36 votes

Chromium team to make changes to Manifest V3 in response to ad-blocking extension developers’ outrage

66 comments

  1. Bauke Link
    Highlight of uBlock Origin developer Gorhill's response to this post:

    Highlight of uBlock Origin developer Gorhill's response to this post:

    Strict blocking needs to generate a page on the fly according to what happened filter-wise, this can't happen with a declarative API.

    Solution is incredibly simple, just keep the blocking ability of the webRequest API. Nothing of what was said in the post still properly justify removing this ability -- it's really, really hard to not suspect the real reasons are not technical neither altruistic.

    32 votes
  2. babypuncher Link
    Part of me was hoping they'd go through with it, if only to weaken Chromium's grip on the web. Want a web browser that respects your privacy and lets you block ads? Try Firefox! Chromium/Blink is...

    Part of me was hoping they'd go through with it, if only to weaken Chromium's grip on the web. Want a web browser that respects your privacy and lets you block ads? Try Firefox! Chromium/Blink is the new Internet Explorer.

    9 votes
  3. Lazarus Link
    Still does not sound like the chromium team is going to allow extensions to work as they have before, however.

    Still does not sound like the chromium team is going to allow extensions to work as they have before, however.

    8 votes
  4. Wes Link
    Everyone kept posting the ZDNet article for some reason. Thanks for posting the actual source.

    Everyone kept posting the ZDNet article for some reason. Thanks for posting the actual source.

    8 votes
  5. [62]
    Gibdeck Link
    Off topic here, but I've been using Firefox for a very long time now, even while it was slower than Chrome. The only problem is that a lot of people don't know they have a choice, or find it too...

    Off topic here, but I've been using Firefox for a very long time now, even while it was slower than Chrome. The only problem is that a lot of people don't know they have a choice, or find it too much effort to download and install a different web browser. Support a free and open web, but more importantly, spread the word.

    Google has gone astray.

    51 votes
    1. [14]
      Grand0rbiter Link Parent
      It's weird, man. I'm 32 so Google Chrome didn't even exist in the past and still baffles me that people don't know about Firefox. Anyway... i don't think it's a matter of knowing, it's people...

      It's weird, man. I'm 32 so Google Chrome didn't even exist in the past and still baffles me that people don't know about Firefox.

      Anyway... i don't think it's a matter of knowing, it's people using what's given to them. First Google was a search engine, then it became the internet. A lot of people type the name of the websites they want on the google search field and then enter the website. They really think that Google is the internet.

      After that it was easy. They pushed the browser on their website, optimized sites for Chrome only (youtube for example) and tied Chrome on Android. Done. Google became the internet. They are repeating what Microsoft did in the past.

      17 votes
      1. [10]
        masochist Link Parent
        Except they've got that Orwellian "don't be evil" thing so people trust them a lot more than anyone has ever trusted Microsoft. Microsoft has always been the scummy corporation, whereas Google is...

        They are repeating what Microsoft did in the past.

        Except they've got that Orwellian "don't be evil" thing so people trust them a lot more than anyone has ever trusted Microsoft. Microsoft has always been the scummy corporation, whereas Google is the cool startup with a mission to make the world a better place or something.

        7 votes
        1. cadadr Link Parent
          When I read something like this I imagine what my mom thinks about the subject matter (she's a recent user of internet and a proud nostalgic technophobe that also uses Facebook and WhatsApp and...

          Except they've got that Orwellian "don't be evil" thing so people trust them a lot more than anyone has ever trusted Microsoft.

          When I read something like this I imagine what my mom thinks about the subject matter (she's a recent user of internet and a proud nostalgic technophobe that also uses Facebook and WhatsApp and whatnot, just like some other hundreds of millions of people). I don't think she ever heard about "don't be evil", or has any particular idea of Google apart from it being there on her smartphone and it being the thing that she finds songs on YouTube or recipe videos or the weather through.

          The main problem with Google is that it's just everywhere. Google is in my pocket. Also my mom's pocket. I kinda know what's in my pocket after being a computer geek for more than a decade. My mom, she has no idea, just like she utterly ignored the beautiful Linotype that helped print the newspaper back in the day, just like she probably ignored the vast majority of those workers who actually smelled ink, paper and lead while working at a newspaper agency. A great majority of people are just like her, whether they're "digital natives" (which are not much better than their grandpas when the latter first discovered Facebook and stuff) or not.

          The obvious solution is to make Google not be everywhere. Unluckily, it is based on a county which has companies' interest rather than peoples' and the interests of the rich rather than the poor.

          7 votes
        2. [4]
          Grand0rbiter Link Parent
          And they are doing a damn good job at it. Offering free services like mail, drive, docs (with the possibility to share things with your friends) makes the world a better place for people who are...

          whereas Google is the cool startup with a mission to make the world a better place or something.

          And they are doing a damn good job at it. Offering free services like mail, drive, docs (with the possibility to share things with your friends) makes the world a better place for people who are not looking really close at how things work.

          Microsoft on the other hand offered no alternatives, you needed to pay (or pirate).

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            masochist Link Parent
            Microsoft had a few free services around the time that Google was getting started. MSN (remember when MSN was an AOL-like social network / web portal?) was free, and Hotmail still is. They never...

            Microsoft had a few free services around the time that Google was getting started. MSN (remember when MSN was an AOL-like social network / web portal?) was free, and Hotmail still is. They never really became popular like Google's did, though.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Grand0rbiter Link Parent
              Google search was the gold mine for sure. The rest was icing on top.

              Google search was the gold mine for sure. The rest was icing on top.

