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how to re-enable disabled legacy add-ons in ESR? + open letter to Mozilla re broken accessibility in 57

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After getting unexpectedly stung as a visually impaired user by a forced upgrade to Firefox 57, I installed Firefox ESR 52 in a separate (Windows) Program Files directory (keeping the existing 57 installation). However, with ESR 52 using my existing profile even though all seems to be well, all my vital legacy add-ons still remain disabled, without any Enable button (just a Remove button) next to each of them in the add-on manager.

Q. Does anyone know how I can get the ESR version to see my disabled legacy add-ons as re-enabled?

(Now to reach out to Mozilla ...)

There is a seriously disastrous side to Mozilla's decision to shove Firefox 57 on unsuspecting users, especially those who are disabled or visually impaired and thus need various visual accessibility add-ons to work, and customise the UI - legacy or not - ... to this they don't seem to have given due consideration.

There are many users out there with a whole range of different visual impairments and user interface accessibility needs, who have been faithful users of Firefox for a very long time - and they use Firefox as opposed to the other mainstream browsers for the very reason what has set it apart from a usability perspective - the high level of customisability of the user interface and the ability of a wide range of accessibility add-ons to enable the disabled user to tweak it to his / her complex / custom needs.

Personally - I have a complex neurologically based persistent light sensitivity and visual disorder related to chronic migraines that is not catered by the the usual user interface accessibility tick box solutions. (see LightAware - http://lightaware.org - representing an example of just one facet of people with a complex light sensitive / visual related disability that also impairs their access to using computer screens and certain user interfaces. Also look up Irlen Syndrome / Visual Stress, Photosensitive Epilepsy, Photosensitive Migraines, Autism light sensitivity, Dyslexia light sensitivity, and many others). Colour blindness can also pose great User Interface accessibility challenges.

There are many of us out there with very many different visual handicaps - we are not blind needing screen readers, or necessarily partially sighted as such, but have user interface accessibility needs that require a great level of customisability of the UI. I am very sensitive to light, with a visual impairment which has some similarities to meares-irlen syndrome or visual stress. So I need to use a specific colour of green text, with a pure black background, for visual comfort and keeping away a migraine attack - which Firefox's built in settings and themes don't cater for.

I'm a software developer, but there are many disabled people out there with complex visual needs who are not technical at all and rely on a whole host of accessibility add-ons to customise both the way web content is adapted when displayed in the browser and the user interface "chrome" itself.

(I know a lot about the visual accessibility needs for light sensitive people - environmental, digital or UI - so feel free to ask me questions on this. I'm on the wider team of the LightAware Charity cited above.)

These complex or bespoke needs are not just wanting something in the UI to look a certain way for aesthetic reasons, or just for the hang of it, or to be able to use the screen in dark mode at night. These are absolutely critical needs, not whimsical wants.

I have thus learnt to use a vast number of different Firefox accessibility add-ons over many years which have enabled me to make the Firefox UI comfortable to use for my visual needs and enabled me to use / read the web without getting migraines and other ill symptoms from certain icons, images, light scroll bars, too many stripes, or uncomfortable colours, too tightly spaced text, bright buttons, hard coded white background UI widgets, and a long list of UI foo-bars.

So knowing that Firefox 57 would rock my world, I turned off automatic updates for both the browser and add-ons. BUT, it all updated on me at the worst possible time anyway! When I had a bad central heating water leak coming down into my kitchen and needed to look up an emergency plumber super quick ... Mozilla obviously decided in their wisdom that I needed their super quick and secure Quantum 57 version to do this!, ... and it all got updated, all my add-ons too - disabling all my tried and tested legacy accessibility add-ons of many years ... leaving me with a Firefox that I couldn't see web pages on without great discomfort, and vital features of surviving add-ons in new WebExtension clothes now glaringly missing. ... and yes, my kitchen was being leaked all over during my Mozilla surprise.

