Why don't we just turn off MOZ_BLOCK_PROFILE_DOWNGRADE?

Matt Harris unicorn.consulting at gmail.com
Thu Jul 4 22:27:06 UTC 2019


On 02-Jul-19 9:17 PM, Magnus Melin wrote:
>
> Worth considering. However, while the option exists, if it's not used 
> in Firefox then there's no knowing if/when/what disabling it will break...
>
Is that not the case for basically everything we do these days involving 
the Mozilla code base.  The other side of this coin is that Firefox 
market share is not growing.  Perhaps they are doing something wrong and 
we are following their lead.
>
> The feature was created on the premise that internal data storage (db 
> such) doesn't work well with downgrading, when the database structure 
> changed. Since there is no backward compat promise of any sort, but 
> rather the opposite, I'm also concerned downgrade attempts would 
> increasingly mess up your profile data.
>
I am concerned that what I consider the purist view. The new version is 
a must for the user and they must be forced down this path with no way 
to opt out is simply alienating users.  WE tell them their add-ons do 
not work with this version and are disabled.

Do we offer an alternative,  like stay where you are for a month and see 
if that changes.  No,  we force an upgrade that the user then 
immediately starts trying to downgrade because the upgrade turned out to 
not be an improvement.  Support forums are full of the term "roll back" 
and given the ability to do so with windows operating systems upgrades 
for the last decade,  we are not meeting user expectations at all in not 
offering to do it for them,  However Mozilla have taken the exact 
reverse position, they have gone out of their way to make it hard.  This 
a simply a bad decision.  As Mark Banner pointed out it has benefits in 
simplifying the lives of developers,  but I have not yet seen a single 
user facing benefit. There is the intangible "it is safe" approaches.  
Users however are not interested in development, they are interested in 
getting their task completed and being interrupted by an "upgrade" that 
is removing functionality without warning is not something they need or 
want.

> Open to other ideas for solution if opening the Profile Manager is 
> difficult. Maybe it's enough to add a link to a support article.
>

Perhaps we should have integrated the profile manager (Profile switcher 
add-on) long ago.  But it is late in the beta process to be looking at 
fixing the issues created other than by flicking the preference for the 
next release.  Perhaps we could integrate the profile manager in the 
next point release and then turn on your preference so users that want 
to use the profile manager do not need a support article to find and 
open it.  This is a classic example of poor user experience by design 
being sold at a "feature".

Matt

>  -Magnus
>
> On 02-07-2019 06:16, Geoff Lankow wrote:
>>
>> (That's the "You’ve launched an older version of Firefox" dialog.)
>>
>> In bug 1535116 <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1535116> 
>> we've proposed to change the text in the dialog to better suit 
>> Thunderbird. That's easy enough.
>>
>> Magnus also wants me to change the "Create New Profile" to instead 
>> open the Profile Manager. That's not as easy as it sounds. The proper 
>> way to do it is through nsAppRunner.cpp. We're in a pre-startup state 
>> (although we do have XPCOM). Technically we /could/ show the Profile 
>> Manager window and mimic the expected results, but I'm not 
>> comfortable with that.
>>
>> I digress. My point is: why do we have this thing at all? Is there a 
>> good reason we want to go to these lengths, other than Downgrading Is 
>> A Bad Idea™? It can be removed with a one line config change 
>> <https://searchfox.org/comm-central/rev/679db3c87c1a356a66433d6c2adf6fca1f20789f/mail/moz.configure#75>.
>>
>> GL
>>
>>
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-- 
“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” /― Friedrich 
von Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans /
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