I need help with Firefox's recent changes to Extensions - I use FF 56.0.2 64-bit


#1

Before I start, I would like to point out that I am Autistic so I may not always understand what you say, and I might ask for explanations for things that other people think are self evident.

I have basically stopped updating both Windows (I use 7) and FF because I cannot cope with the visual changes to my environment. I have severe astigmatism and Keratoconus, so all the fancy new visual tweaks make it very hard for me to see the screen. All was well until 3 days ago, when four of my legacy extensions just stopped working - Remainder Fox, Classic Theme Restorer, Roboform Password Manager, and Pinterest Save Button. The first three, in particular, are absolutely critical to my ability to use my computer.

I have read what Mozilla says here: https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2019/05/04/update-regarding-add-ons-in-firefox/ but I don’t see how anything they say there will apply to me. In any case, I am afraid to try ANYTHING including turning off my browser and computer without further advice.

This is what my add-on page looked like when everything was working:

and this is what I have now:

I am very desperate, and I would really appreciate some help.


#2

The reason why some of your extensions are suddenly not working is because of an error made by Mozilla just a few days ago.

Mozilla has pushed out an automatic fix and it’s just a matter of waiting (maybe a few hours to another day or two) for that fix to download itself to your computer and do its thing.


#3

See this popular Q&A:


#4

The current FF version is 66.0.4, and you stated you are on 56.0.2. Is this a typo, or are you that far behind?


#5

That is not a Typo! As far as I am concerned all of the changes FF has made since FF57 have only served to make the browser unusable for me. Please go back and read my introductory remarks.


#6

According to https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/73ky5d/where_is_unbranded_build_for_firefox_56_final/dpsxlc1/, Firefox 56 supports disabling extension signing. Try making a new boolean about:config key named xpinstall.signatures.required and setting it to false. Then restart Firefox.


#7

Hi, I found I already had a entry for xpinstall.signatures.required so I set it to false and restarted, but it has made no difference. In any case the four Extensions in question were already working before WITH the config key set to true, up until the last few days.

Please note that the red text is " … could not be verified for use in Firefox and has been disabled"

I am assuming that disabled is not the same thing as unsigned - please correct me if I am wrong


#8

As I read the notice on Mozilla, It makes no mention of any patch for FF 56. In any case, in order to stay on FF56, I have had to turn automatic updates off, so I don’t think I will get a fix from Mozilla.


#9

I read what you said about how visual changes can be difficult for you.

However, my experience since I started using Firefox (v 57) is that (1) Firefox updates introduce very few visual changes and (2) most all visual changes come from individual website / webpage redesigns (such as How to Geek’s redesign within the last year).

I am a ‘minimalist’ and my Firefox opens to a blank page by default. Firefox 57 to now 66 have all kept a consistent ‘look’.

Given various security and privacy updates, I’d recommend giving updating a try. However, do this on a separate computer (FF 57 itself is different from all previous versions) so you can go back to your old version in case you hate the new one. But if the new works for you, then you’ve got a much more secure setup.


#10

They were disabled because the signing certificate expired. I though maybe that disabling extension signing might fix this but apparently I was wrong.


#11

Thank you for your reply:

The problems I am having are, in order of severity -

  • My password Manager is disabled (I have over 300 passwords)

  • Classic theme restorer is needed to convert this

into this (as it was before)

  • Reminder fox is needed to deal with my memory problems

  • Pinterest Save button is convenient for my botanical work.


#12

Kaelkitty, it is normal that they worked before with the key set to true. They don’t work anymore, as user ReadandShare wrote, because of an error of Firefox. In my understanding, it’s basically due to a certificate that has expired on Firefox.
Setting the key to false is supposedly a workaround to make it work anyway, but it didn’t work for me either.

You are absolutely right in that it won’t update since you are using an outdated version (I know because I’m using Firefox 55 precisely for the same reason, to use legacy addons like Classic Theme Restorer).

