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Include Firefox ESR as Supported Browser

Include Firefox ESR as Supported Browser

  Idea will be open for vote May 5 - August 5 Learn more about voting...

 

Firefox has a rapid release cycle - every 5 or 6 weeks.  Unfortunately, for people who support faculty desktop machines and student lab machines/environments, keeping the browsers updated to keep within the latest 3 releases for Canvas support becomes a large task.

However, Firefox offers an "Extended Support Release"  - this release does not add new features, just security updates on a regular basis.  If Canvas were to include the ESR versions as supported browsers, it would make managing lab and faculty machines much easier for IT departments everywhere.

Mozilla's FAQ on the ESR release - http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/faq/

 

 

  Response from Instructure

Comment from Scottd at Canvas on May 28 in the comments below:

Thank you to everyone who took the time to carefully read through and comment on this feature idea (in the current forum and, many of you, in the old forum previously).  This is obviously an important issue for a lot of Canvas users, particularly in large computer lab deployments.  After weighing all the opinions expressed, we have decided to continue with our decision not to support the Firefox ESR browser.

 

Considerations that supported this decision:

  • Relatively few of the people logging into Canvas currently use the FF ESR browser (less than one percent by recent count).
  • Because Firefox is relatively stable when compared to other popular browsers, users of ESR rarely encounter errors that would be alleviated if we quality checked every change to Canvas against this browser.
  • Not releasing features that take advantage of newer web technologies because they would not run reliably in a year old browser would necessitate delaying the release of new features to Canvas users who do not use ESR

 

 

Several comments in the thread make reference to the alternate idea of making the unsupported browser warning message configurable or less intrusive as a possible compromise, which would be another viable feature idea.  If you like this idea, please consider voting for Dismiss the Unsupported Browser warning during a browsing session, starting June 3rd.

26 Comments
John_Lowe
Community Member

Oh, the irony!  Smiley Happy

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Thank you to everyone who took the time to carefully read through and comment on this feature idea (in the current forum and, many of you, in the old forum previously).  This is obviously an important issue for a lot of Canvas users, particularly in large computer lab deployments.  After weighing all the opinions expressed, we have decided to continue with our decision not to support the Firefox ESR browser.

Considerations that supported this decision:

  • Relatively few of the people logging into Canvas currently use the FF ESR browser (less than one percent by recent count).
  • Because Firefox is relatively stable when compared to other popular browsers, users of ESR rarely encounter errors that would be alleviated if we quality checked every change to Canvas against this browser.
  • Not releasing features that take advantage of newer web technologies because they would not run reliably in a year old browser would necessitate delaying the release of new features to Canvas users who do not use ESR

Several comments in the thread make reference to the alternate idea of making the unsupported browser warning message configurable or less intrusive as a possible compromise, which would be another viable feature idea.  If you like this idea, please consider voting for " modifiedtitle="true" title="Dismiss the Unsupported Browser warning during a browsing session, starting June 3rd.

John_Lowe
Community Member

I don't want to kick a dead horse here, but I would like to request some clarification about some of these statements from Instructure and express my continued frustration about this issue.  I'd also like to publicly ask that Instructure reconsider their stance and consider the needs of the institutions who license Canvas more than just the end-users of your clients.  This really feels like an answer based upon faulty assumptions/conditions.

  • How do you determine that less than one percent of people logging into Canvas use Firefox ESR?  I ask because Firefox ESR does not differentiate in the user agent string from any other flavor of Firefox of that same version.  For example, if you use Firefox 38 or Firefox ESR 38, the user agent reported by the browser is identical in every way:  Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/38.0   For this reason, I highly question this <1% claim -- especially since I know that the ESR version is installed as the default browser on every campus computer on our campus, and we've heard similar reports from several other universities in the comments above.
  • If this is the case, it seems like this is justification that supporting Firefox ESR would not cause any unnecessary troubleshooting burden.  If it works with Firefox 38, it should work with Firefox ESR 38 (because they are essentially the same).  Why not support it because your clients (our institutions) use it and not supporting it does cause unnecessary burden on your client institutions?
  • This third argument is probably the most controversial and really doesn't make much sense if you continue to support older versions of the mainstream Internet Explorer and Safari browsers.  I read the statements above, but I just don't buy that there are new features that won't work on a one-year-old Firefox ESR (2014 or 2015) but will still work just fine on IE 10 (2012) or Safari 7 (2013) as supported browsers.  I do understand that the experience may be different between a new browser and an old browser, but support shouldn't be.

Overall, I'm disappointed.  It seems like you are saying that individual end-users who maintain their one or two computers take priority over your client institutions who support and maintain hundreds/thousands of computers.  It has been clearly stated in the comments and reinforced with votes from numerous institutions (with only one community college exception) that this is needed by your clients (the institutions who license Canvas for our clients/students).  I urge you to reconsider and verify your data.

david_taylor
Community Member

Nice!  Very well said. I second John's sentiments and urge Canvas to review their decision in light of what he's said.  It sounds like Canvas may have been confused on some of the finer points.  I can see *NO* reason that this isn't a very reasonable and doable request.

John_Lowe
Community Member

I guess we are the true 1% on this issue.

thNWP764D2.jpg

Too soon...?

brandon-davies
New Member

I think this was well said 4 years ago, and continues to ring true now. I would add, that I am less concerned about what % of the total user base uses Firefox ESR versus the % of instructors and administrators who have to actually set up, organize, and maintain course web sites, use Firefox ESR. My guess is that the % is much greater than 1%. To me the "rationale" behind not supporting it, is more like an excuse not to bother.

For now I continue to use Firefox ESR and deal with the banner telling me I'm unsupported. But once in awhile things stop working (today it was editing announcements).