For years I’ve used a simple page of links as my browser homepage. It’s a launcher with everything I need for my day-to-day activities, including online banking, personal projects, tools for work, online radio, forums, and so on. I thought it’d be easy enough to set this for new tabs as well as new windows. It’s not possible anymore, as far as I can tell.

I used to use the browser.newtab.url setting in about:config, which most of the mass producd tutorial sites still say works, and is listed as the chosen solution on Mozilla’s support page. It doesn’t work since Firefox 40.

Mozilla determined it was being used for malware, so it’s no longer possible without the use of a plugin. Mozilla’s support articles reference New Tab Homepage which “is not actively monitored for security by Mozilla”, and New Tab Override. I’m sure there are others. None of them work.

Among the many problems with removing features and delegating them to plugins is they’ll never have the same features. Plugins can’t reference file:// locations for security reasons, so I can’t use my page of links with any of these plugins. This wasn’t a problem when it was a core feature. None of the online tutorial sites, or Mozilla support articles, mention this limitation.

For comparison, Safari let’s you set this with a simple dropdown, in a native preferences pane.

Screenshot showing dropdown for 'New Tabs Open With'.

It reminds me of that old adage that people only use 10% of a program’s features, but everyone’s 10% is different. Mozilla’s software has been chipping away at my 10% for a while now, which sucks.