Saturday, September 3, 2016

E10S and Me

With the recent flurry of announcements about Firefox and Electrolysis (E10S), I decided to see if my primary computer was ready. The short answer is no. The longer answer is that Mozilla still has a ways to go making this a user-friendly switch. First, you have to know to go to about:support and find the Multiprocess entry. Then, if you're like me, you may discover the flag is set to 0 because of incompatible Addons. From there you must compare your list of addons to the Are we e10s yet? page. If Firefox is smart enough to know that Addons are blocking my migration, why can't it just tell me which ones? About:addons could have a banner at the top that says "Hey, you have a choice to make." For me, the main blocker is NoScript. I don't think I could survive websurfing without NoScript, both from a security standpoint and from an annoyance standpoint. 5 of the Top 10 addons list their compatibility as Unknown. As much effort as Mozilla has poured into their browser, I would have expected them to get the Addons ready by donating time/money. Marketshare is unacceptably low, and this is key to getting power users to continue recommending Firefox to people.


macandcheese-ok said...

Firefox disables with all addons, there is no logic added yet. The rollout is just to people without addons.

The user friendly migration for e10s with addons is not ready yet and will happen slowly over the course next several releases. Hopefully concluded by ff51 or 52.

So yes, it is smooth yet. But it is not supposed to be. There still needs to be more time for addon authors to refactor their addons. For example, Noscript is undergoing a major rewrite to webextensions but it is not ready yet.

Alan said...

That Bug for NoScript recently celebrated its 2 year anniversary. It has already been an extremely slow process. That was Firefox 35 and we're up to 48.

Gerald said...

The point was that you have misplaced expectations about the e10s release process.

Mozilla decided you were not "worthy" of running e10s (yet) but you tried to force it anyway, and now you are complaining that you are having a bad experience!

Maybe it is an issue with whatever you read, that made you think everybody should be able to get e10s right now?

Here's a good blog post that should hopefully reset your expectations:

Alan said...

I have not forced the issue, nor did I say that I did. I don't even run the Beta channel since I prefer the stability of my main browser. I'm not claiming to be special in any way. I'm saying that for something that's been baking for 2 years, I would have expected the top 20 addons to be ready, and if they could not get there on their own, to donate resources to get them there. Am I now forced to determine whether I am safer with NoScript or the sandboxing of E10S?

Gerald said...

Well, maybe "force [e10s]" is too-strong a word.
But you tried quite hard to see how to enable it, by going to about:support, and then trying to find out which add-ons were blocking e10s, and expecting that Firefox should have told you about them.
And now: Expecting the top 20 addons to be e10s-ready, expecting Mozilla to donate resources to match your timeline expectations.

"Am I now forced to determine whether I am safer with NoScript or the sandboxing of E10S?"
No. Nobody is forcing you to choose, you can keep using Firefox as it is provided to you.

Your interest in this new-fangled "E10S" thing (with its promise of better safety) made you try it and have a miserable experience because its work-in-progress state doesn't match your expectations.

Here's the current schedule:
Obviously you don't think it's fast enough, but that's what it is: A careful process to make sure that as many users smoothly transition into e10s when it is ready and not before (as you have tried).

Lorenzo said...

Guess what, I have just created a test profile for FF, without extensions and plugins disabled. Once again, I got the proof they are almost useless. There is just one news site that, because of some wrong version check, doesn't support HTML5 videos yet so I don't need Flash. I managed block advertisement reasonably well with the very old trick of using an hosts file so I don't need any blocker. NoScript, never got the idea of blacklisting/whitelisting so I don't need it.

But lets say there are two or three major extensions out there everybody really need. Mozilla should just add those features as options in FF core, instead of relying on third parties developing on top of "APIs". I don't get why there is the "tracking protection" in place and there isn't any "content blocker" or "script blocker".

IMHO the whole "power users" idea is wrong because one simple thing: to get "powerusers" evangelize for Mozilla you must be much better with performance (RAM, CPU, page loading), not adding the "bell and whistles", like 10.000 silly and useless extensions whole main consequence is degrading performance. Again, I don't get why Mozilla added Hello as "core feature" to drop it later, when that should have been an extension, same for the 3D view in the "developer tools". To make FF even more bloated? The whole "developer tools" code should be some sort of plugin/extension, pretty much like "Firebug" originally, given that 99% users don't go inspecting code.

So, I am testing the split FF and there is no real extension issue, the problem is, even on multicore PCs, it has got worse performance compared to single process FF. Is not really snappier and it needs much more resources.

If I could chose between no extensions for ever but a lean FF versus lots of extensions I don't need and a bloated FF, guess what I would pick. And guess If I am going to suggest a friend "dude, install FF so you get all those funny extensions" instead of "install FF because it works better on your PC".