Updating users on old and unsafe Firefox

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Benjamin Smedberg

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May 9, 2014, 3:38:20 PM5/9/14
to Firefox Dev, User Advocacy, Robert Strong, Michael Verdi, Joni Savage, mozilla.dev.planning group
In the next weeks we will implementing a project to get users on older
versions of Firefox back onto the latest version. The user advocacy team
has identified that many of the users on old versions of Firefox don't
know that they are using an old and insecure version, and would like to
upgrade. We've confirmed using a combination of update-ping,
blocklist-ping, and Firefox Health Report data that about 2% of Firefox
profiles are getting "stuck" on older versions in each release cycle, at
least back to Firefox 22. In addition to this steady trickle, we are
also seeing somewhat larger spikes of users running Firefox 3.6.x and
Firefox 12.

We are planning on tackling this problem in two different ways. Firstly,
for users on Firefox 3.6 and earlier, we are going to change the update
server to advertise their update as a minor update instead of a major
update. This will short-circuit varions addon compatibility checks which
incorrect with the current version of AMO. This is tracked in bug 998721.

Secondly, we are preparing an addon hotfix which will help users who are
stuck to update to the latest version. This will be deployed to Firefox
11 and newer, since that is the first version of Firefox to support
addon hotfixes. The basic user experience of this addon is specified in
bug 994882, but we still have many details to work out about how and
when it will be deployed. Since I've been getting many questions about
some of these details, I thought I'd write as much of this down as
possible in the following FAQ:

When will the addon hotfix be deployed?
Probably at or soon after the release of Firefox 30.

What operating systems will receive the hotfix?
This quarter we are focusing on Windows users. If that is successful, we
will likely attempt to deploy a similar hotfix for Mac users.

What locales?
The hotfix addon does provide new UI and will need to be translated.
We're going to focus on a short list of the most common locales, but
we'll accept any translations that become available.

What about user preferences?
We will continue to respect the user update preference: if the user has
updates completely disabled in preferences, we will not prompt for
updates at all. If manual-apply is chosen, we will nag but not
force-install the update. All evidence shows that most users haven't
changed the default update preferences.

What versions will be targeted?
Currently we plan on targeting Firefox 11-26, although we will have to
be careful to exclude users on the Firefox 24 ESR builds.

Will we we continue deploying this in the future?
Let's see how well the hotfix works and what user feedback is like. We
will probably decide to build something like this directly into future
versions of Firefox as part of our support API, but that is not guaranteed.

Why are users getting stuck?
We don't know. As part of this project, we are working to collect update
success and failure information in the Firefox health report (bug
893098) and we are also planning on collecting anonymized update logs
from people who were stuck to analyze the failures.

--BDS

Followup to firefox-dev please.

David E. Ross

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May 9, 2014, 6:31:17 PM5/9/14
to
Is it possible that users of old versions just do not like the newer
versions?

--

David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/>

On occasion, I filter and ignore all newsgroup messages
posted through GoogleGroups via Google's G2/1.0 user agent
because of spam, flames, and trolling from that source.

Mike Hommey

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May 9, 2014, 7:43:47 PM5/9/14
to dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Fri, May 09, 2014 at 03:31:17PM -0700, David E. Ross wrote:
> Is it possible that users of old versions just do not like the newer
> versions?

Relatedly, I know there are a bunch of people staying on 28 because of
Australis. That's a big problem. Maybe we could add some specific
wording for those people that they should upgrade nevertheless, and that
there are addons to get them the old UI back (with pointers to those
addons so that they don't have to search themselves)

Mike

Robert Helmer

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May 9, 2014, 7:48:23 PM5/9/14
to Mike Hommey, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 4:43 PM, Mike Hommey <m...@glandium.org> wrote:
> On Fri, May 09, 2014 at 03:31:17PM -0700, David E. Ross wrote:
>> Is it possible that users of old versions just do not like the newer
>> versions?
>
> Relatedly, I know there are a bunch of people staying on 28 because of
> Australis. That's a big problem. Maybe we could add some specific
> wording for those people that they should upgrade nevertheless, and that
> there are addons to get them the old UI back (with pointers to those
> addons so that they don't have to search themselves)


Does this support page help?:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-to-make-new-firefox-look-like-old-firefox

