Flagfox 5.1 released

Flagfox 5.1 is now released and available for download and update. Major changes include a switch to HTTPS for the main default actions (most others were already HTTPS), a greatly reduced installer/update size, and support for Firefox Reader Mode.

Mozilla is now signing all addons hosted on their site, but the code signer unfortunately has horrible ZIP compression for its XPI repacker, so it bloated up the prior versions’ file sizes by around 20%. The optimizations in this update compensate for that, though Mozilla has said that they would like to fix their general issue eventually as well.

Full changelog for this update:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for June 2015
  • IPDB files now encoded in a new compressed format, saving space & some memory
  • Locale files now JARed for better compression & simpler code sign verification
  • Updated Geotool and Whois actions to HTTPS (default flag click & middle-click)
  • Added support for Firefox 38+ Reader Mode
  • Minor flag icon set updates
  • Switched to newer “drop” event naming to maintain compatibility
  • Dropped support for Gecko 17-23 based browsers
    -> This Flagfox version supports Firefox 24+ and SeaMonkey 2.21+
    -> Recommended minimum version is Firefox 38+

Flagfox now requires a minimum of Firefox 24, however Firefox 38 or later is highly recommended. (download current Firefox here or ESR here) Current development versions are also supported.

Flagfox 5.0.6 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.6 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

Changelog for this month’s update:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for August 2014
  • Added e10s support for JS actions and improved form field handling
  • Significantly reduced usage of CPOWs under e10s (none on page load now)
  • Multiprocess Firefox now fully supported (new install.rdf flag set to true)

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Flagfox 5.0.4 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.4 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

Changelog for this month’s update:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for June 2014
  • Flag icon updates
  • Added support for form field actions under e10s
  • Updated TLD mismatch warning country code whitelist
  • Updated Validate.nu action to use new URL (old is down)
  • Minor startup improvements

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Flagfox 5.0.3 update released

I have posted Flagfox 5.0.3 to Mozilla Add-ons. After a Mozilla editor signs off, the update will be available to all users, however you can download it before then via the all versions page.

This update contains the IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for May 2014. A few people have been reporting what appears to be a wrong flag for some connections to Google on some occasions. Either Maxmind’s database is/was out of date or that’s just where Google has one of their many servers now. If this update shows the same issue, please feel free to bring it up on the Flagfox forum. However, please remember that I do not personally maintain a map of the entire Internet; Maxmind does that.

As of the 1st of this month, the survey link that was shown as well as the 5.0 first run page are no longer shown and have been removed from this version. There’s also a minor fix for the new form field actions in this update, but it likely affected nobody.

Current software requires current software

A few years ago I got rambling obscenity laden hate mail because Flagfox didn’t support a version of Firefox that ran on Windows 98SE anymore. There is a select group of people out there that don’t grasp that software running in software running in software would depend on other updates in its updates. No, sorry, I cannot support an operating system older than people capable of hacking it.

In order to get Flagfox updating without Firefox restarts (as well as fix some other issues) I need to support a minimum of Firefox 17. This is two Mozilla Extended Support Releases back; the current ESR is Firefox 24.

Around 2013, Mozilla stopped supporting Windows 2000 and Mac OS X 10.5. (see here for OS support table) At some point the line has to be drawn, and that’s where it ended up. Firefox 17+ just isn’t going to run on OSes that old. Honestly, supporting an operating system for 13 years is kind of astonishing if you think about it. They really do give massive leeway here, but it can’t be forever.

Mozilla also dropped support for old versions of Windows XP around the same time, however these users can simply update to Windows XP SP3 which is likely to be supported for quite some time. Windows 2003 is in a similar situation; update to at least SP1. You should be able to use the normal Windows Update system to do this.

What to do with old computers?

First, the lecture: If you are running an operating system that is no longer supported with security updates you are a danger to yourself and others. If this is your fault, you will not get sympathy from me. Yes, you might be forced to buy a new computer or upgrade your OS yourself, but that’s better than adding to the population of hacked machines used for criminal activities. If it’s not your fault because the computer in question is a company computer, it’s time to gather your coworkers to petition your employer about unsafe working conditions. (computer/network maintenance negligence is not a joke)

If you do have control over the computer in question it’s probably time to upgrade. You generally have the option of installing a newer version of Windows / Mac OS X, installing Linux (e.g. Ubuntu), or buying a new computer. This is just a generic tech support recommendation, however. Do not email me asking for help updating your computer.

If you are running Mac OS X 10.5 on PowerPC hardware, you unfortunately have fewer options. There is a fork of Firefox ESR for PPC called TenFourFox that might be an option for you. (I cannot stress how much emphasis I put on the word “might” here) If you get this working, please contact me as I would really like to know how well this works for you. Updating your OS is not an option as Apple abandoned this old CPU architecture shortly after your hardware was made and they don’t provide new OS versions for it anymore. Linux also might be an option for you. Sadly, with Apple, they really just want you to buy a new computer.

Please don’t send me angry emails about how horrible it is that your old box doesn’t work with anything new anymore. We live in an era of rapid technological advancement and you’re just going to have to deal with the simple fact that new stuff will depend on new stuff in order to work.

To answer the obvious question, no, I will not be putting out branch updates for the old 4.2.x version either. I’m not entirely against this concept, however the Mozilla Add-ons site/system doesn’t really support this in any practical way.

Things I’ve learned from the survey thus far

I have a survey link in the Flagfox icon menu for the current version to get some stats and info about Flagfox actions usage, sync, and some of the services involved here. All submissions are anonymous and I will not be posting raw data, but here are a few interesting things I have learned from this experiment thus far. Note that this survey is not otherwise advertised, so this is a survey of more advanced users. (which is intentional)
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