Snippets code from my daily experience

October 18, 2009

.NET Framework Assistant, automatic plugin installation and PluginChecker

Filed under: extension,plugins,xul — dafi @ 2:21 pm

In these days the net is populated by blog posts about the .NET Framework Assistant plugin for Firefox, its disabling and the fact Firefox does not warn user when a plugin installs itself without explicit permission.

Well, this is a old problem at least for me, indeed I discovered it some time ago when my Firefox crashed (apparently) without reason, discovering after a couple of days that Microsoft Office 2003 plugin fought with Foxit Reader and Google update plugins.

The problem was that I never installed Office plugin!

plugins

Disabling Office plugin Firefox stopped to crash.

After that experience I decided to write a simple (very simple) extension that at every Firefox startup checks if there are new plugins installed.

plugincheckerNothing so cool, only a quick and dirty solution implemented in a few of hours.

Waiting Mozilla implements a better solution than mine you can install PluginChecker.

If you expect to find PluginChecker innovative or the “I-can-live-without-it” extension you are on the wrong place, if you expect a not intrusive and simple solution to unattended plugins installation than you can take a look at it.

You can download PluginChecker from SourceForge.

6 Comments

  1. Firefox already alerts you when there are new addons installed on startup, I expect it will be extended to plugins too.

    Though the dialog makes a bit hard to find the new ones since it displays the entire list (I have like 80, a good chunk of those are disabled, though). So a dedicated tab to display newly installed plugins/addons (just like the “updates”/”installation” tab) would be very nice.

    Eventually Firefox will add support for updating plugins so I expect we will be able to disable/uninstall them too just like addons.

    Comment by Dan — October 18, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    • > Firefox already alerts you when there are new addons installed on startup, I expect it will be extended to plugins too.

      Originally I would to overlay the extension dialog but I had not enough time.
      Maybe I can modify PluginChecker in this direction.

      > So a dedicated tab to display newly installed plugins/addons (just like the “updates”/”installation” tab) would be very nice.

      Is sounds very cool

      Comment by dafi — October 18, 2009 @ 5:54 pm

  2. “Firefox already alerts you when there are new addons installed on startup”

    Not when they’re snuck in (silent install) by external apps. I was never alerted when the .NET add-on was installed globally (all current and future Fx profiles), or when I installed the Google Photo Screensaver app and a Google Photo Screensaver add-on was added to Firefox also globally.

    In both cases there was never a mention that add-ons would be be installed into my browser nor an option to opt out, and they didn’t show as newly installed add-ons in Firefox either.

    I’ve downloaded your new extension and will be installing it in a few minutes.
    Thanks a lot for writing.
    Do you plan on putting it on AMO?

    Comment by Ken Saunders — October 19, 2009 @ 1:07 am

    • > Do you plan on putting it on AMO?

      Sure but actually it is very ugly, maybe a little UI restyle and a better integration on extension/plugin manager is necessary😛
      Also a better “algorithm” to hide the config file, a malicious plugin can add itself silently

      thanks to appreciate my work🙂

      Comment by dafi — October 19, 2009 @ 5:40 am

  3. Your extension adds Array.prototype.diff and .unique, which results in very tenacious tooltips. Could you change your code in a way that doesn’t need these methods on Array.prototype?
    I’ve filed https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=524661 to fix the Firefox side of that bug.

    Comment by Markus Stange — October 27, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

    • You are right, the implementation was done a long time ago without considering a publication.
      I want to rewrite it in a better way and without polluting the Array object

      Comment by dafi — October 27, 2009 @ 2:00 pm


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