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Firefox UI revamp sparks complaints, searches for alternatives

Gregg Keizer | May 14, 2014
Some Firefox users, cranky over the browser's user interface changes, have scrambled to find ways to make the latest version look more like older editions.

Firefox 29 defenders weren't absent from the discussions. They alternately chided others for being luddites and pointed to resources that explained how to customize the new UI — Mozilla trumpeted those skills when it shipped the browser April 29 — to restore an older feel.

One of those resources, a message on MozillaZine titled "Australis Guide for Normal People," was recommended by several users who said they're sticking with Firefox.

It's not unusual for users to howl at UI changes to long-familiar software — Microsoft knows that better than most after Windows 8 — but Mozilla can little afford to lose large numbers of users because of Australis. The browser, which once had a solid lock on the No. 2 spot in Web metrics company Net Applications' measurements of user share, slipped behind Google's Chrome in March. At the end of April, Firefox accounted for 17% of all desktop browsers, while Chrome had a user share of 17.9%.

Firefox has lost 3.3 percentage points of user share in the last 12 months, representing a decline of 16% from its April 2013 standing.

The Classic Theme Restorer add-on will return some, but not all, of Firefox 29's UI elements to their previous positions, including the main menu that had lived on the left side of the windows since 2011.


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