              2 votes
              1. masochist Link Parent
                Yes. I just did some checking and indeed Microsoft's search engine predated Google becoming really popular, but as I recall it just wasn't very good. I think I was an Altavista or Yahoo user...

                Yes. I just did some checking and indeed Microsoft's search engine predated Google becoming really popular, but as I recall it just wasn't very good. I think I was an Altavista or Yahoo user around the time that Google was new; I remember demonstrating Google in junior year english class in high school and being oddly annoyed that it told me I didn't need to use AND for words in my queries, a habit I'd developed from using other search engines.

                1 vote
        3. [4]
          vakieh Link Parent
          They couldn't live with their own hypocrisy.
          1 vote
          1. [3]
            masochist Link Parent
            I know they removed it, but that's still what people will think of when they think of Google--unless they heard of the news that they removed it, of course. It was a silent removal that they...

            I know they removed it, but that's still what people will think of when they think of Google--unless they heard of the news that they removed it, of course. It was a silent removal that they didn't talk about.

            1. [2]
              Wes Link Parent
              They never removed it... https://abc.xyz/investor/other/google-code-of-conduct/

              I know they removed it

              They never removed it...

              https://abc.xyz/investor/other/google-code-of-conduct/

              3 votes
              1. masochist Link Parent
                Wow, uh. You're right. They decreased the number of mentions of it, but it's still there and always has been. This Gizmodo article has some archive.org snapshots of the page, and you're right.

                Wow, uh. You're right. They decreased the number of mentions of it, but it's still there and always has been. This Gizmodo article has some archive.org snapshots of the page, and you're right.

                2 votes
      2. [3]
        Tygrak Link Parent
        I am 20 and for me Firefox was always the obvious choice, when Chrome was created I had no reason to switch. What exactly was the reason to switch? Tons of ads everywhere telling everyone to...

        I am 20 and for me Firefox was always the obvious choice, when Chrome was created I had no reason to switch. What exactly was the reason to switch? Tons of ads everywhere telling everyone to switch?

        So yeah it's weird because I really don't get why everyone suddenly went to chrome. Ok, I guess it was, and still might be a bit faster, but I don't think the browser is ever too big of an influence when browsing the internet. The biggest difference is probably still you know, the internet download speed.

        1 vote
        1. Grand0rbiter Link Parent
          What happened was Google bundling Chrome with Android and pushing the browser via their website, which is the most used website.

          What happened was Google bundling Chrome with Android and pushing the browser via their website, which is the most used website.

          1 vote
        2. synergy Link Parent
          I went to chrome initially cause that was during the time when firefox had terrible memory issues. But now it seems like chrome has those issues.

          I went to chrome initially cause that was during the time when firefox had terrible memory issues. But now it seems like chrome has those issues.

    2. Wes Link Parent
      I use both. They're both excellent pieces of software, and I like how much work both Mozilla and Google put into furthering the web as a platform.

      I use both. They're both excellent pieces of software, and I like how much work both Mozilla and Google put into furthering the web as a platform.

      7 votes
    3. [46]
      ssgjrie Link Parent
      I used Firefox for years until some time after Chrome was released. I even had a portable version on my pen drive when I was in school because it was a nice improvement over IE on slow hardware....

      I used Firefox for years until some time after Chrome was released. I even had a portable version on my pen drive when I was in school because it was a nice improvement over IE on slow hardware. My move to Chrome was related to my move to a Mac, where Firefox was/is slower than Safari and Chrome. Mozilla was (and still is) slow to fix issues, so Chrome was the obvious alternative.

      In September last year, I moved back to Firefox. Quantum looked promising, but I quickly realised that it still had some of the problems that made me move to Chrome.

      I managed to find replacements to most extensions I was using (their decision to support WebExtensions helped with this). Then I imported my bookmarks and noticed that the UI was the same (or at least very similar) to the one we had on Firefox 3.6. Firefox copied Chrome's idea of having everything opening on new tabs (bookmarks, downloads, settings, extensions, etc)... but not bookmarks. Even the transfers list seems to be something put together quickly. Anyway... while annoying, it's not something I use every day, so that's okay too.

      Then I said: let me create another profile for my work stuff. While Firefox supports profiles, there's no way of moving between them unless we use scripts or 3rd party apps. This was a problem a few years ago, nothing was done to improve it, and now people moving from Chrome can't use this feature. Two friends moved to Brave instead of Firefox because of this. My solution was to use regular Firefox and Firefox Developers Edition (less stable) to have two profiles (less than I had with Chrome). Containers, sadly, it's another half baked idea and not a replacement for profiles.

      And then we have energy usage. Chrome is already bad in terms of battery life compared to Safari, but Firefox is even worse. For laptop users this is a problem. Overall performance is good, so that's a good improvement over the old Firefox.

      There are a few downsides of browsing the web with Firefox. Google makes sites like YouTube load slowly on non Chromium browsers and some services don't support Firefox. Maybe Chrome is the new IE... this is bad, of course, but there are services/sites you can't stop using.

      I was able to move to Firefox a few years ago and convinced others to do the same because it was a better browser. I moved to Chrome for the same reason, and so did most of the people I know. What's the argument to move back to Firefox? Privacy? A free an open web? People moved from IE to Firefox because it was a better browser, not because they wanted an open web (most don't care or even know what that means).

      So here I am, using Chrome again. I really wanted to use Firefox and support the Gecko engine, but it's just a downgrade for me. I'm testing Brave (Chromium based) and while I'm not a 100% sure about some of their decisions, it should be better from a privacy point of view than Chrome itself.

      4 votes
      1. [7]
        Akir Link Parent
        You are aware you can simply add the -P extension to your shortcuts to be able to select your profile each time you open the browser, right? Apparently now you can simply visit about:profiles to...

