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Future development of Pentadactyl #99

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willsALMANJ opened this Issue Nov 9, 2015 · 190 comments

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willsALMANJ commented Nov 9, 2015

The commit logs have been fairly quiet recently (1 commit over the last 3+ months) and the developers have not responded to several mailing list posts and GitHub issues posted over the last seven months or so regarding upcoming Firefox changes that will render Pentadactyl unusable. So the question is where does Pentadactyl go from here. Here are some major roadblocks for Pentadactyl that need to be addressed:

  1. Distribution / promotion

    The version of Pentadactyl hosted on AMO has been incompatible with Firefox Release for most of the last two years. The Pentadactyl website has been out of date for years as well. Now, even the nightly builds are often unreliable or out of date. An updated version of Pentadactyl needs to be the first version users find when they search AMO or the web. Issue #26 has more details about this issue.

  2. Extension signing

    On January 26, 2016, Firefox Release will require that extensions be signed, rendering Pentadactyl unusable unless it is signed. To be signed, it must be uploaded to Mozilla's site by the developers. Alternatively, it could be forked and given a new add-on id and that version could be uploaded by a third party. However, Pentadactyl is very complex and will not pass the automated tests part of the extension signing process. Getting something as complex as Pentadactyl through a manual review will be difficult and require a lot of effort (developers who understand the Pentadactyl code base will have to advocate for why certain sections of the code are secure and should be allowed through Mozilla's approval process despite tripping automated test failures). Issue #79 has more on this subject.

  3. Electrolysis

    Electrolysis (multi-threaded version of Firefox) will at some point become the default and then later on the shims that allow add-ons written to work with single-threaded Firefox to work in Electrolysis will be removed. More testing is needed but as is Pentadactyl will be unusable with Electrolysis and without the compatibility shims. This issue was first raised in issue #50 (edit: originally this said #84), though there is not much content there right now.

  4. Deprecation of XUL and XPCOM

    Further into the future (~18-24 months), Firefox plans to transition away from XUL-based add-ons. At that point, only add-ons using the Add-ons SDK or the WebExtensions API will work with Firefox. All signs point to the Add-ons SDK also being phased out slightly further into the future. The WebExtensions API does not allow for all of the functionality of Pentadactyl (this is why there is full-featured equivalent of Pentadactyl for Google Chrome and why the closest thing, Vimium, has to use some convoluted code to get as much functionality as it can). Developers who understand Pentadactyl and the WebExtensions API well need to start advocating now for new API's that will allow Pentadactyl's features to be created with WebExtensions.

Some avenues that could be explored:

  • Merging with Vimperator. Vimperator is still under active development. I don't know enough about it to know what Pentadactyl features it lacks or if the developers would be willing to add them. Also, I don't know how well the Vimperator developers are prepared to deal with all of these issues, but the more resources put behind one effort the better most likely (this seems like the most relevant issue: vimperator/vimperator-labs#264).
  • Creating a maintenance fork of Pentadactyl. We could fork Pentadactyl and try to get it signed as suggested above, but this could prove difficult for the reasons given above. Alternatively, we could use the Developer build of Firefox that does not require signing, but this build has not yet been released and it is yet to be seen how it will work in practice. This would allow Pentadactyl to continue to be used near term until issues 3 and 4 above hit.
  • Rewrite Pentadactyl using WebExtensions. This would be a lot of work but provides the most stable future for Pentadactyl. As noted above, new API's would be required, so developers would have to work with Mozilla to have them implemented.
  • Continue Pentadactyl with developer support. One of Pentadactyl's developers works on the Mozilla Add-ons team, so he is probably the most qualified person in the world to guide Pentadactyl through all of the issues outlined above. I can understand how all of these changes might require too much time for the developers to deal with, but I know there are several members of the Pentadactyl community who would love to help if there were any way that we could.
@polyzen

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polyzen commented Nov 10, 2015

Vimperator will also have to be rewritten. It would be something if these two could merge in that process..

