Bonum Certa Men Certa

Mozilla Firefox in the Windows Store is an Unnecessary Distraction

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Today, Mozilla is spamming for Microsoft Windows Vista SP 11 on their blog.

Oh good, the Vista SP 11 store. Hooray!

The OS that can’t get a file manager with 8 buttons to work right!

Microsoft “allows” browsers using Gecko or Chromium (but apparently still excludes Goanna and Webkit?), and this gains you nothing because applications are still not audited by Microsoft for safety (for whatever that’s worth….Solyndra, the Exchange Server Hack of March 2021, etc, etc.), and updates are still a mess that’s handled (or not) per-program.

It’s like a GNU/Linux repository, except with restrictions and DRM, and just generally not worth a bag of beans… 🙂

You’re literally no better off with the Windows Store than going to and grabbing the EXE file.

In fact, I’m quite certain Microsoft probably does other nasty things that Firefox itself doesn’t do. That’s how Stores work, like Play and Apple.

Those stores even add tracking libraries and “telemetry” to hook into “apps” and pilfer your data quietly, on top of whatever the developer put in.

One reason why GNU/Linux distros don’t include wine-gecko (which is how it simulates Internet Explorer for programs that embed HTML) is because it requires non-Free software to build Gecko or Firefox for Windows.

In fact, that’s one reason why the FSF no longer makes a GNU IceCat for Windows.

If you can’t even build something without proprietary software, is it Free Software?

It took OpenIndiana (the fork of OpenSolaris) so long to get away from Sun’s compiler that it stalled out development everywhere else in the tree. They may otherwise have implemented something useful, like USB 3 support.

I’d say that Windows 11 Store Firefox is an unhelpful distraction at the very least, even if it appears to do no harm.

Even if it did no other harm but advertise a malicious operating system whose quality is very obviously not good, what value does it add?

Additionally, Mozilla spent years taking no action while fake Firefox apps that charged naive users money polluted Microsoft’s crummy software store.

If you look at the Windows store now, I’m told you still have to look through 44 of these fake apps before you get to Firefox.

Microsoft now has another heavily restricted SKU of Windows that tries to compete with the Chromebook in education. Good luck. Every single one of these things is e-waste, and they’ll quietly take a write down on the whole thing, like they did with thousands of pallets of “Windows Phones”.

One of the ways these laptops will mistreat school children? If the school imposes Microsoft Edge on them, they won’t be allowed to install Firefox, even if Firefox _is_ in the Windows Store.

Richard Stallman compared teaching kids to use Windows and proprietary software with allowing tobacco companies to bring in cartons of cigarettes to teach kids how to smoke. Schools should be teaching kids how to make the world better, not being bought off by the Bill Gates Foundation to dump Windows in there to “get people hooked” so they can “collect later”. (Which was what he said he wanted to do with China…)

While Mozilla is putting their browser in the Windows Store with all sorts of restrictions on use, and with none of the users being able to make modified copies and share them with others, let’s not forget that even years ago, Mozilla sent their lawyers after Debian for backporting security patches to versions of Firefox that Mozilla didn’t want to support anymore. New versions of Firefox are hard to support if you want to ship a stable operating system.

Mozilla has recently gotten so aggressive that Firefox 91+ break if you’re not using the newest release of Mesa3d on GNU/Linux. Something that few distributions will have.

They want total control over everything. SeaMonkey’s Wiki complains that Mozilla “doesn’t accept patches” from outside anymore.

Mozilla is never going to object to Microsoft. They take dirty money from Microsoft and Google and say nothing.

Do you know what this company is? What they really do with your data?

As an aside, what does Mozilla even mean with statements like this?

“Previously if you were on Windows, you had to download Firefox from the internet and go through a process from Microsoft.”

Downloading it from the Windows Store brings it in from an Internet server, and it’s obviously a “process from Microsoft”. Maybe they meant, through the store it won’t set off their piece of crap “antivirus” program, Microsoft “Pretender”. It warns people about open source software, and frequently removes it without asking.

Anyway, the attitude at Mozilla is getting worse by the minute. They’ve dropped all pretenses about being open source, they pitch Microsoft, they take dirty money, they fire hundreds of people who actually do things while keeping a $3+ million a year CEO, they make it difficult for LTS distributions to use native packaging to even carry Firefox ESR, and they even add spyware (“Firefox Suggest”).

So, the Windows Store is a minor nit after all this. Who keeps track anymore? When Microsoft approached Novell with their “special patents deal” in 2006 I thought that was pretty rotten.

We’ve lost Firefox through a similar process of corrupt leadership at Mozilla and Microsoft moles throughout the organization.

It’s time to start thinking about alternatives. LibreWolf also pushed 94 as a Flatpak the other day, and they incorporated a few fixes for eyesores that I pointed out. Cleaning up this mess that Mozilla leaves is going to be a tough hill for them to climb.

I don’t know where it will all land after Mozilla files bankruptcy when Google and Microsoft have no further use for them and Mitchell Baker’s bank account is full.

Bonus: Firefox carries two interventions for Microsoft websites that break themselves deliberately in Firefox.

Microsoft Loves Open Source. Which must explain why Microsoft 365 demands to be the default mail handler in Firefox every time you click on a link and Microsoft added extra code to Office for the Web to make Firefox appear broken if you load an Excel spreadsheet.

Many sites break nowadays if they think you’re running anything but Chrome. When I complained about this to Mozilla due to Facebook doing it with Messenger Live Video for three years, they declared that I was a spammer and hid my comments about Mozilla not caring about the user giving up and moving to a different browser, or else they would have silenced Facebook and made it work again with a UA hack.

It seems to be almost random what Mozilla will bother to fix, per about:compat. Humorously, the US Centers for Disease Control website no longer works properly in Firefox.

Hell, even Vivaldi and Brave, which are Chromium browsers, had to give up on saying they were Vivaldi and Brave. Now every site meant for Chrome works fine. They make exceptions for their search engines.

I am so done with anything that is even remotely based on Firefox at this point. It’s more trouble than it’s worth and they’re just cloning Chrome APIs and ignoring sites that maliciously wound their Gecko layout engine, including their friends at Microsoft.

It’s clear that they also don’t give a damn about problems they make for stable GNU/Linux distros, since Debian 11 was released two months ago and Firefox has already declared it obsolete.

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