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back to article Microsoft sneaks Firefox add-on into Patch Tuesday update

Microsoft has silently slipped a Firefox extension onto user machines via an automatic software update. Again. This week, as part of its regular Patch Tuesday, Redmond released an update for its various browser toolbars, and as Ars Technica noticed, this update also installed an entire add-on for Internet Explorer and an …

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Silver badge

Bug, my arse.

Why even touch Firefox in the first place? Firefox has its own updater. Use that and stop pretending attempts to foist Microsoft shit onto everybody is a "bug".

It's an unwanted feature, and you damned well know it is, Monkey-boy.

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FAIL

The .Net extension

actually keeps coming back. If you follow Microsoft's tech net article to remove it then the next time you do a Windows update it re-installs it for you (silently).

So I expect the same cavalier attitude over the Bing Bar.

Also just what else are Microsoft installing on your PC without telling you?

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Hack it

I saw that - it would reappear over and over - so eventually I hacked it.

I set it's maximum version compatibility to 1.*.*

And set the extension version to 9.9

Firefox disables it becasue it's not "new enough" and I reckon that it will be while before Microsoft release version 10 of the extension.

Annoying that it's still there - but reassuring that it's crippled.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe I'm still asleep

but I could swear I got rid of the .Twat FF extension long, long ago and it absolutely has not been back since. Perhaps this relates to the outrage about this toolbar update that, presumably, requires one to have installed the toolbar in the first place? Wouldn't that be like those types who bought an ID card who now complain about not getting their £30 back? Or am I just dreaming this? I know I've only had the _one_ coffee so far today.

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Badgers

Not entirely Microsofts fault

After all, what kind of software allows the uninstall button to be disabled in the first place?

If anyone can give me one good reason why extensions that, by definition, are not necessary for the functioning of the program, can have their install button disabled please enlighten me.

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Not an Admin

Perhaps because they're installed globally and the local user doesn't get to choose.

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Microsoft

Why is Microsoft such a shit company? For donkey's years they've had completely the wrong attitude, just complete arrogance in all sorts of domains.

From Browser wars to java incompatibility, to deliberately stifling the competition. They know it's morally wrong, and in some cases illegal.

We all know (any professional in the IT industry) not to ever trust Microsoft products. Such a shame that it's come to that. But it's entirely their fault for their stupid, selfish arrogant attitude.

Where is the ethics in Microsoft?

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Silver badge

The ethics of Microsoft..

..are the same as any other business. Does it make money? Yes? Then it's ethical.

That's why I'm with the toy unix. No one person, company or organisation controls it, or can control it. Even the worst the FSF can do is enforce the GPL.

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Linux

Yes it is Microsoft's fault

Don't shift blame away from Microsoft, so firefox has a method that the extension system can be abused. It is still fully Microsoft's fault for abusing it. Oh well, just makes me glad I am Microsoft-free.

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Anonymous Coward

Devils Advocate....

by that logic

Microsoft and others are known to produce the odd (and possibly even) product with a security hole in it, but obviously it's entirely the malware guys fault that they use that hole?

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Malware writers fault?

Erm yes.. Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

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Grenade

Microsoft free?

Do you have USB? Wifi?

Oh dear....oh remove about several other dozen parts from your pc and then you maybe Microsoft free.

Poor, deluded peguin people.....

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@AC re. Microsoft Free

What does Microsoft have to do with either USB or WiFi. They are industry standards developed by Intel and the Wi-Fi alliance respectivly.

I do not use ndiswrapper for my wifi, the code is native Linux. Ditto the USB support. The same is true for the printer and CIFS support. No Microsoft code anywhere.

I suppose that you could mean the FAT filesystem on a USB storage device (which is not necessarily written using Microsoft code), but that presupposes that the FAT patent preventing re-implementation is beyond challenge, and in actual fact you are using FAT on your USB key at all. It is perfectly possible to format your USB key with a different partition table, and put Ext2 on it, or use it un-partitioned, again with a non-FAT derived FS on it.

As far as I am aware, the only Microsoft software running on my laptop is the Windows instance inside VirtualBox. This is my choice, and I can completely remove this when I want. I also have a system at home built from recycled bits of other systems that as far as I am aware has exactly no Microsoft code on it. It has no VM or Wine, nor does it have the WMV codec's or MS Core Fonts. If it does have some MS code, then I could be in trouble, because I do not have a Windows license for it!