        Then I said: let me create another profile for my work stuff. While Firefox supports profiles, there's no way of moving between them unless we use scripts or 3rd party apps.

        You are aware you can simply add the -P extension to your shortcuts to be able to select your profile each time you open the browser, right?

        Apparently now you can simply visit about:profiles to launch profiles now: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profile-manager-create-and-remove-firefox-profiles#w_manage-profiles-when-firefox-is-open

        5 votes
        1. [6]
          ssgjrie (edited ) Link Parent
          I'm aware about both solutions you mentioned: The shortcut idea doesn't work on a Mac and visiting about:profiles every time I need to open/switch to a profile isn't practical. There's also no way...

          I'm aware about both solutions you mentioned: The shortcut idea doesn't work on a Mac and visiting about:profiles every time I need to open/switch to a profile isn't practical. There's also no way of knowing which profile you're using, because Firefox doesn't tell you that. We can also use scripts and even a terminal window to manage profiles.

          Do you know how it works on Chromium? There's an icon on the top right corner of the browser, a menu with all your profiles appears when you click that icon. That's it.

          I understand that it is possible to use profiles on Firefox, but not everyone wants to deal with hacks. It's a profile, if you need to read a support page and visit "hidden" pages on your browser, then the feature isn't ready for everyone to use.

          1 vote
          1. cadadr Link Parent
            The profiles feature is one great feature of Chrom(e|ium). I haven't used them myself as my primary browser ever, but I've seen non-techies use multiple profiles; definitely not as advanced of a...

            The profiles feature is one great feature of Chrom(e|ium). I haven't used them myself as my primary browser ever, but I've seen non-techies use multiple profiles; definitely not as advanced of a feature as people make it to be.

            I also share all the criticisims in the comment I'm responding to. I've bookmarked about:profiles in the bookmarks bar as a shortcut, but I'd ideally have something similar to Chrome's.

            2 votes
          2. [4]
            Akir Link Parent
            IIRC all you need to do is open the firefox.app package and add the flag to the script that it uses to launch itself. It's not a very complicated operation. If you want to get something like...

            IIRC all you need to do is open the firefox.app package and add the flag to the script that it uses to launch itself. It's not a very complicated operation. If you want to get something like Chrome's experience, you can simply add that page as a bookmark on your bookmarks bar.

            Firefox has had profiles since since before 1.0. It's absolutely ready for everyone to use. It simply isnt put in the forefront because it's not something that the average user needs.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              ssgjrie (edited ) Link Parent
              There's this movie about Steve Jobs, it was released in 2015 if I remember right. In one of the scenes, Steve Wozniak shows Jobs his fancy watch and tells him that in 10 years everyone will be...

              all you need to do is open the firefox.app package and add the flag to the script that it uses to launch itself. It's not a very complicated operation.

              There's this movie about Steve Jobs, it was released in 2015 if I remember right. In one of the scenes, Steve Wozniak shows Jobs his fancy watch and tells him that in 10 years everyone will be using one. When Jobs asks him to set the time, Wozniak removes the watch cap and updates the time with a screw driver (or some sharp object, I don't remember).

              It's just a movie, I don't know if it actually happened, but the point they're trying to pass along is that a normal user doesn't want to deal with something like that.

              Asking a user - noob or advanced - to change the Firefox package makes no sense. This is something that the people in charge of Firefox development should know.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Akir Link Parent
                You completely ignored the second part where I said that changing profiles is not something an average user would need to do. It is perfectly understandable for it to be out of reach for an...

                You completely ignored the second part where I said that changing profiles is not something an average user would need to do. It is perfectly understandable for it to be out of reach for an average person because profile management is potentially destructive. It gives you the power to completely delete all of your data instantly. Even if you don't delete a profile, those who create a new default profile without understanding how it works might still think they have deleted all their data.

                You have plenty of valid reasons to not use Firefox, but this really isn't one of them.

                1. ssgjrie (edited ) Link Parent
                  There's nothing "potentially destructive" about profiles. You probably never used profiles on Chrome, so let me show you how it works/looks like. On the upper right corner there's an icon, visible...

                  There's nothing "potentially destructive" about profiles. You probably never used profiles on Chrome, so let me show you how it works/looks like.

                  On the upper right corner there's an icon, visible to all users (even newbies), where you can create and switch between profiles, or "Persons", as Google calls them: https://i.imgur.com/rZgP5lw.png

                  On that screenshot I'm using a profile called "Main", that's where I do my browsing and I'm typing this comment. After the last tab is closed, everything from cookies to my browsing history is deleted (that's the settings I have to that profile). The "Google" profile is also open, in the background, playing some videos from people I follow on YouTube. If I want to access Google Drive, that's the profile I used as I'm already logged in to my account there. I also have a "Work" profile, where I can access all work related stuff. I can have all profiles open at the same time. All I have to do is click on the icon/profile name and the new window, properly named, opens in the foreground.

                  So as you can see it's not hard or dangerous to use profiles when you have a proper UI. There's no difference between Chrome and Firefox profiles, what changes is the implementation. Users don't have to open a tab, type about:profiles, and access a page designed for advanced users; create scripts; or modify packages.

                  Many of the so called "advanced users" on Chrome use profiles. These are the same users moving away from Chrome. They either go with Brave, which is based on Chromium, or go with Firefox and stop using profiles because there's no easy way of doing it on some platforms. The regular user don't care if Google is working on something called "Manifest V3" and have no reason to move at this point.

