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Firefoxed!

Problems which scupper Firefox upgrade, including Firefox upgrade breaking ViewSourceWith!


A long time ago, amazing as it may seem, Internet Explorer was my favoured browser. It worked, both for online pages and for offline pages, and when working on my own website I could adjust pages easily as it had a proper "view source" [edit] button. This was a feature which the early Netscape did not have, as its "view source" was not an editor and did not allow alteration of the pages.

When Firefox was released, I was at first reticent to change browsers, but then when a proper View/Edit Source feature was added, it became the new browser here! The big advantage which Firefox has over Internet Explorer is that Firefox works in Linux, whereas Internet Explorer becomes entirely obsolete when the computers are upgraded to Linux. It always seemed odd that Microsoft did not release a Linux version of their browser. After all, Linux browsers were being made available for both Linux and Microsoft operating systems, leaving the competition standing!

Mozilla Firefox is good, and has many advantages. Although I have my doubts about the block images option, it doesn't seem to have become as big a problem as the sorts of things done by AOL

Firefox continued to be the favoured browser here, and it continued despite a problem which a friend flagged up about Firefox upgrades being inconsiderate on the Eeep! However, things changed notably because of an incident which happened in June 2011. Here's what happened:

I was browsing around the Internet and then suddenly and unexpectedly Firefox said it wanted to "upgrade". Normally there would be no problem with this, so, I let it upgrade. This was the mistake.

What happened was that Firefox "upgraded" from Firefox 4 to Firefox 5 and it seemed quite pleased with itself and said it was a success. However, as a minor point it commented that ViewSourceWith was not compatible with Firefox 5. It mentioned this almost as if it was incidental. It's a bit like your vehicle sat-nav saying it's going to upgrade its maps and then commenting that now it's successfully upgraded it no longer supports navigation for anywhere on the Planet Earth, as Earth has been removed from the Galactic Civilisation.

Obviously View Source With is essential, as I need to be able to edit my web pages. A browser without it is approximately worthless. So, what now?

Well, if Firefox 5 won't work, let's just go back to Firefox 4. That worked perfectly well yesterday.

There is a problem, though. "Upgrades" can't be undone. This is a fatal flaw in the way Firefox is run. Besides driving you up a dead-end like this, it also means that any offers to "upgrade" are to be treated with suspicion, and in absence of evidence that they are safe, avoided.

As the Firefox in question was on a Windows machine, it seemed that I would have to switch back again to Internet Explorer. However, on closer inspection, Internet Explorer had also "upgraded" and had committed software suicide by no longer having view/edit source. It had lost its key advantage. (Presumably it had done this because too many people were too stupid to realise they couldn't change other people's websites online?)

It was therefore necessary to switch to a different browser. The choice was Opera, as it still worked and still had a proper view/edit source. So, Opera Browser it was!

The mystery is: Why does Firefox make stupid upgrades that break essential components? Also, why is ViewSourceWith classed as an "add-on" when it should be an obvious thing that should be part of the browser? Also, why does Firefox have upgrades which, if they don't work properly, can't be undone?

These are vexing questions, but really it is for the people who make Firefox to learn from their mistakes.

Update: Mysteriously and without notice, Firefox updated itself! Suddenly the ViewSourceWith icon reappeared, and the item worked. This is good! However, it is slightly worrying that Firefox updated and made essential things fail in the first place. This has happened at least twice!

Surely it would make more sense for Firefox to have a sensible policy on updates? Nixos does.