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Mozilla Firefox will support Chrome extensions, and will have multi-process support for Tabs
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Mozilla Firefox will support Chrome extensions, and will have multi-process support for Tabs

by AshwinAugust 22, 2015

Mozilla has announced something, which no user would have anticipated.

Mozilla-Firefox-40.0.2

The browser maker says that Firefox will add support for Chrome extensions.

Let’s see how this could impact users. Mozilla has launched a new API called, WebExtensions. This allows add-on developers to make their extension compatible with Chrome and Opera browsers. Since it is easier to make cross-platform extensions, more developers are likely to use the new API, to port their non-Firefox extension, to work in the browser.

Of course, this also means developers will have to re-code their work, to make the extensions compatible with WebExtensions. Oh yes, and this does remind me of Microsoft Edge’s extensions, support for which should be made available in October’s Windows Threshold 2 Update. The Redmond Company has provided tools for developers to port addons and extensions, from Firefox and Chrome.

Electrolysis aka multi-process Firefox:

If you have ever wished that Mozilla would actually listen to users, and make its existing browser better, say for example, the memory leaks which have been plaguing Firefox for several years now, we have some good news for you. Mozilla is going to switch to a tech called Electrolysis.

This works similar to how Chrome handles tabs, it places them each in its own individual process. You may have noticed this when you open a few tabs, and fins several instances of Chrome running under the Task Manager’s process tab. Neowin suggests this may also apply to the new “extensions”, and Firefox will be more RAM friendly. Mozilla says Firefox will be more secure and stable thanks to Elecrolysis.

And with that comes some bad news as well. Electrolysis reportedly will negate some existing add-ons, which will require developers to rewrite their app. This is not going to be helped by the fact that Mozilla is retiring support for XPCOM and XUL plugins. Liliputing reports that at least one developer (who makes the popular add-on DownThemAll) has announced he will quit developing his add-on for Firefox if  the more flexible XUL is depricated.

I find it amusing that Mozilla is throwing its doors open for Chrome extensions, while slamming the door in the face of existing third party extensions, in the name of security. Beginning with Firefox 41, which is due to be rolled out next month, all unsigned add-ons, i.e., those which aren’t verified by Mozilla will be disabled by default. Users will however be able to disable this signature verification setting, until Firefox 42 is released, after which this option will be removed from the Stable version of the browser.

All these announcements seems like desperate moves, as Mozilla battles (read struggles) to retain existing users, let alone gain new ones.

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