Dear Mozilla. We need to chat.

I have used your products since 2005. I still remember the leap of innovation and speed after i downloaded Firefox 1.5 after being an idiot and using IE since my first steps into the rabbit hole of the internet back in the late 90's.
Not only did your products work better and faster, they where easy to use and easy to adapt.
3.X was a huge deal. The download manager was just a revolution for my part, Themes was so cool and ad-ons where everywhere. FF4 brought a new UI, sync and support for HTML5 and CSS3. I was in the middle of my degree in UX at the time and having a stable, fast and reliable browser with the support for new tech was a lifesaver during this time. Yes Chrome was a thing by this point, but the only thing Chrome really did good was fast execution of JS. The rest was lack lustre at best.

But then everything stopped. You started to mimic Chrome more and more. It seemed to be more important to get a bigger version number then to actually improve and stabilise. In one year we have gone from version 65 to 75. Sure the product was still useable and good in its own way, but I noticed more and more of my friends switched to Chrome, many now working in UX and web development. I wondered why, and after discussions we more or less ended up at the point that Chrome just works, regardless if you are a technerd or old parents, while FF more and more turns in to this beast you have to tame for every major update. Ad-ons just stop working, functions are moved or even removed, and I find myself sitting more and more in about:config for every major release.

Today, logging in on my PC with my morning coffee ready to go trough my standard assortment or news, media and memes I notice FF has updated during the night to version 75. And lord and behold the URL bar has turned into an absolute mess. Gone is my drop-down menu witch used to show me my top-20 pages. and instead it's replaced with this Chrome knock off that shows random order, less than half the content, and also pops up in my face regardless if I want to search or go to one of my regular sites. It's nothing but half useable but now also requires way more use of the keyboard to get things done. It screams bad UX. Not only this but all my devices have for some reason been logged out of FF Sync and user data for some extensions is reset.

And here we are again. 3 hours in, back in about:config and deep into forums and Google to figure out what setting to put to False or change a 0 to 1 so I can have my old URLbar back and get ad-ons and extensions working again. At this point I'm just waiting for my mum to call asking about wtf happened to her internet icon thingy.

Firefox was the browser where you could customise and make it your own while still providing a fast, and reliable experience. These days are behind us and we are getting more and more into the Apple mindset of "take what we give you and fuck off". Ad-ons and extensions have lost support of their developers, stability is so-so and performance really doesn't seem to be priority. The company I work for has offered FF ESR but will be removing it from the platform within the year because of issues with stability. The one thing ESR is supposed to be good at... That leaves us with Edge or Chrome..

Back in 2010 FF had a +30% market share and in less than 5 years it was half. Now we are getting to sub 5%.. 10 years and the experience is the same: New release -> bugs -> troubleshoot -> working OK -> new release and repeat. Chrome as my back up browser is more or less: New release -> working OK
Unless Mozilla gets a move on, actually figures out who their target audience is and improves on the basics before prioritizing "bigger numbers are better" mindset it will completely die within a few years.


69 thoughts on “Dear Mozilla. We need to chat.”

  1. I switched to both Chromium and the new Edge on PC, to Chrome on Android, few months ago. I keep my eyes on the latest versions of Firefox as I really used to like it, but everyday I get more and more disappointed.

    Here are some issues I have with Firefox preview:

    * It has the worst UI, I can’t even locate the button that creates a new tab
    * Collections are useless and stupid
    * PWA support is a mess, hard to achieve from localhost http pages
    * Installation of private addons is unlikely to come soon

    Firefox Nightly on Desktop:

    * Limited Webextension tabs API
    * No proper dark theme
    * Temporary add-ons need to be loaded every time you launch the browser
    * No preview in DevTools, when developing for the Android version of Firefox

    And of course the dozens versions that they have for one single browser, and each with its logo, that changes every month or so.

  2. It’s simple – Chrome came along at a time when Firefox was slow. It was absurdly fast compared to it and Internet Explorer, the only viable browsers out there at that time. Then there’s Google’s annoying marketing tricks of shoving a Chrome ad down your throat at every possible turn. Plus, as much as people hate Chrome for its privacy issues, it’s a really fast and good browser that has no issue whatsoever with sites as site developers develop for it exclusively these days. Firefox on the other hand does have issues (Discord comes to mind, had visual bugs for many months).

