[Firefox] Add-on Compatibility Reporter allows users to run incompatible add-ons in Firefox

Add-ons are great. Without a doubt add-ons are one of the most important reasons behind the success of Firefox (and Chrome). The issue is most add-ons are created in the spare time of developers who have day jobs. As such, some add-ons aren’t maintained and become “incompatible” with newer versions of Firefox. Or, alternatively, new add-ons are incompatible with older versions of Firefox. This incompatibility issue is very annoying and often can be disheartening. I mean nothing ruins a day week more than not being able to install an enticing add-on, right? Right? Right? This is where Add-on Compatibility Reporter comes in.

What Is Add-on Compatibility Reporter?

Add-on Compatibility Reporter is a Firefox add-on by Mozilla intended to use the Firefox community to assist developers in determining if their add-ons work with the latest versions of Firefox or not. The idea behind Add-on Compatibility Reporter is users report if an add-on properly works with their version of Firefox or not. The reports are then passed onto developers who then either update the compatibility information on their add-on(s) or fix the add-on(s) so they work with newer builds of Firefox. Reporting is as easy as going to Add-ons Manager -> Extensions and marking an incompatible add-on as compatible or not:

If the add-on works properly and you mark it as compatible, you submit a report that says so:

If the add-on does not work properly and you mark it as incompatible, you submit a report in which you must provide a short paragraph on why its incompatible (what is wrong with) and have the options to include a list of your add-ons and disable the incompatible add-on:

So Why Should I Care?

You should care because your feedback helps developers maintain the add-ons you hold so dear to your heart. That not cutting it for you? Okay here’s another reason. In order to report on the compatibility of add-ons you must be able to use the add-ons, right? So, to do that, Add-on Compatibility Reporter enables all incompatible add-ons. So even if you don’t feel the communal spirit, you can use Add-on Compatibility Reporter to force incompatible add-ons to work in your specific version of Firefox. This is for add-ons that don’t yet support newer versions of Firefox and add-ons that don’t support older versions of Firefox.

How Do I Use Add-on Compatibility Reporter To Enable Incompatible Add-ons?

It doesn’t take much to make Add-on Compatibility Reporter enable incompatible add-ons. You first, obviously, need to install Add-on Compatibility Reporter. After installing, you need to restart Firefox. After restarting Firefox, you need to restart Firefox again. After that second restart, incompatible add-ons are automatically enabled by Add-on Compatibility Reporter – there is nothing else you need to do. (Already installed incompatible add-ons are enabled automatically and incompatible add-ons you will install later will be enabled automatically when installed.)

If, however, you find Add-on Compatibility Reporter is not enabling an incompatible add-on, you can go to Add-ons Manager -> Extensions and click Enable:

That will (should) solve any issues of disabled incompatible add-ons.

Conclusion

Ideally one never wants to be in a position to force an incompatible add-on to run in Firefox. There may, after all, be a valid reason as to why the add-on is incompatible — such as security concerns or instability. However, if you ever come across the need to install and use an incompatible add-on in Firefox, Add-on Compatibility Reporter is the perfect tool to do just that.

You can grab Add-on Compatibility Reporter from the links below:

Version reviewed: v1.0.2dotTech Favorite

Supported programs: Firefox 3.5 – 12.0a1 | Mobile 4.0 – 11.0a1 | SeaMonkey 2.0 – 2.9a1 | Thunderbird 3.0a1 – 12.0a1

Download size: 159.7 KB

Add-on Compatibility Reporter homepage [direct download]

[Thanks to everyone that tipped me about this add-on.]

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12 comments

  1. Mike U

    I’m using Add-on Compatibility Reporter under FireFox V10. I’ve downloaded and installed the latest version of Free Download Manager which I’ve used since the Version 2 days, and is the primary reason all my regular installations of Firefox are still back at V3.6. Unfortunately, under V10 of Firefox, the Add-on screen will not let me enable Free Download Manager; in fact, all the disabled add-0ns cannot be enabled. I’m not sure if this is unique to FF V10 or if it’s the latest version of the manager that Mozilla has decided not to let us enable the earlier versions of other add-ons.

  2. Rob (Down Under)

    @ebony:
    MS (probably responding to screams of anger) released an update (aka ‘wipe egg of face’), that enables the disable button (aka will let you disable that extension).
    I won’t be trying it, as I switched off automatic updates years ago, after those updates progressively destroyed my VB6 IDE (Development environment) forcing me to re-install Windows from scratch. I assume that MS attempts to erase VB6 from the history books (they want us all to throw it away and develop in VB.NET) meant they no longer tested their automatic updates against the VB6 IDE (aka they did not take care to test each update against VB6)
    The reasons that I won’t try the link are –
    – It may assume that all prior updates have been installed
    – It may install other updates.

    Here is a descriptive paragraph including the link –
    Even if one is using a Firefox version like 3.5b4, with which the add-on is incompatible (and therefore doesn’t load), the latter can still be removed via another update which Microsoft released in February and which can be accessed here ( preview DOT tinyurl DOT com/cbx4me ). After the update has been installed, the «Uninstall» button for the «Microsoft .NET Framework Assistent 1.0», which can be accessed via «Tools» ? «Add-ons», is no longer greyed out, and the add-on can be removed in the usual manner. The information provided with the update on the Microsoft page states that «To properly update the .NET Framework Assistant, this update must be applied while the extension is enabled in Firefox», but in my experience the update can easily be installed and the add-on removed, even in the case of Firefox versions like 3.5b4, with which the «Microsoft .NET Framework Assistent 1.0» is incompatible….

    I have replaced each . with space DOT space to avoid moderating delays

    If any of you are nervous of tiny URLs you can Google for this instead –
    Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension
    It should be the number one hit

  3. ebony

    @Rob (Down Under): I got the same thing and cannot uninstall it, and mine came with an update and the only way (researched suggestion to uninstall) to get rid of it was to do some kind of registry trick. I never touch my registry since I have no idea what I am doing.

    I left info on the Microsoft site requesting help, but to no avail.

  4. Richard

    I’ve been using this since FF4 was released and it makes life a lot easier of my 50ish addons very few are actually incompatible with new versions (brief was the first one I remember breaking with FF9 since about FF5 – the beta version fixes it).

  5. Rob (Down Under)

    There is an uninvited extension, that was loaded (like a virus)
    Microsoft .NET Framework assistant
    I did not install that, and as I recall, I could not uninstall it, nor disable it.
    However, one of the updates to FF versions did that for me, as it is now sitting in there marked incompatible.
    If one was to do what this article describes, will it crawl out of the grave like a reborn vampire ?