@vyp

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vyp commented Nov 10, 2015

I'm not actually sure the vimperator developers would be interested in pentadactyl-like features. As I understand it, there was a little 'bad blood' between both parties at the time of the fork. On the other hand, that was quite some time ago, so maybe I am not recalling correctly, or maybe the circumstances have changed.

@j127

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j127 commented Nov 10, 2015

I'd be interested in helping to save Pentadactyl.

@polyzen

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polyzen commented Nov 10, 2015

@vyp, perhaps Vimperator will have to be forked again after the rewrite :p

@vyp

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vyp commented Nov 10, 2015

https://superuser.com/a/261731 may also provide a little more context regarding vimperator vs pentadactyl (note that that's the main developer of vimperator at the time).

@j127

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j127 commented Nov 10, 2015

I've tried it and switched back to Pentadactyl.

@anantpaatra

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anantpaatra commented Nov 10, 2015

Why give no answer to the community? "Hey guys, we are not going to keep working on this. Thanks for everything." or "Hey, we are alive and trying to sort things out."? It's not like they don't see the Github notifications. It's not like @kmaglione is unaware that the community expects an answer from him. Step up guys. I know this is "free" stuff, so just give us a "get out" or "we got this". People like me came to depend on Pentadactyl to do our everyday computer stuff.

@oddRaven

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oddRaven commented Nov 10, 2015

I started using Pentadactyl because Vimperator wasn't able to do something, switched back recently due to incompatibility with Firefox 42. It works, but it doesn't feel as advanced as Pentadactyl, it doesn't try to do everything in the commandline. I'd like to help keeping Pentadactyl stay alive but I don't have any experience working on Firefox extensions (yet).

@amosbird

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amosbird commented Nov 12, 2015

Going back to Vimperator is not an option for me.

@congma

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congma commented Nov 12, 2015

I wonder how this will affect Pentadactyl: Firefox Bug 1222546 - Product plan: remove support for heavyweight themes.

Does Pentadactyl use themes?

@polyzen

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polyzen commented Nov 12, 2015

@congma, I doubt that will affect us. You can change the colorscheme of penta itself, but that doesn't affect ff's theme

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Nov 12, 2015

@congma The previous announcements already called out major changes to Firefox that require major refactoring of Pentadactyl, so this announcement doesn't have too much direct impact (Pentadactyl is an extension, not a theme). However, the changes to themes do indicate a restructuring of how Firefox allows its UI to be modified, so that might impact how the statusbar and command line would have to be implemented.

The discussion in that bug is very relevant to the issues facing Pentadactyl though because themes are undergoing similar changes to extensions to align with the changes to Firefox/XUL/XBL and because @kmaglione (Pentadactyl developer) is one of the main participants. He even references Pentadactyl at the end of this comment (the only time I have seen him acknowledge the impact of the upcoming changes on Pentadactyl:

I do think that it sucks that there's going to be such a sharp transition for add-on developers, and I say this as the developer of one of the largest, most complex extensions for Firefox power users. But I also think that it's necessary, and in the end will make things better for just about everyone.

  • Kris Maglione
@polyzen

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polyzen commented Nov 13, 2015

@willsALMANJ, and just two days ago. Good to hear

@xificurC

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xificurC commented Nov 18, 2015

I'd love to hear some update from the devs too. I use pentadactyl everyday and would like to see it getting a bit more active, while there is still time. vimfx and vimperator are not even close to what pentadactyl provides.

@ghost

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ghost commented Nov 22, 2015

@willsALMANJ I just stick with @ffledging's dactyl releases repo https://github.com/ffledgling/dactyl-build/releases

Another option would be to use firefox ESR version in the meanwhile.

If penta really dies I would just give qutebrowser a try.

@vyp

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vyp commented Nov 23, 2015

@k0377 qutebrowser is pretty great, I've been using it for a short while now as I look to find alternatives to pentadactyl. However there's still a lot of things where qutebrowser doesn't even come close to pentadactyl. But hopefully that will be rectified in the not so distant future. Another project people here might want to keep an eye on is https://github.com/meh/miserve.