  3. >At this point I’m just waiting for my mum to call asking about wtf happened to her internet icon thingy.

    My mom didn’t even notice anything changed.

  4. Great writeup OP.

    The thing that comes to mind for me is that old saying about people leaving a company… usually leave because of bad management, and not because the company or the job itself was bad.

    This… is what I’ll speculate is the problem with Mozilla. Bad leadership or otherwise, not enough leadership. They don’t seem to have a good or solid heading. I feel like the last year or more they’ve been just bouncing off the banks. The crew is still keeping the deck clean and the bilge is dry… the stacks are pumping steam, the hatches are appropriately battened and the ropes are coiled. The ship is tip top…

    But there’s no one holding the rudder… just bouncing off the banks, letting the current pull it along.

    Each time the boat hits a bank… a few passengers, tired of the listing and banging around, jump off the boat.

    I’m about ready to jump too… and obviously so are a lot of others.

    Mozilla needs to rethink it’s leadership and find a direction and someone who can man the fuckin’ ship.

  5. > while FF more and more turns in to this beast you have to tame for every major update.

    Yeah and every time you ask how to return things to how they used to look, fanboys mock you wondering why you just don’t have a CSS file to customize FF they way you want.

    If you have to be a fucking programmer in order use a browser, then it’s fucking broken.

  6. What I would like to see is someone from upper management at Mozilla, perhaps their CEO, have the courage to come here on reddit and actually have a discussion with us.

    That would be impressive and speak very well of Mozilla’s current management.

  7. Agree.

    Used Firefox since 0.8 (it was phoenix or something then). This is the first time in all these years I thought about what else to use if not for Firefox.

    Its a scary thought.

  8. Priorities are extraordinarily askew at Mozilla. It’s clearly past time for a huge management and Board of Directors shakeup.

    I feel as though many of us continue to use Firefox simply because all of the alternatives have serious flaws. Previously, we used Firefox because we loved Firefox.

    It would be great if we could work with Mozilla to help us all return to those great days.

  9. Most of the time if i get a skype or a goto meeting link and if open the same in FF. half the time it does not prompt the application. For this specific thing, i have chrome installed which i use exclusively for opening skype, GTM or Webex links. This has been going on for now at least year.

  10. My main driving force is distain for Google. They’re destroying the browser market the same way IE did. Ironically, with Microsoft jumping in bed with Chromium now, it sidelines Firefox further.

    The fact we have add-ons on Android mobile is freaking awesome

  11. I am afraid to say that, but I think the people in this subreddit are a minority in the Firefox userbase. Especially the ones who revert each and very change via `about:config` and user CSS. Most Firefox users don’t care much about that or be annoyed and then move on.

    I can understand that Mozilla sometimes cuts support for some customization feature. They only have limited resources and supporting such things can be a huge maintenance burden (and also sometimes blocking progress, like XUL). Also telemetry is often turned of by power users, which may result in almost zero to no usage stats for some features, which in turn could be removed.

    I suspect that a part of the breakage some users report here could be caused by (experimental) flags in `about:config`.

    Albeit some people here believe these things are the reason for decreasing market share of Firefox, I am sure this has more to do with preinstalled browsers, corporate environments and their policies and advertising of browsers on websites of their vendors (Google, Microsoft). Also (needless) forks like Palemoon and Waterfox and the hype about Brave (and its misleading privacy promise) does not help either.

    I am not saying that everything is good, every change or feature removal was necessary or justified and that there aren’t any problems, but often there is a reason behind this.

    Sorry for this long rant, but I saw a lot of negativity against Firefox and Mozilla recently. I admit that I don’t know if this is only a minority here or not, but maybe I opened someones eyes about a few things.

    BTW: I also can’t stand the new megabar. Its appearance is ugly and its behavior annoying, but at least the devs recognize this and consider improving the situation.

    PS: please apologize some odd wording, I am not a native speaker.