However I think this is not relevant to bsmedberg's proposal, as he
explicitly called out not trying to force-upgrade users who have
updates disabled:

Robert Helmer

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May 9, 2014, 7:50:27 PM5/9/14
to Robert Helmer, Mike Hommey, dev-pl...@lists.mozilla.org
On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM, Robert Helmer <rhe...@rhelmer.org> wrote:
> On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 4:43 PM, Mike Hommey <m...@glandium.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, May 09, 2014 at 03:31:17PM -0700, David E. Ross wrote:
>>> Is it possible that users of old versions just do not like the newer
>>> versions?
>>
>> Relatedly, I know there are a bunch of people staying on 28 because of
>> Australis. That's a big problem. Maybe we could add some specific
>> wording for those people that they should upgrade nevertheless, and that
>> there are addons to get them the old UI back (with pointers to those
>> addons so that they don't have to search themselves)

Oh re-reading this, I see you understand that and are suggesting
prompting them regardless of updates being disabled, the rest of my
message was more David E. Ross' concern.

>
>
> Does this support page help?:
> https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-to-make-new-firefox-look-like-old-firefox
>
> However I think this is not relevant to bsmedberg's proposal, as he
> explicitly called out not trying to force-upgrade users who have
> updates disabled:
>
> """

Joshua Cranmer 🐧

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May 9, 2014, 7:56:27 PM5/9/14
to
The Thunderbird 3.1 updater had a migration assistant that explicitly
offered to install, during the update, the add-ons to restore the two
most-complained-about removals in TB 3.0. Something similar to that
might work.

--
Joshua Cranmer
Thunderbird and DXR developer
Source code archæologist

Philip Chee

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May 10, 2014, 2:45:35 AM5/10/14
to
Sometime back there was a small community of KernelEx people who were
intentionally on Firefox 3.6.x + Windows98SE + KernelEx. I suspect that
today there are fewer (but still non zero) people. Those still sticking
to Firefox 3.6 are probably the most stubborn users on earth.

Phil

--
Philip Chee <phi...@aleytys.pc.my>, <phili...@gmail.com>
http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ http://xsidebar.mozdev.org
Guard us from the she-wolf and the wolf, and guard us from the thief,
oh Night, and so be good for us to pass.

PhillipJones

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May 10, 2014, 7:34:50 PM5/10/14
to
Philip Chee wrote:
> On 10/05/2014 07:43, Mike Hommey wrote:
>> On Fri, May 09, 2014 at 03:31:17PM -0700, David E. Ross wrote:
>>> Is it possible that users of old versions just do not like the newer
>>> versions?

The answer a resounding Yes. We don't like being force fed a Chrome
Knock off. We prefer The menus and UI of FF 28.

I test Aurora beta and Australis Alpha releases. The last Austrailis
release crashed as soon as it went through plugin check. Each time I
update them and test them they make my stomach churn. Yes even with
extension to make it look like the old because it's only 60& effective.

>> Relatedly, I know there are a bunch of people staying on 28 because of
>> Australis. That's a big problem. Maybe we could add some specific
>> wording for those people that they should upgrade nevertheless, and that
>> there are addons to get them the old UI back (with pointers to those
>> addons so that they don't have to search themselves)
>>
>> Mike
>
> Sometime back there was a small community of KernelEx people who were
> intentionally on Firefox 3.6.x + Windows98SE + KernelEx. I suspect that
> today there are fewer (but still non zero) people. Those still sticking
> to Firefox 3.6 are probably the most stubborn users on earth.
>
> Phil
>


--
Phillip M. Jones, C.E.T. "If it's Fixed, Don't Break it"
http://www.phillipmjones.net mailto:pjon...@comcast.net

Ben Bucksch

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May 15, 2014, 10:29:09 AM5/15/14
to
Philip Chee wrote, On 10.05.2014 08:45:
> Those still sticking to Firefox 3.6 are probably the most stubborn users on earth.

No, they have reason (if you take security fixes aside). Firefox 4
created a huge amount of problems:
* Rapid release
* Dramatic UI changes
* new JS engine that makes GC pauses and feels a lot slower than the old one
(i.e. not in JS benchmarks, but in everyday use of the browser UI and
browser).

Instead of bad-mouthing users, I think it would do us good to reflect
whether we did something fundamentally wrong there, and made these
people vote with their feet. And how we can rectify their problems.

