On Forks

A few people asked me what my opinion is of the various Firefox forks that are becoming more popular after Mozilla screwed up. Rather than write my own explanation, I just found someone else’s blog post from last week that says pretty much the same thing, so I’m just going to point to that instead. I don’t normally read How-To Geek, but this explanation from Chris Hoffman is quite good. TL;DR: Firefox 52 ESR is the better recommendation.

Note that Flagfox does generally run in forks and I am occasionally releasing 5.2.x updates, regardless of if I recommend people use forks or not.


Flagfox 6.0.2 and 5.2.4 updates released

Flagfox 6.0.2 for Firefox 57+ has been released and is available for update and download from AMO. (Firefox 56 has partial support and this update may be downloaded and installed manually) Flagfox 5.2.4 has also been released for Firefox 52 ESR, SeaMonkey, and Firefox forks based on older Gecko versions (or at least anything newer than Firefox 24). Mozilla has banned legacy XUL/XPCOM addons on AMO, thus you’ll need to install it manually after downloading it here. The installer is not signed, thus you will need to set xpinstall.signatures.required=false in about:config (Firefox 52 ESR required; will not work in 56). Note that dual branch updates like this will not be provided indefinitely. I will re-evaluate whether to continue after the Firefox 52 ESR EOL.

Flagfox 6.0.2 changelog:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for February 2018
  • Added ability to handle raw IPs when webRequest API provides no IP
  • Minor optimizations
  • Minor JS updates to use some newer syntax, where applicable
  • Tweaked startup to ensure there’s always at least one menu item enabled
  • Reverted crossed-out HTTPS tag to “INSECURE HTTP” due to issues on some platforms

Flagfox 5.2.4 changelog:

  • IPv4 & IPv6 address location database updates for February 2018

I had originally intended to backport a specific bugfix for drag/drop functionality in the options dialog from 6.0.x to handle a changed API, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mozilla had actually fixed the compatibility breakage on their end in the interim, at least for the time being. (Unfortunately, I discovered this only after I went to write and test it, thus wasting some time…) Please only use the latest Firefox ESR release.

Note that Firefox forks that are not based on Firefox 52 ESR or Firefox 57+ are not considered fully supported, though they should probably work fine, for now. (meaning I will not be fixing fork-specific bugs in 5.2.x) It is highly recommended you stop using anything based on such old code as soon as possible. Forks that do not eventually implement proper WebExtension support will not be supported indefinitely. Official SeaMonkey support may be re-added in the future once they have full WebExtension support (aka aren’t based on Firefox 52 ESR anymore). Continuing to support legacy addons in addition to WebExtensions is one thing, but asking developers to continue supporting two completely different APIs forever is extremely unrealistic.

Edited to add:
The 5.2.4 update is served over HTTPS with HSTS, but seeing as I don’t own that server, here’s a SHA2-256 hash for the paranoid: a8bc496c9bc70650c17378c71f9379f13cb0f4a1795d74fd706dbbac9e0ff5ea