  12. Yadda, yadda… I actually do like Firefox more and more with each ne version. First time I saw new addressbar (in Fx Dev) I was a bit “meeeh” but what they presented in final 75 is actually quite nice for the eye.

  13. I’m on Nightly for the past 1-2 years and I don’t understand what people are saying in this thread.. didn’t even realize something has changed. But to have so many upvotes I guess something is wrong?

  14. I only use Firefox to avoid google. That’s a bad reason and there are now other non google browsers to compete (though they may still use chromium).

  15. Unpopular opinion; I think the new bar is nice, saves me creating a new tab every time I want to visit one of the pinned websites. What it’s lacking at the moment is a setting allowing you to scroll through if you wanted to have more pins and an alternative mode that displays history instead.

  16. Hi! I worked on the new address bar. I’ve been replying to concerns in the address bar update thread. Feel free to check out my comment history for more context. I wanted to copy over some of my comments to this thread to address this:

    >Gone is my drop-down menu witch used to show me my top-20 pages. and instead it’s replaced with this Chrome knock off that shows random order, less than half the content, and also pops up in my face regardless if I want to search or go to one of my regular sites.

    And my comments in the other thread:

    >As for seeing recent history, I encourage you to read [this]( Bugzilla comment. In my mind, Top Sites are preferable to the old list we used to show. If the user never customizes their Top Sites, the list is basically identical to the list we used to show in the address bar. Now that we use Top Sites, a user can *also* choose to reorder and pin items in that list. You can type “\^” in the address bar to see the old list, as noted [here](


    >When there are no pinned Top Sites, Top Sites is a dynamic mix of history and bookmarks, just like the old list.


    >There are eight Top Sites to match the number of Top Sites that most users see on the New Tab page. Since the Top Sites list is customizable, it might confuse some users that the first 8 Top Sites that appear in the Urlbar also appear on the New Tab Page and are customizable, but the last two seemingly appear from nowhere. Users that don’t know that you can show more than eight Top Sites on the New Tab Page might never figure out how to customize those last two results.

    Being able to show more than 8 Top Sites would make for a good [filed bug](

    And this was in response to a concern about the dropmarker arrow, but it’s relevant for any thread about the new address bar:

    >Part of the engineering motivation for the new address bar was refactoring and removing a lot (a *lot*) of old code. The address bar was so encumbered with old code that it was very difficult to add new features. We’ve been at this for about two years. Most of the changes have been behind-the-scenes and weren’t noticeable to end users. The design update in 75 is the culmination of our changes to the user-facing side of the address bar. This means removing features that were infrequently used or frequently caused UX issues like the dropmarker arrow. Another was the simplification of the one-off search engines at the bottom of the panel, although that was split off from this 75 update and was back-ported to the legacy address bar a few versions ago.
    >The flip side of this is that it’s become a lot easier to add new user-facing features to the address bar. There are quite a few improvements in the pipeline, which is something we haven’t been able to say about the address bar in some time. Some soft-launched with this update (if you’re in an English-speaking locale, try typing `how to clear history` or `update firefox` in the address bar!).
    >We’ve heard feedback (loud and clear!) about the dropmarker and issues around opening Top Sites automatically. We’re looking at ways to make this more customizable in [bug 1627858]( This will probably end up being a preference in `about:preferences`; a different interaction model, like opening Top Sites after the user clicks an already-focused address bar; or some combination thereof.

    As a final note, I don’t know anyone at Mozilla who doesn’t use Firefox everyday as their primary browser. Just like everyone on /r/firefox, we’re all enthusiastic users and want to see Firefox succeed and be useful for both power users and less-experienced users. We don’t make changes just for the sake of it. A lot of thought, data, and research goes into the changes we make. That said, we’re always open to feedback. We’re reading all the feedback here on Reddit and discussing it in team meetings.

    [Here’s]( the bug list the engineers are using for the address bar update project (I don’t think that’s a live list — you can also check [bug 1561531]( for a list that’s always up-to-date). All the bugs marked P1 are either being thought through right now, or will be soon.

    Edit: Reddit mangled some of my formatting 🙁 I tried to fix it — hopefully I caught everything.

