Firefox updates seem to ignore my privacy and security concerns as addons that address them get obliterated during updates.
This has been a MAJOR PROBLEM FOR ME for me since at least the time Quantum was released.
My goal during an update is to be able to continue using the release that is to be replaced until I am satisfied that the new release with its new profile includes as many of the preferences, add-ons, passwords, and other settings that can be carried forward from the previous one as possible (e.g., all that do not cause major conflicts or other serious problems not easily resolved).
The majority of the add-ons I use are related to maintaining the privacy, anonymity, security, and integrity of the browser as well as the data which it handles or manages. Quite a few are redundant so I usually have several installed but disabled at any given time.
From my perspective It makes little sense to enable Firefox to send anything to Mozilla (e.g., allow Firefox to phone home) before I am reasonably sure the new installation of Firefox is running well, with the same or a similar set of security and privacy add-ons in place, especially when I was not made very aware that enabling this would make restoring the add-ons I cherish easier in some way.
Storage is dirt cheap these days. Even on this laptop, I can add another 2TB of fast SSD storage via an external port, then move at least a 1TB of stuff off the 1TB internal SSDs -- in other words, I like the idea of having the option of making a complete backup of the entire existing Firefox Beta release I have been using with all of its pointers to my data on this system, other systems, in the cloud, etc. before letting the installer create the new installation for the upgraded Beta Release.
I gather a system reboot (or at least a browser restart would be in order at this point. After that, it would be wonderful if I was presented the option of migrating all of my old preferences, other settings, and passwords to new profile of the new installation. I doubt many of the add-ons I use are so obscure that they would not get tested by at least a few people doing QA for the upgrade so if any might pose problems, I could be told they could not be migrated with the rest that can be carried forward in a routine manner. (Specific instructions as to how to handle the exceptions would be nice. Some hints about why the particular add-on does not play well with the upgrade would give users a place to start investigating.)
What bugs me the most is that I am dead in the water until the add-ons that I use to block a shit-ton of tracking, fingerprinting, and other kinds of cookies, as well as those used by outright malware disservices found on some sites are in place to make the Web a much safer place for me and the things I use it for.
I completely understand why the upgrades to the first releases of Firefox Quantum required most users to re-install most addons and set most of their preferences, but after a major release upgrade or three to Quantum, things should be back to a lot more automated routine that preserves the functionality the user had in the previous release as much as is realistically feasible when the new release is installed in its own separate place with its own profiles, thus giving the user the fall back option of continuing to use the old release until the new one is tweaked enough to be workable for the user.
Remember: if you do not want to shed users because they get tired of having to restore things from scratch and perhaps losing a lot of important data or functionality along the way, you have to give them as clear and reliable means as possible of getting from where they where (presumably) somewhat satisfied with the old release to as good or better level of satisfaction with the new release, without making them jump through a lot of difficult hoops or perform what seem to be several arcane rituals.
In short, the default process should be to carry forward as many add-ons and user preferences as possible during an upgrade (given the user the option to start from scratch if he likes clean installs or happens to be enough of a masochistic geek to want to go through setting up two dozen add-ons and many specific settings). On occasion, I will put of with the painful process of cleaning the junk out of an old browser or system configuration, but usually I try to do that as part of routine housekeeping and like it when what should be a simple system or browser upgrade does not end up seeming like going through a full tax audit.
Additional System Details
uBlock Origin uMatrix (typically disabled), NoScript (or NoScript Suite Lite), AdBlocker Ultimate, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, Empty Cache Button, User-Agent Switcher, Random Agent Spoofer, HTTPS Everywhere, YouTube High Definition (disabled), Restart browser
probably some others, since I am not actually looking at a recent Firefox Beta installation...
I would be happy to help with this, particularly if some of the add-ons I really like happen to be among those that pose difficulties during upgrades. I guess I have a vested interest in making them transfer easily, if possible.
Settings/prefs I do not know as much about, but I do not understand why most cannot be left was they were and just transferred to the upgraded installation unless a particular change affects one or more of them. (Master Password is a very obvious example.)
- User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win64; x64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/68.0
Firefox, by default, does carry forward your extensions and settings to the new version. I notice you are using Firefox 68, which is in Beta. Firefox, starting in the last few versions, doesn't share profiles between versions, so if you are using Firefox Release and Firefox beta they will be using two different profiles, and so there will be no sharing between them. Is that the issue you are seeing?
OK, I understand that, and in fact read about it shortly before Quantum was first released, but thought the raze the old before installing the new policy had lapsed for good ... which it should have, IMHO, at least for those of us who have to spend a LOT of time training NoScript uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and several other add-ons (the list I provided in my most was not exactly complete because it did not include mundane utility add-ons, nor those that fix redirects or make sure than tracking cookies that have to be enabled for some sites to run correctly send those sites useless garbage back in their data collection fields.
Yes, I do have black electrical tape over the cameras on my laptops, tablets, smartphones and even early rather-stupid phones.
It would make me extremely happy if updates included an optional step which allowed a user who clicks on a waiver that acknowledges he understand he is taking some extra risk by restore the previous releases add-ons, settings, and prefs as much as is possible.
Sometimes the browser (Firefox in this case) has been changed enough in an upgrade that some manual tweaking is needed to make add-ons for the old release work in the new one. Ditto for settings that are new, got dropped, or changed radically.
I was using Firefox Nightly on this laptop for many months but some glitch which I think is related to new releases being wiped of add-ons and restores to default (factory) settings caused me to revert back to the Live release.