@j127

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j127 commented Nov 23, 2015

If penta really dies...

That is a frightening thought, since the default FF interface has been going downhill rapidly and Pentadactyl is what makes Firefox bearable. The alternatives are not suitable, and who wants to use overly simplified and restricted tools that exclusively cater to the lowest common denominator. (I'm talking about the trend towards over-simplification of UIs and enforcing one way to do things, with no overrides for power users. That way of thinking leads to massive hype over inefficient crap like touch screens and tablets/phones that have no root access.)

What if there were a movement to build a pro-Firefox developer community around Pentadactyl? Many developers would rally around an amazing tool like this. Mozilla should not only ensure that Pentadactyl doesn't disappear via limited APIs, but they should actively fund and promote its development. It's the add-on that makes Vim-using programmers say: "My mind just got expanded, and I'm never leaving Firefox."

Developers are a major force behind browser adoption. Non-tech users get their opinions from tech-savvy users. Chrome actively caters to programmers. Virtually every JavaScript tutorial on the Web uses Chrome dev tools. Mozilla is critically lacking in effective developer outreach. Pentadactyl could be a killer marketing tool for Mozilla. If Mozilla wants programmers to build stuff for Firefox and Firefox OS, then this is the kind of stuff that will draw them in. Limiting the API and restricting which extensions can be installed is going to have the opposite effect.

@j4hangir

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j4hangir commented Nov 23, 2015

@j127

I suppose the only reason many of us here keep using Firefox is Pentadactyl, and not much else.

Considering these rather insurmountable issues that Mozilla is imposing, given that I know very little about the add-on submission process however from the sound of it seems extremely tedious and difficult, especially when it comes down to such complex add-on like Pentadactyl, I as well agree that in order to ensure its continuance, the best course of action is most probably to rally around Pentadactyl and make it an indispensable, rule-break worthy extension.

Let Mozilla spend some of their resources on something that is truly worth it.

@vyp

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vyp commented Nov 23, 2015

@j127 @j4hangir it's probably relevant to link this thread which gathered a lot of attention (relatively).

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Nov 23, 2015

It may be necessary to port/rebuild Pentadactyl piece by piece to work with future version of Firefox. For help with prioritization, I'd be curious to hear which features keep people using Pentadactyl over Vimperator (assuming it is easier to port features common to both since Vimperator devs will also be working on those).

@noctuid

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noctuid commented Nov 23, 2015

@willsALMANJ
I have a list here with the main thing being pentadactyl's group feature. I may be incorrect about some points (or missing some) since I haven't really used vimperator extensively.

@xrchz

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xrchz commented Nov 24, 2015

switched to vimperator while {#105, #95, #93, #104} etc. are still open for pentadactyl. very interested in pushing for one or both of these extensions to have a well-supported future.

@j127

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j127 commented Nov 24, 2015

The lack of response here makes me worried that the plan is to let Pentadactyl die off when the APIs are changed. If no update is posted here soon, maybe it could be assumed that the project is in the process of being abandoned?

A simple: "yes, we're going to make sure that Pentadactyl still exists in 2017" or "sorry guys, we aren't going to maintain it after 2016" would settle the worries of hundreds of people. :)

I think that, one way or another, a group of power-users should organize to make sure that these add-ons still exist in a couple of years, while also promoting them as one of the main attractions of Firefox as a browser. If programmers like Firefox, its market share will increase. If programmers switch to Chrome (because nothing better than Vimium might exist on Firefox if the APIs become too limited), then it could have a huge negative effect on Firefox's adoption be deflating the enthusiasm of Firefox's core supporters.

I like Firefox, because it is customizable in ways that other browsers aren't. If that changes, it will become just another restricted, appified piece of crap that is aimed at the lowest common denominator.

@vyp

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vyp commented Nov 25, 2015

If no update is posted here soon, maybe it could be assumed that the project is in the process of being abandoned?

