Mozilla Firefox will not enforce add-on signing until Firefox 44 is released
Mozilla has postponed the enforcement of its add-on signing rule until Firefox 44 is released later this year.
The mandatory signing of add-ons was originally scheduled to be enforced with version 39 of the browser, but it was postponed to Firefox 40.
As you may be aware it wasn’t shipped with Firefox 40 either, and was further pushed to 41, then to 42,. This was supposed to be included as an optional feature in v41, meaning the user could disable the check for add-on signing, and install unsigned ones. This would be removed in Firefox 42, which would have made it a mandatory rule, blocking any and all unsigned add-ons.
But now it appears that the feature will not make its initial debut until Mozilla Firefox 43 is released, which will have it as an optional feature. Firefox 44 will be the first version with mandatory add-on signing enforced in it.
I have criticized this move, as it is likely that some third party add-ons are likely to be blocked. This includes add-ons which come with premium software. For e.g.: Kaspersky Internet Security 2016’s add-ons are unsigned. And unless Kaspersky submits the add-on to Mozilla for approval, it will not be signed, which renders the add-on useless, and prevents the user from taking advantage of the advanced security options it offers.
However it seems to be likely that Kaspersky will upload an extension to Mozilla’s add-on repository, just like it did with its Google Chrome Extension. Yes, Mozilla seems to be following Google Chrome’s footsteps, as the Mountain View company began blocking non- Chrome Webstore extensions, starting from May 2015. But not every developer will go throught the effort of submitting their add-on to Mozilla, and so, the possibility of some add-ons dying are likely to happen.
Mozilla will soon switch to a different API for add-ons, which is called WebExtensions. This move is to make the developer’s job easier as they can make their extension cross-browser compatible, including Chrome and Opera. This has already drawn flak from some popular developers, due to the huge downside of re-writing the entire add-on to be compatible with the new API.
Mozilla is also making a major change in Firefox by adding support for its new memory management technology called Electrolysis. This will make Firefox use individual processes for each of its tabs, much akin to how Chrome does it. This also comes at the cost of using new plugins, which is reportedly not flexible as the older ones.
You can view the new Add-On Signing details here.