Freedom Issue #2409

[iceweasel] Can recommend non-free extensions and themes on about:addons page

grizzlyuser - almost 3 years ago - . Updated over 2 years ago.

freedom issue
% Done:



Firefox 68 introduced extension recommendations in about:addons page [1].
Description of the recommendation program [2] doesn't say they require the extension to have libre license in order to get recommended.

In the list of recommended extensions [3] I found a few which don't look like free ones:
[4], [5], [6]. Here's a quote from [6] that restricts freedom to distribute modified versions:

Derived works using source code that serve the same general purpose as
the original software may not be distributed using any official Mozilla
services such as or through any other official
service for any web browser without prior permission. Works using
portions of source code for other purposes may be distributed without
this restriction.

There's also
a similar program for themes [7]. Here's an example of recommended theme that has Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license [8]. If I understand correctly, that license cannot be considered to be free.


That's why it looks like Iceweasel needs to be patched in order to disable or remove the offending functionality.




Updated by bill-auger almost 3 years ago

  • Priority changed from bug to freedom issue
  • Status changed from unconfirmed to confirmed

this was noted a few days ago in issue #2318

it is controlled at least partially by the 'extensions.htmlaboutaddons.recommendations.enabled' config key


Updated by CommodoreCrunch almost 3 years ago

facepalm I totally didn't notice the separate "recommendations" menu. I only saw the section below my installed extensions.

I tried setting "" to false, and clicking "recommendations" now falls back to loading the GNU IceCat wiki page instead. So that seems to do the trick.


Updated by grizzlyuser almost 3 years ago

I'd like to notice that I have not reported this issue to Mozilla yet (didn't have much time for that). IMO it is necessary to try to resolve all freedom issues upstream first. Not sure though if Mozilla is going to resolve this, for example by excluding non-free things from recommendations. If by any chance anybody has an idea what's the best way to communicate about this particular issue to Mozilla, please let me know, or feel free to report it yourself.


Updated by grizzlyuser almost 3 years ago

I've asked staff about this issue, please find the entire conversation attached. So it looks like that won't be resolved by Mozilla.


Updated by bill-auger almost 3 years ago

grizzlyuser -

the message you attached is just a blob, and i can not decode it - could you post a clear-text versin of it?

$ cat /tmp/grizzly-mozilla.b64 | base64 -d
<div dir="ltr"><div style="font-size:small">Sure, feel frbase64: invalid input

Updated by grizzlyuser almost 3 years ago

bill-auger -

Why not just open it with Icedove or any other tool that supports EML file format? Works for me. I guess this format is not to be opened as plain text. I don't know how to convert it to plain text without spending much time.

Note: Spam filter here thinks there are too many words not in dictionary, and bans from commenting for 20 minutes, even when I use super plain English. So needed to add a dummy comment with just "test" in it, and then edited it. That suggests that the filter is broken, because it's too strict for new messages and not for edited ones.


Updated by bill-auger almost 3 years ago

yes the filters are too strict ATM - OTOH there has been no spam since the filters were put in place - i will try to loosen the filters somewhat


Updated by grizzlyuser almost 3 years ago

Trisquel has a commit that disables recommended addons. Attached the file with a link, since it seems spam filter would not allow URL in the message directly.

I can confirm that after flipping values of both preferences to false in iceweasel x86_64 1:69.0-1.parabola1 build:
1. Recommended extensions and themes are not shown anymore in Recommendations, Extensions, and Themes sections of about:addons;
2. Recommendations section shows FSF Directory instead;
3. No network requests to Mozilla API and CDN to download icons of recommended extensions observed in Developer Tools opened when navigating to about:addons. It looks like icons of installed extensions are still downloaded from Mozilla CDN on the first visit though. I did not check this using Wireshark or something.


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

i think this is fixed now in the latest iceweasel - i dont see any recommendations in my instance - but i have not wiped my profile - we should double-check this on a clean system


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago


Updated by grizzlyuser over 2 years ago

Tested on x86_64 iceweasel 1:70.0.1-1.parabola1 with brand new clean profile. about:addons does not show recommendations in Extensions and Themes, and Recommendations link leads to Free Software Directory.


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

  • Assignee set to bill-auger

excellent - thanks for all your help grizzlyuser


Updated by bill-auger over 2 years ago

  • Status changed from confirmed to fixed

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