I've spent several days of wasted time to get Firefox 57 usable for my needs. Yet, I'm still struggling with it. Yes, I have found WebExtension based add-ons that kind of do a little of what I want, but not how I need it to be able to use the browser and see web page content properly from an accessibility point of view. I'm behind on many things now because I can't use the web because version 57 broke my web world.

The built in Firefox 57 dark theme is still uncomfortable for me and I can't use it - I need something that I can tweak to my exact needs. (The Classic Theme Restorer add-on did this for me - but it no longer works now). I need the Options, Config and Customisation screens to all have a completely dark background (with no white / bright images) - otherwise I can't see / use those screens comfortably. The Firefox option to replace all colours on web pages with specified colours renders too many things invisible on too many web pages to make it usable for me.

I really wanted to give Firefox 57 a good go being a technical / software developer person, but it's cut add-ons down to the knees. e.g. Web Extension Toolbar was a staple part of my accessibility armoury. Now it does only a fraction of what it could do before. No Hide or Make Images invisible features anymore and others. What's the problem with add-ons having their own toolbars or context menu's I ask?

Part of my vital visual accessibility add-ons armoury were

a. Web Developer Toolbar

Most of the vital accessibility features I needed to tweak content are now gone - and you have to keep on going to the Add-on's option in the Add-on manager to change it's settings (what? and why?)

b. Blank Your Monitor (legacy - disabled)

  • Firefox's built in Options - Content - Colours - override colours settings ... strips out too much and renders too many things invisible on many web pages.
  • Dark Background and Light Text add-on - does not do things as I need them to be

Blank Your Monitor did exactly what I needed to see web page content without eye pain, migraines and especially distracting / dazzling bright images etc. The developer unfortunately is still trying to see how to do various things the add-on did before with the heavily restrictive WebExtension API.

c. Classic Theme Restorer (legacy - disabled)

This was absolutely vital for me to enable me to tweak parts of the standard Firefox UI that without it's various UI tweaks make it uncomfortable for me to use

d. NewScrollBars (legacy - disabled)

absolutely vital for my accessibility needs. I find the standard scroll bar at the right too uncomfortable for my visual needs. This add-on enabled me to tweak the foreground and background colours of the scroll bar area to exactly to what I needed for visual comfort.

e. Hide Tab Bar (legacy - disabled)

with my visual sensitivities to colours, stripes, contrast and others, being able to hide and temporarily display the tab bar was vital for visual clarity and to eliminate visual distraction and discomfort.

f. Hide Address Bar (legacy - disabled) ... same as above

g. Colour Transform (legacy - disabled)

This vital add-on enabled me to select and adjust hue, contrast, brightness (and many others on troublesome images and other web) content, that I still needed see to make sense of web pages (and not having to disable them completely to get visual comfort)

h. Hide all images (legacy - disabled)

Yes - there are alternatives which I've already tried, - none doing for me as well as the way in which this one did

I think that Mozilla have made some fundamental mistakes with this major release. Yes, it's good to be innovative, yes - a nice fast rendering engine is cool, security? - well I've been using Firefox from version 1 (and Netscape before that since 1995) and I've NEVER had any security problems or add-ons doing nasty things to my browser. The WebExtensions API is TOO restrictive on add-ons. Add-ons need to be able to do useful things to the user interface and web content to add value and accessibility.

At the end of the day, - for people with complex visual impairments / disabilities (in the VERY least) all we want is the ability to use the internet, and be able to read web content - especially without headaches, pain, migraines or various other ill health symptoms, using a web browser with a UI that's sufficiently "adaptable" and "customisable" to our needs. We had that - and Mozilla - you broke it. ... and for many disabled or visually impaired people who don't possess JavaScript or CSS wizardry skills, add-ons need to be able to do the UI and clever web content tweaking for them. Period.

I'm hoping for 2 things please:

1. Mozilla to realise they've seriously missed the boat with version 57 regarding the vastly reduced ability that it now impairs vital accessibility add-ons with - and to get this right.

