This post is meant to be a short remark about something I noticed today. It is about Tampermonkey, a browser extension for managing User scripts.

Tampermonkey, like Greasemonkey, lets you create and run User scripts. These are small JavaScript snippets that can execute on any URL you want. You can consider them mini-extensions.

Tampermonkey came out as a Greasemonkey alternative for Chrome. Since writing User scripts is a “developer” thing to do, and since pretty much all software development tools are open source, so was Tampermonkey. This quickly allowed them to gather a user base and get contributions from the community.

At some point (around version 2.9), they switched their project to a proprietary license. They stopped taking contributions of course, and the old version is still on GitHub, so there is no license violation. This post isn’t meant to be a “grab your pitchforks there’s proprietary software” post against Tampermonkey either. I just know that some people don’t want to run non-free software, and their browser might’ve auto-updated to a non-free version.

This was certainly the case for me. I remembered Tampermonkey as an open-source user script manager and started using it, it took me a while to realize the license situation. While this information was available on the Firefox add-ons page, I think it should be more prominent in the install process.

After some time, and with developments like major browsers all implementing the same extension API, Tampermonkey took its place on most Add-On stores. I believe for Firefox at least this was after the license change, so people on FF shouldn’t have had unexpected non-free software.

Tampermonkey alternatives

The most well-known alternative on Firefox is Greasemonkey. You can get Greasemonkey here.

A more cross-platform option might be Violentmonkey. It works on Chrome, Firefox, and many other browsers.