Yes I agree, it's what I have been thinking myself. The developers are definitely seeing these dialogs, just not responding, so in a practical sense it is already abandoned. Of course, I don't know any of the developers myself, maybe there are legimitate real-world issues that prevent them from tending to pentadactyl at the moment. Maybe they have plans to respond here, or maybe even have plans to continue future development of pentadactyl. But without any hint or sign of the current status, I think we have to assume the worst. (The only thing we have of recent is that @dkearns merged #103 just under a week ago. edit: also the quote by @kmaglione that @willsALMANJ posted above)

@elmindreda

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elmindreda commented Nov 25, 2015

Please give them the benefit of the doubt. A thread like this can be pretty intimidating to respond to even without people assuming things.

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Nov 25, 2015

It is a frustrating situation (especially since a two sentence message posted any time in the last six to nine months would save lots of people from hand-wringing over how to handle the upcoming Firefox changes), but I do try to give the developers the benefit of the doubt since I am so grateful for the work they have done.

My interpretation of the developers' actions is that some time over the last two years they stopped treating Pentadactyl as a public software project and started treating it as a personal project that they happen to share with the public (maybe that's all they have time for right now). That's how I interpret the fact that even now there are occasional new commits, though the web site is very much out of date, as is the addons.mozilla.org listing, the nightly builds have not worked consistently for many months, and the developers rarely appear on the mailing list or issue tracker. I think the current trajectory for Pentadactyl is that it will likely become unusable some time during the Electrolysis transition (could possibly be default in Release Firefox by spring 2016 though I don't know the plan for allowing it to be turned off) with the developers possiblity posting a few compatibility commits before then for other issues. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

My hope with this issue was to provide a place where people with the skills and resources (time) to keep Pentadactyl alive could come forward to coordinate. It is one of the most complicated Firefox addons ever written though, so I would not be surprised if those people do not exist (I have been trying to dig into #95 in my free time but haven't gotten close to figuring out what is going on). I would like to think any fork/rewrite would allow the developers to have whatever involvement level they would want to have.

@prikhi

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prikhi commented Dec 5, 2015

I love pentadactyl and am interested in helping keep it alive. I don't have the time to coordinate this, but I can help write code, provide a build server, etc.

@mr337

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mr337 commented Dec 7, 2015

Same here with @prikhi, use pentadactyl everyday and be a shame to see it die off.

@alphapapa

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alphapapa commented Feb 20, 2017

Mozilla has now announced that Firefox 57, due in November, will no longer support XUL extensions.

I'm seeing mention of "WebExtensions Experiments," which Mozilla folks seem to be implying will effectively be XUL extensions shuttled off to being "bootstrapped extensions", intended for prototyping WebExtensions APIs, but allowing "old-style" extensions to continue to exist. See, e.g.: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13678610

Can Pentadactyl continue to exist in Firefox past v56 as an "Experiment"/"bootstrapped extension"?

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Feb 21, 2017

It probably will be possible to run Pentadactyl as a WebExtension Experiment in Firefox 57. I have even seen one of the Mozilla developers say that XUL extensions will still work in Developer Edition. However, neither of these paths seems work pursuing in my opinion.

Historically, Pentadactyl has always had compatibility issues with Firefox updates due to its large size. The reason Mozilla is forcing all addons to be WebExtensions in Firefox 57 is that they want to start making large backend changes to Firefox including ripping out the XUL components. WebExtensions define a finite set of API's which can be tested against and supported through this change whereas supporting all of the XUL API would be impossible.

So Pentadactyl might work in Firefox 57 and maybe it could work in 58 or 59 with only minor fixes, but it will only be a matter of time before the compatibility issues grow too difficult to deal with (and documentation and other tooling dimishes as maintaining an addon in this way is not officially supported). I think a more viable approach (sticking with Firefox) is find other addons that provide some of Pentadactyl's features and extend them as needed (and advocate for missing API's when necessary).

