Firefox and its ANAL and intrusive update policies - hit me again today - while trying to actually do some work and it won’t let me open a new tab without restarting…
So - had enough of this CRAP! Freaking Chromium / Chrome don’t inflict this on users!
apt purge firefox
Download Firefox ESR (78) from Mozilla :
Unzip the contents somewhere (in my case ~/sbin/[swearword] )
Create a *.desktop (it’s called [swearword]fox.desktop) file for the pezzo-di-merda in ~/.local/share/applications…
Get Firefox ESR setup how I need it - including sync’ing all my bookmarks, cookies and passwords and shit…
Locate a PNG / SVG icon and plonk that in some dir referenced by the *.desktop file (in my case ~/sbin/[swearword]/.)
Exit Firefox ESR…
Then in ~/sbin/[swearword], create a folder called “distribution” - then in that folder create a file called “policies.json” with the contents :
Now no more updates… So I get out of sync? I don’t really give a rat’s arse - I only use firefox 'cause I got two O365/Outlook Web and THREE ServiceNow environments I need to access at the same time, for work - so I used Chrome for the “main” ones, and Firefox for the other - and next time I want to open up a ServiceNow ticket in a new tab in firefox - I WILL NEVER get the tab that tells me Firefox needs to restart (seriously WTF? Did they take a leaf out of MS Windows rulebook of what’s acceptable behaviour???).
So now I’ve zipped up that “portable” copy of Firefox for Linux, and I’ll apt purge it from my other Linuxes and run it as a “portable” app on them and hopefully it will never get in my face again about updating!
I don’t really get the point of this post.
When you update programs, most of the time you have to restart them. It’s not that they force you do perform updates at a specific time, right?
However, if you’re unhappy with a specific browser, just use another. There are actually plenty of them.
Nevertheless, restarting and continuing where you were takes how long? 20 seconds?
I think people often change from Windows to Linux, due to lack of power in their old environment. You can do anything you want in Linux, without virtually any limitiation. This includes the update topic, etc. I personally don’t find Windows updates so intrusive, they actually work really fine on my computer. Other people however have problems with them and I respect their decision to despise Windows updates.
Now, here I think it’s not about losing time, it’s about losing control, as well. Perhaps those 20 seconds are not a big deal by themselves. However, the user was forced to do something, he did not want to do at this very moment. This is sometimes a big issue for freedom-loving Linux users.
I personally don’t care about interruptions due to updates, because I understand why updates exist and the possible reasons for almost “forcing” themselves onto the software. Other users perhaps think differently and have other priorities.
The problem is - I might in the middle of a Priority 1 or 2 incident for a major customer (public power utility) - and I’ve got two tabs with outlook web sessions (e.g. my inbox, and my calendar) - then I’ve got 6 tabs open with Service Now running in them - some are indexes of tickets in my queue, some are tickets in my teams queue, one tab might be the “self service portal”, some are tickets I opened up from the emailed notification with a URL to the specific incident…
So I try to open the P1 or P2 incident in a new tab - and Firefox says I need to restart Firefox to open a new tab!!! WTF?
It takes me upwards of five minutes to log back into everything and get some/most of those tabs restored… (yeah - I’m probably exaggerating - it may not be 5 minutes - but - the frustration level makes it seem like 30 minutes!)… I have to re-authenticate to all those pages, and if it’s been too long since last time - it might even prompt me to use my Microsoft MFA token for OWA.
This is uncalled for - it should just let me open a new tab, REGARDLESS of whether or not FF was updated!
Neither Google Chrome nor Chromium behave like this…
Hence why I’ve gone for Firefox ESR, as a “portable app” in my $HOME dir, and locked it down so it cannot update…
If your employment is so critical why is your computer so vulnerable.
I used to work in the data processing industry in a 2000+ employees.
All our computers were closed to the kind of problems you seem to experience. Daniel.
One of the teams’ jobs was to make sure every one of 2000+ computers were the same with the PROGRAM/FILES folder closed.
All updates of the OS and of the programs were made nightly and automatically.
I assume not everyone has a private IT administrator at home, who watches all computers and maintains them every day.
Every computer user is a private IT administrator at home if one wishes.
The job of an administrator is to make sure Windows updates/Linux updates are not made automatically
and define a period of time for these tasks. The same with such applications as Firefox,
One can choose the way/time/conditions these updates are done.
That is control.
The same with word processing apps like Ms-Word or Libre Office Writer or Open Office Writer.
They all have options one can choose in Spelling or Spelling & Grammar.
Enabling, disabling, adding text to Microsoft Word AutoText is possible
The same with the two other suites.
That is fully correct, however if you do this at home for your own sake, you have no strict rules, except the one you impose on yourself. So it’s just natural not everything is looked after the same way as in your example about the company with 2000+ employees. Maintenance done by yourself may be and often is not complete, which is perfectly fine. That’s why I wouldn’t expect the same type of work from such a home administrator, especially since it is technically not even a paid job.
Finally, you expect that administrators will disable automatic updates, as if this were the ultimate undeniable premise. However, what if we would live in a world, where all automatic updates are turned off by default and administrators have to turn them on, explicitly? Then our friend Daniel wouldn’t have an issue, at all.
So, I am trying to say, that there are always several perspectives and ways to look at an issue. It all depends on the way you look at things.
Where did I say my computer was vulnerable?
