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Mozilla confirms that it is removing FTP support from Firefox
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Mozilla confirms that it is removing FTP support from Firefox

by AshwinOctober 27, 2015

Mozilla is going to make an important change to its browser, Firefox, and you may not like it.

Mozilla to remove FTP support from Firefox

The browser maker is on the verge of dropping out support for FTP.

In case you aren’t aware what that is, it stands for File Transfer Protocol. BetaNews broke the news about FTP support being dropped from the browser, when it spotted a listing at the bug tracker page. The report shows that Bug 1174462, which has the ominous title “Remove built-in support for FTP”.

The removal of FTP from Firefox was officially confirmed by Mozilla’s Senior Director of Engineering, Doug Turner who posted the following comment at the bug tracker page.

        The concern over FTP is that it is not secure by default. That is, when you download something over FTP, the transfer isn’t secret. There are some improvements to FTP that address this problem, but many users have moved away from using FTP to using https. The point of this bug was to do the research and provide a case for removing this older protocol with a sensible transition plan.

It is unclear as to which version of Firefox, Mozilla plans to remove FTP support from. Interestingly, Turner  posted a link to the Google Chrome issue tracker which also mentions that the Mountain View company is removing support for FTP. The intention is not clear, but it appears that Mozilla could be blindly following Google’s footsteps

Of course, you could still use an add-on like FireFTP and still get FTP working in Firefox, providing they will still work. Although in this digital age, people tend to use standalone FTP clients, which offer more features.

Nevertheless, it is still very disappointing to see Mozilla killing off basic features, which still have some users. The browser maker announced earlier this month, that it would be ending support for NPAPI plugins next year, except for Adobe Flash, which is still the most popular for of web content, despite the plugin’s insecurities.

Mozilla will also enable mandatory signing of add-ons, to ensure the security of users, but the move requires developers to submit their add-ons to Mozilla’s extension repository. The browser maker is also moving to a new API for add-ons, to cross platform WebExtensions, which requires the developer to re-write their code from scratch, which could result in some popular add-ons being killed.

For a browser which currently sits in third place behind Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, the last thing that Firefox needs is to lose users, which unfortunately looks to be inevitable with all these features being done away with.

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