Mozilla has been pretty busy lately in an attempt to bring back Firefox’s popularity among user base as it continues to improve privacy-oriented features of the browser. Interestingly, the organization has now announced that it is dropping supports for sideloaded extensions on the browser.
According to Mozilla, it’ll stop support for sideloaded extension due to their intrusive nature. In a recent blog post, the company stated that these extensions don’t offer enough controls to the users. Mozilla said, “Sideloaded extensions frequently cause issues for users since they did not explicitly choose to install them and are unable to remove them from the Add-ons Manager. This mechanism has also been employed in the past to install malware into Firefox. To give users more control over their extensions, support for sideloaded extensions will be discontinued”.
Mozilla also set out the timetable when to expect the upcoming change to the browser. However, you’ll need to wait few more days as the new feature will be available from Firefox 73. Mozilla continued, “During the release cycle for Firefox version 73, which goes into pre-release channels on December 3, 2019 and into release on February 11, 2020, Firefox will continue to read sideloaded files, but they will be copied over to the user’s individual profile and installed as regular add-ons. Sideloading will stop being supported in Firefox version 74, which will be released on March 10, 2020. The transitional stage in Firefox 73 will ensure that no installed add-ons will be lost, and end users will gain the ability to remove them if they chose to.”
Note that the upcoming changes won’t stop you from self-distribution. However, you will need to distribute them through add-ons repository or a self-hosted platform where you will be required to provide an update URL to the users to download patches and updates.