Firefox will get Chrome extension support, multi-processing threads come December

Firefox at Mobile World Congress 2015 Barcelona

If you’re a Mozilla Firefox fan you’re in for quite a rude awakening when Mozilla practically overhauls the browser from the ground up come December.

Mozilla has announced that it will be adopting a new extension API, which will allow Google Chrome and Opera extensions to run within the Firefox browser. Moreover, this also means that the old-style extensions we’ve come to know and love will fall by the wayside, unless they’re recompiled.

It’s particularly sad news for those who can’t afford to rewrite entire extensions.

Other changes include Mozilla Firefox‘s move to a more Chrome-like multi-process makeup, which Mozilla’s calling “Electrolysis.” Each tab will effectively be a new Firefox instance in Microsoft Windows’ Task Manager, which will bring about a certain degree of stability to the browser, but possibly slow it down.

Read more: Firefox OS first impressions: no Android killer, yet

We’ve seen Chrome often devour vast allocations of RAM as a multi-process browser, so Firefox could very well suffer the same fate.

Of course, “fate” isn’t something Mozilla’s thinking about at all here.

“The strategy announced here necessarily involves a lot of trade-offs,” explained Mozilla’s Kev Needham.

“Developers who already support Chrome extensions will benefit since they will have one codebase to support instead of two. Developers of Firefox-only add-ons will have to make changes. Those changes may require considerable development effort up-front, but we feel the end result will be worth that effort for both Firefox’s users and developers.”

From Firefox 41, the changes will be opt-in thanks to the Firefox browsers’ three different browser development cycles. These changes should be instituted as early as Firefox 43 Stable, due out in December 2015.

Feature image: Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.