I do my own admin on my own systems - I keep my Ubuntu desktops reasonably up to date, but not religiously…
“Default” firefox install on Ubuntu is set to auto update itself, and when it does update itself, it prevents you from opening new tabs until you restart (and after about Firefox 60x or something - Mozilla completely disabled being able to prevent updates)…
The ONLY things I run in firefox, on my linux desktops (I have 3 at home and I keep one at work) are corporate web apps like Outlook Web Access and Service Now - I’m not worried about “vulnerabilities” - what I am worried about is productivity - and having to restart with 12 tabs open, and the to have to re-open most of them again, retype logins etc - is a real PITA…
So I’ve solved that issue, “firefox” is “sandpitted” as a standalone, “not installed” application (i.e. just the x86_64 binaries in a folder in my home drive).
I do also have access to a “corporate” Windows 10 laptop, but I hardly ever use it - Firefox on there also runs as a “portable app” - because there was some rubbishy “legacy” web service I needed (for my job) to use that only supported old versions of firefox with the ancient “deprecated” Java and Flash plugins.
Having a Linux desktop is not part of my job description - but I’m 10,000 more productive using a Linux desktop than Windows 10, so I make that choice myself…
@daniel.m.tripp, I love reading your posts. Your style and wording are very entertaining. I don’t understand a lot of your posts b/c of my lack of experience / knowledge of Linux and esp Servers.
It is very frustrating for the software you are using to stop you from working for an update. Main reason, I felt Win 10.
But for Firefox, the fix could have been much easier.
- Type “about:config” in the address bar
- change “app.update.auto” to false
Firefox messed me around so uninstall and got slimjet
I stick to ESR. No surprises
I find Firefox updates such a PITA I often ignore them for a week or two until I know I have time to re-start everything and have nothing ‘important’ ongoing online.
I know they arte ‘security’ updates but surely Firfox isn’t being ‘attacked’ as much as Edge or Internet Explorer was?
Any browser is being attacked right now. Most remote attacks are intiated through the browser, whether you are downloading a malicious file or sending someone money through a phished version of your bank’s online website. The browser is one of the most important attack surfaces and it shows. Browser exploits are extremely important nowadays, because of that.
So yes, security updates for the browser are very important. Of course, the likeliness of a specific person being specifically attacked is quite low, but you always stop thinking about statistics, when you become the victim yourself. So there’s no joking about that.
try Brave… it’s really fast too
Roger. Yes, every home user who builds/uses their own computers and installs OSs is a SysAdmin by default.
I have been doing it for 30+ years as a home user and I generally kept myself and my family “ahead” of the rest with networking computers, printers, NASs, etc at home.
But the problem for me is remembering how to do things.
Example. I set up my wife’s PC running Linux Mint, and I set up fstab so that it mounts the drives I want in the right place so that she can find her data easily on a NAS. It takes me a while to figure out how to do it, correct syntax etc. And everything runs well for 2-3 years.
But when I need to fix something or change something, I can’t remember exactly how I did it and I have to re-learn all over again, which takes time because I haven’t had to use the commands for 2-3 years. I forget things. And I don’t get paid for the time it takes me to do these things.
The professional SysAdmins in my company (maintaining a few hundred machines) do this stuff all the time so they stay familiar with the processes and the commands, so they can remember them fairly easily. And they are paid for the time they spend doing it.
That is a big difference between the pro SysAdmins and those of us who do it ourselves.
Another factor of course is how often things break. Windows broke fairly often and I had plenty of Windows machines, so I was always fixing something for myself or my friends, so the repair processes were always fresh in my mind. But Linux processes broke so rarely that they ran for years without a hiccup, then if something broke I couldn’t remember the steps I took three years ago (or whenever) to fix it. Reliability is a great benefit, but it has its drawbacks for the home-user too.
I am very well aware of these troublesome Alzheimer’s cases
and that is why I take notes the second time the problem occurs.
Is that wise?
I was reading your first post and I was like: “FF ESR?”, so I clicked on your link and got to the FF ESR page. Again I thought: “WTH is FF ESR?”. So I went to the “About FF” on my FF and it said: “Firefox Browser Extended Support Release”.
What an A$$ Hxxx I am! I was already running FF ESR and didn’t even remembered it! I think Dr. Alzheimer is starting to strike me down.
Anyway, I use LMDE4, I don’t have Update Manager activated and my FF ESR is installed. So it only updates when I want, what I want and if I want.
Those update problems never happened to me and I even got to update my FF while working with it at the same time and still no problems at all.
I use APT in CL so that I can have everything under my control… or so I think.
How does one distinguish Firefox from Firefox ESR
without having to go Help->About Firefox ?
85.0 (64 bits)
78.7.1esr (64 bit)
The main point I was trying to make in my original post, was that Firefox’s update policy, where it updates without asking and will NOT let you open any new tabs or windows until it’s been restarted - is almost EXACTLY like Windows 7/8/10’s update where it forces you to update, and WILL not let you get anything done or use the operating system WHILE it is updating…
I use Firefox for work, I can have upwards of 20 or so tabs open (e.g. customer email system, service desk front end and multiple tabs for each ticket I’m working on) - and being unable to open a new tab to work on a new ticket, without restarting Firefox is counter-productive in my use-case scenario… Just doesn’t cut the mustard… so I opt for the “monolithic” seeming ~/some-folder-in-my-home-dr/firefox (binary) “installation” approach - I can just copy that folder to any new computer I want to run Firefox on…
I actually run tor-browser exactly the same way (tor updates itself, nags about restarting if it’s been updated, but NEVER forces me to restart or prevents opening new tabs) - as a “portable app”…