@alphapapa

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alphapapa commented Feb 21, 2017

find other addons that provide some of Pentadactyl's features and extend them as needed

One of the primary features of Pentadactyl is providing a unified interface. How would using multiple addons provide that?

@bulldozer2003

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bulldozer2003 commented Feb 21, 2017

@alphapapa

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alphapapa commented Feb 21, 2017

Has anyone considered forking Firefox? Not quite as extreme as palemoon, but in a way where upstream code from Mozilla is continuously integrated into the fork?

It sounds so easy when you put it that way. ;)

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Feb 22, 2017

One of the primary features of Pentadactyl is providing a unified interface. How would using multiple addons provide that?

It would depend on which parts of the interface you consider necessary to be unified. If it's just within the features of Pentadactyl, you could take whatever addons are necessary and merge them into one addon (which would then require more maintenance overhead than using the work of others). Personally, I like how Pentadactyl is a unified interface to all of Firefox, but that is going to be hard to replicate going forward because Firefox is trying to silo off addons from each other and from most of Firefox's internals.

I was suggesting what I thought would be the easiest way to keep using Firefox. You could try to do a straight port of Pentadactyl, but I think it's better to start with something similar that is already a WebExtension in order to avoid some of the pain of figuring out all of the API translations.

@alphapapa

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alphapapa commented Feb 22, 2017

I see. However, you're suggesting ways to keep using Firefox, while what I want is to keep using Pentadactyl. ;)

@Massimo-B

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Massimo-B commented Feb 22, 2017

That's the point, I keep using Pentadactyl on Palemoon, I appreaciate the work of madand, I left Firefox. Of course there may be fancy sites not ready for Palemoon yet(or the other way round?), I haven't used any of those. HTML5 support has improved recently.

@ohjames

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ohjames commented Feb 22, 2017

Well done people for coming up with even more ridiculous solutions than using Palemoon. I really hope we've gone into the satire territory now, because the alternative is just too stupid to consider.

@nachoparker

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nachoparker commented Feb 23, 2017

Hello all,

In my humble opinion our best bet is to cooperate all projects/users that have the same problem and one we have a common ground then everybody can fork again if they have different visions.

I would like to refer everyone to my comment here and publicly ask for help

vimperator/vimperator-labs#705 (comment)

@j4hangir

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j4hangir commented Mar 7, 2018

Is there any plans to salvage and migrate what can be migrated?

@holtzermann17

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holtzermann17 commented Mar 7, 2018

I've been using Tridactyl for a while and it is both usable and actively developed. Any salvage work might seek to add new features there!

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Mar 8, 2018

Yes, as far as I can tell, Tridactyl is where people from Vimperator and Pentadactyl have coalesced. I have been using Vimium-FF (more polished but with fewer features) while testing Tridactyl now and then. I haven't found Tridactyl quite usable in the past, but trying it now I think @holtzermann17 might be right that it is just about over the threshold of usability now, though it is still pretty rough. The pace of development is really encouraging, and they are making efforts to ask for changes to Firefox to let Tridactyl work more like Pentadactyl which I hope will be successful.

EDIT: I don't want to spam everyone subscribed here so I will put this in an edit. After trying it for a day, I decided Tridactyl is still not usable for me. Some reasons:

  1. no passkeys mode (very useful for sites like gmail)
  2. can't change the binding to exit ignore mode (passthrough mode in Pentadactyl) and the default (shift+escape) is awkard for me.
  3. smooth scroll doesn't work (I tried injecting css with Stylus but it works inconsistently)
  4. No feedback on whether in ignore mode or not.
  5. Inconsistent behavior. On some sites scrolling doesn't work. On others I can't get the command line.
  6. No keybindings with modifier keys

A lot of these have to do with how the content script interacts with page content -- something that Vimium has refined over time and that Pentadactyl never had to deal with because it could work in a much cleaner XUL setting rather than inside of a web page where it has to interact with page content. I am sure these issues will get ironed out over time.