I suggest that you actually read about what MS make.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Credulous moron

"And wtf is it them them pricks infesting there poorly developed and designed garbage on consumers computers."

Are you speaking in tongues?

Anyway, how exactly is BIll Gates "a eugenicist scumtard"?

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Silver badge

Let's see if I've got this right...

Microsoft were not really sinister and scheming, they were incompetent and careless.

So that's OK then.

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not ok...

it's not ok, but take a look at the level of paranoia and inanity in the comments surrounding yours ;)

and, at the end of the day, what went wrong? for 4 days, a security update will have updated an entire application, not just the shared component of said application that needed the security update. It's hardly the end of the world

if it hadn't been for the re-branding of the toolbar to Bing, this article could be rewritten as "MS update updates MS product"... it's a fail by microsoft, and I'm sitting here laughing at them, but I'm not about to get my tinfoil hat out just yet

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FAIL

If you run Windows, you're stupid anyway.

Seriously, haven't you people learned by now? If you're running Windows at all, you're going to deal with all of the unpleasant effects of living in Microsoft's world. Get out. Now. Excuses will no longer be tolerated. "I'd love to ditch Windows, but I need to keep it because..." is no longer an acceptable excuse. Get out. Now.

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why a title?

"I'd love to ditch Windows, but I need to keep it because..."

1) i've used it since 3.1 and am happy with windows

2) i like playing on-line games

3) it works

4) ubuntu belongs in servers

and yea im running a couple of servers of ubuntu and windows

so put that in ur pipe and smoke it

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Anonymous Coward

@IGnatius T Foobar

A lot of people rely on the software that exclusively exists for WIndows, take away Windows from them and you either make their job extremely difficult or impossible, or their hobby not worth the hassle because of the difficulty of trying to find equivilant software for another OS and learning how to use a completely different OS and a bunch of new software - if the software you need even exists.

e.g. can you answer the question "is there a port of VirtualDub for Linux or Mac?" without rolling out the old bullshit line of "oh but there's some perfectly good alternative software" becuase anything you suggest won't be VirtualDub and can't produce the same results. And saying use something like use WINE to run Windows apps just defeats the purpose of switching to another OS when you still have to rely on Windows software for your job or hobby.

It's not just the freeware VirtualDub that keeps users on the Windows platform, there's a lot of specialised software out there exclusively written for Windows that people use in their job, take away that sotware by taking away Windows and you've effectively taken away their ability to make money to live off of.

I'm not saying Windows is great, but it sure enables the use of a lot of good software.

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Headmaster

re: If you run "x", you're "y"

This may come as a shock to you, but people do not buy computers to run an operating system. They buy them to run programs - the operating system being the enabler (well, it *should* be). So the order of choice is: "What do I want to run?" then "What operating system(s) does it run under?" All too often, the desired/needed program is only available under one operating system, so you use that one. Only if the needed program runs under several operating systems does choice of operating system really come into play.

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Flame

okay, if you're such a smartarse

tell me how I can run all my games on this Lucid Lynx machine which I'm I'm typing on...

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VirtualDub isn't Good Software.

"""I'm not saying Windows is great, but it sure enables the use of a lot of good software."""

Ehh, VirtualDub, unless it's gotten far better since the last time I used it, isn't good software. It's passable software that'll sometimes go without crashing long enough for you to do some simple video edits. Nothing that almost any lame video editor can't do.

And for all those processing tasks that people tend to use VirtualDub for, mencoder is something like eleven million times better. But you'd probably not give it a chance, since there's no GUI full of buttons and checkboxes and wizards...

There is some rather nice software (CAD mostly, and Photoshop) that just doesn't run in Linux, and I don't really like virtualizing it, so if I had to use it frequently I'd probably break down and install Windows on something again, but it's hard to make the same argument for a rather crap video editing app.

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Anonymous Coward

And...

Anyone who is an even smarterarse, tell me how to make my scanner work on mine!

I've moved to Linux. It's a heap better than when I last looked, about seven years ago (and I was a Unix pro then; forgotten it all now) but it is still not perfect

What *I* do mostly seems to work better in Ubuntu. What many other people do may well not. Open Office is also looking a lot better than it was (unfortunately, by that, I mean it looks more like MS Office than it did) --- but while Word and Excel are the standards of the office, MS will continue to rule

Hopefully, though, soon... not in my house!

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Silver badge

"I'm not saying Windows is great, but it sure enables the use of a lot of good software."

