Firefox for Windows to offer prompts for updating plugins

While Microsoft has decided to ditch the third party plugin software model for the "Modern" version of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8, other web browsers continue to use plugin software. This is due to the fact that many sites still use software such as Adobe's Flash for website animations.

Today, Mozilla announced that it is trying to be proactive in informing users of its Firefox web browser for Windows when their plugin software is out of date. In a post on the official Mozilla blog, the company said:

Firefox users who have outdated versions of the most popular plugins will soon see a notification urging them to update when they visit a web page that uses them. Old versions of Silverlight, Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash on Windows are covered by this.

The message adds that while Firefox users can choose to ignore these new prompts, that would be a bad idea. It states, "Old plugin versions can cause stability problems and are potentially insecure. Keeping them up to date will ensure that you have a great Firefox experience."

Mozilla recently launched the first public beta of Firefox made for the "Modern" UI of Windows 8. While it currently doesn't support plugins, Mozilla said it would add support for such software for the Windows 8 port at some point.

Source: Mozilla blog | Image via Mozilla

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I don't know why any computer would come with java installed by default. What apps are people using that would use java and most likely not be malicious.

KSib said,
I don't know why any computer would come with java installed by default. What apps are people using that would use java and most likely not be malicious.

Governments and offices are the cause for the widespread usage of Java. Many small software companies use Java because with that they can easily target multiple platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux) but on the web it really doesn't have a place anymore.

The only popular consumer applications that use Java I can think of are OpenOffice, Azureus and JDownloader: Azureus has many other native alternatives, JDownloader due to all the complaints now comes with its own automatically-updated JRE so only OpenOffice is left even though it's not mandatory to have Java to use most features. LibreOffice started rewriting the Java parts so let's hope it gains popularity and that Oracle will be forced to follow suit and strip Java entirely from OpenOffice as well.

What about the WORST PLUGIN of all? Yes, I mean the one of the first causes of internet plagues, the cause of many of friends and parents getting infected with all sort of crap, the horrible, useless piece of garbage called Java that only the worst websites on the web would ever use? Before flames start note that I'm referencing to the plugin, not standalone Java apps.

By the way for anybody wondering why I didn't mention Adobe Reader (that is pretty bad too) it's because Win8 comes with its own native reader and alternative browsers come with their own readers too (Chrome has already one, Firefox will soon have one too) so if computer manufacturers will, for once, really care about consumers safety hopefully they'll stop including it (some of the recent computers I bought came with no Java! Hooray! Let's hope Reader is next). Also Flash finally, after years, comes with a real, silent automatic update system so it's already on a completely different level. Java, on the other hand, has really that "WE HATE OUR USERS" feeling: updates that are not really automatic/silent, that slow down computers (I've seen computers with 20-30 concurrent Java versions installed!), that can break previous software, that kept pushing for additional software (I still have nightmares from when updates wanted people to install Openoffice) making users losing trust in automatic update systems.

If some day, finally, Microsoft/Google/Mozilla will start blacklisting IMMEDIATELY any vulnerable plugin no matter if Reader, Java or even popular ones like Flash the internet would finally be a much safer place: right now, if you have a vulnerable plugin (sometimes the fixes come out after days, even weeks!), every time you click on Google result you risk ending on a site that even if legit could have been hijacked to install malware, getting infected without even knowing. Remember that antiviruses are not bulletproof: the malware served on those hijacked websites is updated extremely often to avoid being detected so antiviruses have very hard times catching it.

francescob said,
By the way for anybody wondering why I didn't mention Adobe Reader (that is pretty bad too) it's because Win8 comes with its own native reader and alternative browsers come with their own readers too (Chrome has already one, Firefox will soon have one too) so if computer manufacturers will, for once, really care about consumers safety hopefully they'll stop including it (some of the recent computers I bought came with no Java! Hooray! Let's hope Reader is next). Also Flash finally, after years, comes with a real, silent automatic update system so it's already on a completely different level. Java, on the other hand, has really that "WE HATE OUR USERS" feeling: updates that are not really automatic/silent, that slow down computers (I've seen computers with 20-30 concurrent Java versions installed!), that can break previous software, that kept pushing for additional software (I still have nightmares from when updates wanted people to install Openoffice) making users losing trust in automatic update systems.

If some day, finally, Microsoft/Google/Mozilla will start blacklisting IMMEDIATELY any vulnerable plugin no matter if Reader, Java or even popular ones like Flash the internet would finally be a much safer place: right now, if you have a vulnerable plugin (sometimes the fixes come out after days, even weeks!), every time you click on Google result you risk ending on a site that even if legit could have been hijacked to install malware, getting infected without even knowing. Remember that antiviruses are not bulletproof: the malware served on those hijacked websites is updated extremely often to avoid being detected so antiviruses have very hard times catching it.


win8's reader is horrible though, doesn't read allot of PDF files any other PDF reader does read.

Shadowzz said,

win8's reader is horrible though, doesn't read allot of PDF files any other PDF reader does read.

All the third-party readers are horrible and will never be on-par with the (useless) features that Adobe keeps adding (javascript? 3d? embeddable videos? WTF?) but they are updated often (Win8 reader was already updated twice since RTM) and as soon as they complete support for PDF-1.5 (introduced a decade ago) almost every PDF file will render fine and the majority users won't need to install Adobe Reader anymore.

OS X introduced a native PDF reader years ago and it was an huge success, I rarely see Mac users with adobe reader installed, the same should most likely happen for Windows but even if it doesn't Adobe Reader now has a sandbox and automatic silent updates so it's not such a big security issue like it was years ago.