I found a solution here, on the Adblock Plus forums: https://adblockplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=65919&p=188346#p188346


#13

Waterfox looks like it’s very similar to Firefox 56 and is supposed to support both current and legacy extensions.



The two disabled legacy extensions can be found at https://github.com/Aris-t2/ClassicThemeRestorer/releases and https://legacycollector.org/firefox-addons/1191/index.html.
To migrate over, you should be able to copy/paste your existing profile into wherever Waterfox stores things.


#15

This might be of interest to those following this thread:

Also - over at ghacks, there are a couple of threads regarding this issue -one of them with over 500 user comments, some of which offer a few geeky solutions.


#16

I’d be very wary of running scripts if you don’t know what they’re doing. In this case, it may be safe but in general it’s not a good idea. Also it looks like that script fixes a different problem and might not be applicable here (though I don’t know for sure).

The article with 500+ comments is https://www.ghacks.net/2019/05/04/your-firefox-extensions-are-all-disabled-thats-a-bug/


#17

I am getting exhausted - part of my disability. I think I need to come back tomorrow with a clearer head. If anyone has any new ideas, I’ll see them tomorrow morning.
I really appreciate everyone’s posts so far - just need to untangle my thoughts a bit.

By the way, is it possible to have FF and Waterfox coexist on this computer, and if so, how do I do it.


#18

By default it uses a different profile folder, so yes and you don’t need to do anything.


#20

Mozilla is planning on updating older versions, including v56, to fix this problem.


#21

By the way, is it possible to have FF and Waterfox coexist on this computer, and if so, how do I do it.

Yes, you can. When you install Firefox (or forks of Firefox like Waterfox), the programs install in one place. (On Windows, that will be under Program Files) Your user information, like your bookmarks, passwords and the like are installed in a profile directory somewhere else. (Under Win10 here, profiles get created under C:\Users<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles. I override that, since the browser will let you choose where profiles are created, and put everything under C:\Mozilla\Profiles\Firefox.)

You can have more than one profile (and I do.) Firefox (and Waterfox) know where the profile they should use by looking at a file called profiles.ini, located in the same place as the profiles directory. You can also have more than one instance of the browser open at a time, as long as each uses a different profile. (The first one to attach to a profile locks it) You can specify which profile to use by invoking Firefox as "firefox -p " (I set that in a shortcut.) You can have more than one instance by invoking Firefox as "firefox -no-remote -p "

When you install Waterfox, it will create a separate profile. If you want it to use your existing Firefox profile, you can if you know what to use as after the -p above.

I looked at Waterfox a while back. It’s a worthy effort but I am not confident of its long term prospects. Waterfox deliberately uses a version of the Gecko rendering engine from before the changes that broke existing older extensions. Gecko is enormous, and nobody understands all of it. (I follow various Firefox bugs, and the first problem when a reported bug is confirmed is finding out where the bug is, and which Mozilla developers know enough about that part of the code to make the fix.)

I don’t know what development resources Waterfox has, but simply back porting security fixes made to base Gecko will be a challenge.

I used an ESR version of Firefox to buy time while I waited for compatible Quantum extensions to replace the ones I’m using. There are still a few gaps, but I found enough to let me use Quantum as my default browser.

I think you need to do some research on replacements for your critical stuff.

The password manager is still a hole. There are third-party password managers, but none that currently work in FF itself. (The last I knew, an API change that would permit one to work was under security review at Mozilla.)

You can get a dump of your password file using a third party utility from Nirsoft - https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/passwordfox.html, so you can at least see what they are. There is no current way to import that dump into another Firefox/Waterfox instance.

The visual changes you use Classic Shell for can be largely done in CSS, and the chap behind Classic Theme Restorer has a Github site for it. See https://github.com/Aris-t2/CustomCSSforFx


#22

By now, I think you already have an idea that Mozilla just made an error on this and it will automatically download and fix it.

Gerry