2. For us to find a seamless and easy route for people who have been stung with Firefox 57 to be able to downgrade back down to Firefox ESR 52 or 56, with no risk, loss of data or functionality - most importantly, with all the disabled legacy add-ons re-enabled.

(end of note to Mozilla)

After getting unexpectedly stung as a visually impaired user by a forced upgrade to Firefox 57, I installed Firefox ESR 52 in a separate (Windows) Program Files directory (keeping the existing 57 installation). However, with ESR 52 using my existing profile even though all seems to be well, all my vital legacy add-ons still remain disabled, without any Enable button (just a Remove button) next to each of them in the add-on manager. Q. Does anyone know how I can get the ESR version to see my disabled legacy add-ons as re-enabled? (Now to reach out to Mozilla ...) There is a seriously disastrous side to Mozilla's decision to shove Firefox 57 on unsuspecting users, especially those who are disabled or visually impaired and thus need various visual accessibility add-ons to work, and customise the UI - legacy or not - ... to this they don't seem to have given due consideration. There are many users out there with a whole range of different visual impairments and user interface accessibility needs, who have been faithful users of Firefox for a very long time - and they use Firefox as opposed to the other mainstream browsers for the very reason what has set it apart from a usability perspective - the high level of customisability of the user interface and the ability of a wide range of accessibility add-ons to enable the disabled user to tweak it to his / her complex / custom needs. Personally - I have a complex neurologically based persistent light sensitivity and visual disorder related to chronic migraines that is not catered by the the usual user interface accessibility tick box solutions. (see LightAware - http://lightaware.org - representing an example of just one facet of people with a complex light sensitive / visual related disability that also impairs their access to using computer screens and certain user interfaces. Also look up Irlen Syndrome / Visual Stress, Photosensitive Epilepsy, Photosensitive Migraines, Autism light sensitivity, Dyslexia light sensitivity, and many others). Colour blindness can also pose great User Interface accessibility challenges. There are many of us out there with very many different visual handicaps - we are not blind needing screen readers, or necessarily partially sighted as such, but have user interface accessibility needs that require a great level of customisability of the UI. I am very sensitive to light, with a visual impairment which has some similarities to meares-irlen syndrome or visual stress. So I need to use a specific colour of green text, with a pure black background, for visual comfort and keeping away a migraine attack - which Firefox's built in settings and themes don't cater for. I'm a software developer, but there are many disabled people out there with complex visual needs who are not technical at all and rely on a whole host of accessibility add-ons to customise both the way web content is adapted when displayed in the browser and the user interface "chrome" itself. (I know a lot about the visual accessibility needs for light sensitive people - environmental, digital or UI - so feel free to ask me questions on this. I'm on the wider team of the LightAware Charity cited above.) These complex or bespoke needs are not just wanting something in the UI to look a certain way for aesthetic reasons, or just for the hang of it, or to be able to use the screen in dark mode at night. These are absolutely critical needs, not whimsical wants. I have thus learnt to use a vast number of different Firefox accessibility add-ons over many years which have enabled me to make the Firefox UI comfortable to use for my visual needs and enabled me to use / read the web without getting migraines and other ill symptoms from certain icons, images, light scroll bars, too many stripes, or uncomfortable colours, too tightly spaced text, bright buttons, hard coded white background UI widgets, and a long list of UI foo-bars. So knowing that Firefox 57 would rock my world, I turned off automatic updates for both the browser and add-ons. BUT, it all updated on me at the worst possible time anyway! When I had a bad central heating water leak coming down into my kitchen and needed to look up an emergency plumber super quick ... Mozilla obviously decided in their wisdom that I needed their super quick and secure Quantum 57 version to do this!, ... and it all got updated, all my add-ons too - disabling all my tried and tested legacy accessibility add-ons of many years ... leaving me with a Firefox that I couldn't see web pages on without great discomfort, and vital features of surviving add-ons in new WebExtension clothes now glaringly missing. ... and yes, my kitchen was being leaked all over during my Mozilla surprise. I've spent several days of wasted time to get Firefox 57 