tabs Next to Current 2.0.8 true opentabsnexttocurrent@sblask

    I use TMP to force all links to open in new tabs, to the right ... I was hoping this add-on would do something similar, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on my system. Same with Always Right add-on. I must be misundertanding something.
    For now I will just use FF native right-click 'Open in new tab' or Control-Click. And it seems TMP is being ported.

    Undo Closed Tabs Button 0.1.2 true {5997e7bd-1940-4058-a5f4-1562afce6353}
    Can't find a WebExtension with this version - do you mean this one?: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/undoclosetabbutton/
     
  6. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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    Also, wrt to this post re Electolysis: https://www.wilderssecurity.com/thr...-version-released.361562/page-62#post-2701869

    I had to set accessibility.force_disabled to 1 to get Multiprocess to enable. Is that safe? I don't use any Accessibility features, that I know of.

    Is it safe to increase dom.ipc.processCount (via Options>General>Performance (default is 1 now)?
    And, in that case, would I need to set extensions.e10sMultiBlockedByAddons to false?

    Just wondering if it's OK to 'fiddle', or let any updates occur 'naturally' via Firefox updates?
     
  7. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    You're welcome! You suggested such a thread and I hope that my post provides some useful info.

    I noticed, though, that I forgot things like Photon. I'll try to add this as long as that post is still editable.
     
  8. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Hint: participating in this thread is not compulsory.
     
  9. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Post #1 is good, I was waiting for something like it to try to understand the extensions "issue". I don´t care much about the other changes, FF is fast and stable to me as it is "out of the box".

    And it seems I don´t have an extensions problem either, because I only use two extensions, uBlock Origin and IDM Integration Module, and the latter is not being marked as "legacy".
     
  10. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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    :D I agree there are there seem to be 'too many' Firefox threads, but FF 57 is a whole new ball game, and worth focussing here on specific queries, issues pertaining to this, and to separate these away from those who choose to stay ESR for as long as possible.
     
  11. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Yes, confirmed. It works for me with Canvas Defender if I select simple HTML view in Gmail.

    That add-on doesn't open links in a new tab - you can do this if you click the link with your scroll wheel (although not supported by all mice). Then the tab is opened next to the current with this add-on.

    I meant Undo Closed Tabs Button (revived).
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  12. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Good hint! For whatever reason that setting was set to false in my Nightly so I had to manually enable it.
     
  13. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Sarcasm aside, the hope is that this thread will be solely about Firefox 57 because of the really major changes, visible or under the hood.
     
  14. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Hm, I've never had this problem and that setting is set to 0 here. I have to investigate this.

    I have set it in about:config to 16 without any problems.

    I don't think that this setting is related. However, I noticed that in FF 57 Nightly these settings:
    Code:
    extensions.e10sBlockedByAddons
    extensions.e10sMultiBlockedByAddons
    are set to false. I haven't done that manually so it might be interim settings in Nightly. Another thing to investigate.

    I'm not quite sure what you're specifically referring to. I think if you're using FF 55 it should not be necessary to 'fiddle'. If you're experimenting with Nightly changes should be expected so some 'fiddling' is probably unavoidable.;)
     
  15. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    My default is
    Code:
    accessibility.force_disabled;0
    and I see
    Code:
    Multiprocess Windows: 1/1 (Enabled by default)
    At some time in past versions, multiprocess wouldn't be enabled if certain extensions were detected. I don't know what the situation is now.

    And I update nightly via Help > About Nightly daily.

    Edit: I have
    Code:
    dom.ipc.processCount;4
    as default. Things are snappy enough, so I'm not changing things right now.
     
  16. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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    The only thing I care about is a faster engine, and more security is welcome with the new sandbox, but it's not a must since I already use Sandboxie. And they must stop coming up with dumb ideas to beef up spying, no matter if it's possible to opt-out. And they should fix the horrible and embarrassing bookmarks manager. :thumbd:
     
  17. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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    I just meant that if in FF 55 default dom.ipc.processCount is still 1, also extensions.e10sMultiBlockedByAddons is still true here (but extensions.e10sBlockedByAddons is also false),
    is it premature to change these about:config settings now?

    Presumably these will be updated automatically possibly in 56, then in 57, depending on, and optimised for, one's system.
     
  18. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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    re accessibility.force_disabled
    It seems about:support showed Multiprocess was disabled by Accessibility. Something on my system, can't imagine what - must be some Windows setting on my ThinkPad Yoga (touch with stylus).
    Hence, I had to set that to 1 as per: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis/Accessibility

    It wasn't an add-on because even a restart without add-ons showed same.
     
  19. JRViejo

    JRViejo Super Moderator

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  20. paulderdash

    paulderdash Registered Member

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  21. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    Hmm, the UI looks copied from Edge..
    Anyway, what's up with the huge space between the home button and URL bar? Besides that it looks weird I want proper space for the URL bar, so it doesn't cut everything off.
     
  22. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    userChrome.css will still be supported in FF 57+. So it should be possible to apply a solution like this one.
     
  23. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

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  24. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    Customization is limited, at best. For example, the Stylus AMO site says:
    Although this might change with new APIs.

    However, you might find some useful add-ons which are compatible with FF 57+
     
  25. summerheat

    summerheat Registered Member

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    This is the list of webextensions which I'm using right now in FF57 Nightly:
    Code:
    Bookmarks Organizer    1.3.0    true    bookmarksorganizer@agenedia.com
    Canvas Defender    1.1.0    true    @canvas-shadow
    Cookie AutoDelete    1.4.3    true    CookieAutoDelete@kennydo.com
    Decentraleyes    2.0.0-beta1    true    jid1-BoFifL9Vbdl2zQ@jetpack
    Dict.cc Übersetzung    5.1    true    searchdictcc@roughael
    Don't touch my tabs! (rel=noopener)    1.0    true    {6b938c0c-fc53-4f27-805f-619778631082}
    Duplicate tab    1.3    true    {54fa1e34-a0ad-4526-a81b-b06139adf332}
    IPvFoo    1.40    true    ipvfoo@pmarks.net
    Mute sites by default    1.6    true    @mute-sites-by-default
    Open Tabs Next to Current    2.0.8    true    opentabsnexttocurrent@sblask
    ScrollToTop    2.0    true    {b4fbcfd0-e862-44e6-8995-82e0a300fdd5}
    Smart HTTPS    0.2.1    true    {b3e677f4-1150-4387-8629-da738260a48e}
    uBlock Origin    1.13.11rc0    true    uBlock0@raymondhill.net
    uMatrix    1.0.1rc0    true    uMatrix@raymondhill.net
    Undo Closed Tabs Button    0.1.2    true    {5997e7bd-1940-4058-a5f4-1562afce6353}
    Violentmonkey    2.6.3    true    {aecec67f-0d10-4fa7-b7c7-609a2db280cf}
    Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE    1.0.3    true    yetanothersmoothscrollingwe@kataho
    Please note that you can't use the webextension version of Decentraleyes in FF 55 yet as there is still a bug which needs to be fixed by Mozilla. In FF57 Nightly it's working flawlessly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
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