No. Developers who write the software in the first place enable the use of a lot of good software. WIndows enables nothing but a steady stream of money from your pocket to Microsoft's bank account.

I'm with the guy with the massive downvotes. I'll use Windows at work if I have to. Home is mostly a Windows-free zone, and it's set to become even more so. And what's wrong with using WINE? If it works in WINE, why does that defeat the point of.. uhh.. not giving Microsoft my money?

Would you rather I make unauthorised copies?

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that's right

"take away Windows from them and you either make their job extremely difficult or impossible"

yep. And it is vendor's faulty thinking.

As long as you can't programme an Alan Bradley PLC or a Siemens motor controller with platform-independant software, us engineers are stuck with windows.

Where is autocad for Linux. Please?

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Anonymous Coward

@Nexox Enigma

You must've been 'out of the loop' for quite a while now because it's extremely rare that VirtualDub ever crashes on me, on 3 completely different systems. For the video filtering work I do it works very well, especially when combined with AviSynth.

The lack of GUI interface with mencoder means it's time consuming and can be difficult to judge wether the noise reduction & other filters involved with cleaning captured video are too little/too much/spot on - that's where the realtime before/after display of VirtualDub beats CLI based video filtering/encoding/decoding software hands down.

Besides, VirtualDub wasn't created for anything beyond filtering and simple edits - that's why you turn to NLE programs for complex editing.

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Games

Please please tell me how to run all my games (and audible) under Linux and I'm sold. I have 1 win box left and it's for games.

When wanting to do work I switch to Linux and agree with the rest of your sentiment.

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Troll

IGnatius T Foobar. it is you that is the fool !!!

Windows is a perfectly good OS... yes, it has flaws, so do all other OS's, but it appears that the biggest flaw is that it makes a company billions of $..... so effing what !!!

I run a mix of OS's accross my computers, The missus and daughter have windows, why? because I dont have the time to learn them to use linux and answer a million silly questions that dont need asking for windows.... I have both a windows PC (need it for photoshop) a ubuntu desktop and a ubuntu NBR... its the netbook that gets used most...

The bigest fault with windows is the users...

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"Developers who write the software in the first place enable the use of a lot of good software"

But, developing software for windows is a far simpler/more enjoyable task than for the other two major OSes. Linux is dependancy hell and generally forces you to code for a specific WM (kde or gnome) depending on which UI features you want to use.

Apple nowadays forces you to use the dire Objective-C because the C/C++ api (Carbon) is well out of date meaning you cant use any of the shiny new features, which means you cant port a program to mac without re-coding the entire UI in Objective-C. *sigh*

Microsoft win on this one, hands down, they provide a consistent, (mostly) well documented, up to date API and you dont have to worry about dependencies.

Because of this, you can find software for windows that does pretty much anything. Usually for free.

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FAIL

How about...

Reading the post carefully first, then rather than choosing an OS before thinking about what you want to do with it, try thinking about what you need your system to do and then choose e.g.

I have built a gaming rig, most games run on Windows, which OS shall I use? If you want a machine that runs games and allows you type the first ill-conceived post that pops into your head, Windows can do both but Lucid can't.

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FIA

Not soo bad

Objective-C's not so bad, and at least the UI framework is well thought out, rather than, well, Win32.

However, if cross platform development is important, then take a look at Qt from Nokia (nee Trolltech), makes writing cross platform user interfaces fairly trivial.

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Silver badge

Dependancy Hell?

"Linux is dependancy hell"

Got apt?

"and generally forces you to code for a specific WM (kde or gnome) depending on which UI features you want to use."

I am currently running Gnome.

And, err, konqueror. And kdiskfree. And gnome-terminal. And kdevelop. All at the same time. Applications designed for different window managers and different UI toolkits, yet all coexisting rather happily. It works. Just program for the WM you feel most comfortable with. I'm fairly sure an xfce4 app would work if I wanted it to!

"Microsoft win on this one, hands down, they provide a consistent, (mostly) well documented, up to date API and you dont have to worry about dependencies."

Microsoft provide an absolutely frigging massive API that's incompatible with everyone else's API. This moves the cost of switching up so high that people would rather hang on with a substandard OS and hope it improves, than switch. Not my words. Go look up Google for the words of a certain Microsoft employee. As for worrying about dependencies, no, I've never had to trawl the Internet looking for such-and-such a DLL or patch! Hah.

