The state of AMO and an update to 'Firefox Extensions – My Picks'

I added the Invidition add-on to Firefox Extensions – My Picks. Invidition is a fairly nice add-on that redirects all links to YouTube videos and embedded YouTube videos to one of the Invidious instances which provide an alternative front-end to youtube.com. By using the add-on one can avoid youtube.com completely whilst still being able to watch YouTube videos. Think privacy.

As for the state of the Mozilla Firefox Add-ons site (AMO), it is in sad shape. Many of the new add-ons being published are garbage and many contain what i broadly define as malware. While Mozilla's choice to discontinue the older XUL add-ons in favor of Web Extensions is nice for security, the move has resulted in an influx of developers apparently coming from Google Chrome since both browsers use essentially the same extension API. The fallout from these changes, as well as the implementation of an automated extension review system, has resulted in a significant number of malware containing add-ons being published to AMO every day. While these malicious add-ons seem to be removed from AMO within roughly 24 hours, they still present potentially serious risks for those who install them before they are removed and disabled.

I think a lot of the innovation that once surfaced on AMO has dried up and it's rather sad and annoying to see that replaced with money hungry morons, among them a bazillion VPN providers with piss-poor "privacy" policies, and piles of "Adobe Flash" add-ons, virtually all of which are outright malware. It's also frustrating to watch hundreds and even thousands of ignorant sheep installing this garbage.

If you have a desire to help Mozilla do what it damn well should be doing without your help, create a Firefox Account, go to addons.mozilla.org and start down-voting and flagging these malicious add-ons.

Updated Firefox user-overrides.js

I updated my user-overrides.js for Firefox (click here and press Ctrl+S to download).

Always remember to run the 'ghacks' prefsCleaner script after every update to either their user.js or my user-overrides.js.

On rather important thing i added to my user-overrides.js is the following comment:

 * ALWAYS READ THE 'LATEST CHANGES' SECTION NEAR THE TOP and if there are any
 * preferences in it that have been removed, these preferences need to be reset
 * from about:config in Firefox

If you really want to be sure any old prefs or incorrect pref values are removed from prefs.js, exit Firefox and rename it to prefs.js.bak, then restart Firefox.

Recent changes as follows:

 * added 'webgl.dxgl.enabled'
 * added 'browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.asrouter.userprefs.cfr.addons'
 * removed 'browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.asrouter.userprefs.cfr' - depreciated
 * moved 'browser.display.use_document_fonts' to ghacks diffs section
 * moved 'layout.css.font-loading-api.enabled' to personal prefs section
 * minor edits

Waterfox – 'Spyware Level: High'

Waterfox is a fork of Firefox and i used to use it until it gave me problems that Firefox didn't. Waterfox made its mark as a speedy, 64 bit version of Firefox before there was a 64 bit version of Firefox. More recently the developer started focusing on privacy, or so he claims. I was quite surprised when i ran across this today:

Waterfox – Spyware Level: High

To be clear, the 'spyware' that is claimed to exist in Waterfox is mostly the same kind of stuff that Mozilla Firefox does before it's beaten into submission; phoning home, update checks, search engine shenanigans, etc., but in my book some of that stuff is malware/spyware.

The article is a year old and maybe some of this stuff has been addressed, but not all of it has to my knowledge. Here's some highlights…

If you start up Waterfox for the first time, it will make 109 requests[5] to several spyware platforms, most notably Google Analytics, and Mozilla online services like its Geolocation service, and several other Mozilla services, as well as Waterfox's own update service.

[…] […] Waterfox's privacy policy does not necessarily reflect what information the browser currently collects. The lack of detail and clarity in the privacy policy is also very concerning.

[…]

By default Waterfox is using the spyware search engine Bing. Why would a privacy-based Web Browser offer this search engine by default? The other offered search engines are not much better- we have the option of searching with Google, which also logs your internet searches, and Ecosia, which also logs your internet searches (but it gives them to Bing).

And just a note to those who subscribe to new post notifications via email; if you haven't seen the boo-boo i made, please read this.

Firefox user-overrides.js updated

I issued a small update to my user-overrides.js (click here and press Ctrl+S to grab the file). Change log follows…

 * added 'dom.targetBlankNoOpener.enabled'
 * added 'font.name.serif.x-unicode'
 * added 'font.name.serif.x-western'
 * removed 'network.trr.uri'
 * removed 'network.trr.bootstrapAddress'
 * removed redundant pref
 * set 'webgl.disabled' to 'false'
 * minor pref description edits