  17. So you don’t like the new URL drop-down, and you got logged out of sync. That sucks, but it’s hardly a reason to write a rant about it. I happen to like the new URL bar design a lot, so I guess UX is very subjective.

  18. I used firefox since ver. 10. And I felt someday Mozilla don’t give any effort to make firefox better, while google were pushing chrome af. And then now chrome is the better browser in perspective of most users and factors. What Mozilla can claim is only privacy.

    I don’t know who was CEO of Mozilla and head manager of Firefox project, but they are literally dumb and can’t see even any close future.

    It is really sad watching Firefox undergoes behind history.

  19. I actually like the new address bar, and was waiting for it to hit stable. But my workflow is mostly new tab -> top sites, so changes how it shows sites doesn’t affect me that much.

    In general I agree with you, though. For me, biggest losses are proper mouse gesture addon support and old style search bar. I can’t stand the one-off searches, much less them in the address bar, which I always disable first in about:config.

    Current mouse gesture addons work by injecting the listeners to the site, so they can’t work on error pages or over the browser UI, which makes them a lot clunkier than the old ones.

  20. addon signing is a pain in the arse. The loss of functionality in the browser (and web extention addons not being given access to be able to fix it) are the death-knell. I say this, being stuck on FF 56.

  21. I was using Chrome/Chromium since 2009 I think. I am trying Firefox 76.0b2 now, on Windows 10 and I like it.

    Firefox 31-37 (?) default ui was hideous, even more on non-GNOME Linux distributions by default as far as I remember.

  22. I mean, they haven’t even bothered theming all right click menus for dark mode in Beta. Speaks volumes about the current state of Firefox development. The new URL bar is atrocious, not sure who approved it.

    Edit: forgot subject in first sentence

  23. I feel like this sub has half turned into an anti firefox circle jerk. I dont see the issues other people are complaining about with performance or bugs and the new UI is generally good.

  24. You know what would help? If they just read this subreddit and got off their ‘oh no, not more Chrome’ denial mode.

    I have a feeling Mozilla has just locked itself into this denial mode. They think everyone showing them the issues with Firefox or suggesting alternatives is just whining about change. Which is why I have given up on Firefox.

    There is a saying in my native tongue: “You can wake up those who are asleep, but you cannot wake up those who are pretending to be asleep.” I now think Mozilla pretends to be asleep.

    It’s the trap Google got into sometime last year with their new UI. But they did change and improve it.

  25. It’s pretty amazing just how huge a step up in functionality and customizability the ESR versions are, especially as they age. Not only do they have more features that I care about, updates just work without me needing to fix anything.

  26. I get that this was a rant, but realistically, why not just use the ESR version of Firefox, if changes like the URL bar (not the first change to the URL bar either, btw) bother you?

    Yes, like Australis these changes will eventually make it to the ESR as well, but it will give you a bit more time for others to go through and sand down the sharp corners

  27. > But then everything stopped. You started to mimic Chrome more and more. It seemed to be more important to get a bigger version number then to actually improve and stabilise. In one year we have gone from version 65 to 75.

    This is one of my biggest complaints with Mozilla, and quite frankly, this is when things started to really go downhill.

    Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 were earth-shattering events, as was 4.0. But then then 5.0 comes out of nowhere and suddenly “we’re gonna release a whole new .0 release every few months whether we need to or not!”

    Mimicing Chrome/constantly stealing its features is a losing battle. Take your time with builds, don’t just release because “it’s been 3 weeks since we released anything!” Take your freakin’ time.

  28. Few days ago i made a post in subreddit when i started liking firefox and i switched from Chrome. Then comes Firefox 75…. Completely fucked up search bar….I feel its too ugly… I am thinking to switch. I suggested FF to 10+ friends of mine and made them install going to their homes

  29. I’m getting tired of hearing the vocal minority of Firefox users here that seem to just want everything to remain the same and for Firefox to not change that much. Like most of this seems to just be complaining your address bar is changed, despite what you say it doesn’t scream bad UX and a lot of people here like it, you just don’t like it because it’s different. Also a lot of this seems to just be general complaining that is kinda unnecessary, like the performance of Firefox has objectively gotten a lot better but you still complain about it. And I’m willing to bet stability wouldn’t be such a big issue if you didn’t fuck with the about:config every release, I don’t mess with it much and things are great for me.

