What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

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What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Sun May 05, 2019 1:12 pm

Well, I know the short answer is that Mozilla have made a complete chimps' tea-party of security certification which disables nearly all add-ons.

But what I don't understand, and can't seem to find out from reading around the deluge of froth on the interweb, is why can't they just FIX the certificate so that the add-ons come back, instead of making everybody install a patch to their Firefox? How come can they just transfer it to being the user's problem, not THEIR problem?

I've tried 3 things, none of which have worked:

1. "Enable studies" which will apparently silently apply the fix within 6 hours. Nothing has happened. They don't tell you whether you have to leave Firefox running for 6 hours continuously just on the off chance it notices there is a patch to be downloaded.

2. Set xpinstall.signatures.required variable to false. Nothing happened.

3. Download and install hotfix-update-xpi-intermediate. It's showing in my add-ons as enabled but nothing has happened.

It goes without saying that I am many, many versions behind in Firefox, having locked at 56 some time ago when they made most of my add-ons obsolete. This may be related to why these fixes don't work.

Anybody else having this problem, and resolved it?
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by cmorley » Sun May 05, 2019 1:28 pm

A bug apparently fixed in the nighlty build. You can upgrade to 66.0.4 if you wish or just wait for the new version.

No uBlock origin is annoying :(

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by Kazzie » Sun May 05, 2019 2:47 pm

The reason that Mozilla can't just fix it at their end is that the expired certificate is on your machine.

The "studies" method of pulling an update is apparently designed for letting Mozilla test new stuff with willing guineapigs and monitor how it's used. It's been repurposed for dealing with this issue. The frequency that it checks for updates can be changed in the about: pages somewhere; the default is every six hours, but it can be changed.

This approach will silently fix all the Firefox installations (where the owner said 'yes' to sharing usage data etc. when installing) over time, but that won't sort everyone out.

As for why they didn't release a "new version" update (which would be available to everyone, usage data sharing or otherwise), that's another question. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that this problem only came to light over a weekend?
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by guesser » Sun May 05, 2019 3:03 pm

I never lost mine in the first place, but both the "studies" delivered hotfixes were applied fine.
Course mine is up to date, not an unsupported version.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by guesser » Sun May 05, 2019 3:06 pm

Disabling the signing check through the config only works on the 'Developer' and 'Nightly' versions on Windows. Not on the 'Release' build. It also works on the ESR version shipped by Debian.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by Kazzie » Sun May 05, 2019 3:41 pm

If you're waiting for the "studies" to decide to look for the update, you can go to about:config and change the app.normandy.run_interval_seconds setting down from its default value of 21600 seconds (6 hours). I changed it down to 10 seconds (and restarted Firefox for good measure) and then found that the relevant patches showed up in about:studies more or less immediately.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Sun May 05, 2019 3:55 pm

Wow, I don't even have this setting! The only one with a value of 21600 is "browser.search.update.interval".

So I don't think my old build of Firefox is going to benefit from this official update. Reading about other users on old versions it seems the only way is to edit extensions.json to re-enable these add-ons, which I have now done.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by flaxcottage » Sun May 05, 2019 8:56 pm

Yes, it hit me last night right in the middle of browsing. Suddenly lost all extensions. :(
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by guesser » Sun May 05, 2019 9:44 pm

The full update to fix it has been pushed now (for those who have 'studies' disabled). Doing a manual check from About Firefox should get it if it's not updated already.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Mon May 06, 2019 3:03 pm

My extensions.json fix didn't last long, it obviously checked again soon after and disabled them all again. I have had to faff about with some other about:config settings. Seems to be holding for now.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by cmorley » Mon May 06, 2019 3:22 pm

As guesser said it is now fixed. 66.0.4 is a main release.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Mon May 06, 2019 4:09 pm

Yes indeed, but I am on 56.0 (see first post) and I am not upgrading until all the "legacy" add-ons I use have been re-written to conform with the new rules, which seems unlikely after all this time. To take just one example "DownThemAll" allowed me to sweep up all 177 zip files in Marcus Jambler's Master 512 thread in about 5 seconds. To do that manually one by one would have taken...well, I shudder to think how long, and I wouldn't have had the patience. It isn't supported in later versions of Firefox, and every other multi-downloader add-on I've tried either doesn't work at all, or as well.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by cmorley » Mon May 06, 2019 4:29 pm

I read ESR patches are in the pipeline too. Including 52.9.0 which is the last XP version - which is borked too.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Mon May 06, 2019 4:36 pm