EDIT (May 2018): In case anyone reads this late, some of the issues I mentioned above have been addressed, and Tridactyl seems to have turned a corner for me. shift+escape is still awkward and smooth scroll requires extra work, but there is now a mode indicator, modifier keys work in keybindings, and overall I don't notice poor interactions with different web site layouts much. I have switched to it from Vimium-FF.

@Hi-Angel

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Hi-Angel commented Mar 8, 2018

as far as I can tell, Tridactyl is where people from Vimperator and Pentadactyl have coalesced

I'd say peoples got scattered to different projects. E.g. I am migrated from Pentadactyl to Qutebrowser (imagine it being a Chromium with Pentadactyl-like frontend).

@Massimo-B

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Massimo-B commented Mar 8, 2018

And I got caught on Palemoon with almost original Pentadactyl (pentadactyl-pm), which is very usable as well, just like a years old Firefox, still watching and reading how those other scattered projects are developing. Maybe switching in some future, though I don't like switching to Chromium, as all my browsing is currently based on Palemoon or Firefox, regarding the used Addons, password storage, tab handling, ...Pentadactyl.

@willsALMANJ

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willsALMANJ commented Mar 8, 2018

Yes, sorry, I should have clarified that I meant the project that people staying with Firefox have gone to. I haven't kept up with options outside of Firefox. Also, I was thinking more of where developers were moving to. Qutebrowser already existed and pentadactyl-pm is just maintaining Pentadactyl so not a lot of development is needed, though maybe former Pentadactyl users will become contributors to projects outside of Firefox like these as well.

@noctuid

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noctuid commented Jul 14, 2018

When it was announced that XUL/XPCOM was going to be deprecated years ago, I'd hoped that a good alternative would be possible before then, but the current situation is quite bad. No matter what you pick, you're losing out on something. I'm currently using firefox-esr 52 installed from nix, and that's the experience is almost the same as before. The main issue is addon compatibility. Though the majority of my old addons like ublock origin still work, decentraleyes, for example, requires firefox 56+. Addon compatibility was much worse when I tried palemoon. Previously, I was using the last version of firefox before the deprecation of the old plugin system, and that was the best experience I've had, but it's probably not advisable to keep using an old, unsupported version.

Tridactyl's feature set is kind of a joke compared even to qutebrowser's, and qutebrowser still isn't nearly on par with pentadactyl. Tridactyl is much closer to all the other vim addons that previously existed than it is to pentadactyl. I don't mean to insult either project; contributors to both are working under a lot of constraints (e.g. time and technical limitations they don't have control over).

I realize that I use much more of pentadactyl's features than the vast majority of people, but both tridactyl and qutebrowser have more fundamental issues. Tridactyl has gotten around a lot of things. For example, you can have an actual config file now, and it can run on more sites after :fixamo, but it still can't run on a lot of pages. Qutebrowser, on the other hand, is missing a lot of functionality from major browser plugins (e.g. ublock origin, https everywhere, privacy badger, downthemall, etc. etc.). Support for chromium plugins/webextensions is not a priority and may never happen. Even once qutebrowser has its own plugin system, I don't think it likely that more complicated qutebrowser plugins will ever be as good as their webextension equivalents. Qutebrowser's adblock in particular is comparatively awful; it's just basic host blocking and doesn't work at all on a large number of websites I use. Qutebrowser also has serious performance issues for me with more tabs (qutebrowser/qutebrowser#4069), but that may be easy to fix, and the performance is generally better than other browsers in my experience.

firefox-esr 52 is the best option for me currently. If you don't care about the missing functionality and issues that tridactyl has and need addons that firefox 52 or qutebrowser don't support, then tridactyl is probably the best option. Hopefully, they'll be able to convince Mozilla to make the plugin API more powerful. I don't think qutebrowser is really that compelling compared to firefox esr with pentadactyl (though it is better in a lot of basic/small ways), but it has more functionality than tridactyl, and the obvious downside of firefox esr 52 is that it will probably die in a few months.

