Mozilla Labs released a prototype extension for Firefox that lets you use different background on top of your currently existing theme. At the moment, this prototype is compatible with the default theme of Firefox. I have tested other themes and they looked ugly at some parts so I want to see more customization option in the next release of this prototype extension to change more than just the background in Firefox.

\”The Persona selector is dynamically loaded and populated from a JSON feed and all designs are loaded via URLs to remote resources\”.

I don\’t know the security model for these theme resources so anyone paranoid enough may worry that some theme authors can put arbitrary code in their themes if there\’s no special verification, digital signature or seal of approval from Mozilla. Even though it is really convenient for designers, I don\’t like the idea that it downloads the graphics on demand just like that from the internet. I don\’t even know if the graphics are coming from Mozilla Labs or any secure location. Maybe not?

There is an API currently being developed so there should be more changes on the way for this extension. It looks great on the default theme but someone will immediately notice that it simply adds background picture on Firefox toolbar with some transparency on tabs. Sometimes, I find it hard to read the tab texts when the background is too dark. There\’s no transparency option so you cannot customize it anyhow. You can only choose from the existing lists of background designs at the moment. I really hope they add more option in this extension because Persona looks like a bland IE toolbar background changer. Some users may find this useful because it make their plain themes colorful; however, some advanced users maybe annoyed with this. To a certain extent, I find Persona too simple to fit my taste. I\’ll uninstall it for now but I\’ll try Persona one again when a new version arrives. For now, I\’ll stick with the default theme of Firefox no matter how boring it is.

Link: Mozilla Labs: Persona for Firefox

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  • We’re absolutely paranoid about security. In the current prototype Mozilla Labs is hosting both the JSON feed that specifies the available designs as well as the individual graphic files that are served up to form the Persona.

    The next version will support more than just graphic files as we hope to allow general Web content types to be displayed, so that designs can take advantage of the scripting and graphics capabilities available now through SVG and Canvas. We’ll have more details soon, but the method we’ll use to sandbox this content is actually going to be more restrictive than what happens when you browse to a site through the URL bar. Personas will never have access to the chrome of your browser or other privileged content, except through a very tightly controlled API.

    Thanks for your feedback. As we said, this is but a simple example of what’s possible and look forward to working with the broader community to evolve the concept.

    [email protected]

  • MV

    Thanks cbeard. I tried balancing my positive and negative remarks about this prototype release of Personas. I find it restrictive for now but I really hope that more options are coming on the next version as you have mentioned in Mozilla Labs and in your comment.

    Thanks for dropping by. Best regards on the project.

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