That sounds like good news then, although the jiggery-pokery I have done myself appears to be holding for the minute. But has probably left me vulnerable. Or more vulnerable than I already was. Or whatever it is I am supposed to be worrying about online this week.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by guesser » Mon May 06, 2019 4:42 pm

cmorley wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:29 pm
I read ESR patches are in the pipeline too. Including 52.9.0 which is the last XP version - which is borked too.
That surprises me as 52 was EOL last year. The update for the current ESR is out (60.6.2) and has come through on the Debian repo in the last hour or two. I assume other linux distros have it by now, or will very shortly.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by cmorley » Mon May 06, 2019 4:51 pm

We'll see. Not everything on the internet is true :shock:

They might be motivated to fix it because there are still a lot of XP installs and they just upset the majority of the FF userbase. I am already annoyed by the ever increasing bloat of FF & I am not alone. It won't take much for lots of users to jump ship - especially if they bork FF (through incompetence) then refuse to fix it.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by geraldholdsworth » Mon May 06, 2019 5:09 pm

Why not just download and install Waterfox?
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by guesser » Mon May 06, 2019 5:26 pm

cmorley wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:51 pm
We'll see. Not everything on the internet is true :shock:

They might be motivated to fix it because there are still a lot of XP installs and they just upset the majority of the FF userbase. I am already annoyed by the ever increasing bloat of FF & I am not alone. It won't take much for lots of users to jump ship - especially if they bork FF (through incompetence) then refuse to fix it.
If they've stopped updating and aren't using a supported version any more then you could argue Mozilla have lost them as users already.
I wonder if it's possible to manually install the new intermediate signing certificate into Firefox's certificate store.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Wed May 08, 2019 6:58 pm

It's still periodically disabling my add-ons!

I've set:

xpinstall.signatures.required to false
xpinstall.whitelist.required to false
app.update.enabled to false
app.update.checkInstallTime to false

What else can I do??

Getting sick of these Mozilla cretins now.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by scruss » Thu May 09, 2019 12:59 am

BeebMaster wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 6:58 pm
What else can I do??
They're working on a patch for the legacy versions (like 56), but obviously it's not a priority. Mike Hoye (a Mozilla engineer I know) makes some appearances in this MeFi thread - https://www.metafilter.com/180725/A-Gli ... ns#7695301 - explaining what is being fixed.

All the advice you've been following is for Quantum, which is a much better browser that v56: faster, much smaller memory use, more efficient CPU use. The old add-on system wasn't secure, and the DownThemAll developers had 1½ years to update to the new system. Rather than doing so, they sat on their heels and whinged.

Download Star is about the nearest a Firefox WE will get to DTA. Web Extensions doesn't have explicit access to the filesystem, so tools like Download Star can only save to Downloads.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by 1024MAK » Thu May 09, 2019 8:51 am

Download Star is what I use now. I'm running Firefox 65.0

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by scruss » Thu May 09, 2019 2:26 pm

one more thing:
BeebMaster wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 1:12 pm
… is why can't they just FIX the certificate so that the add-ons come back …?
The whole point of certificates is that you can't fix them. Once they're expired it must be utterly impossible to reactivate them, otherwise they become a great way of gaining fraudulent access.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Sat May 11, 2019 9:58 am

Well for "FIX" read "update with valid", which I believe is what the official patch is doing, as far as I understand any of these things at all.

It sounds like they are going back to version 52 with a patch, which will suit me when they get round to it.

The link mentioned above does have someone posting what he says is the content of a new certificate which you can copy and paste into a file and import it into Firefox. But I don't think I'll be doing that. Probably.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by scruss » Sat May 11, 2019 2:09 pm

BeebMaster wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 9:58 am
… It sounds like they are going back to version 52 with a patch, which will suit me when they get round to it.
Well, if that works for you …
I wouldn't be without v57+'s multi-core support. Instead of just using one core, it can render using all of them.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:07 pm

I'd like to have a go with an up-to-date version, see how it plays out with my favourite add-ons, but I don't want to erase the old version I have locked and cobbled together. Is it possible to have two completely different version of the same application installed in Ubuntu at the same time?
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by BeebMaster » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:45 pm

If anybody can give me a clue then I'd happily install the newest version alongside my locked old version.
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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by 1024MAK » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:13 pm

I’ve done this accidentally with a command line application. One used a ‘-’ in the name, but the other version used a ‘_’
Confused the heck out of me at first, as I didn’t notice! #-o :lol:

But I have not tried a more complex application, and not tried to deliberately do it.

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by sydney » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:26 am

It seems you can.

https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2041575

Never tried it though so let us know if it works!

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Re: What has happened to Firefox add-ons?

Post by guesser » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:37 am

The important thing if you install two copies of firefox is to make a copy your profile into a new one to use with the new install you're trying. If you once run a session of your original profile with a new version it will upgrade things and may no longer work properly in the older version. (Hopefully you have frequent backups anyway of course!)
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