usable for my needs. Yet, I'm still struggling with it. Yes, I have found WebExtension based add-ons that kind of do a little of what I want, but not how I need it to be able to use the browser and see web page content properly from an accessibility point of view. I'm behind on many things now because I can't use the web because version 57 broke my web world. The built in Firefox 57 dark theme is still uncomfortable for me and I can't use it - I need something that I can tweak to my exact needs. (The Classic Theme Restorer add-on did this for me - but it no longer works now). I need the Options, Config and Customisation screens to all have a completely dark background (with no white / bright images) - otherwise I can't see / use those screens comfortably. The Firefox option to replace all colours on web pages with specified colours renders too many things invisible on too many web pages to make it usable for me. I really wanted to give Firefox 57 a good go being a technical / software developer person, but it's cut add-ons down to the knees. e.g. Web Extension Toolbar was a staple part of my accessibility armoury. Now it does only a fraction of what it could do before. No Hide or Make Images invisible features anymore and others. What's the problem with add-ons having their own toolbars or context menu's I ask? Part of my vital visual accessibility add-ons armoury were a. Web Developer Toolbar Most of the vital accessibility features I needed to tweak content are now gone - and you have to keep on going to the Add-on's option in the Add-on manager to change it's settings (what? and why?) b. Blank Your Monitor (legacy - disabled) * Firefox's built in Options - Content - Colours - override colours settings ... strips out too much and renders too many things invisible on many web pages. * Dark Background and Light Text add-on - does not do things as I need them to be Blank Your Monitor did exactly what I needed to see web page content without eye pain, migraines and especially distracting / dazzling bright images etc. The developer unfortunately is still trying to see how to do various things the add-on did before with the heavily restrictive WebExtension API. c. Classic Theme Restorer (legacy - disabled) This was absolutely vital for me to enable me to tweak parts of the standard Firefox UI that without it's various UI tweaks make it uncomfortable for me to use d. NewScrollBars (legacy - disabled) absolutely vital for my accessibility needs. I find the standard scroll bar at the right too uncomfortable for my visual needs. This add-on enabled me to tweak the foreground and background colours of the scroll bar area to exactly to what I needed for visual comfort. e. Hide Tab Bar (legacy - disabled) with my visual sensitivities to colours, stripes, contrast and others, being able to hide and temporarily display the tab bar was vital for visual clarity and to eliminate visual distraction and discomfort. f. Hide Address Bar (legacy - disabled) ... same as above g. Colour Transform (legacy - disabled) This vital add-on enabled me to select and adjust hue, contrast, brightness (and many others on troublesome images and other web) content, that I still needed see to make sense of web pages (and not having to disable them completely to get visual comfort) h. Hide all images (legacy - disabled) Yes - there are alternatives which I've already tried, - none doing for me as well as the way in which this one did I think that Mozilla have made some fundamental mistakes with this major release. Yes, it's good to be innovative, yes - a nice fast rendering engine is cool, security? - well I've been using Firefox from version 1 (and Netscape before that since 1995) and I've NEVER had any security problems or add-ons doing nasty things to my browser. The WebExtensions API is TOO restrictive on add-ons. Add-ons need to be able to do useful things to the user interface and web content to add value and accessibility. At the end of the day, - for people with complex visual impairments / disabilities (in the VERY least) all we want is the ability to use the internet, and be able to read web content - especially without headaches, pain, migraines or various other ill health symptoms, using a web browser with a UI that's sufficiently "adaptable" and "customisable" to our needs. We had that - and Mozilla - you broke it. ... and for many disabled or visually impaired people who don't possess JavaScript or CSS wizardry skills, add-ons need to be able to do the UI and clever web content tweaking for them. Period. I'm hoping for 2 things please: 1. Mozilla to realise they've seriously missed the boat with version 57 regarding the vastly reduced ability that it now impairs vital accessibility add-ons with - and to get this right. 2. For us to find a seamless and easy route for people who have been stung with Firefox 57 to be able to downgrade back down to Firefox ESR 52 or 56, with no risk, loss of data or functionality - most importantly, with all the disabled legacy add-ons re-enabled. (end of note to Mozilla)