Ben

swanky...@gmail.com

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May 17, 2014, 5:21:36 AM5/17/14
to
Sorry but this is not only a bad idea cause it has that feeling of being forced, that we "The unhappy" hate about Australis.

No one wants an add on to do... what they have always been able to do. Sorry. Firefox is going down some very dark streets and I never thought that would happen or that I would ever find myself panicked as to what browser I will use next.

Firefox was really the last part of the web I felt totally happy and secure with. Now what is slipping away. The whole internet feels unsafe now.

Also not very surprising seeing this firefox dev thread on a google group. At this point, might as well join the empire.

PhillipJones

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May 17, 2014, 10:06:07 AM5/17/14
to
Switch to SeaMonkey.

Joshua Cranmer 🐧

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May 17, 2014, 12:09:10 PM5/17/14
to
It's not a google group. It's a mailing list run on Mozilla's servers
that are mirrored to a special news server and is thence mirrored to
Google Groups to make it easier to access.

I, personally, never use the Google Group.

Philipp Kewisch

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May 17, 2014, 5:08:23 PM5/17/14
to
On 5/17/14, 11:21 AM, swanky...@gmail.com wrote:
> Firefox was really the last part of the web I felt totally happy and secure with. Now what is slipping away. The whole internet feels unsafe now.
Right. Firefox and the Internet now feels unsafe because of Australis.
Sounds logical.

Nicholas Nethercote

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May 17, 2014, 11:41:19 PM5/17/14
to Philipp Kewisch, dev. planning
On Sun, May 18, 2014 at 7:08 AM, Philipp Kewisch <moz...@kewis.ch> wrote:
>> Firefox was really the last part of the web I felt totally happy and secure with. Now what is slipping away. The whole internet feels unsafe now.
>
> Right. Firefox and the Internet now feels unsafe because of Australis.
> Sounds logical.

Hey, those curvy tabs are slippery.

Nick

Philip Chee

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May 18, 2014, 7:37:55 AM5/18/14
to
It's the last camel that broke, um, something or other.

syk...@gmail.com

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May 19, 2014, 4:45:19 AM5/19/14
to
There is a type of safety where you know that when you start up your computer, or open a program that the UI will look exactly the same as when you last shut down the computer/program.

This "safety" this comfort zone started disappearing with the FF 4.xx versions of Firefox, requiring Firefox users who like a conventional desktop UI to install an ever increasing number of add-ons and customisations to get a traditional UI back. For example, I gave up on Firefox until I discovered Status4Evar and could get a static (and non-distracting) status bar back. From v15 and I had to fart around in about:config to get my tabs on the bottom again.

Australis completely removes any sense of UI security from users such as myself.

I think what Mozilla UI devs completely fail to understand is that what really upsets us is difference between a customised, traditional (FF2/3 or SeaMonkey-like) UI with tabs on the bottom and Australis as it presents itself out of the box. Not the difference between the vanilla FF28 UI and vanilla Australis.

Forcing users to upgrade without offering them their traditional UI out of the box it just going to further reduce Firefox's market share.

rhk2...@gmail.com

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May 19, 2014, 10:39:27 AM5/19/14
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Op vrijdag 9 mei 2014 21:38:20 UTC+2 schreef Benjamin Smedberg:
In principle I agree that automatic updating is good, but...
... you really pissed me off when you removed the add-on bar in 29.x.
I need this for my add-on's which are now unsupported and you made it very hard for me to find a copy of the old 28.x for download. I had to install the old version and stopped the automatic update process as I believe you've made a huge mistake introducing the IE-like UI which I hate and also taking out functionality I need. Nothing of the new 29.x look appeals to me, it's shitty and I will stick with the old version until you bring back the old looks and functionality.

Automatic security updating is what I prefer, but automatically killing functionality in the process is unacceptable for me. I've been using and promoting Firefox from the beginning, but the awful new looks and updating approach may force me to leave you for good.

David E. Ross

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May 19, 2014, 1:05:38 PM5/19/14
to
Have you considered SeaMonkey?