    >Unless Mozilla gets a move on, actually figures out who their target audience is and improves on the basics before prioritizing “bigger numbers are better” mindset it will completely die within a few years.

    Mozzilla has figured out its target audience and it’s not you and you shouldn’t expect it to be you.

  30. I use Firefox because fuck Google and it’s easier to customize privacy settings. I will take many negative features if that continues to be the case. It’s that simple.

  31. Without all the negative comments I would not have noticed the URL bar has changed. The only thing I noticed was the suggestions while typing are bold now

  32. I don’t understand what your issue is with the address bar. Firefox has made some questionable decisions over the years (this is coming form someone who has use it since it was called Firebird) but this is not one of them.

    The address bar works exactly like I expect it to, every keyword I have set works, it’s pulling up my bookmarks as expected, it’s also working better with the ‘top pages’ because it seems I can actually specify the top pages.

    Are you unhappy with the UX design of the address bar or the actual functionality?

  33. > Its purpose is to help Mozilla understand user’s default browser choices and, _in the future, to engage with users at a time when they may not be actively running Firefox_.

    Oh, no-no-no-no-no, honey. This is not how a program is supposed to behave. When I am not using a program, it is supposed to be quiet and leave me alone. Just because Microsoft and Google abuse their customers with intrusive nags and ads, does not mean that I find this sort of conduct acceptable. In fact, I rank it way up there on the list of reasons that I use Linux now, right next to not needing to pay for an operating system, and not having code that I’ve never heard of and never asked for pushed onto my computer, which (like the nagging) are now all standard features of Windows 10.

  34. agreed sir and now our browser default gets shared to them as well

    brave turns telemetry of by default why not firefox seeing as how we hammer on privacy

  35. Does anyone know a way to test whether I’ll be able to use the new design, report any needed bugs, and revert to the current design if I can’t use the new one?

  36. I am getting so tired of having to maintain a growing file with a list of about:config tweaks I have to opt out of all the crappy firefox redesign garbage. First the about page and pocket being shoved down my throat now this. If they start removing these options entirely I’m really going to have to start casting around for another browser.

    Please stop trying to mimic chrome. Firefox and its (traditional) ui is actually great and I like it better than Chrome.

  37. That is why I switched to Waterfox Classic. It’s as if someone took the latest version of Firefox and stuck it inside the pre-Quantum UI with XUL support. Best browser ever.

  38. Am I the only one here who has not noticed a change with the address bar?

    Perhaps because I use my address bar like… Well… An address bar. I type in my web address or my search term and that’s it.

    I had no idea it has “features” or if it does. In fact, the only thing I tell it to do when I first install is to remove the pocket and favorite from it (right-click the icon and tell it to hide).

    Beyond that to me, an address bar is an address bar. I don’t know if I’m in the minority or the majority lacking the care to comment.

  39. How do I disable this new URL bar feature? The blue frame is ugly. I don’t need the list of my bookmarks when I select it. This is horrible.

  40. about:config settings:

    Set “**browser.urlbar.oneOffSearches**” to “**false**” to at least turn off the list of search engines if you use your URL bar as a search bar.

    Set “**browser.urlbar.openViewOnFocus**” to “**false**” to turn off bookmark suggestions when simply selecting the URL bar. It will still suggest stuff when you start typing – but this makes sense since now it’s at least based on what you typed in.

    You can edit the suggestions further by searching for options containing “browser.urlbar.suggest.” such as:
    “browser.urlbar.suggest.history” or “browser.urlbar.suggest.bookmark”.

    I can’t find a setting to change the color or turn off the highligh of the URL bar.

  41. I did some testing on my mac yesterday, and I never thought I’d see they day that CHROME gave me 25% better battery life than Firefox.

  42. >back in about:config and deep into forums and Google to figure out what setting to put to False or change a 0 to 1 so I can have my old URLbar back

    and the odds are pretty good they will remove our ability to change that in a future release too.

  43. Honestly, I get the feeling like the UI team thinks that they need to keep making changes to justify their own existence, making changes for the sake of making changes.