                  1 vote
      2. [18]
        Grand0rbiter (edited ) Link Parent
        Yes. You said yourself. Google makes life harder for other browsers using the monopoly on the web by making websites not work fully on Firefox. See what they are doing now with adblock extensions?...

        What's the argument to move back to Firefox? Privacy? A free an open web?

        Yes. You said yourself. Google makes life harder for other browsers using the monopoly on the web by making websites not work fully on Firefox.

        See what they are doing now with adblock extensions? They want full control.

        The web and our pcs were the only freedom we had. Freedom of information too and now this is ending.

        A monopoly on information is the most dangerous thing that could happen and i think it's enough reason.

        Of course firefox is slow to catch up. Google keeps pushing the bar higher and higher, they have money, they have manpower, they have control so Firefox will live playing catch up.

        What Firefox do is outstanding. At the same time fighting for freedom, privacy, choice and a open web. If it weren't for them, the mining of information and the sheer volume of ads would be magnitudes higher than it is.

        And while it can be a slower browser, i don't think it's that bad. I use chrome when i'm on some pcs on work that i can't put Firefox on and i don't think the difference in performance is big. We should be able to handle a little discomfort for a greater cause. People fight for things with worse consequences than less performance on the internet.

        It pisses me off that one company owns the biggest websites out there and they put other browsers in a bad spot on purpose because they want to control everything.

        If Firefox dies and we end up with only one engine, it's the end of the internet as we know.

        So yes, this is enough reason to support them.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          ssgjrie (edited ) Link Parent
          You're right about them wanting control, but sadly I can't go full Richard Stallman and those that I convinced a few years ago to move to Firefox did it because it was a better browser, not...

          You're right about them wanting control, but sadly I can't go full Richard Stallman and those that I convinced a few years ago to move to Firefox did it because it was a better browser, not because of the reasons you mentioned.

          I want to use Firefox, I really want, but then I can't use profiles because they aren't ready for "normal" users. I can't use containers either because they don't do the same thing. It uses more battery under macOS than Chrome or Safari, so using it will give me less time on battery. Some parts of Firefox are old and it looks like a frankenstein browser, and while I can live with it, others don't like that.

          Chrome is losing many of their "advanced" users, those who use profiles and things like uMatrix. Things like Manifest V3 "explode" on Hacker News... People know and want an alternative but sadly for many the only real alternatives are other Chromium based browsers. It's not because of performance, it works fine if you're not doing anything javascript intensive, it's the overall product that isn't on par with Chrome.

          All you have to offer is a moral stance against the "closed" web, but that's not enough for Firefox to regain some control. Most people don't care. Firefox needs to improve on all platforms (not only Windows), have feature parity, if they want to be a real alternative to Chrome. I hope I'm wrong, but without improvements I doubt that they'll become the real alternative to the main browser like in the IE days.

          Two points that I think are important:

          • Want sites to support Firefox? Convince devs to use Firefox, make it work well on their computers. Many use Macbooks and Firefox doesn't perform that well on macOS. Why the hell would they optimise for Firefox their sites if "no one", not even them, use Firefox?
          • In order for users to move to Firefox, it needs at least feature parity and a good UI experience. For example, profiles should work without having to use scripts, shortcuts or terminal windows.

          Chrome, as shitty as it can be, does most things without any hassle for the user. That's why people use it.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            Grand0rbiter (edited ) Link Parent
            I understand what you are saying and that's all i can offer and for me this is the most important part. I'm not going to convince you or other people because for them other things are more...

            All you have to offer is a moral stance against the "closed" web, but that's not enough for Firefox to regain some control. Most people don't care.

            I understand what you are saying and that's all i can offer and for me this is the most important part. I'm not going to convince you or other people because for them other things are more important than freedom since they don't care.

            I will no preach. I'm just offering another perspective and explaining why it's important and that it's enough reason. If that's not important for the listener, what can i do?

            For me, yes, the internet is undergoing a big moral problem and that's more important than the technical aspects.

            Want sites to support Firefox? Convince devs to use Firefox, make it work well on their computers. Many use Macbooks and Firefox doesn't perform that well on macOS. Why the hell would they optimise for Firefox their sites if "no one", not even them, use Firefox?

            I think this is the difference between good and mediocre devs. Your site should be usable by anyone. Be it Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

            I didn't encounter a website that doesn't work with Firefox. Some sites have flaws, but are usable.

            2 votes
            1. ssgjrie (edited ) Link Parent
              I don't need to be convinced, I agree with you. What I'm saying is that if Mozilla wants Firefox to an alternative to Chrome, it needs more than just the "open web". For now I need to get my work...

              I don't need to be convinced, I agree with you.

              What I'm saying is that if Mozilla wants Firefox to an alternative to Chrome, it needs more than just the "open web".

              For now I need to get my work done and I can't do it as well if my browser cuts my battery life in (almost) half or I have to use hacks to use profiles.

              2 votes
        2. [10]
          Diff Link Parent
          Firefox has really come around since the Quantum updates. It's really anecdotal but whenever I need to benchmark little bits of Javascript, it almost always ends up significantly faster on Firefox...

          And while it can be a slower browser, i don't think it's that bad. I use chrome when i'm on some pcs on work that i can't put Firefox on and i don't think the difference in performance is big. We should be able to handle a little disconfort when fighting for things. People fight for things with worse consequences than less performance on the internet.

          Firefox has really come around since the Quantum updates. It's really anecdotal but whenever I need to benchmark little bits of Javascript, it almost always ends up significantly faster on Firefox than Chrome. For some bits I've had Firefox's worst case test scenario be twice as fast as Chrome's best case scenario.

