Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

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Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Moonchild » 2019-01-21, 01:54

As the topic says: we'll be dropping our experimental WebExtension support from Basilisk.

Running in the mode we do, our platform support for WebExtensions in Basilisk is basic, mostly limited to cross-browser content manipulation, and won't be extended with Mozilla-specific APIs, mainly because we already have existing APIs that can be fully used from XUL extensions. This makes our WebExtension support increasingly at odds with what "gecko" targeting WebExtensions expect.
After some discussion we've decided to completely drop WebExtension support from the platform. The reasons for this are many, a lot of them technical in nature, but the main points behind this decision are:
  • Increasing disparity with the "gecko" target, as explained above.
  • The large security attack surface WEs pose. Some taste of that became public knowledge recently with web content being able to steal browser data through WEs.
    Aside from that though, there is constant upkeep in security bugs (undisclosed) dealing with WEs.
  • The non-native nature of WE interface elements in a XUL-based application. A whole bunch of hacks are needed to integrate web content widgets in the XUL UIs.
  • XUL extensions already offer anything WEs can do, and then some, without the need for writing new WE APIs for specific extensions, each with their own maintenance and risks.
While we understand that a number of you will be unhappy about this decision:
Image
there is simply no long-term solution for keeping WebExtension support in UXP that is going to work. Mozilla will keep changing the way WebExtensions work in Firefox, and our platform and browsers are simply too far removed from their direction (let alone the immense effort needed that we don't have the manpower for) to keep parity. Extension developers will not cater their WebExtension development to us either, since we can simply not give them the WE APIs they will be needing to extend the browser. BUT at the same time we do already have what extension developers might need available in the extension technologies (XUL Overlay, bootstrapped and Jetpack) we do support (which Mozilla dropped).
So, ultimately what we're doing here is focusing more on XUL and the potential it offers.

Please note that when this change lands in Basilisk, the browser will very likely automatically remove all installed WebExtensions from your browser profile since they will become invalid extensions.

We're sorry if this causes you inconvenience, but it is a decision that must be made for the long-term health of the platform and its applications.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by F22 Simpilot » 2019-01-21, 13:08

I feel somewhat responsible for this decision with my question about why a browser can't support WebExtensions and XUL at the same time. But after reading about the security risks that Wes pose, it sounds like a prudent decision just to ditch the crap. I can't believe Mozilla and Google chose this asinine code for add-ons give the nature of them and the security vulnerabilities they present. Yet I think it's Mozilla that claims their browser is secure? :lol: Then you have moronic websites say Pale Moon isn't as secure as Firefox. :lol: Nothing could be further from the truth. I often see in the release notes of new PM releases that code was added to mitigate against a future CVE. I don't even think Mozilla themselves has or uses that foresight. Then again, I haven't used FF in I can't count how many years now. When was it they decided to change their GUI to make it look and act like Chrome? That's when I said adios. And I was a loyal FF user. Prior to that I used the Mozilla suit and Phoenix. And then going even before that it was Netscape, which if I can remember right was the precursor to Firefox. I don't remember now.

Anyways... Long live common sense XUL! Now nail me to a cross. :lol:
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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2019-01-21, 14:38

F22 Simpilot wrote:I feel somewhat responsible for this decision with my question about why a browser can't support WebExtensions and XUL at the same time
Please don't beat your self up about it. I am the one who was on about this for more than a year. Anyone who is upset can blame me, heh, they likely already do anyway.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by vannilla » 2019-01-21, 15:53

To be honest I didn't really get the whole security risk thing, and how it compares to XUL extensions.
That aside, this decision is for the better.
Unfortunately, WebExtensions are much better documented than XUL extensions, and that's the biggest problem right now in my opinion.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Schmaif » 2019-02-11, 17:25

Welp, count me in the mob. I was hoping you would go in the opposite direction: include more webextension compatibility, which I think was something said early on in the project?

Whenever there's a major sacrifice to basic functionality in the name of security, I think, "It's so secure, even I can't get into it!" If there were a box I could tick that turns webextensions on, with a warning about sacrificing some security to do that, I'd do it. Of course, not having a feature at all is more secure than having it. If I just smashed my entire computer, it would be very secure! No one would be hacking that. Removing internet access entirely is a good way to make a computer more secure. But obviously, there's always a balance between functionality and security that needs to be struck.

Mozilla has taken down their old add-ons, and the only way to get compatible ones seems to be knowing the URL and going to the Wayback Machine, or just having a copy already on your computer. I agree that XUL is better, which is why I switched to Basilisk when Firefox downgraded to Quantum, but better still is the flexibility to decide which meets your needs best at the moment, and to have addons of both types installed! Broken addons is the kind of disappointment that drove many users to Basilisk and other forks to begin with, creating the same bad user experience Firefox did just seems like a bad idea. And restricting functionality in the name of "security" means not trusting users to make their own decisions about how they use their computers. I'm in favor of choices! Users having the choice to turn webextensions off for security reasons is fine, but limiting the functionality for everyone is just really disappointing.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by ron_1 » 2019-02-11, 17:34

Schmaif wrote:
Welp, count me in the mob.
Wouldn't it be better to tell us what extensions don't work for you? That way people here can help you find versions that work, or alternatives.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Isengrim » 2019-02-11, 17:48

Schmaif wrote:Whenever there's a major sacrifice to basic functionality in the name of security, I think, "It's so secure, even I can't get into it!"
The removal of Web Extension support was primarily for technical reasons.
Schmaif wrote:Mozilla has taken down their old add-ons, and the only way to get compatible ones seems to be knowing the URL and going to the Wayback Machine, or just having a copy already on your computer.
The Classic Add-ons Archive or the Legacy Extension repository might be of use to you.
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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Anonek » 2019-02-11, 18:43

Guys, I'm a simple extensions user, so please tell me: from where can I download up to date extensions now after that change? From "Legacy Extension repository" I was able to install Adblock Plus 2.9 (alto it's obviously old version, so perhaps there is something equally good for Basilisk that will work after big change?), I still need some extension to block crypto currency miners - please advise me on that.

