Developing Mozilla addons has been rewarding and fun. Taking part (very moderately) in the Mozilla project has been a great experience. To my opinion, Mozilla is unique. It’s an important, open and non-profit computer company. It builds cutting-edge technology, and brings together high-profile developers. It has praiseworthy goals. And I’ve been relying on Mozilla products since 1999.
But the evolution of the technologies used in FireTray (XUL and GTK mainly) has made the development of this addon tedious. To the point where I think there is not much future for this addon. Here are the most important reasons:
- Deprecation of XUL, XPCOM, and the permissive add-on model
- GtkStatusIcon has been deprecated in 3.14. You should consider using notifications or more modern platform-specific APIs instead.
- AppIndicators StatusNotifierItem make Linux support across distributions problematic. Not speaking of the advent of Wayland.
- Thunderbird, the future, mozilla-central and comm-central explains why Thunderbird will have to break away from Mozilla.
This is why I will move forward and cease development for my Mozilla addons starting now.
I’ll also take this opportunity to express why I don’t feel in alignment with the Mozilla orientations.
Mozilla is focusing on the web, not to be confused with the internet. I should even say Mozilla is focusing on mobile. Whatever the reasons, this has led to make all kinds of OS-related features fit into a web browser. See WebAPI or WebRTC for instance. Although it helps some kind of standardization and interoperability process, this sounds like nonsense to me. A browser is not an OS. I want my browser for HTTP.
Mozilla dropping the email area has been a bit of a shock. Because email has been a core component of the internet, and will probably remain so for a while. First thing you need when subscribing to a web service is to provide an email address. An email client is a great tool for empowering users to keep control over their personal data.