back to article Mozilla blocks auto-loading of plug-ins by Firefox

Firefox users should experience faster, safer browsing thanks to Mozilla's decision to block browser plug-ins from automatically loading – albeit with one exception. "Poorly designed third party plugins are the number one cause of crashes in Firefox and can severely degrade a user's experience on the Web," said Michael Coates …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    This noscript?

    I'm having a brain fart here due to I run at least NoScript and Ad Block Plus on all machines, but when did a third party plugin ever load without the user knowing it was going to load? The user installed it, don't they know and want it to load?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: This noscript?

      A product like Sexy Desktop Lady may conceivably include the Borrow My Credit Card Number plug-in that is istalled without telling y‰ou, although I made those up and I think I heard they already blocked that behaviour. But you might have it already installed.

      For a while, all software came with a bloody toolbar plug-in for your browser.

    2. DF118

      Re: This noscript?

      when did a third party plugin ever load without the user knowing it was going to load?

      All the bloody time. Microsoft for one was a repeat offender when it came to Firefox plugin side loading.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: This noscript?

      It depends what you mean by "without the user knowing". They have to install the plugin of course, but then any page which uses it would automatically load the plugin without them knowing.

      It seems a little pointless I have to admit.

      1. DF118

        @JDX Re: This noscript?

        They have to install the plugin of course

        Whilst that is technically correct, even the most careful of users can be caught out by cheeky/nefarious silent installations. I'm an averagely paranoid IT pro and I'm frequently surprised by the crap that can accumulate in there if I take my eye off it.

    4. Blitterbug

      Re: when did a third party plugin ever load without the user knowing it was going to load?

      Not as simple as that. One of my main jobs is removing crap from client PCs. One of the worst to prise out is the Babylon toolbar from Firefox. I'll get plenty of DV's for saying this despite it being true but Babylon, once installed, is very easy to kick out of IE (The Autoruns tool kills it, stone dead), a little harder to dislodge from Chrome, and a bloody nightmare to remove from FF. Don't believe me? Give it a try. After all, you do believe in FF's invulnerability, no?

      So it's not so much about users agreeing to install crapware; it's about preventing it's installation, or removing it from the machines of vulnerable users (usually the elderly, whose thoughtful relatives have installed FF in an attempt to tighten their security a little).

      So DV away! I only speak from very wide experience, so waddoo I know anyway?

      1. Deadly_NZ

        Re: when did a third party plugin ever load without the user knowing it was going to load?

        To say nothing about that other piece of crap, The Conduit toolbar .

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gave up with ff a while ago, bloated and buggy, using chrome atm and hoping the googly one isn't being *too* evil.

    1. beep54

      Try Comodo Dragon. Looks like Chrome, but doesn't phone home.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Not evil, just a little too nose-y.

      Firefox itself is not really that buggy in my experience. It's all the crap add-ons that so many people seem to install. Chrome has the same problem. Add a few badly coded plugins and the thing falls to pieces.

      Come to think of it though, if there is ONE plug-in that causes FF to slow down and/or crash it seems to be bloody Flash! I've never had any problems with the other plugins I run.

      1. David Austin

        Re: Not evil, just a little too nose-y.

        Agreed - Firefox has been much happier since using the Flashblock Add-on which only changes all SWF objects to click to load.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can't imagine there are too many Firefox users with that shite installed.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Silverlight?

      Apart from every single Netflix subscriber who runs FF.

      1. Gavin McMenemy

        Re: Silverlight?

        Yep. And it's deeply annoying.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Silverlight?

          What's annoying in practical terms, rather than your idealism being dinted?

  4. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    This is new? I've seen this for a while now with Java applets. Made me look twice when I first saw it but a very good idea.

    Shame that IE doesn't have anything sensible like this... time to clean up yet another PC infected through a drive by java exploit where the effing Java on the PC can't be updated to the latest version or even have the latest version installed as well, because the corporate Oracle software that requires it is so incompetently written it only works with old, unsupported, versions of Java. The irony of this is not lost :)

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I've got Java 1.5.ancient and 7.11 on my work machine. Until a few months back I set things up so only Java 7 worked in the browser, then after all the security holes that got knocked on the head as well. Disabling it in the browser don't stop local apps working. Just don't let the installer delete old versions or for that matter install the Ask Toolbar.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      IE does have similar functionality. It's called ActiveX Filtering. You filter all plugins and then only on sites where you need a plugin, you whitelist the site. Combine this with decent Tracking Protection Lists and you have a browser that surfs without ads or crap without needing extensions ^_^

      Firefox is yet again last to the ballpark here though. For some history:

      Opera first to filter plugins with click-to-run (in a poor way that breaks websites as you had to click on the applet itself, which some sites had no visible applets), then Chrome (when it got invented) instituted it much later, in a non-breaking way and IE has had plugin^WActiveX filtering since IE 9.

  5. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Maybe now I can get rid of FBPhotoZoom; an extension I NEVER asked for and that has NO obvious way of removing (only disabling).

    I have assumed the FB bit means FaceBook, which is doubly annoying, because I dont HAVE a FB account.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    It was amazingly annoying.

    And hard to find with my chosen color scheme. It also, I think, is a limited time offer...if you don't click it soon, it assumes you don't want to override the defaults and then it hides the button.

    I think Mozilla need to rename their release notes to 'what we changed and broke this time'.

    If it wasn't for adblock+ and noscript, I'd ditch it today.

  7. Graham Marsden

    Well that's ok...

    ... since I have Flash Block installed meaning *I* get to choose when and if Flash content plays!

  8. IR

    Now if only they could stop the speed of my PC from turning to sludge when I watch a flash video on it. Started doing it a few weeks ago.

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