Searching for new/replacement Firefox Extensions.

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Thu Aug 30 14:57:43 UTC 2018

Okay, so when Firefox 52(or was it 53?) dropped ALSA support, I, like
many anti-pulsers switched to Firefox ESR 52 in hopes that by the time
ALSA was dropped from ESR, there would be an easy solution to getting
sound working in Firefox without installing PulseAudio. Firefox-ESR
60's recent addition to Debian Testing/Unstable forced me to seek out
such a solution, and I've been running Firefox 61 with apulse for
sound for a couple of weeks now.

Of course, this also means dealing with the changes introduced by
Quantum, which broke some of my extensions outright, forced other
extensions to overhaul their interfaces in a way that makes them, in
my opinion at least, less accessible, or made changes to the core of
firefox that make me want an extension to restore the classic
behavior. As isn't the most screen reader friendly
site to begin with, and I'd rather avoid sifting through a bunch of
similar add-ons for the one that's actually blind usable(and most
google results providing advice on which extension to use for which
tasks being written from a sighted prospective making it hard to avoid
the ones that are utter junk), I thought I'd ask on this mailing list
in hopes some of my fellow Blind Linux Users have already found
solutions to some of the issues I'm having.

For years, I used NoScript to keep JavaScript and other rich web
features that are mostly used for generating useless eye candy from
getting in the way and tripping up Orca while retaining the ability to
selectively allow JavaScript and its brethren when they provide vital
functionality for a site to function. I was really fond of NoScript
Classic adding a submenu to the context menu that would allow me to
block or temporarily allow scripts from individual domains, but this
feature seems to be missing in NoScript Quantum(there's still a
context menu item, but it's now just a shortcut to NoScript's
preferences), and if it's possible to toggle allow/deny permissions
for individual domains in the new NoScript, how to do so in a keyboard
and blind accessible manner isn't obvious. I've tried ScriptSafe,
which has the context submenu with allo/blcok options but it seems to
only have the equivalent to NoScript Classic's "Allow All this Page"
and "Revoke all temporay permissions." There are numerous NoScript
alternatives, but I'm not sure which are even worth trying, so I've
been keeping a tab open to about:config filter on javascript.enable
and simply toggling the option as needed, but that's an all or nothing
feature, and I'm sure having about:config open all the time is
considered a security issue.

I've been using a user agent switcher extension for years simply
because, in many cases, the mobile version of a website removes a lot
of junk I don't want Orca to read, but which there is no easy way to
skip over, and some websites will automatically redirect you to their
desktop version no matter how many times you add m. in front of the
domain part of the URL or click on the mobile version link. The
extension I was using has no quantum compatible version, and my
attempts to find a replacement lead me to Firefox's Responsive Design
Mode, which in addition to having a clunkier interface, doesn't work
reliably for the website that bumped the user agent switcher from
something I need every now and then to something I use daily. The
website in question is an Internet forum, and while RDM allows me to
reliably load the forum index in mobile view, by the time I've loaded
the first thread I want to read, or the thread list of the second
subforum I want to check for new posts, I'm dealing with the desktop
version, and I know from experience that getting the mobile version of
any page on that forum to load after a page loads in desktop view
requires either letting my session on the site to expire or to reload
firefox. So, anyone know an easy way to get the desktop version of
Firefox 61 to present itself as the mobile version that lasts past one
or two ctrl+shift+enters to open a link in a new tab and switch to the
new tab?

I've already installed Default Bookmark Folder to restore ctrl+D to
saving new bookmarks to the Bookmarks Menu by default, but I'd like a
non-extension way of doing this, or at least an extension that doesn't
at the first few dozen glimpses seem to have no keyboard accessible
way of reaching the part of its preferences where you set its most
important option.

I've never liked the way so many websites save cookies even if they
serve nothing but static pages and have no user account features, and
never found an extension that I felt did a good job of making it easy
to set permissions more granular than Firefox's allow all, allow all
first party, or allow none option and its delete all or delete none
style of clean-up. Before upgarding to Firfox-ESR 60 and then Firefox
61, I was in the habit of regularly goint to the privacy tab of
perferences, using Orca's navigational hotkeys to jump to the show
cookies button, and deleting everything except cookies my perpetual
log-ins depend on, but with how Mozilla overhauled Firefox's
preferences, I can't do that anymore. The manage data dialog that
replaced the view cookies dialog, instead of having a simple list
where I scroll to the item I want an press delete to get rid of it,
now has a multi-select list, Orca has no easy way of telling me what
is or isn't selected, and the only deletion options are to delete all
or delete selected, and the delete key now does nothing. If I want to
delete all cookies except those needed for perpetual log-ins, I have
to individual scroll to the cookie I want to delete, tab to remove
selected, press enter, then tab back to the list and repeat, and even
selecting adjacent cookies in the list without getting something I
want to keep is is prohibitvely difficult. Ideally, I'd want something
that adds a context submenu ala NoScript Classic, but for cookies, so
I could permanently allow cookies needed for perpetual log-ins,
tempoararily allow cookies from sites with temporary log-ins or which
become non-functional if cookies are blocked, and block everything
else, but something that allows me to delete all but a list of
protected cookies with a few keystrokes would be nice, or even just
something that restores the classic view cookies dialog.

And I suppose if anyone here has other Firefox extensions that they
feel make life easier for the blind web surfer, I'd be happy to hear
about them. I've never used that many extensions, and when I went
blind, I abandoned most of the ones I was using back when I could see
because they either weren't accessible, or blindness eliminated their
usefulness(for example, I got rid of FlashBlock when I went blind
because blindness removed any incentive to have Flash installed in the
first place), so aside from the above mentioned Default Bookmark
Folder extension, the only one I currently have is YouTube Ad Auto
skipper so I don't have to fumble around for the skip ad button when a
video ad interrupts the video I'm listening to.


Jeffery Wright
Bachelor of Computer Science
President Emeritus, Nu Nu Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa.

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