That raised an eyebrow, so I thought I'd test it. Yep, it worked, but only because I set *.microsoft.com to open in an IETab (I don't even have microsoft on my allow list for NoScript because of that). Switching back to the Gecko engine got me a "To use this site, you must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later" message.
he added that Windows Update for pre-Vista versions of Windows can now be accessed using Firefox
So I thought of trying a clean installation of FF (in a 2000 Pro VM) without any addons, just in case it was my setup throwing things off: Nope, exactly the same thing. So I call ******** on that. It only "works" if you've gone to the effort of downloading extra addons and configured them a certain way. Being able to access the Download Center in non-IE doesn't count.
Using the "may contain dodgy code" excuse is pathetic. If we extrapolated that, we'd not use Windows at all due to all the crappy code that needs patching on a monthly basis.
Autopatcher also helps out when WU just refuses to work properly and hangs the CPU (like it does on my fully validated, compliant yadayada XP installation) and also when you don't want to waste bandwidth (and a few hours) by downloading several hundred megabytes of updates since SP2 when you reinstall. And don't get me started on the "Dynamic Update" during installation: last time I tried that (with a Ethernet cable attached) I got Blaster before the install completed as my XP installation disc doesn't have SP2 on it.
Microsoft are extremely unlikely to provide an equivalent. And then they wonder why there is antipathy towards them.