  44. It’s as fast as Chrome to me and as user friendly, but then again I dont customize much.

    I use it because I *think* it has better privacy than Chrome (sharing everything with Google).

  45. A “better” URL bar won’t bring new users , they need to focus on more important features imo .

    For example , an easier way to create multiple profiles with visually different shortcuts for multiple users (Desktop) . A simple feature , but important one as many people share the same PC at one point or another .

    Everyone in my house beside myself had a terrible experience with Firefox , partially my fault , because I had addons like noscript which they didn’t know how to work with , and broke many sites for them . So I set multiple Chrome profiles for them to work with , it’s so easy to do that in Chrome , with shortcuts that had profiles pictures in them . You don’t even need to google how to do it .

    By the time I learned how to setup multiple profiles in Firefox (I didn’t even know you can do it in Firefox ) , the damage was done . They all started using Chrome on their own Laptops . And even on mobile phones , they use Chrome exclusively because it “gives no problems” . They don’t care about extensions , addons or privacy , they just want sites to load with no problems .

  46. I’m writing this from Chrome, as FF simply stopped working after upgrading to 75. Pages won’t load. Extensions don’t work anymore.

    So I must say – I’m 100% with you on this one. It might be easier to just migrate to Chrome then trying to revive my FF installation at this point.

  47. >At this point I’m just waiting for my mum to call asking about wtf happened to her internet icon thingy.

    If I didn’t have so much invested in all my things just syncing and working and have a long hatred for Google not working and doing things with my data, I’d have been gone long ago for many reasons albeit this one being near top of the list. You get them understanding how things work and then some update comes along and just blows it all up in front of you and you hear a scream from one of them at the computer in the other room. I spend enough of my day putting out fires that pop up, please don’t add to that by breaking the Internet for my parents (and me, except I’m sadistically willing to spend the three hours required to fix my experience back how I want it).

    Don’t even get me started on the Android version lately. It’s gradually breaking worse and worse. It just refuses to save cookies randomly upon opening (this is worse than it sounds, breaks a ton and makes things borderline non-functional as you can’t even login to a website when it happens and can even result in data loss in forms) and other times things refuse to load. It’s a game of force stop Firefox roulette to do anything.

  48. Most frustrating thing about this is that with every update they’ve changed the setting to disable the url bar zoom. As a nightly user, I started seeing the zoom on the url bar sometime in late 2019. My first thought was “oh, this must be a bug, let me go and report it”. Lo and behold, it’s a new design they’re working on, I get pointed to the main thread about it, change my about:config, and move on. Next major release, they changed the flag needed to disable it. Now with the latest nightly release they’ve completely removed the flag and I’ve had to go and change my userChrome.css instead. I get that they want to overhaul the search experience, but as someone who uses the “reduced motion” setting on almost every device I own, I pray that this is the last time I’ll have to make the fix.

  49. So,

    I’m content \[as one can be\] with my 74.0.1 iteration of Firefox and, at this stage, have zero interest in updating.

    To that end, is there any way to disable the popup that appears in the upper right of screen, informing me about the update?

    The only reason I ask, is that it makes me nervous having to constantly “not now thanks” the thing. I worry that I may \[because it keeps showing up\] inadvertently toggle the “yes update” button, setting in motion a chain of events I’d rather not right now.

    Thanks in advance!

  50. Mozilla & Firefox (& their other projects) are just the most prominent example of a fundamental psychological problem in open source development, where developers cannot let go of a project’s control to get the funding they need. They just don’t want to acknowledge this isn’t a personal passion project anymore and they have to listen to the users to get market share as well as funding. Instead they are trying all these ridiculous indirect funding schemes, like VPN subscriptions and advertiser collabs, to avoid having to give the users control over the development direction in return for direct funding. This is to be expected for smaller projects with the type of pedantic people attracted to open source development, but it’s ridiculous that a big professional project like Firefox still hasn’t passed this hurdle.

  51. You always have a choice, if value “original” looks then go use Chrome or Edge. Edge btw started to use Google’s blink engine so it’s basically now like Chrome just so you know. If you value privacy and freedom then stick to Firefox. Simple as that


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