Archive for the ‘CyberNet’ Category

Firefox 4 Beta 2 Breaking Extensions

Posted: Friday, July 23, 2010 by El Guru in Add-ons, Blogs, CyberNet, Firefox, Fx 4.0, Mozilla News

This recent news concerning the next Beta release of Firefox 4 which is due out either later today or Monday surprises me. While it is not unusual for developmental releases to break current extensions it seems odd that Mozilla would choose to do this during the Beta phase and this is going to break a lot more extensions than ‘normal’. Usually by the time a an upcoming major Firefox release reaches the beta phase major changes have already been implemented. However, Firefox 4 Betas are a little different than previous Betas.

Prior releases were labeled as Firefox 3.7/Gecko 1.9.3 and were still being built on the current Gecko 1.9.x rendering engine. When the first beta came out earlier this month for this upcoming version of Firefox it was re-numbered to Firefox 4 because now it is being built off of the new Gecko 2.0 rendering engine.

The breakage is due to an XPCOM change and being implemented as part of Gecko 2. CyberNet News’ Ryan explains in Firefox 4 Beta 2 Will Break Many Extensions (emphasis is mine):

This XPCOM change. Many extensions, including CyberSearch, use what’s referred to as components in their code. This change landed in the nightly releases shortly after Firefox 4 Beta 1 was made available, and it reworks the way these components get registered with the browser. The fix is pretty easy, and should take extension developers very little time (took me about 30 minutes) to update their add-ons. The problem is that there are so many add-ons that have been abandoned by their developers, and that will likely leave a lot of users frustrated.

So why the change? Well, it’s better in the long run. Previously if you did anything with an extension (install, remove, enable, disable, etc…) you would have to restart your browser, and doing so would require ALL of your browser components to have to re-register. With the way it was set up every component would be “loaded and executed, then unloaded, then reloaded again during the restart.” You’ll still need to restart your browser after installing/updating extensions, but now the components are pulled directly out of the extension’s manifest file which avoids many of the otherwise poor side effects. Not only that, but as Mozilla points out this is a good move in helping to make Firefox multithreaded.

Unfortunately this new change means it is no longer going to be as simple as downloading the extension to your local system and hacking the install.rdf file then installing the modified extension. Simply bumping the max version as described in the Manually Updating Add-ons to Work post from last month likely won’t work any longer. While Ryan says the fix pretty easy and only about took 30-minutes, he is an extension developer. Somehow I doubt this is going to be something the average to semi-advanced Firefox user is going to be able to do to make their favorite extension work with Firefox 4. This is defiantly something I am going to have do some more research on. Look for a/some follow-up post(s) in the coming days.

After my earlier Firefox Lorentz Beta Released post, I noticed something didn’t seem quite right with my Firefox nightly build. For one thing I had not seen the Mozilla Runtime Environment (mozilla-runtime.exe) kicking in for Flash sites. I also kept noticing that every time I would get an update offer I was being informed Chrome Edit Plus add-on was not compatible and would be disabled. Also each time thought I had updated when Firefox restarted I would get an updated noticed for 3.6.4pre but when I went to install I would get an error about not being able to find the license. Checking in Help and About Namoroka still showed the 3.6.3pre nightly from around March 24th.

No matter how many times I tried to apply the update to 3.6.4pre and restarted Firefox, it would not apply. At first I thought may be Comodo Firewall was blocking the installation but my Shredder (Thunderbird 3 developmental) updates were being installed just fine. Okay, crossed the firewall off the list of suspects. Next thought was may be the Chrome Edit Plus extension was not getting disabled and this somehow was preventing the update from installing. From within the add-ons manager, went ahead and disabled the extension then restarted Firefox. Once again tried to apply the update without success.

Okay at this point it must have had something to do with that particular nightly build (the joys of nightly builds). I really didn’t want spend a bunch of time looking through old posts in the mozillaZine Firefox Builds forum so I would try one more thing. I downloaded Firefox 3.6.3 then closed Firefox. Went into the Windows Control Panel to uninstall, but this install was not listed. So into Windows Explorer and manually removed this Firefox 3.6 nightly install. Installed Firefox 3.6.3 and then did a check for updates. Since my profile was still intact and my update channel is ‘nightly’, got offered the latest nightly for 3.6.4pre. After installing the update then restarting, I saw a screen I have not seen in a long time, ‘updates are being installed’ screen. Well, that was a good sign. Further Comodo was throwing an alert firefox.exe has changed, another good sign. Once Firefox restarted, I knew things were good when I saw in the title bar Lorentz and About Lorentz shows in the Help Menu.

Upon entering my WordPress Dashboard which has a flash applet for blog traffic, mozilla-runtime.exe kicked in (with a warning from Comodo Firewall). Also, the title bar and the border around the Firefox application have turned blue. I took a look in System Explorer and saw underneath firefox.exe was the mozilla-runtime.exe and like Percy mentioned on average it is using about an additional 10% of the memory Firefox is using.

Still have no idea why I was stuck on that old nightly. I did take brief look around in the mozillaZine Firefox Builds forum to see if this was a common problem. Apparently not. Did find an interesting thread with an explanation for name change from Namoroka to Lorentz.

Overriding Add-ons Compatibility Check

Posted: Friday, January 29, 2010 by El Guru in Blogs, CyberNet, Firefox, Fx 3.6, Fx 3.7, Fx 4.0, Tips & Tweaks

With Firefox 3.6, Mozilla has changed the way users can override the default add-ons compatibility check.

