The Firefox upgrade and plugins dance

Mozilla released an update to the Firefox browser earlier this month which, the release notes say, provides improved stability, improved support for Mac OS X, fixes for several memory leaks and several security enhancements among other things.

Notwithstanding the security fixes, I’m not upgrading to this latest version yet. The reason? If I do, some essential plugins (aka extensions) will stop working.

Every couple of days, Firefox pops up a dialog (the image you see here) reminding me that the new version is available. Every time it does, I click on the ‘later’ button as the dialog tells me some plugins won’t work. Clicking on ‘show list’ displays them – googlebar, SpellBound 0.7.3 and Mozilla Spellcheck Libraries (the latter two in particular being essential to have, and have working).

There may be others but these are the ones on my system that Firefox says won’t work if I upgrade.

This situation is always a pain as it occurs with each Firefox update. If a plugin doesn’t work, this is Firefox’s advice in known issues:

If you find that your favorite Extension or Theme has not been updated to be compatible with this release of Firefox, write the author and encourage them to update it.

Right. So in the meantime, I’d have to do without their functionality.

This post isn’t really the rant it might seem to be. It’s just that I wish this dance between Mozilla and the developers of plugins would get more in sync.

So I’ll wait until the popup doesn’t tell me about things that won’t work.

7 thoughts on “The Firefox upgrade and plugins dance

  1. Tell me about it. We have this issue with Lektora … oh for spell check I use Google’s own toolbar which seems to get updated pretty durn fast.

  2. I don’t like that spell checker, Tris – SpellBound is the only one that is really robust, IMO, and just works. It’s right-click operation is just so easy to use.
    After writing my post, I then found via Digg this workaround for plugins (extensions) that FF reports as not being able to work:
    Looks interesting although commenter #14 in the post has disappointing news re getting SpellBound to work.

  3. Good call Neville. I’ve been experiencing and thinking exactly the same thing. I won’t upgrade Firefox til my extensions support the upgrade. I’m too reliant on my toys.

  4. At least with the upgrade to Firefox, you get a warning of impending loss of functionality! When I upgraded to 1.5, I lost many needed extensions unexpectedly. This prompted me to write four related blog posts.
    My most recent post, “Updating Firefox and Managing Extensions” may have some useful information for you and your readers.
    Good luck,
    Donald French
    Blog: The Technical Training and Consulting Update

  5. If you’d take a leap if faith and move to the oh-so gorgeous Mac platform, you could then use Ecto with its built-in spell checker. Which works for me. (And as anyone who knows me knows, I’m notorious for posting typos)

  6. Dennis, I use a spell checker in Firefox purely to spell-check what I write in web forms, eg, comments to blog posts.
    SpellBound does this very well indeed. Right click, select ‘check spelling’ and off it goes. A fully-fledged spell checker complete with suggestions for corrections and the ability to add words to your own custom dictionary.
    Multiple language support, not just English, via the Mozilla Spellcheck Libraries.
    Hence my frustration with FF not supporting this essential tool!

  7. This is odd – if I’m using NetNewsWire’s built in browser alongside the feeds, then right clicking my MSFT USB cordless mouse (yep I like it even though I lurv my PowerBook) I get spellcheck. If I use FF I don’t! And I get spellcheck in Skype as well. those Mozilla people really do need a kick in the rear end.

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