I sometimes feel like Mozilla knows exactly what features I love and then they go one by one and remove them (or make them only accessible through about:config) because "nobody use this anyways", then you see threads with hundreds of other users asking to please put the feature back and finally some bugzilla administrator locking the thread because "it's not the right place for this kind of discussions"...
I still miss vimperator and a few other XUL era add-ons by the way.
I have telemetry disabled, but I would be happy to answer surveys for them. I've done so multiple times in the past. Surveys used to be the standard method for gathering user feedback, but they've fallen out of favor. Now everyone wants to do everything using telemetry and other automated data gathering. I wish surveys were utilized more often these days. Talk to your users!
Which ones (honest question)? I know gathering data with questionnaires. But asking people is a hard problem. "Do you want a faster browser", "do you want more choice in the UI" will lead to a all yes result. If you ask open questions you need much more time to answer the questionnaire and much more time to interpret the data.
Field studies and usability testing are some techniques that can be used when you want to discover novel needs and not just minmax existing implementations. Shit is hard because it takes tons of work and you have to have the organizational maturity to accept difficult changes.
tl;dr Telemetry indicates ALSA is no longer used. Firefox removes ALSA. Said Firefox version reaches release. Audio completely stops working for all users of some distros...that were yanking out the Telemetry.
Jews make up about 0.1% of the world's population. If I were to operate a store and deliberately exclude Jews from being able to shop there, would you not defend them? They can choose to adhere to the teachings of a different prophet just like you can install a different distro.
I'd love to know why. Mozilla has made a change that has no other effect than excluding 0.1% of their userbase. No end users were benefited by the removal of ALSA support, but "only" 0.1% were excluded. I've put 0.1% into perspective.
>No end users were benefited by the removal of ALSA support
Don't be dishonest.
Maintaining things requires time and effort. Time and effort are limited resources.
* Nobody was maintaining ALSA support
* Nobody from the community stepped up and offered to maintain ALSA support to prevent it from being removed
* The ALSA backend poked a massive hole in their sandbox, which hurts users. Rewriting the ALSA backend to make it compatible with sandboxing would have required a lot of time and effort for little payoff. That hurts users by wasting developer time that could have been spent more productively.
* You cannot compare a Free Software project removing support for something that nobody volunteered to maintain to anti-semitic persecution, don't be ridiculous. If Gentoo (or whoever) wants to keep ALSA support then they can carry the patch to do so.
> I sometimes feel like Mozilla knows exactly what features I love and then they go one by one and remove them [...] because "nobody use this anyways"
It sounds like the bus network reorganisations in the city where I used to work. They killed my usual route, by shutting down one line; so I had to resort to a backup route, where the travelling conditions on the last part were horrible at peak hour and during holidays. And 2 or 3 years after that, they modified one line of the backup route (the first part), so that the buses of that line also had to go through an horrible motorway interchange which is always locked at peak hour. After the second change, I had to wonder if they wished me harm :-)
Perhaps it looks better now on an organisational map. But they have suppressed lines and possibilities of transfers, thus possibilities of choosing a route that suits you, and concentrated the traffic on some main lines which were already heavily loaded. Yeah, there are definitely some common points.
Apparently this is in preparation for the new "Proton UI", which is one of those things the design teams in big companies do to justify their existence.
I just downloaded Nightly, which already has the Proton UI, and indeed compact mode is hidden behind an about:config option and it's a bit taller than the one featured in the current UI. I really can't fathom why this has to be the case.
Well you'll be surprised what garbage Nightly surprised me with today . Seemingly the goal is to remove anything that would let users distinguish UI elements based on habit and visual familarity. When did Safari last change how their tab bar works? Mozilla changes it every year now, planless and clueless. Are there no bigger issues to solve in Firefox?
I mean, just remove compact mode if you don't want to maintain it, but playing around after removing it invalidates any excuse that has something to do with reducing maintenance burden.
I'm a longtime Firefox user, but I only found out about compact mode from the discussion on HN when it was first announced it would be removed. I've been using it since and really like it. Can't help wondering whether many more people would be using it if they knew about it.
