Final Update (moved old updates to bottom)
Brave supports Chrome extensions. The problem was with the author’s version of Brave; it was roughly a year old. Very old versions of Brave didn’t include service keys (necessary for interacting with Brave’s privacy-preserving proxy-service), whereas modern versions do (which is why you and I are able to install extensions without any issue)Sampson from Brave
To explain – the place I have installed Brave hasn’t made available any newer versions of the browser since December 2020. So the keys it shipped with have become outdated. Since no-update was available, I didn’t see the usual orange “Update” button on the taskbar.
Closing comments as they have moved from discussing the issue to attacking me for not being crypto friendly.
I have been using the Brave Browser for almost 2 years I think. @logic introduced it to me at some point and it has been my primary browser both in Desktop and Mobile, home and office computers since then.
I got my first heads up when I came across a post on HackerNews about Brave misbehaving due to the “Brave backend servers” being unreachable. It struck me as strange when a comment on the Github ticket mentioned that Brave servers need to be up for Brave to function.
This is a big design NO-NO for something as essential as a web browser. But then, the inertia of it being a daily driver, its amazing ad-blocking and tracker protection, Chrome extension compatibility, and the fact I haven’t faced any such issues prevented me from doing any changes.
Today I was looking to install an extension to manage the browser tabs and I ran into this
I thought maybe the extension was buggy and tried a couple more and the same result for everything. And searching for the error led me to this Github Ticket, which again describes that it is a “server-side” issue and it was fixed.
Well, it is not fixed for me. But that’s beside the point. This amount of dependency for a browser to have on “backend servers” is ridiculous. For software, as important as a browser, through which I have come to access almost everything digital for me is unacceptable. So with this post being the last thing I will do on Brave, I will bid goodbye.
- An interesting alternate is Vivaldi – It is trying to do what Opera was doing pre-Chrome. It rolls email, calendar, RSS reader, browser all into one and also provides built-in ad-blocking.
- Open source Chrome aka Chromium – This used to be my primary dirver before. So I am thinking of going back to it with the usual extensions like Ghostery, AdBlock+..etc., Not sure how much things have changed there.
Not sure who posted this in HackerNews. Thanks for all the feedback.
- I will be trying Firefox. So many people have recommended it. It’s something I have forgotten over the last couple of years and before that it frequently caused issues and was only my secondary browser for testing.
- There is nothing sinister about the decision or PR at work. I tried installing extensions, it didn’t work, I uninstalled and made a note of why I am doing it. Interpretations are all yours.
This is for people suggesting I jumped the gun and probably didn’t take the time to understand the real problem. I am an Chrome extension author myself, I had just published a new version of it only 8 hours before and tested installation on Brave and Chrome. So, I understand the issue. And I have linked to GitHub issues where this has been discussed.