WARNING: Bypassing the built-in add-ons compatibility check thus forcing Firefox to allow the installation of incompatible add-ons can cause Firefox to become unstable and/or run erratically. In some instances, could cause Firefox not start at all. In the event forcing an add-on to install has lead to Firefox perpetually crashing upon startup the browser can be run in Safe Mode, which will allow for the removal of the problematic add-on.

Bypassing the compatibility check can be done via an about:config entry. However, this will need to be done for each version (3.6, 3.7, 4.0, etc.) as there is no longer a universal setting.

  1. In a new tab type about:config in the address bar and press enter
  2. Right-click in an empty area below the filter bar and select New -> Boolean
  3. In the New Boolean Value dialog box type: extensions.checkCompatibility.3.6 and click OK
  4. Select FALSE and click OK

Notes:

  • Does not (currently) work with Firefox 3.7/4.0 developmental builds
  • The value entered in step #3 will need to be changed with each newer version of Firefox. Example: Testing the developmental Firefox 3.7 Alpha builds the value entered would be: extensions.checkCompatibility.3.7a and this would need to be changed to extensions.checkCompatibility.3.7b when moving to the Beta builds and changed again to extensions.checkCompatibility.3.7 with the release of Firefox 3.7
  • For testers it is recommend to use the Nightly Tester Tools extension instead of performing this tweak.

Source: CyberNet News

1 Billion Downloads…and counting!

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2009 by El Guru in Blogs, CyberNet, Firefox, Mozilla News

A huge milestone has been reached today with the Firefox download counter rolling over to 1 Billion (that is 1 with nine zeros at the end!) To think, a little under a year and half ago (February 22, 2008) Firefox had just reached the 500 Million Downloads milestone. Percy has this interesting factoid:

One notable thing is the first half of the billion took about 3 years and a half, while the second one less than a year and a half, due to Firefox popularity reflected in the global market share increase, currently hovering 30%.

Looking back at an old CyberNet News Article: Firefox Hits 300 million Downloads! When will it hit 1 Trillion? it was estimated then given the current download trend, the 1 Billion mark would be reached on November 3, 2010.

Source: Mozilla Links

Ever tried to start Firefox while is it is running? Doesn’t work, you will get an error saying Firefox is already running. I have seen a trick over at CyberNet involving installing a portable version of Firefox, but that seems to be a lot of work. Plus, I already have several versions of Firefox installed. So I did a little more search and came across the mozillaZine KB article: Command line arguments

The easiest way to take advantage of this is to modify your short-cuts. The short cut should be formatted as such: “Firefox.exe” -p “{PROFILE}” -no-remote (note: substitute the name of your profile for {PROFILE} or omit to launch the profile manger instead). I have setup and can now run/test Firefox 2.0.0.20, Firefox 3.0.7 and Firefox 3.5beta4pre at the same time running on their own profiles.

Notes: this tweak does not apply to does not apply to Mozilla Suite/SeaMonkey 1.x. You can also run multiple profiles of the same version of Firefox as well. This can be helpful when you want to see how something behaves with a clean (no add-ons) profile (or to see how quickly a Firefox with a clean profile restarts).

Tip: Dragging Current Page to Bookmarks Folder

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 by El Guru in Blogs, CyberNet, Firefox, Fx 3.5, Tips & Tweaks

In the past couple months I really started taking advantage of The Bookmarks Toolbar function. This is especially true at work as there are frequent help articles I need to reference and/or email to customer.  I have about 3 or 4 folders (some with sub folders) on my Bookmarks Toolbar. I am constantly adding more bookmarks as I come across more articles and guides I know I might need in the future.

I’ve received and seen posted elsewhere a couple of comments that people are having troubles ‘dragging’ the page into a Bookmarks Toolbar Folder in the newer Firefox 3.1 Beta builds. From what I have read it seems they are trying to drag the current tab into a bookmark folder.Whenever I wanted to add the current page I am viewing as a bookmark within a folder,  I would simply just grab the favicon and drag that into that folder on the Bookmarks Toolbar. Note: highlighting and trying to drag the URL into a folder will not work. Not only does trying to drag the tab into a folder not work, but it will likely ‘tear’ the tab and you will end up with that tab being moved into a new window.

While on the subject of Tab Tearing, there is no way to presently disable this hideous and useless (at least for me) feature. I’ve been told it is a work in progress and will be improved. I’ve also been directed to a patch that is suppose to make the feature a little less sensitive but that involved loading a custom build instead of the official builds. I am not sure if this patch has landed on the current trunk or if it was part of the Beta 2 release earlier this week. May be like the tab switching preview feature this too will be pulled based on user/tester feedback.


Google in 2001

Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 by El Guru in CyberNet, Firefox, Google, Other

As part of the celebration of their 10th Birthday this year, Google has created a special section. This special section rolls back to 2001 in not only looks (less search options) and the index as it was in January 2001.  Try doing a search for Firefox and you are going to turn up results about a video game and a personal blog of sorts was using the firefox.com domain back in 2001.  Better yet try iPhone and take a look at the archive of the ZDNet article. A search for iTune turned up an article celebrating the milestone of 275,000 downloads. Yes there was even an iPod back then, but not as we know it now.

Here are some other suggesion from Google:

Amazingly enough, hidden in a corner beneath Larry’s and Sergey’s original lab coats, we found a vintage search index in mint condition. We dusted it off and took it for a spin, gobsmacked to see how different the web was in early 2001. “iPod” did not refer to a music player, “youtube” was nonsense, and if you were looking for “Michael Phelps,” chances are you meant the scientist, not the swimmer. “Wikipedia” was brand new. Remember “hanging chads“?

To access this special section simply go to http://www.google.com/search2001.html

Thanks Ryan (CyberNet News) for the tip!