Releases/Firefox 5 add-on compatibility

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It has been expressed that the biggest risk to Firefox 5 is add-on compatibility. We only have a week or two left so any action items that need lead time need to be discussed now.


  • Figure out where we are at for fx5 add-on compatibility
  • Figure out where we want to be for Firefox 5's release
  • Figure out what we need to do to get there


  • Will not discuss mitigation strategies here
  • Will not discuss longer-term (post Fx5) solutions

Issues auto-marking extensions on AMO

Making sure our AMO compatibility percentage reflects reality

  • The reserved keyword bug
    • Would it be worth investigating a product backout for that bug?
    • Jorge says there are only 2 really...not as big a deal as originally thought
    • This was found when an add-on author found the issue and notified us
    • How can we find other issues like this?
      • Not easily, the auto-bumping tool input is gathered manually
  • How confident are we that issues like this aren't lurking (marking stuff compatible when they aren't)
    • Tomcat has been testing
      • We bumped 1,000s, he's awesome but can't test them all plus all the combinations
    • We can check update pings for versions automatically bumped
      • fligtar / Jorge will get the data

List of top add-ons we are concerned about

The top extensions with complaints are:

  • Google toolbar
  • Norton (various)
  • AVG safe search
  • Roboform
  • Yahoo toolbar
  • Fastdial
  • Avast (Toolbar?)
  • Internet Download manager (and possibly other youtube downloaders)
  • Bitdefender (toolbar?)
  • ZoneAlarm
  • Facebook/zynga toolbars
  • Logmein (plugin?)
  • Runescape (and various conduit toolbars)
  • Greasemonkey
  • Evernote
  • McAfee has more but I don't have info on those.


  • If an add-on is using the SDK (which we know is compatible) should we have Firefox ignore the compat information?
    • No, and the number of add-ons probably wouldn't make a difference

Binary add-ons

  • Is there something we can do for those hosted on
    • Not really, developers need to recompile
  • What's the fix rate for those hosted on and incompatible with Fx5?
    • Really, really low. The source is emailed and we haven't seen many updated
  • Is the binary XPCOM compatibility bump able to be backed out if we need it?
    • What would the ill effects be?
    • bsmedberg and johnath said previously this is not on the table
  • Cooliris is blocked on bug 653971. It's on AMO, is binary, and marked incompatible with Fx5
    • Set for release drivers to track
    • We should try to figure out other add-ons that are blocked on similar engineering work


  • Would it help to offer engineers to people?
    • Kev says most people are on top of it, just takes time to work through their eng process
  • Would it help to email add-on developers again?
    • fligtar thinks that targeted emails will help, email blast will not
  • Kev says a big thing for binary components is having a HOWTO support multiple Fx versions with binary add-ons
    • Kev is working on it

Data we need

  • A list of the most popular add-ons not on AMO (regardless of compatibility). This should help us prioritize Fx5 incompatible add-on outreach
    • fligtar / Jorge will get
  • A prioritized list of add-ons we care about, their compatibility status, if they are binary, and steps we are trying to get them compatible
  • What's the rate non-binary add-ons on AMO are being marked compatible with Fx5?
    • Hard to tell, not comparable to Fx4
    • We'd like to project what the non-binary Fx5 add-on on AMO % for Fx5 on June 21st
    • fligtar / Jorge will get (?)
  • What's the rate binary add-ons on AMO are being marked compatible with Fx5?
    • Slow / negligible
  • Rank the list of binary add-ons on AMO not compatible with Fx5 by overall usage
    • Will let us know which need explicit outreach
    • fligtar / Jorge will get (?)
  • How many users have at least one add-on that is incompatible. Put another way, how many people will see the window saying their add-ons will be incompatible before the update is downloaded?
    • Note that this is different than overall compatibility...if a user has 9 add-ons compatible and one that is not, the update behavior will be similar to having all 10 add-ons marked as incompatible
    • fligtar / Jorge will get the common sets of add-ons so we can figure out the probability that at least one incompatible add-on will be installed for a given user