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alphapapa commented Jul 14, 2018

@noctuid Thanks for the report. I'm also keeping an eye on Tridactyl, but they can't do more than Mozilla will enable them to. This is all very disappointing, to essentially throw away all the work that's gone into Pentadactyl over the years. I am thankful, though, that there are people who are trying to reimplement it. Maybe eventually it will be a worthy successor.

@nachoparker

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nachoparker commented Jul 14, 2018

if it helps anyone , I am quite happy with "Vim Vixen". The experience is really similar and while I miss some stuff, I am quite happy.

@j4hangir

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j4hangir commented Jul 15, 2018

@noctuid I'm using FF 56 and it's already getting awfully slow on my MacBook. I tried qutebrowser, compared to what I have right now is nearly instantaneous, but your words are a bit discouraging.

I'm also heavily utilizing Pentadactyl, without it I have zero patience or interest for FF.

@noctuid

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noctuid commented Jul 15, 2018

Apparently Waterfox supports web extensions and supports up to firefox 56, so I'm probably going to be using that for a while. I just tested it, and it imported my existing profile without issues. EDIT: Scratch that; some things seem broken or slow (e.g. hinting doesn't work, it's crashed once, tab switching is slow, some commands occasionally execute twice, etc.)

I've barely used tridactyl, but I was using qutebrowser as my primary browser for a while as I couldn't build firefox esr. Especially since github can't show the issues that you are subscribed to (isaacs/github#283), I've been keeping track of the features I'm missing from pentadactyl or just want at the top of my qutebrowser config.py and my .tridactylrc along with links to open issues. They are semi-up-to-date (I'm removing things as they get fixed) and may make it more clear what I mean when I say that qutebrowser and tridactyl are lacking in functionality. There are definitely nice things about both though (e.g. qutebrowser's default completion is nicer than pentadactyl's since " " is like ".*").

This is all very disappointing, to essentially throw away all the work that's gone into Pentadactyl over the years

It really is. Pentadactyl is by far one of the best pieces of software I've ever used. I can't imagine just how much effort went into all the features and beautiful documentation. Every time I've wanted to do something crazy with pentadactyl, I've found that not only did it support it, it supported a lot more than I would have asked for.

I'm using FF 56 and it's already getting awfully slow on my MacBook. I tried Qutebrowser, compared to what I have right now is nearly instantaneous.

I've never really had speed issues with FF 56, but I did have some pentadactyl UI speed issues if my history size got too large. Qutebrowser does seem to (normally) be comparably faster than other browsers.

I'm also heavily utilize Pentadactyl, without it I have zero patience or interest for FF.

That's been how I've felt in the past, but I do really like the level of control FF's about:config settings give, and ublock origin and a few other addons are must haves for me now (though most or all addons I use are also supported on chromium). I used to use chrom(e|ium) exclusively and only started using firefox because of pentadactyl.

@j4hangir

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j4hangir commented Jul 16, 2018

Apparently Waterfox supports web extensions and supports up to firefox 56, so I'm probably going to be using that for a while. I just tested it, and it imported my existing profile without issues. EDIT: Scratch that; some things seem broken or slow (e.g. hinting doesn't work, it's crashed once, tab switching is slow, some commands occasionally execute twice, etc.)

Thanks for the tip. I installed it, it's not as fast, but it's definitely much faster than my FF.
The only serious issue I have right now is that all inputs don't work, including this one. I can paste, but I can't directly type into an input!

Edit: Disabing multi-process solves this!

@j4hangir

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j4hangir commented Jul 18, 2018

Actually, Waterfox with multi-process enabled is considerably faster, has no one come up with a solution just to fix the Input problem!? The funny thing is I can even select all and paste this into the input 😁

Basically two things I’ve noticed don’t work, Hints and Inputs.

It doesn’t seem that cumbersome to address these two issues…

@torappinfo

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torappinfo commented Sep 2, 2018

Pentadactyl plugins and sanitize command did not work in palemoon 28.