          At the same time, as another benchmark, if I head to one of those "Mine cryptocurrency in your browser with Javascript!" sites then Chrome does squeeze a few more hashes per second out of things. So if your web browsing experience includes a lot of over-the-top raw number crunching then you might be slightly better off in Chrome, I guess.

          2 votes
          1. [8]
            Grand0rbiter Link Parent
            I honestly don't see the difference in performance, but i'm not actively looking for it because using Firefox for me has a priority over those things. Since this is the main argument of the chrome...

            I honestly don't see the difference in performance, but i'm not actively looking for it because using Firefox for me has a priority over those things. Since this is the main argument of the chrome users, i just roll with it.

            1. [7]
              ssgjrie Link Parent
              Which OS do you use? I'm aware that on Windows it works well. Sadly it's not the case on macOS and Android.

              I honestly don't see the difference in performance

              Which OS do you use? I'm aware that on Windows it works well. Sadly it's not the case on macOS and Android.

              1. [6]
                Grand0rbiter Link Parent
                I use Firefox on Linux and Fennec F-Droid (firefox without proprietary binaries) on Android. Both work really well for me. I'm not a Chrome user and only experienced Chrome on Windows.

                I use Firefox on Linux and Fennec F-Droid (firefox without proprietary binaries) on Android. Both work really well for me.

                I'm not a Chrome user and only experienced Chrome on Windows.

                1 vote
                1. [5]
                  ssgjrie Link Parent
                  From my limited experience with Linux, Firefox works well enough and on Windows it's also a good browser. I own a Mac, which runs macOS, and the experience is not as good on this platform. This is...

                  From my limited experience with Linux, Firefox works well enough and on Windows it's also a good browser. I own a Mac, which runs macOS, and the experience is not as good on this platform. This is bad because many web developers use Macbooks for their work... and test everything on Chrome.

                  I have experience with Fennec and regular Firefox (I use an Android phone with LineageOS). For years it used to lag a lot on some hardware (just search on /r/firefox for "slow firefox android"), but finally they've fixed it. While I'm happy, I remember this being a problem when I moved from an iPhone in 2013/14. Even I know that most people use their phone to browse the web these days, so I have to ask what the hell was Mozilla doing.

                  And now that people already have experience with Chrome, which still performs better than Firefox on Android, they make the move just to learn that Firefox doesn't support the very useful "pull down" gesture to reload the page. Small problem for Firefox: it only takes seconds to go back to Chrome or install Brave, Opera or Samsung's browser, all based on Chromium.

                  They really need to step up their game.

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    dblohm7 Link Parent
                    Mozilla engineer here. We know that there are issues on Macs, and we know there are issues on Android. Both of those areas are in the middle of rewrites. With the Quantum Render project, we're in...

                    Mozilla engineer here.

                    They really need to step up their game.

                    We know that there are issues on Macs, and we know there are issues on Android.

                    Both of those areas are in the middle of rewrites.

                    • With the Quantum Render project, we're in the process of polishing up a completely new graphics subsystem (WebRender) written in Rust that we have cribbed from Servo. Once WebRender is ready, the gfx team plans to go back and fix some of these sore spots. One of the major sore spots is that we haven't made good use of native composition APIs such as CoreAnimation on Mac, and DirectComposition on Windows. Once WebRender is closer to release, I think we'll see significantly more movement on those fronts.
                    • On Android, we are in the middle of turning Gecko into an embeddable component called (unsurprisingly) GeckoView, and on the front-end, we are developing a set of UI widgets for building browsers, called Web Components. The new Firefox for Android, codenamed Fenix, will be using this new infrastructure. GeckoView-based browsers are significantly more performant than what we currently offer in the Firefox for Android of today.

                    Here's the issue: We don't have enough resources to concurrently build the new stuff, while making interim fixes (that will eventually just be thrown out) to the old stuff. Both those teams have decided, reasonably in my IMHO, to finish the new work and then address the sore spots.

                    I know everybody wants All The Things and they want them Right Now (myself included), but we just can't do it. I assure you that Mozilla's game is being significantly stepped up, but end users have not yet seen the end result.

                    6 votes
                    1. ssgjrie Link Parent
                      I understand that Mozilla doesn't have the same resources as Google and that it's hard to keep up with them, it's just that some of the issues (performance or UI related) have been there for...

                      I understand that Mozilla doesn't have the same resources as Google and that it's hard to keep up with them, it's just that some of the issues (performance or UI related) have been there for years. When I go back to Firefox, I end up saying "yep, this why I moved to Chrome 5 years ago", so it's not that I want it right now, it's that nothing has changed after all this time.

                      But I can see things changing, I already tried the GeckoView Firefox Focus and it works well and even regular Firefox for Android improved a lot over the past few months.

                  2. [2]
                    Grand0rbiter Link Parent
                    Not gonna argue against that. I mostly only know Firefox, but i used some chrome based browsers on Android and they are indeed good. I don't really know why Firefox makes these choices. Maybe...

                    Not gonna argue against that. I mostly only know Firefox, but i used some chrome based browsers on Android and they are indeed good.

                    I don't really know why Firefox makes these choices. Maybe because they have to play catch up to Chrome on rendering pages and the more technical side, the "cosmetic" side of things gets put on the backburner, but i can't know for sure.

                    Brave, Opera and Samsung can implement those things because the engine is already done. Browsers now are almost an entire OS, it takes a lot of effort and manpower to write a engine. And Firefox is not a multimillion dollar company.

                    1 vote
                    1. ssgjrie Link Parent
                      It's clear that Mozilla doesn't have the same resources, but they still had almost $90 million in net income in 2017. It's not like the business is going bad for Mozilla Corporation and if small...