"Because of this, you can find software for windows that does pretty much anything. Usually for free."

I would like a stateful firewall that's as configurable and extensible as iptables/netfilter please. GUI is desired but optional.

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Grenade

Enough is enough.

Linux, here I damn well come. You can stick Windows up Bill Gates exhaust pipe.

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Linux

This is one of the reasons.....

That I switched to Ubuntu, no more pesky spyware, MS 'features' and so on installed as 'Important Security Updates' for me.

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Silver badge

Hasn't happened to me at home

happened to work machine. Difference is I use noscript at home? Dunno. Am curious.

@Roger Stenning: > "Linux, here I damn well come". I got to that point a couple of months ago. It's going to be a slog but to butcher R. L. Stevenson, to arrive is better than to travel, and I'm hopeful.

Actually this has occurred to me before & I'd be curious to what others think - MS's attempts at lockin have become so intrusive (the vista interface, admin tool changes, that utter bastard ribbon etc) it's actually becoming lockout. Not that profound I guess. But that it's so bad it suggests MS is really starting to get extreme with worry - "quick, change something! Anything! doesn't matter what"

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Anonymous Coward

Actually...

It's "We need to make more money: make it look sufficiently different they'll buy it all over again"

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Get a life. Do something useful.

Get a life. Do something useful.

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FAIL

Do something useful

I just did - I downvoted you

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Do something useful

He said useful, not petty.

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To be fair...

It only affects people that have installed microsofts search bar add on in the first place. I run firefox, windows update auto-updated for me (which is annoying because I had it set to manual update, and it rebooted my PC when I wasn't looking), and I haven't had the Bing Bar installed. This is because I didn't have the old MSN toolbar installed.

If you've actively gone and installed a microsoft product, I think they have at least some justification in updating that product through their standard update mechanism.

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umm

Microsoft did not sneak the tool bar on to peoples PC. They silently upgrade the tool bar of prior versions. You had to already down loaded the tool bar to begin with. Not saying thats its right .

to the AC about the .net. Funny thing is its not there in my Fire Fox. Nope not there and I just recently did an update to XP and win 7 .

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Bronze badge

Not just MS tho

Get a Mac, clean install OSX, remove iTunes, Safari and Quicktime. Update. Untick the previously mentioned items (but not the big 300/400MB update) They are back :|

And as for Ubuntu, power on machine, update, reboot. Next day power on machine, update, reboot ...... continue for the rest of your life.

Not defending MS, just adding balance to the froth and spittle covering the above posters keyboards.

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@Eradicate all BB entrants

"And as for Ubuntu, power on machine, update, reboot. Next day power on machine, update, reboot ...... continue for the rest of your life."

Actually it's: power on machine, update. Next day power on machine, update, ...... continue for the rest of your life.

No need to reboot, except for the occasional kernel upgrade. Oh, and no need to trawl through your entire system to figure out which apps actually need updating.

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re: Not just MS tho

What's this reboot thingy? Ubuntu has that functionality?

I wouldn't know, because I've literally never had to reboot the thing. Up time's currently at 3 months, 17 days. And that's because there was a power failure back then that brought it down.

And yes, I do keep it up to date. Linux has no problems installing things without constant reboots.

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Anonymous Coward

My-God-Im-Turning-Into-A-FanBoy!

I reboot my Ubuntu often.

Well, actually, I shut it down often, because it starts up again so quickly it is not hassle to turn the machine off when I'm not using it

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@Remy

Ah, so your Kernel is out of date then. That's nice to know. Linux has to reboot after certain updates. And even if it doesn't strictly need a reboot, you may have to bounce some services (depends on the updates). But to not power off in three months....why?

If it's a server for some commercial enterprise, I can see that.

If it's a private machine and isn't in constant use, switch the bugger off! I could explain why, but as a Linux nut you should know to go and RTFM.

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Troll

Can't change, won't change

@Armitage @Circadian

I think I understand what you mean.

For example I have in front of me a prawn cocktail infected with salmonella and all sorts of nasty bugs and viruses certain to give me a stomach ache tomorrow and next to it, a clean and healthy salad. Of course I have to eat the prawn cocktail, as I know nothing about salads and I don't have the right condiments to go with it. Also, the salad doesn’t have a dressing I like.

Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, anyone who still runs Windows is welcome to.. In fact I'm posting this from an old XP machine now. However if your bank account gets compromised or you lose all your wedding pictures, you’ve been warned of the dangers.

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