Firefox for Desktop/Modern UI to share a single profile

As development of Mozilla's Windows 8.1 Modern/Metro UI version of Firefox continues in its beta stage, one of the programmers on the project has revealed an interesting new feature that should please heavy users of both the Modern UI and desktop versions of the web browser.

In a post on his personal blog, Mozilla's Brian Bondy revealed today that until recently, the plan was to offer separate profiles for the desktop and Modern ports of Firefox, and use a sync method to bring data from those two profiles together. Now he states, "We've had feedback around this, and we've found that a better experience would be obtained by sharing a single profile."

Having the same profile for both Firefox versions means that users can keep their bookmarks, logins, cookies, and other browser data without having to deal with syncing issues. There will be two exceptions. One is that any plug-ins for the desktop Firefox browser won't work in the Modern version since that port doesn't support those kinds of programs. Bondy adds, "To avoid unexpected problems with changed preferences exposed in one environment but not in the other, we're planning to keep most preferences separate."

Another minor downside because of this change is that users won't be able to run the Modern and desktop versions at the same time. Bondy says, "For users who really want to run both at the same time, they can force the use of a different profile using the -ProfileManager command line argument from Desktop Firefox."

Bondy says this change in the Firefox Modern version won't affect its final non-beta release date, which is currently scheduled for late January 2014.

Source: Brian Bondy's blog | Image via Mozilla

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17 Comments

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So will Firefox for Modern UI not support addons at all or will there be separate ones? Addons are a big reason why I use Firefox.

i_was_here said,
So will Firefox for Modern UI not support addons at all or will there be separate ones? Addons are a big reason why I use Firefox.

From what I read elsewhere (think it was one of the Mozilla bugtrackers, I forget), addons yes, plugins no. Probably a good bet that addons with visual elements will need to be updated to take the modern UI into account though.. the guts will work, just needs to be tweaked for the new interface.

"one of the programmers on the project..."

Or otherwise said, the only single programmer who sometimes works on this project. Sounds much differently this way, doesnt it?

I don't get why you will be unable to use Firefox and Firefox MX at the same time. I can run Internet Explorer and IE MX at the same time too.

i_was_here said,
Its because of the two Firefox using the same profile.
So does IE, if I create a favorite in IE on the desktop, it's also in IE MX, if I log in on IE then this is also saved for IE MX. Everything they use here as a point that makes it inpossible to run both versions side by side, IE just does.

anonymf said,
Because of limitations of Firefox single-process architecture.
Has nothing to do with that. It has to do with multiple applications using the same files.

Studio384 said,
So does IE, if I create a favorite in IE on the desktop, it's also in IE MX, if I log in on IE then this is also saved for IE MX. Everything they use here as a point that makes it inpossible to run both versions side by side, IE just does.

I am guessing IE saves things differently then Firefox. When you save a Favorite (Bookmark) it is separate file shortcut which you can find them all stored C:\Users\[username]\Favorites while Firefox saves it in one file table thing. I don't know if its like a database.

Interesting thing is that it is the opposite with email where Outlook has one file while Mozilla Thunderbird is separate files for each message.

I don't know why as well Mozilla cannot make it run desktop and Metro one but I think it has to do with data in one file thus locking it up. I wonder if Mozilla can change how data is saved.

DarkMidnight said,

I am guessing IE saves things differently then Firefox. When you save a Favorite (Bookmark) it is separate file shortcut which you can find them all stored C:\Users\[username]\Favorites while Firefox saves it in one file table thing. I don't know if its like a database.

Yeah, firefox's favorites are in an SQlite database.

I can't wait for this thing to rock the win8 appstore. Google is so shooting themselves on the foot by neglecting to bring their apps to the full modern app store environment.

neonspark said,
I can't wait for this thing to rock the win8 appstore. Google is so shooting themselves on the foot by neglecting to bring their apps to the full modern app store environment.
It's not coming to the Windows Store.