As for the big change, don't get me wrong, but if as a regular user I will not be able to have up to date versions of addons/extensions, I will have to resign from Basilisk. Pity because from my experience I would say it the most durable browser I ever had - and that's a big plus for me. Perhaps because I'm simple user as I said above - I don't understand something about the change?

One more thing, can I somehow reverse newest Basilisk update, without loosing opened tabs and all?

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2019-02-11, 19:15

Fun fact, ABPrime AND Adblock Latitude both support Basilisk. You can get them at the Pale Moon Add-ons Site.. Though, they will automagically show up on the Basilisk Add-ons Site after this weekend.

ALSO, While there IS gonna be a selection of Add-ons that show up for Basilisk on it's add-ons site.. I would ask if you not come here and complain if some of most of them don't work properly.. Please talk to the extension developers as they were the ones who need to fix it and were too lazy to remove the targetApplication. However, some of them will work perfectly.

I am sure that will be sorted by them after the transition to Phoebus 2.0 where things will be hellaeasy to manage!

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Nigaikaze » 2019-02-11, 19:22

Anonek wrote:I still need some extension to block crypto currency miners
No you don't. If you are using any extension from the AdBlock family (or even uBlock Origin), you can add the NoCoin filter list here:

https://github.com/hoshsadiq/adblock-nocoin-list
Anonek wrote:I will not be able to have up to date versions of addons/extensions, I will have to resign from Basilisk.
Define "up to date versions." If you have to have the latest version solely because it is the latest version, you might as well jump ship now, because the latest versions of most extensions are going to be the WebExtension versions which are no longer supported. Just because the XUL versions are older version numbers does not necessarily mean that there's anything wrong with them that requires you to upgrade to a newer version.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Anonek » 2019-02-11, 19:40

Ok, which one of those two adblocks would you suggest as best choice?

Yeah, Basilisk Add-ons Site isn't avialable yet. Good to know it will be soon. I'll make sure to check it out. Thank you for info. I wouldn't think about complaining here lol, surely complains for specific addons should be made towards their creators if they haven't updated them properly etc.

As for coin miners. I'm simple user so I have no idea what consist into AdBlock family :/ Does those two mentioned: ABPrime / Adblock Latitude count into mentioned family? I don't see any of them on "NoCoin adblock list" you linked. I would prefer to use adblock extension that is still alive, instead of legacy version.

Up to date I mean nowadays versions (recent months, not day to day). So you know, I wouldn't be sentenced to use extension that was updated like few years ago, because newer versions of that extension will not work on up to date Basilisk (like now my old adblock and crypto miner blocker extensions aren't compatible anymore). For example that old version of AdBlock I was able to install, does work but isn't as good as newer version I was using before Basilisk update I did today.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Moonchild » 2019-02-11, 20:12

Schmaif wrote:Whenever there's a major sacrifice to basic functionality in the name of security
Please go read my original post, and try to read all of it this time, not just the one point that you decide you have an angle to attack.
Security is but one of many reasons.
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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Nigaikaze » 2019-02-11, 20:37

Anonek wrote:Does those two mentioned: ABPrime / Adblock Latitude count into mentioned family?
If it has "AdBlock" in the name (AdBlock Plus, AdBlock Prime, AdBlock Latitude), then it's safe to say yes. At that point you can go back to the NoCoin GitHub site and follow the instructions in the "Installation" section for "AdBlock Filter."

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2019-02-11, 21:40

ABPrime != Adblock Prime and never did. The AB in ABPrime doesn't stand for anything period. ABPrime is a proper noun pronounced ay-bee-prime.

This is not the first time I have explained this.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Nigaikaze » 2019-02-11, 22:03

New Tobin Paradigm wrote:ABPrime != Adblock Prime and never did.
Gotcha. Sorry, I stand corrected. Thanks.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by New Tobin Paradigm » 2019-02-11, 22:26

Thank you. Don't worry about it.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Anonek » 2019-02-12, 12:59

Had some issues with adding the list to the ABPrime, but finally managed to do so manually ("automatic" installation of NoCoin adblock list didn't worked for me). Thank you all for help and patience :) As for Basilisk I'm hoping it will be still kicking after ending of WebExtensions support.

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Lessa » 2019-02-12, 13:37

Since 2017 I use the Basilisk-Browser and everything was great. Because I am just a simple user, I do not visit the forum often and so I doesn't knew anything about the upcoming change. This morning the update went through and three extensions were gone. Ok, two of them I could replace. Only one very important is still missing, the extension for the SafeinCloud Password Manager. Is there any chance to bring it back to work? Thank you for advice :)

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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Al6bus » 2019-02-12, 15:16

the extension for the SafeinCloud Password Manager. Is there any chance to bring it back to work?
dunno, please try this version, which I found in CAA.
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Re: Basilisk's experimental WebExtension support will be dropped.

Unread post by Lessa » 2019-02-12, 17:47

Many, many thanks for searching! This old version is better than nothing, but it only works halfway with the current version of the password manager. Maybe I will install the old Basilisk again...

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