Mozilla will let rival browsers run Firefox security tool

Plans to open new plug-in checker to users running other browsers

Mozilla plans to let people running rivals' browsers use Firefox's new plug-in update service, company officials said today.

After a week of testing , Mozilla late Tuesday launched a Web-based service that checks for outdated Firefox plug-ins. The service, which relies on a Web page users must steer to manually, is part of the company's effort to prod people into upgrading potentially-vulnerable add-ons, such as Adobe Flash Player, which have become a major target for attackers.

The check scans for installed plug-ins, identifies those for which updates are available and provides a link to the vendor's download site.

Although the service currently works only in Firefox , a pair of Mozilla managers said that the company wants to open the plug-in check to other browsers.

"Right now, this page only works with Firefox, but we care about all of you and we're working to support those of you on other browsers as well," said Asa Dotzler , Mozilla's director of community development, in a post to his blog yesterday.

In fact, the service already detects plug-ins when the page is accessed by some browsers, such as Apple's Safari, although it isn't able to tell which plug-ins are outdated. However, other browsers, including Microsoft's market-leading Internet Explorer (IE), can't use the page: When IE8 reaches the check-in page, the message "No plugins were detected" appears.

Johnathan Nightingale, the manager of the Firefox front-end development team, declined an interview request Wednesday, but today confirmed Dotzler's comment about future plans for the service.

"Right now, we're focused on expanding our plug-in coverage and trying to bring greater consistency to the way this information is reported," Nightingale said in an e-mail today. "Longer term, we'd like to make the page as universal as possible, both in terms of the plug-ins we check and the browsers people can use when they visit."

According to another Mozilla blog , the plug-in checking service can also be called by any external site using a JavaScript API.

Mozilla has already promised to add more plug-in checking functionality to the next version of its browser. Firefox 3.6, which is slated to launch in beta next Wednesday, will warn users when they visit a Web site that relies on an outdated plug-in.

The plug-in check service detects more than a dozen different plug-ins, but isn't always able to tell whether one is outdated. Adobe's plug-in to render PDF documents within the browser, for example, was detected on a Computerworld system running Windows XP, but the checker said it couldn't sniff out the version number.

Mozilla kicked off its campaign to eradicate out-of-date plug-ins last month, when it shipped a Firefox update that included detection for only Adobe Flash Player. Later, Mozilla said that the Flash check had prompted more than 10 million users to go to Adobe's Web site to download the newest version of Flash.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mozilla firefoxmozilla

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Computerworld Staff

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?