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Quick Answer for Advantage and Disadvantage with Tabbrowser Extensions


A list of TBE features is also available.

TBE includes most wanted features about tabbed browsing in itself.

You can install those features at once, you can access their configurations from only one window, you don't have to fumble for many extensions, etc.

Some simple extensions cannot combine with other features. TBE can.
Some simple extensions conflict with other features. TBE doesn't.

Some simple extensions are made by different authors. So, they cannot combine with others in some cases, sometimes they may conflict.

TBE includes most required features in itself. You'll see an organic integration of those features. For example, locked tabs can be saved to bookmarks, controlled tabs are automatically grouped, and so on.

TBE is the only one extension which provides the feature grouping of related tabs.

At Dec. 2004, as far as I know.

...Now, A great extension Tab Mix is available. It covers most advantage of TBE.


Advantage and disadvantage are two sides of the same coin.

Too many features.

Many features are squeezed into it, so TBE is heavy; some people are annoyed with needless features; and so on.

Sometimes conflicts with other extensions or themes.

When you have disaffection about TBE's features and you combine TBE with other extensions about tabbed browsing features, they may conflict. Because, to provide its service, TBE changes deep layer of Firefox implementations.

Of course, many extensions work with TBE correctly. Actually, I use Sage, Bookmarks Backup, CuteMenus, my other extensions, etc.

Less maintenancibility by huge codes.

Virtually, now no one can update TBE codes, excluding me. Its codes are like as entwined spaghetti. Many unknown bugs are maybe there, many known problems (with unknown reasons) too.

Opinion of the Mozilla Official Developers

This extension is strongly unrecommended by Mozilla Foundation. This extension has many many latent bugs (ref: above). If you use this, you must be prepared to own huge risk maybe.

Following is one of comments in Neowin.net:

TBE is one of the most buggest extensions. It has never been and most likely won't ever make it onto update.mozilla.org because of this. The firefox devs, other extension devs and many many people at mozillazine strongly discourage the use of TBE because of its buggyness. A lot, and I mean A LOT of bugs that are filed on bugzilla and new threads started on mozillazine are a result of this extension. Please just use the built in options (bangbang already explained how to turn these on) or if you feel you must use TabbedBrowserPreferences isntead.

And, following comments are posted by Ben Goodger - a core developer of Firefox in Mozilla Foundation - in the MozillaZine forum:

Everything just swell. I brought Firebird back up, installed Tabbrowser Extension ONLY, and exited again. Right away I called the browser back up again--but no go. I got a box with:

"Error launching. No XBL binding to browser."

The Firebird dev team recommends avoiding using TBE. Your best bet if you have to use it is to determine what builds TBE supports and then obtain that version of Firebird.

Hmm... doesn't seem an extension should prevent the browser from executing ..doesn't sound like a very good design in handling the functions of extensions.

In upcoming milestones we're going to be making some changes that will probably prevent TBE from working as a "standard extension."

TBE does some terrible things including replacing core browser files, and the Firebird dev team does not recommend using it unless you are prepared to have your browser break every few days. The only exception is if you tend to use a release build (rather than nightlies) and that release build is explicitly supported by TBE.

Because of one person, all of a sudden TBE is bad?

No, because of several people. The Firebird developers. TBE overwrites system files with its own. That's bad by any standard. But don't let us stop you from using whatever extensions you like. We're just not all that sympathetic when people's browsers break after installing things that do this. It's basically like installing a program that overwrites various DLLs in Windows\System with its own and promptly breaks other apps. If you use TBE you do so at your own risk - only use it with builds that TBE claims to support. Otherwise, you're asking for pain. Future milestones of Firebird will make it such that "simple" extensions are not permitted to make any changes to the install directory of Firebird and will make extensions like TBE stand out as being more "dangerous". The installer already blows away the entire bin directory when it "upgrades" an existing installation so TBE incompatibilities should be limited when using installer builds.

However - we will likely be looking at TBE's features and assessing what pieces should be built into the default configuration. If people have pet favorite features in TBE, perhaps a new thread should be started here to list them all so we can get an idea of what the key reasons are people use the extension.

I also agree comments above.

My opinion

First, I'm the primary-targeted user of TBE, and I'm still using TBE. It can make Firefox slow, but If you use it carefully, it assists your web browsing powerfully.

Some people say "TBE is too dangerous because it overwrites system files of Firefox and break it", but that's not true. TBE doesn't overwrite files of Firefox, so you will get plain Firefox back after uninstalling it. It only overwrites internal functions of Firefox codes dynamically in each startup. On this point, some people possibly misunderstand.

But they had it partially right. While TBE is enabled, features and behaviors of Firefox are modified. Some extensions written only for the completely-original behavior of Firefox may be broken by TBE.

Deservedly this problem possibly appear with Tab Mix, Tabbrowser Preferences, or other extensions. What the worse point than other extensions is, TBE modifies many many behaviors of Firefox than others (so, TBE acts on them, TBE is influenced by them.)

One of reasons why I recommend Tab Mix (and/or other extensions) instead of TBE, is, that I cannot follow all of comments and reports written in English anymore. Even if someone send me helpful information, they are buried in too many thorny reports (for example, un-repeatable problems, platform dependent problems, reports with too less information, etc.) It's very hard for me to respond to their expectations.

Last modified:2013/03/27 04:34:46