Over the course of the last year I have noticed Firefox is becoming more and more bloated. Martin Brinkmann (ghacks), talks about what Firefox was like when it was first introduced:
Back then, the core development philosophy was to create and maintain a user-friendly browser with a high level of customization options and a powerful extension ecosystem that adds new features to the browser.
This worked really well, kept the core browser rather slim without sacrificing features as users were able to install extensions or scripts, or use other customization options such as styles to modify the browser for their needs and requirements.
He also discusses the new features Mozilla has added natively into the browser such as Social API, Hello, Reader Mode and Pocket, while at the same time removed others such as the status bar. While the users might appreciate some of these new features, most are not going to use all of them (or in many cases any of them). These could have been offered as optional add-ons which the user could add upon the first run when these were released or at later time via AMO.
It does seem as if Mozilla is changing its philosophy with Firefox. Moving from doing what is best for the users (lean and customizeable) to forcing the user into major changes (Australis is prime example) and then let them fend for themselves to find an add-on to “undo” these changes. It is even coming to the point where Mozilla thinks it should have a say as to what add-ons a user can install (add-on signing with Firefox 41).
While I am all for preventing rogue add-ons from installing themselves in the browser, user should still be able to install whatever add-ons they choose (even if they are not signed). A simple warning such as that when a user goes into about:config or even the safe browsing/known attack site warning would do. In this case,the user is made aware of the risks of installing said add-on, but can choose to go ahead and install. Blocking the installation of an unsigned add-on sounds like something Apple would do, not Mozilla.
It is no wonder more former Firefox users have moved over to Pale Moon. It is just like Firefox, except it is not supported by Mozilla. It is based of the source code of Firefox, but without a lot of the bloat and restrictions:
Pale Moon offers you a browsing experience in a browser completely built from its own, independently developed source with carefully selected features and optimizations to maximize the browser’s speed*, stability and user experience, while offering a rich collection of extensions and themes (including compatibility with many Firefox extensions many users have come to love and rely on).