Given that many screens these days are either 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio, it makes sense to try and minimize the amount of vertical space/rows of pixels used up by the user interface. Screens these days have much more horizontal space to spare than vertical space. Compact mode increases the amount of content that can be displayed on the screen. I like that.
I use compact mode with tree style tabs and the tab bar completely hidden. I’m already editing the config to get there but it wasn’t hard for me to find the compact mode.
If the argument is that users can’t find it shouldn’t the solution be to make it easier to find? Perhaps that’s not the problem and future UI changes are making managing multiple modes more work for designers.
I had read on a previous HN thread that Mozilla intends to remove compact density completely. It’s not functionally unusable, but boy is it irritating to have most of your screen taken up by OS border, window header, Firefox toolbars, the website header/navbar, and some obligatory ads & marketing.
I wonder if this kind of experimental approach just leads to software slowly getting worse and worse over time, in many small steps.
I feel like human response to changes like this isn't linear: make a thing slightly worse, and most people won't be annoyed enough to do the research, find and change the setting. If it's not a huge step back they'll just live with it, and maybe complain to their IT-savy friend, who will just nod and say "I know".
On the other hand, people doing the experiment will see that most of their test subjects don't switch away from the change - mission accomplished, full steam ahead!
> According to the bug tracker the plan is to run an experiment
There's a bug on file suggesting an experiment. Whether there is a plan to actually run one is another matter. (I don't know the answer; just wanted to point out that issues in bugzilla are not by themselves evidence of product plans.)
> the plan is to run an experiment (including defaulting Compact mode) and see which combinations are actually retained by users
Moving the compact mode setting into the same space as the telemetry switches not included in about:preferences#privacy seems like a great way to cook the statistics.
Hanlon's Razor only stretches so far. It's become an established pattern of hiding a feature over next to the telemetry switches, explaining that they'd measure the results with lazy load telemetry - gently defining an unspoken void that's shaped a lot like "well if they wanted the feature maybe they shouldn't have turned off telemetry?".
It isn't just "still common", depending on the stats you find it is either the first or the second most popular for desktops and laptops with 1920x1080 the next most common - and the next few resolutions that follow are actually lower than 1920x1080 (eg. 1440x900). The next higher desktop resolution, 2560x1440, is rarely above single low digits (~3%), assuming it even registers.
That was when they first started requiring all extensions/add-ons to be signed by Mozilla before allowing them to be used in your browser. From that point on users couldn't edit their installed extensions or use extensions from outside the pool of Moz approved ones.
And yes, I know that some linux Distros that believe in software freedom have negotiated to be able to provide Firefox without this lock-down (ie, Debian), and that if you use the well hidden unbranded builds available in no repos it's possible too.
But 37 was when Moz decided that users shouldn't get a choice and it's been downhill ever since.
It is not acceptable to suggest using an alpha/beta as a main daily driver. You may not encounter bugs but they certainly do exist. There's a reason that the developer edition is not the release edition. And yes, developer edition is an alpha/beta. Specifically it's the renamed aurora channel which was the renamed alpha. But these days it functions as more of a beta.
FWIW i've been using developer edition for a long while now so that i can run my own extensions without having to ask for Mozilla's permission and never had any issues. The main annoyance is that it wants to update every other day but that is a minor thing.
I'm curious, what operating system do you use? Because I have run into a lot of developer edition crashes on linux over the years re: webgl and all that fancy stuff that isn't normally enabled in release.
I think it's quite reasonable to suggest power users to use such a specific version. Especially as the signing is presumably to prevent non-power users from getting malicious ones, which is a real problem. As you admit, the Developer edition is very stable and from the name targeted at exactly the kind of people that want to run their custom extensions. It's not like Minefield nightlies back in the day!
I posted this piece with the usual outrage (I feel strongly about compact mode), but today I installed it in Windows Sandbox and can see very little difference, to be honest, between compact mode and normal mode.
That said I agree with comments in this thread to the effect that the option will be removed from about:config in short order, and so don't know what my solution to the problem will be.