@Massimo-B

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Massimo-B commented Sep 2, 2018

I'm using https://github.com/madand/pentadactyl-pm/ for a long time now, updated to Palemoon 28.0.0 and still working fine.

btw. I'm already preparing to switch back to Firefox different reasons, testing the Tridactyl addon, which is the most promising project having Pentadactyl in mind but just covering a very small part of the feature set at the time. Not production ready for me right now, keeping Palemoon as the main workinghorse. Even having a faster and more secure browser with Firefox Quantum, I'm still more productive with slow Palemoon and Pentadactyl.

@alphapapa

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Contributor

alphapapa commented Sep 3, 2018

I'm already preparing to switch back to Firefox different reasons

@Massimo-B Would you mind sharing some of those reasons, for those of us who may be contemplating using Palemoon?

@Massimo-B

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Massimo-B commented Sep 3, 2018

Not on-topic, but searching for a pentadactyl future, palemoon is one of the points worth to talk about. It made a bunch of Addons possible, first to say Palemoon, but also DownThemAll, cliget, FoxyProxy, Encrypted Web (HTTPS Everywhere), uBlock Origin, Tab Mix Plus, S3.Google Translator...
Testing the latest FF Quantum 61 after about ~2years Palemoon, I see some of my important addons not ready to use yet: Tridactyl (replacing Pentadactyl), Tab Mix Plus, Certificate Patrol, NoScript. Already working and quite complete is FoxyProxy, cliget, S3.Google Translator.

But it's not all about Addons. Using a rare browser with less than a percent userbase is getting harder when it comes to all the Turing tests and human authentications (Captchas hell).

Then it does not feel secure to use a browser, that is always far behind the current web development Why You Shouldn’t Use Firefox Forks Like Waterfox, Pale Moon, or Basilisk. I was comfortable with that as I don't use any fancy web 2.0 stuff like social networks or games, but those techniques and scripts also arrive at github and stuff sooner or later. The projects about creating an alternative firefox are mostly about taking a very old snapshot and trying to integrate bugfixes, this all done with a lot less development ressources. If integration gets harder until impossible they switch to the next old ESR snapshot, being always 1 year or more behind. It doesn't make sense to have the browser from 2 years ago, and get the Firefox of today in 2 years. This is how it's done in Waterfox. Palemoon is a bit different as it is maintaining a far older code base of firefox, no plans to rebase on some newer firefox. Then it's using Goanna rendering instead of Gecko, so it is more a browser on it's own, starting from some old Firefox. It is just questionable if the small dev group will be able to keep up with the WWW as even today it is missing some important features, will never be able to play some DRM, has issues with some modern pages. So as much as I love the Palemoon for a very basic and complete browser with the power of Pentadactyl, I always need to have some Chrome in the background for those pages not working.
Next missing feature that actually makes FF Quantum great, is performance and parallel processing, started as the Electrolysis project. Palemoon is sometimes slow, only using 1 of the many cores on modern archs. However while waiting for the slow Palemoon, the Pentadactyl interface is accelerating the user interaction a lot, starting some new searches in the back, browsing history of months, opening/closing a bunch of tabs, searching and editing with vim power...
So for now and just updated PM from 27 to 28.0.1, I will stay a good while longer with Palemoon as main browser, while testing the progress of all Addon development on the young FF Quantum.

btw. beside all the missing features and (known) bugs or restrictions of Tridactyl, development is very active and promising. Some pentadactyl devs have probably arrived there, join us at #tridactyl@freenode.
They filed a bunch of bug reports and feature requests against Mozilla, to make features possible to implement in the addons. Just the same was done by the Tab Mix Plus developer:
The future of TMP
Vote on APIs/bug fixes needed by Tab Mix Plus and other session managers
So a lot of Addons development is depending on collaboration with Mozilla to extent the WebExtensions API. What I just don't understand, if WebExtensions is really a browser-independent standard, those tickets should go to Google or whoever is the leader for the WebExtensions. If one browser opens the API, that would be a browser specific addons again.

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