Modified by nicciglen

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  • The QuickTime Plugin allows you to view a wide variety of multimedia content in Web pages. For more information, visit the QuickTime Web site.
  • Shockwave Flash 27.0 r0

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More Information

FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
3591 solutions 49050 answers

Helpful Reply

With Firefox 57, some add-ons were only disabled while others were removed.

When running more than one version of Firefox, it is best to use more than one profile.

With Firefox 57, some add-ons were only disabled while others were removed. When running more than one version of Firefox, it is best to use more than one profile.
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the-edmeister
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
5238 solutions 38715 answers

Helpful Reply

nicciglen

Are you aware of Access Firefox? http://www.accessfirefox.org/

Being that you are a software developer, that group might be able to use your talents to help solve some of the issues that you posted here about. http://www.accessfirefox.org/About-Access-Firefox.php

'''nicciglen''' Are you aware of Access Firefox? http://www.accessfirefox.org/ Being that you are a software developer, that group might be able to use your talents to help solve some of the issues that you posted here about. http://www.accessfirefox.org/About-Access-Firefox.php
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JohnTucker 1 solutions 5 answers

I am also seriously unhappy at the new version of firefox, which - after downgrading - still disables my essential addons.

Could someone please tell me the latest LEGACY version of firefox prior to the updates, as i'm going to have to do a completely fresh install,

thanks

I am also seriously unhappy at the new version of firefox, which - after downgrading - still disables my essential addons. Could someone please tell me the latest LEGACY version of firefox prior to the updates, as i'm going to have to do a completely fresh install, thanks
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FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
3591 solutions 49050 answers

First, Type about:preferences#advanced<enter> in the address bar. Under Advanced, Select Update.

[v56+] Type about:preferences#general<enter> in the address bar. Select Update.

Select Never Check For Updates.

Also turn off Use a background service to install updates


Install Older Version Of Firefox {web link} Be sure to read everything here.

If you still want to downgrade, look under; I still want to downgrade. Click the Directory of other versions and languages link. Look for the directory of the version that you want. But, remember that old versions may have security issues.

You should also check out Firefox; Extended Support Release {web link} ESR Notes System Requirements

First, Type '''about:preferences#advanced'''<enter> in the address bar. Under '''Advanced, ''' Select '''Update. ''' [v56+] Type '''about:preferences#general'''<enter> in the address bar. Select '''Update. ''' Select '''Never Check For Updates.''' Also turn off '''Use a background service to install updates''' --------------- [https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/install-older-version-of-firefox?cache=no Install Older Version Of Firefox] {web link} Be sure to read everything here. If you still want to downgrade, look under; '''I still want to downgrade. ''' Click the '''Directory of other versions and languages''' link. Look for the directory of the version that you want. But, remember that '''old versions may have security issues. ''' You should also check out [https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/ Firefox; Extended Support Release] {web link} [https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/notes/ ESR Notes] [https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/system-requirements/ System Requirements]
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cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
16238 solutions 146593 answers

If the above doesn't help then delete extensions.json in the Firefox profile folder.

You can use the button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page to go to the current Firefox profile folder or use the about:profiles page.

If the above doesn't help then delete extensions.json in the Firefox profile folder. You can use the button on the "Help -> Troubleshooting Information" (about:support) page to go to the current Firefox profile folder or use the <b>about:profiles</b> page. *Help -> Troubleshooting Information -> Profile Directory:<br>Windows: Show Folder; Linux: Open Directory; Mac: Show in Finder *http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folder_-_Firefox
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