Bending Firefox 29 to your will

One of my teenagers detests the new Firefox UI. So much in fact that he asked me to downgrade him to v28. Read on to find out how to have your cake and eat it too.

Actually I’m not a big cake fan, but don’t tell anyone.

Personally the changes to the Firefox UI introduced in v29 don’t bother me much (in my mind it is not on the same apocalypic level as the introduction of The Ribbon to Microsoft Office). But I do care about anything that might cause unnecessary pain or discomfort to one of my own children.

In this case that would be the new Australis UI for Firefox.

Although I downgraded my son to v28 as requested, given the bugfest that Firefox has always been I knew that from a security and performance standpoint that wasn’t a long term solution.

Fortunately a number of articles have hit the Internet that provide a better way. Here are a few:

How to change the new Firefox Australis looks

How do I revert back to the classic user interface?

How to disable Australis in Firefox and get back the classic interface

Ditch the Firefox Australis look with Classic Theme Restorer

All of the above have in common the recommendation of the Classic Theme Restorer (Customize Australis) Add-on for Firefox. Probably the most complete guide to making things right again is the first one cited. In that post and a related one, the author uses some very colorful language to describe his feelings about the change. Here’s my favorite quote from that other article:

There are two ways about the world. Make it better. Or change it so that morons polluting it don’t feel out of place. Apparently, the second one is more profitable, which is what Mozilla has been so nobly trying to do with its last two years of so-called innovation.

While I find this kind of black humor to be entertaining, knowing how clueless most of us were when in our twenties and thirties (the average age of your typical tech worker), I’m willing to cut Mozilla’s developers a break. Although Mozilla’s leadership may in fact have some evil plan in mind (is it too much of a coincidence that these latest changes make Firefox visually indistinguishable from the competing product of the company that paid 80% of Mozilla’s bills last year?), those developers are simply following their dreams — dreams in which we many millions of users appear only as indistinct shadows in the background.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).