Even though I have not reread what I posted, I am sure it came off with me sounding very peeved and perhaps as if I thought the Firefox devs are stupid. I was very peeved, but I do not think the devs are stupid in general. From a marketing point of view (Yes, I have an MBA, as well as a BS in Computer Science, and did all the work except turn in a Masters thesis for an MS in CompSci.)
Getting back to marketing concepts, Firefox is not likely to gain market share against Chrome or whatever crappy Web browser MS shovels at its users. The MS browser users got theirs free because it was built into their computer along with Windows or into their mobile device with whatever excuse for an OS MS ships their phones with these days.
Opera is a browser I use occasionally but not enough to have strong feelings about one way or the other. It does seem to be targeted at the business user that that impression of mine may be outdated.
Firefox, especially Focus for mobile devices, and the releases for computers since Quantum was introduced and went through its initial trial by fire, is usually stable, fast, and with a lot of add-ons available for just about anything one might want to do with an add-on, very powerful, expandable, and flexible.
I would have to read though a lot of the docs again to answer this question so I ask it here: if I drop back to the Live Release of Firefox, will I still have to go through the arduous tasks associates with reinstalling all my pet add-ons, and then changing all the settings and prefs for Firefox as well as the add-ons back to the way I like them whenever Firefox Quantum Live is updated?
In any case, why isn't there an option to carry forwards the old add-ons and settings for tech savvy users willing to check the waiver box I mentioned above, to the extent that they can be inherited from the old release and moved to the new one?
I do not mind sending Mozilla more information that I was (just crash reports, usually) but was not aware that doing so might make it easier to move to an upgraded release of Firefox with a lot less tedious work.
One possibility would be for users to be able to upload a template of their browser configuration to Mozilla right before the update is run so that when Firefox gets updated, all prefs and settings that can be restored in a meaningful manner do get restored automatically if that is what the user wants.
It might take a little more disk space and bandwidth, but the same thing could be done with users' list of specific add-ons and add-on configurations. The add-ons could be set aside as a backup copy of the ones that are presumably left in place for the old installation, so if there are any issues with getting some of them to work in the new release of Firefox,
The point of this long message is that most users want a browser that just works have they have it configured and keeps working that way or better after the browser is upgraded for whatever reason.
The only benefit I have gained from having to fuss with restoring a lot of add-ons fairly often is that I have a much better understand of the relationships between various companies and the domains they use as they want extra permission to do things on my computer. It turns out that the vast majority of sites I want to visit require cookies from only a couple of URLS to be allowed. Many of the sites that seem to want to own a computer can be tamed by limiting their permissions to a bare minimum, and having to frequently retrain uBlock Origin and NoScript has help me become much more efficient at doing that. I was well past the point of diminishing returns on the time I invested in repeating the installation of privacy and security add-ons very early this year.
Modified by Tyler Downer
I really have to get my doc to fix or replace my verbosity switch, since it seems to be stuck close to MAX. :)
Your reply is very long and I am no closer to understanding the issue you want help resolving. If you are skipping updates and switching between Firefox Release and Firefox beta, than Firefox doesn't use the same profile. If you are sticking with release and just update on the regular schedule, the same profile will be used and you'll lose no settings.
Well, at one point my goal was to run separate installations of Live, Beta, and Nightly concurrently on this machine (which will easily handle that load and more) but I ran into problems because the profiles kept stepping on each other.
Ideally, I wanted to be able to download Web pages, software, A/V files, etc, from the internet to the same sub-directory tree with whatever of the version of Firefox I was using. But, I wants the add-ons and settings for Live, Beta, and Nightly to stay with the release in question.
That would all be very easy since I do NOT use Sync as I do very little browsing of consequence on my mobile devices due to their tiny nature. But the obstacle is that the upgrade installer does not give the user much if any control over how the update is installed or where it will be installed..
In fact, just moments ago, another update came rolling in and it failed, saying that I would have to install a freshly downloaded copy of Firefox 68 and install it from scratch. My guess is that FF68 has gone from Beta to Live so Beta will no longer keep that release updated and is doing its very best to get me to start using FF68 Live without explicitly telling me so.
What I would prefer it to do is nothing at all until there is a new Beta (FF69bnnn). That way the FF (beta) link on my desktop would always point to the most current Beta release. Likewise, the Live and Nightly links would always point to the most current releases of those versions, respectively. All three would share the same general user file space on the machine so that no matter which release I was using, I could save a copy of a news article that looks interesting and retrieve it with any browser several months later.
I guess I prefer to have a lot of control over how software is installed on my computers and happen to be interested enough in browser development to want to be able to see how the Live, Beta, and Nightly releases of Firefox compare at any given time, using add-ons, settings, and prefs that are comparable to the extent possible, except for where that profile information is stored -- there should be three active profiles active at any given time if I could get things to work as desired.
So, how do I go about maintaining three distinct profiles specific to Live, Beta, and Nightly, respectively? Also, it would be nice to tell the user that the Beta version he is upgrading has gone Live and that he should upgrade that installation using installer code meant to upgrade from Beta to Live (even if that is just the regular Live update code).
What you are describing sounds possible. The Developer Edition is roughly the same as Beta, but with a different theme (dark theme). It coexists just fine alongside the regular "Release" version of Firefox, using its own Firefox profile folder under my same Windows user. (I haven't tried to install Beta or Nightly on this system.)