                      It's clear that Mozilla doesn't have the same resources, but they still had almost $90 million in net income in 2017. It's not like the business is going bad for Mozilla Corporation and if small startups can put together a small team of designers, there's no reason why Mozilla can't.

                      They also acquire services from time to time. I don't know much they've paid for Pocket, but it raised more than $20 million so I doubt Mozilla got it for free. It's also important to mention that this Mozilla is not the same as pre-Chrome Mozilla. They're a big business.

                      Anyway, user experience is important. It will be hard to convince people to switch until they understand this. I know that they have to deal with a tough user base that hates change (people complained when the Australis UI was introduced and complained again after the Quantum replaced it - apparently Australis wasn't shit then?), but we can't blame the user base for everything.

                      1 vote
          2. ssgjrie Link Parent
            Firefox is slower than Chromium in terms of JS performance, but it's not a big deal for me. I care more about what I can do with it and battery life... and when it lasts 2 or 3 hours instead of 4...

            Firefox is slower than Chromium in terms of JS performance, but it's not a big deal for me. I care more about what I can do with it and battery life... and when it lasts 2 or 3 hours instead of 4 or 5, then it becomes a problem.

        3. [4]
          masochist Link Parent
          Google forked from WebKit to make their own thing called Blink. So even if Firefox dies, we still have something that's fully open source which is not-Google and not-Firefox.

          If Firefox dies and we end up with only one engine

          Google forked from WebKit to make their own thing called Blink. So even if Firefox dies, we still have something that's fully open source which is not-Google and not-Firefox.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            Diff Link Parent
            I think Webkit and Blink are still fairly similar architecturally though? Like genetically they're still siblings and they're plagued by a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses?

            I think Webkit and Blink are still fairly similar architecturally though? Like genetically they're still siblings and they're plagued by a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses?

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              masochist Link Parent
              Sure, they're still largely similar, and probably almost indistinguishable at this point. But that will change as Google develops Blink and the community develops WebKit. It's like any fork....

              Sure, they're still largely similar, and probably almost indistinguishable at this point. But that will change as Google develops Blink and the community develops WebKit. It's like any fork. You'll still be able to tell they're related years from now, likely, if you know where to look, but there'll start to be important differences as well.

              2 votes
              1. ssgjrie Link Parent
                WebKit is mostly developed by Apple though. That's why it's able to keep up with Blink.

                WebKit is mostly developed by Apple though. That's why it's able to keep up with Blink.

                1 vote
      3. [20]
        masochist Link Parent
        If you're on a Mac, why not use Safari? It's gotten a lot better in recent years in terms of page rendering ability, it integrates far better with the operating system, its power usage is...

        If you're on a Mac, why not use Safari? It's gotten a lot better in recent years in terms of page rendering ability, it integrates far better with the operating system, its power usage is measurably better (Activity Monitor has an Energy tab where you can see how much power each process is using), it supports your privacy far better than either Chrome or Firefox (ever wonder why Mozilla is pushing Pocket so much...? Surely it's not so they know what webpages you're going to.), and has some lovely ad blocker extensions (which are faster and lighter than anything the other browsers have) that also sync with your other Apple devices.

        1. [12]
          Diff Link Parent
          ...My dude. They own pocket. It's a useful service that's a shade better than standard browser-based bookmarks. And they own the entire gosh darn web browser. If they wanted your web history, they...

          ever wonder why Mozilla is pushing Pocket so much...? Surely it's not so they know what webpages you're going to

          ...My dude. They own pocket. It's a useful service that's a shade better than standard browser-based bookmarks. And they own the entire gosh darn web browser. If they wanted your web history, they can get it without saying "ayy bb why not use POcket."

          5 votes
          1. Grand0rbiter Link Parent
            And more importantly, you can disable it entirely or just not use it. It's not like they are forcing you to use it.

            And more importantly, you can disable it entirely or just not use it.

            It's not like they are forcing you to use it.

            3 votes
          2. [9]
            masochist Link Parent
            There's a difference between taking history from the browser and taking history from a service that's opt-in, though.

            There's a difference between taking history from the browser and taking history from a service that's opt-in, though.

            1. [8]
              Grand0rbiter Link Parent
              I'm not saying you're wrong. But how can you say absolutely that Apple respects your privacy better than Firefox? Are you able to verify the code or you just take their word for it? I'm not saying...

              I'm not saying you're wrong. But how can you say absolutely that Apple respects your privacy better than Firefox?

              Are you able to verify the code or you just take their word for it? I'm not saying they don't, but Apple is not exactly an altruist company.

              When Firefox makes some bad decisions, there's always eyes on it and a lot of people talk about it. And the about:config in Firefox can do a lot of things.

              3 votes
              1. [7]
                masochist Link Parent
                You're right, I don't have the code in front of me, and it is a matter of trust. But even if I did have the code, would I have been able to read all of it to verify that it does what I think it...

                You're right, I don't have the code in front of me, and it is a matter of trust. But even if I did have the code, would I have been able to read all of it to verify that it does what I think it does? Absolutely not. More than that, what if I don't understand what I'm reading? It's entirely possible to misunderstand what some code does. Everyone who's a programmer has done that. It's normal, it's human. And the same goes for Firefox. Have you read the code for the version of Firefox you're using? More importantly, are you using a binary downloaded from Mozilla's site (which you didn't build yourself and thus have no way of knowing what it contains), or did you build from source yourself (source code that you've read yourself)? Having access to the code doesn't, per se, mean that the code isn't malicious. There have been security bugs (possibly actual backdoors) in major projects for years before they were found and removed. "It's open source" doesn't necessarily mean that it's well-behaved. Just to be clear, this isn't meant as a personal attack or anything. Please don't take it that way. :)

                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  Grand0rbiter Link Parent
                  Sure, me having access to the source code alone doesn't prevent "bad code", but there will be a lot of people who would be able to verify, we are talking about a lot of eyes. People and...