Desiree

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May 20, 2014, 7:46:06 AM5/20/14
to
On 5/17/2014 4:06 AM, PhillipJones wrote:
> swanky...@gmail.com wrote:
>> Sorry but this is not only a bad idea cause it has that feeling of being forced, that we "The unhappy" hate about Australis.
>>
>> No one wants an add on to do... what they have always been able to do. Sorry. Firefox is going down some very dark streets and I never thought that would happen or that I would ever find myself panicked as to what browser I will use next.
>>
>> Firefox was really the last part of the web I felt totally happy and secure with. Now what is slipping away. The whole internet feels unsafe now.
>>
>> Also not very surprising seeing this firefox dev thread on a google group. At this point, might as well join the empire.
>>
> Switch to SeaMonkey.
>
That is NOT an acceptable answer if you use extensions that cannot be
ported to SM. I started out with Netscape on my first computer in 1999
and also some use of IE and Opera. I moved to Mozilla Suite a year
later when someone challenged me to try tabbed browsing. I was hooked
after about 10 days of using MozillaSuite with TBE. Totally hooked.
When the developer later moved the extension to early Fx, I followed.
The extension didn't work well on Fx 2 or 3 so I continued to use Fx 1.5
during those years but made Opera default. When Fx 4 was released the
extension was completely rewritten as several small extensions instead
of one large one. I came back to Fx as my default browser. I continue
to use it as default SOLELY FOR TBE (now several small extensions..but
put together still TBE).

TBE (the smaller extensions) cannot be ported to SeaMonkey. I use
SeaMonkey some and like it a lot but I detest having the tabs across the
top horizontally. I have tabs vertical in Fx and Opera. Plus, I miss
all the extensive options for tabs on Fx with the extensions that cannot
be installed on SM. Well, actually I can install Tree Style Tabs on SM
(I didn't try to install the other extensions that go with TST). With
the fast tool Extension Converter for SM, I had it installed very
quickly earlier this evening. However, I had no navigation bar and all
buttons on that bar were missing also. SM told me the navigation bar was
checked under View - show/hide but I couldn't see it and nothing I did
would make it visible ....that is until I uninstalled TST extension.

Desiree

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May 20, 2014, 8:14:34 AM5/20/14
to
You are simplifying too much. It is not just Australis (I have avoided
it for now deliberately because I use ESR version since Fx 10 to avoid
the insanity of Mozilla inssuing new versions every 6 weeks in an effort
to imitate the worse browser ever created - Chrome).

Fx is feeling unsafe to me these days. Opera 12.17 is the last great
browser and I don't feel unsafe when I use it because it is the ultimate
browser for very high user configuration and control....like Fx used to
be years ago but has gradually taken more and more control and
configurability away from the user. Fx is becoming less secure also
because it has removed my ability to control such things as what cert
authorities I trust and do not trust. I can no longer expect Fx to give
me an untrusted cert popup and then allow me to make a one time
exception after I examine the cert, etc. There are various sites like
SSLLabs that I can no longer visit on Fx or SM because Mozilla browsers
no longer let me handle what certs and cert authorities I trust and do
not trust. Opera handles my set up perfectly and always has. Fx used
to also but now it is insisting I must allow GLOBAL trust for a Cert
Authority that I do NOT trust and want to be warned about anytime Fx
goes to a site using a cert from this particular cert authority. The
head of Opera security development understood perfectly this sort of
situation. Of course, that dev got fired after 20+ years with Opera
when Opera sold out to Chrome and the monstrosity that is called Opera
Now.

Mozilla used to understand and care about power users (we are the ones
that helped build what is now Fx from Phoenix days on) but gradually
they are showing that they agree with Microsoft's attitude toward power
users on desktops and Windows 8 (throw them under the bus).

Ben Hearsum

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May 20, 2014, 9:04:56 AM5/20/14
to
On 14-05-19 03:39 PM, PhillipJones wrote:
> Also all this forced Ram Australis version down throats of people. What
> about those using 3 and 11 version or newer for that matter that can't
> use newer versions because of the computers they use. May PC people
> still using XP which MS has totally abandoned just days ago not even any
> security updates. It�s the Policy of Mozilla if OS developers (Apple,
> MS, Linux, Unix) abandon an OS version Mozilla does as well.
>
> Even Apple no longer supports OX.6.8 and lower and Mozilla Products
> don't work on Older OS.
>

We still support XP (SP2 and up). We still support OS X 10.6.
Historically, these decisions are made based on the percentage of our
users on a given OS -- not whether or not the OS is still supported by
Microsoft/Apple.
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