Firefox Complains About Apple, Not Happy with Microsoft
Article by George Norman
On 20 Oct 2009
We all know the Mozilla Foundation and its flagship product, the Firefox browser. What you don’t now is that Mozilla is not happy with the fact that Microsoft will implement a browser ballot box in Internet Explorer 8. For those of you not up-to-date with the browser ballot box story, here’s the lowdown.

Microsoft was involved in an antitrust case in the European Union -> so the Redmond-based software developer decided to market Windows 7 E in the EU, a browser-less operating system -> but having an OS with no browser was even worse, so it spurred more controversy -> so Microsoft proposed the introduction of a ballot screen that would ask the EU user if he would like to install a different browser -> the EU gave Microsoft’s proposal the thumbs up.


Mozilla is not happy. Why? Because the ballot box would favor Apple’s Safari . At least in its current design. “The current design that Microsoft has proposed includes a whopping 10-17 browsers to choose from. The five most popular (IE8, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome) would be grouped together on the first screen, and the rest would be visible if the user scrolls horizontally. At first, it was proposed that the browser be listed in order of market share (first IE, then Firefox, etc). However, since unfair market share is the reason the EC got hot and bothered in the first place, the current design puts the browsers in alphabetical order by name of the company that creates them. That means the first item is Apple Safari, then Google Chrome, etc.” explained Firefox User Experience Designer, Jenny Boriss.

But it does not stop here. There is one more reason why Mozilla is not happy with Microsoft: the .Net Framework Assistant add-on. The add-on was delivered to all Window users earlier this year via Windows Update. No biggie right? Wrong! The add-on turned to be very hard to remove; then it turned out that it was plagued by a serious security vulnerability (the .NET Framework Assistant add-on could be used as a mechanism to exploit a vulnerability in Internet Explorer). Mozilla decided to take action and disable the .NET Framework Assistant add-on.

Microsoft, who initially agreed to Mozilla’s decision to disable the add-on, came back with arguments that the .Net Framework Assistant add-on is not a vector of attack for the vulnerability in question. Mozilla then re-enabled the add-on.

Director of Program Management wit Microsoft, Stephanie Boesch, commented: “Security is a top priority for all Microsoft customers, and we jointly decided the best course of action was to temporarily block the plugin and add-on while Firefox customers applied the Internet Explorer Security Update. We appreciate Mozilla’s shared commitment to protecting our mutual customers and look forward to working more closely with them in the future on such issues.”

The message seems to be clear here. The Mozilla Foundation is happy to work with Microsoft in keeping common customers safe and protected. But when a Microsoft products puts the security of Firefox users in jeopardy, the Foundation is not happy and will take steps to ensure its customers remain protected.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Microsoft, Internet Explorer, IE, Add-on, Apple, Safari
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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