I’m a freeloader. I like to use a lot free stuff. Seems like ever since Microsoft provided Internet Explorer for free in order to undercut (and eventually destroy) Netscape, a lot of fellow netizens have come to expect, even that they’re entitled to everything for free. Including being catered to while contributing absolutely nothing in return.
Among the many things I freeload are a lot of add-ons to extend Mozilla Firefox — the browser that rose from the ashes of Netscape. As a web developer, there are certain productivity tools that have become indispensable to me. They’re also frequently built by volunteers who choose to share the fruits of their labor and personal time investment. When this freeware happens to malfunction for whatever reason, I might be disappointed but I also understand that I use it as-is, having offered the maker no incentive whatsoever to pay any attention to my demands of them.
The Firefox Quantum Add-on-pocalypse
Earlier this last year, Firefox forewarned developers of a critical update that would essentially reinvent the browser: Firefox Quantum. It would also leave out many key technologies, especially the now legacy add-ons API that many of the tools I use were built on. So it was imperative that developers port their extensions using the new WebExtensions API. However, as the date of this impending Add-on-pocalypse™ approached, it began to sink in that these extensions I took for granted weren’t going to make the cut.
Some devs were explicit about their intention to let their projects die. The guy that thanklessly maintained Tab Groups put out a detailed statement with his final update listing all the fucks he no longer had to give and why. Others struggled to upgrade or create replacements, given the new API limitations. And a few features quietly ghosted away.