Mozilla’s Firefox broke and prevented browser’s add-ons and extensions to the browser running over the weekend, but a fix has arrived.
The problem struck on Saturday, Australian time, and “prevented existing and new add-ons from running or being installed.” It appears to have been caused by “expiration of intermediate signing cert”, according to a Bugzilla thread about the issue.
As many Firefox users have customised their browsers with add-ons, the glitch disrupted their browsing.
So sorry for the issue we’re having with add-ons right now!— Firefox (@firefox) May 4, 2019
We’re working hard to fix it and will keep you updated.
Mozilla, the not-for-profit that oversees Firefox, quickly explained how to work around the situation using the “Studies” feature of the browser. But Studies is not on by default and doesn’t download code instantly. Mozillans have therefore warned it may take up to six hours for the fix to arrive. Even then the fix didn’t work for some users.
“We are working on a general fix that doesn’t use the Studies system and will keep this blog post updated accordingly,” Mozilla’s Kev Needham blogged.
That’s important because using Studies to fix the mess won’t work on Firefox’s Extended Support Releases (ESRs), the versions of the browser that get longer support and are therefore preferred by big enterprise software players. ESRs are also sometimes customised by channel players that build custom browser-based apps. Firefox for Android also doesn’t have a fix.
The problem continued until 1:30PM Sunday, Sydney time, when Firefox popped out this Tweet.
We are really, really sorry for the continued disruption of features that you love and trust. We know this has been frustrating, and we're committed to fixing this as fast as we possibly can.— Mozilla Add-ons (@mozamo) May 5, 2019
Firefox has around ten percent market share. But that may take a hit in the wake of this incident, as CRN saw plenty of Tweets resembling the following:
Good-bye @Firefox. Why hello there Google you sexy thang.— MJ (@therealwitblitz) May 5, 2019
Such sentiments may now be redundant, as Mozilla has advised that a new version 66.04 of the browser for the desktop and Android restores add-ons. Firefox ESR has a new version too - 60.6.2 - and that too restores add-ons.
Crisis over, therefore. But crisis not resolved - Mozilla is yet to explain how and why this problem happened.