                  Sure, me having access to the source code alone doesn't prevent "bad code", but there will be a lot of people who would be able to verify, we are talking about a lot of eyes. People and organizations that fight for privacy do that like hawks. You can see that when Firefox tries to do something that appears to be sketchy. Remember the Ubuntu/Amazon fiasco?

                  "It's open source" doesn't necessarily mean that it's well-behaved.

                  I know that, but it's still way better than the alternative. Just the fact that you are able to verify prevents a lot of things. And it's a lot better than just trusting the word of a company that has profit as a main motivatior. (not that there's anything wrong with profit)

                  The main thing i'm arguing is that you can't say that Apple respects your privacy better than Firefox. It's misinformation.

                  3 votes
                  1. [5]
                    masochist Link Parent
                    "we are talking about a lot of eyes" didn't prevent things like Heartbleed, it didn't prevent things like the Debian OpenSSL bug, and it didn't prevent other bugs either. We have seen that the...

                    "we are talking about a lot of eyes" didn't prevent things like Heartbleed, it didn't prevent things like the Debian OpenSSL bug, and it didn't prevent other bugs either. We have seen that the "with enough eyes, all bugs are shallow" argument just is. not. true. I do remember the Ubuntu/Amazon fiasco. That had nothing to do with source code, though. That was something you could have seen just as easily in a proprietary OS--like the advertisements that were (are?) in Windows 10 core applications.

                    The main thing I'm arguing is that you can't say that Apple respects your privacy better than Firefox.

                    As I just commented elsewhere, they make claims that much of your data is encrypted end-to-end and at rest. Sure, I trust them to be honest about that claim, but they'd be in serious legal trouble if that turned out to be false. So, yes, I will concede that I am trusting them here, on the premise that if they were found to be lying that it'd be ruinous for them.

                    1. [4]
                      Grand0rbiter (edited ) Link Parent
                      Again, i'm not saying that it doesn't prevent. All i'm saying is that it's better than closed source where the only eyes are the company and you have to blindly trust them. For all the bugs you...

                      "we are talking about a lot of eyes" didn't prevent things like Heartbleed, it didn't prevent things like the Debian OpenSSL bug, and it didn't prevent other bugs either. We have seen that the "with enough eyes, all bugs are shallow" argument just is. not. true.

                      Again, i'm not saying that it doesn't prevent. All i'm saying is that it's better than closed source where the only eyes are the company and you have to blindly trust them.

                      For all the bugs you show me on the opensource side, i can show you bugs on the proprietary side. Pointing bugs here is pointless. I never said opensource is free of bugs.

                      OpenSSL f*cked up and there are people adopting LibreSSL. You have a choice. If something bad happens to Apple, what people who trusted their walled gardens can do? They are tied. I have friends that are deep down invested in the comfort of Apple.

                      As I just commented elsewhere, they make claims that much of your data is encrypted end-to-end and at rest. Sure, I trust them to be honest about that claim, but they'd be in serious legal trouble if that turned out to be false.

                      Facebook claimed that it didn't sell data a lot of times and they were still proven wrong. They too got in a lot of legal trouble. They are still there.

                      You can trust them and i'm not telling you for sure that they are lying. Maybe not, maybe yes. But those gigantic companies don't exactly fear legal trouble because the majority of their users don't care about it. They care more about comfort. Even if they are outed, people will still keep giving them the data. And data is a lot of money.

                      3 votes
                      1. [3]
                        masochist Link Parent
                        Sure, I won't deny that having the source code for something means it's possible to have more eyes on something. I might stick with a lot of Apple stuff these days, but I also work with open...

                        Again, i'm not saying that it doesn't prevent. All i'm saying is that it's better than closed source where the only eyes are the company and you have to blindly trust them.

                        Sure, I won't deny that having the source code for something means it's possible to have more eyes on something. I might stick with a lot of Apple stuff these days, but I also work with open source communities and have released code myself.

                        If something bad happens to Apple, what people who trusted their walled gardens can do? They are tied.

                        The most I'd be able to do is similar to what folks using Google services could do: export the data in formats that may or may not be easily importable into an equivalent app in my new system of choice (if one exists).

                        Facebook claimed that it didn't sell data a lot of times and they were still proven wrong. They too got in a lot of legal trouble. They are still there.

                        Fair point, nothing I can argue about that as it's entirely factual.

                        You can trust them and i'm not telling you for sure that they are lying. Maybe not, maybe yes. But those gigantic companies don't exactly fear legal trouble because the majority of their users don't care about it. They care more about comfort. Even if they are outed, people will still keep giving them the data. And data is a lot of money.

                        Similarly fair point. You've given me some things to think about here, so I thank you for that. :)

                        1 vote
                        1. [2]
                          Grand0rbiter Link Parent
                          Thanks for the dialogue. I was afraid we were going down the back and forth bickering that made me leave reddit, but i'm glad things here on Tildes are different. I'm not an Apple hater (in the...

                          Thanks for the dialogue. I was afraid we were going down the back and forth bickering that made me leave reddit, but i'm glad things here on Tildes are different.

                          I'm not an Apple hater (in the privacy side of things, i don't like them because of their overpriced stuff without reason) because i don't have any personal experience with their products and because i never saw any news regarding the company lying about their privacy statements. So you shouldn't have a reason to start not trusting them now.

