Tuesday, 07 May 2019 10:13

Firefox issues fixes for extensions problem

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Firefox issues fixes for extensions problem Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The Mozilla Foundation, the organisation that produces the open-source browser Firefox, has released updates to fix the issue with the browser that prevented users from downloading extensions and also rendered any existing extension unusable.

This problem was caused by the expiry of an intermediate signing certificate a few days ago, but Mozilla is yet to admit this is the case.

In an update to an old blog post, issued at 4.25pm EDT on Monday, (6.25am AEDT on Tuesday), Mozilla said version 66.0.4 on Desktop and Android and version 60.6.2 for the extended support release would fix the extensions issue.

"This release repairs the certificate chain to re-enable Web extensions, themes, search engines, and language packs that had been disabled (Bug 1549061)," the foundation said.

"There are remaining issues that we are actively working to resolve, but we wanted to get this fix out before Monday to lessen the impact of disabled add-ons before the start of the week. More information about the remaining issues can be found by clicking on the links to the release notes above."

This writer uses the Firefox version issued by the Debian GNU/Linux project and on Tuesday morning a fix was issued.

While it initially appeared that Mozilla was using the incident to try and get users to submit telemetry data, that does not seem to have happened.

no data collection

As can be seen from the writer's own browser, the settings for collecting telemetry data are still greyed out as they were prior to this snafu.

Update: In response to a query on Tuesday AEDT, a Mozilla spokesperson told iTWire on Wednesday: "We have teams working across multiple time zones to resolve all remaining issues. The cause was an intermediary certificate expiring without being signed, and we're very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. We are not using the incident in order to gather data. Rather we found that the Studies program was our best vehicle for delivering an interim fix.

"Studies are enabled by default for all users of Firefox. While they were used for an initial fix to address the certificate issue safely and expediently, they are no longer required to apply a fix. Users can disable studies.

"The recommended course of action for those users still affected will be to update to Firefox 66.0.5 when it's available today (Tuesday US time) on Desktop and Android when it is available. A user can manually update to 66.0.4, but may need to re-install add-ons (66.0.5 addresses this, where the update will not require any re-installation)."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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