Firefox plugins given April deadline to whitelist

Firefox plugins given April deadline to whitelist

Summary: Authors of Firefox plugins have until March 31st to apply to make a whitelist of plugins that will avoid Mozilla's click-to-play plugin model.

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Mozilla is set to take the next step in discouraging the use of plugins in Firefox, with the browser maker setting a deadline of March 31 for plugin makers to apply to avoid Firefox's upcoming click-to-play plugin feature.

Shipped in Firefox's alpha "Aurora" channel in September, click to play prevents all plugins, except Flash, from running unless the user explicitly grants permission.

Plugin authors looking to avoid click to play will need to complete an application to be placed on a temporary whitelist for a total of 30 weeks, 24 of which are in the general release channel, and six weeks in the beta channel. To be approved, applicants must show a "credible plan" to move away from NPAPI-based plugins and reimplement functionality in "standards-based web solutions".

Applications are due on March 31, and, once approved, plugin authors are able to reapply for another 24 weeks in the general release channel.

"Though we believe that plugins are today both largely unnecessary and costly to the user experience, many of our users and developers still rely on a relatively small number of them for critical functions," Mozilla's Plugin Whitelist Policy states.

"We also recognise that authors need some time to adjust to web-based replacements. We therefore invite such plugin authors to apply for a short-term exemption to our plugin blocking policy."

Firefox's model is similar to how Google decided to deal with NPAPI plugins in Chrome.

Google's browser also blocks NPAPI plugins unless they are on a whitelist, but the exceptions list extends to Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Google Talk, and Facebook Video.

By September, Google expects to have unpublished all Chrome Web Store content that uses NPAPI.

Both browser makers cited performance issues, hangs, complexity, security issues, and lack of support on mobile devices as justification for moves against NPAPI plugins.

"Our vision is clear: A powerful and open web that runs everywhere without the need for special purpose plugins," said Chad Weiner, Mozilla director of product management, in a blog post.

"The steps outlined here will move us towards that vision, while still balancing today's realities."

Topics: Security, Web development

About

Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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4 comments
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  • Maybe if the browser...

    ...offers the functionality I need/want, then I wouldn't need plugins. But, alas, they don't.
    That's why the concept of plugins was invented, but apparently those in charge of Mozilla suffered brain damage since they apparently have forgotten that.

    I like the ability to selectively choose which scripts run on my pages; I like when the browser tells me where the server I'm visiting is based; I like my local forecast in the toolbar; I like being able to save a copy of a webpage in case it disappears or the owner pulls the "What? We didn't say that!" kind of game; I like plugins that help me stylize the way I view the web because quite frankly too many web site owners stink; I like my tabs color coded. The list goes on and on. Does Firefox provide any of this inherently? No? Then we'll still need plugins.

    No, what this sounds like is more of a, "We're tired of vetting software, so this is how it's going to be." situation.

    Yes, they said that the plugins, for now, will be able to get on a whitelist. Wahoo. Pay close attention to the second to the last paragraph: "Our vision is clear: a powerful and open web that runs everywhere without the need for special purpose plugins," said Chad Weiner, Mozilla director of product management, in a blogpost."

    That screams to me, "We're going to be easing you out of being able to use plugins at all."

    If they try then that'll be the day I stop using Firefox.
    Zorched
    • hold on

      Granted I haven't read anything else regarding the subject, but the article specifically mentions plugins. What you're describing sounds like extensions.

      I too would be upset if Firefox attempts to do away with add-ons, but it doesn't look like that's what is presented here.
      sbann
  • Not Happy!

    One of the main reasons I use Firefox is the plug-ins. I'm happy to trade a slight loss of performance to be in control, me not someone else. I make the choices.
    The Former Moley
    • what you want are extensions, not plugins. there is a difference.

      forecastfox, multirow toolbar, mouse getures, WOT are all extensions. Plugins are things like flash, adobe reader, Java, Silverlight, IE tab. Fear not, Firefox will still support your favorite extensions.
      WhatsamattaU