Firefox Broken Again

I updated Firefox to version 47.0. Nothing new for me — hold my breath and see what breaks. This is now the normal procedure every six weeks.

This time I discovered NoSquint is broken. Almost every web page I visited was filled with fonts that are too small for me to read. Small font sizes are an epidemic nowadays in software and web design.

For years the NoSquint extension has been invaluable for many users. Web developers insist on using tiny fonts that render readability out the door. Perhaps if the developers actually tested their web sites on normal desktop monitors and laptops they would see the problem. Perhaps if developers tested their web sites with people who have vision challenges they would see the problem. Instead they continue developing on monitors as big as living room televisions. Because, you know, developers are cool and users are not.

Firefox should have a per-site memory of zoom preferences built-in.

No, I will not use a web browser maintained by a commercial surveillance company.

Sadly the NoSquint maintainer stopped maintenance, citing incompatibility and time issues.

Happily, somebody adopted NoSquint under the name of NoSquint Plus. The Plus version is not the same as the original, but seemed to inherit most of the original web site preferences I have used for years. With a few sites I had to bump the font size although nothing dramatic.

The moral of the story is not that a replacement exists, but that users must interrupt their day to research solutions. This is the continual broken nature of free/libre software. The argument that free/libre software is free and people do not have to use the software is a poor defense. When developers support software specifically targeting the mass populace, then the end user comes first. Scratching itches comes second.

The next breakage will be Firefox 48.0. The Firefox developers have said they will formally enforce add-on signings. Currently I use three add-ons that are not yet signed. One of which is NewsFox.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Firefox, General

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