                          I'm a little more cautious about that because a lot of companies are caught being sketchy and get outed every day. And data has a lot of value these days. I trust Firefox, but i don't trust them bindly. I trust them much more than the alternatives though, because they, for now, are fighting the good fight.

                          I trust woelkli (cloud storage) and trust (more or less) protonmail (mail service), but i still don't trust them bindly so i still encrypt things myself.

                          1. masochist Link Parent
                            Doing my best to be better than reddit here. Thank you for doing the same. :) I may not have a reason to not trust them, but you've given me reason to think about how I'd do things outside of the...

                            Doing my best to be better than reddit here. Thank you for doing the same. :)

                            I may not have a reason to not trust them, but you've given me reason to think about how I'd do things outside of the Apple ecosystem again. I do have a few computers running various BSD operating systems, though they function as dedicated workstations for specific tasks rather than generic computers like my Apple devices do. And I can't even imagine using something else for a mobile device. Android and I do not get along.

                            You're right, it seems we don't go a week or so without some major company being caught doing something bad. It's interesting that you say Mozilla are fighting the good fight in this discussion, because all of the companies we've talked about have been doing good work in certain areas of tech--you know, the ones that are good for their business interests. Mozilla markets itself as a force for good in the tech sector, so doing good helps their brand.

                            I trust the email provider I worked for and Duckduckgo, who I did some consulting for some years ago. I've seen DDG's logfiles and code and I know I can trust them. I don't expect you to trust them because I do, but then trust has always been a personal thing anyway.

                            1 vote
          3. ssgjrie Link Parent
            It was added to Firefox before they owned Pocket though.

            It was added to Firefox before they owned Pocket though.

        2. [7]
          ssgjrie Link Parent
          I don't have other Apple devices and have no intention to send my data to Apple. I also need extensions that aren't available on Safari and profiles, which as far as I know it doesn't support.

          I don't have other Apple devices and have no intention to send my data to Apple. I also need extensions that aren't available on Safari and profiles, which as far as I know it doesn't support.

          1 vote
          1. [6]
            masochist Link Parent
            Err, Apple doesn't collect your data in the way that Google does. I really don't understand why people seem to think they do. But fair enough on lacking features.

            Err, Apple doesn't collect your data in the way that Google does. I really don't understand why people seem to think they do. But fair enough on lacking features.

            1. [5]
              ssgjrie Link Parent
              They collect less data, there's no doubt about that, but when you use their syncing features (iCloud), they have access to all data you sync because it's not encrypted/decrypted with your key on...

              They collect less data, there's no doubt about that, but when you use their syncing features (iCloud), they have access to all data you sync because it's not encrypted/decrypted with your key on your devices.

              This is how the police knows what someone did with their phones even when they can't "crack" the phone's encryption. Apple has access to your data in plain text (browsing, passwords, images, location, etc).

              The good thing about encryption is that you don't have to trust someone. It's encrypted, that's it. Apple is better because people trust them to be better than Google and that's enforced because they have a different business model.

              1. [4]
                masochist Link Parent
                Citation needed on that because my understanding is that all / almost all of that data is encrypted. See this security overview detailing what they encrypt and how.

                Citation needed on that because my understanding is that all / almost all of that data is encrypted. See this security overview detailing what they encrypt and how.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  ssgjrie Link Parent
                  What matters is end-to-end encryption and as mentioned on that page (after the main table) only a small number of features uses end-to-end encryption and only after the user enables two-factor...

                  What matters is end-to-end encryption and as mentioned on that page (after the main table) only a small number of features uses end-to-end encryption and only after the user enables two-factor authentication.

                  Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, etc, they all encrypt our data, but they have the keys to decrypt it. That's why users can see their photos on Google Photos or and their files on OneDrive. Data is encrypted on their servers, but they have the keys so they can show you that data (and do whatever they want with it).

                  1. [2]
                    masochist Link Parent
                    True, E2EE is the important part here. I'll concede the point you're making here; thank you for providing such a good discussion! :) That said, I am comfortable with my data being encrypted in...

                    True, E2EE is the important part here. I'll concede the point you're making here; thank you for providing such a good discussion! :)

                    That said, I am comfortable with my data being encrypted in transit and on the server, even if it's not encrypted at all times on my device. There are some measures that encrypt the data on my device that, in tandem with the above link, allow me to be comfortable with things. I will still maintain that, given that the information is encrypted in transit and on the server, I don't think it's really accurate to say that you're "giving your data to Apple" in plaintext. It might live unencrypted on your Mac, or on a phone without a passcode, but not putting a passcode on your phone is a bigger problem.

                    1 vote
                    1. ssgjrie Link Parent
                      That's the thing. For Apple (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc), it's as the data was in plain text. They all encrypt data in transit, hell, even Tildes does it (https connection). They also...

                      That's the thing. For Apple (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc), it's as the data was in plain text. They all encrypt data in transit, hell, even Tildes does it (https connection). They also encrypt data at rest just in case someone hacks them or tries to tamper with their hardware.

                      Apple has the keys to most files they host. That's why you can go to iCloud's website and see some of your content with just your Apple login. Their encryption only protects you and them if, let's say, an employee decided to steal a hard drive and tried to read the data.

                      So, and while you can encrypt some data on your iPhone, you're still trusting Apple not to do what Google does to your files. They can see and analyse your photos and videos, they record your "find my iphone" location, they can read your bookmarks... the only difference is that Apple decided not to show you ads based on your bookmarks while Google probably does that.

                      Replace "Apple" with "Facebook" and I bet you wouldn't have the same level of trust on iCloud.