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Firefox 17 Launches With Click-to-Play Plugin Blocks 137

An anonymous reader writes "As expected, Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 17 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest addition in this release is click-to-play plugins, announced back in October. In short, the addition means Mozilla will now prompt Firefox users on Windows with old versions of Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Microsoft Silverlight (more will be added eventually)." The release notes are available, as is a list of changes for devs. Firefox for Android got a new release as well (notes).
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Firefox 17 Launches With Click-to-Play Plugin Blocks

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  • by TheoCryst ( 975577 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @03:42PM (#42045543)
    Apparently they have it in nightly builds now, but it hasn't trickled down to the main release channel quite yet. Bummer.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @03:47PM (#42045619)

      It's okay, the whole point of their fast release cycle is that you'll probably see that feature within the next 6 weeks rather than in 6 months from now. Idiots who don't understand the version system will whine about it, but that's a very tangible benefit of releasing more often.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 )

        17? Seventeen?


        Last time I checked (I think it was last week) it was 4 or 5.

        This Internet thingy is way too fast for me. Getting old. Slowing down.

        (And, back on subject, the only way I can tell when FF has a new version is WHEN SOMETHING ELSE BREAKS. Stop that, please.)

        • They changed it up a while ago.
          They moved from the more traditional X.Y.Z versioning to basically make it all just X.

          When it was announced I think justified it by having it come off as a PR deal, people thinking FF is old and outdated because it's on V4, while Chrome is on v10.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Just grab 10.0.11 ESR [] and relax.

          • Just grab 10.0.11 ESR [] and relax.

            Or 17.0 ESR which is also out now and that will replace 10.0 ESR over the two upcoming releases. So if you want to roll out Firefox in your organization, be advised that 10.0 ESR is going out of support in only a couple of months.

            • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

              But, uh, didn't 10.0 ESR only come out a couple of months ago?

              • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:55PM (#42046437) Journal

                ESR is only supported for a year. It allows for 2 months in between versions before one version is dropped.

                IE is going the same route with annual updates. IE 10 is an exception due to the incompetence of the Windows 8 team forcing WDDM 1.2 and DirectX 11.1 onto it which requires significant backporting.

                So this time next year IE 11 will be out or in RC states and the following IE 12 etc. Organizations need to learn to adapt to change more rapidly. It is not like a minor release is anything like the huge rewrite of apps that resulted from IE 6 to IE 7 or even 8. Your browser should always be updated at a regular basis.

            • 10.0 will still be supported by Debian and a number of other distributions -- heck, the support STARTS in a few months.

              If indeed the Mozilla foundation wants to drop 10.0 "ESR" so quickly, then it's not an ESR, it is well below standards for a regular release for most software.

        • Last time I checked (I think it was last week) it was 4 or 5.

          I've always thought that ever since browsers became as ubiquitous as GNU Emacs once was, they've simply wanted to catch up with its flashy version number. :-)

          And, back on subject, the only way I can tell when FF has a new version is WHEN SOMETHING ELSE BREAKS.

          So you never notice when something unbreaks after an update? You're a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy, I guess.

        • This joke was funny the first 12 times.

    • It's alright, all the OS X crowd use chrome anyway since it's sleeker and more hip and not as popular.

      Paradoxically, because of that, everyone uses it because it's sleeker and more hip and thus is popular.

    • by Ed Avis ( 5917 )
      Can't you just zoom in the website with Ctrl-+ and get the same effect? That's what I do on Windows with a 3840x2400 display. Admittedly some websites specify fixed pixel sizes for things so they appear scrunched into the top left corner, or in a thin dribble down the middle, but I don't see how you can fix that without violating web standards. Does the 'Retina' mode render something that says 100 pixels as 200 pixels instead?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @03:52PM (#42045679)

    I've ran the numbers through our compute cluster here at JPL and have determined that Firefox version numbers are on an exponential climb and will reach critical mass and achieve self awareness around the 20th or 21st of December THIS YEAR with the creation of a singularity on the entire planet's web browser population.

    The Mayans knew... the Mayans knew...

    • Someone please mod this up I'm laughing so hard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So did the programmers. I mean, just look at what is happening in that icon?

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      By an odd coincidence, this morning I was reading Arthur C Clarke's classic SF short story 'The Nine Billion Versions Of Firefox' where the universe comes to an end when they release version 9,000,000,000. I had hoped it wouldn't happen in my lifetime, but it's looking increasingly likely now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's crazy. Last time I heard a firefox version number joke was right after I fell off my dinosaur and into my wooden underwear. Good job, I'm glad to see you spiced up that dead horse with a few other dead horses. That should bring an old joke back to life.
  • The answer: some bugs seem to be fixed TWICE:

    there as it at least one bug ( 786386 ) which has been fixed .. in both versions. ( 3d randomly picked number from version 17.0 )
    • I believe the reason is that work actually starts on 17 around the time of 15. There's always three versions being developed in parallel, each one a few weeks ahead of each other. So a bug fix may get into all currently developed versions.

      • by etash ( 1907284 )
        true, it may be just that, i uniq-ed them and it's only 206 duplicated fixes ( out of about ~2200 per version ) so that accounts to less than 10% ( per version )
  • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

    As always, Opera did it first.

    • Yeah, I wonder how long other features like Speed Dial, or Tab stacking will last before someone copies them.

      I wish that people knew where all of these fancy features are coming from, that way Opera would have more funding to innovate. They certainly haven't slowed down since they created tabbed browsing eons ago...

      • Yeah, I wonder how long other features like Speed Dial, or Tab stacking will last before someone copies them.

        Chrome already copied Speed Dial.

      • I wish that people knew where all of these fancy features are coming from, that way Opera would have more funding to innovate.

        While the cynic may see it as chump change especially in multi-national mega-corp terms, in 2011, Opera Software's net income came in at a comfortable 24.6 million dollars on an operating income of 156.5 million, a substantial increase over the year before. Not quite as much as Mozilla who netted 43 million in 2009 but for a small company of 777 employees just doing their thing making their browser, it's not too bad. Bear in mind too that Mozilla resides in the US while Opera is in Norway so a direct 1:1 c

    • As always, Opera did it first.

      Oh, did Opera implement a feature in 2010 that Flashblocker for Firefox implemented in 2002? How innovative.

    • by cgt ( 1976654 )
      So what? You want everyone to have permanent patents on everything they “invent”? Also, this feature isn't quite what you think it is—RTFA.
  • by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:44PM (#42046289) Homepage Journal
    When I read the headline, "Click-to-Play Plugin Blocks", I was thinking that plugin content would be blocked from doing anything unless the user clicks a play button. Just like FlashBlock, in other words. That would actually be a good thing. A good change, in a new version of Firefox: I might've fainted.

    But no, what it actually means is this:
    > Mozilla will now prompt Firefox users on Windows with old versions of Adobe Reader...

    Oh, yes, please.

    We need this because Adobe Reader doesn't already prompt every single user who has it installed to the effect that they need to upgrade it, a bare minimum of three per hour. We definitely need our web browser to bug us about this also, otherwise we might not know that three new versions of Adobe Reader were released during the time it took us to download and install the version we currently have. Well, I mean, okay, in theory we'd _know_, but without this extra reminder we might occasionally go up to fifteen minutes at a time without _thinking_ about it. Mozilla must protect us from that horrific fate.
    • It means they can now kill off Flash and promote their one world domination via HTML5. HTML5 has always been the goal of Mozilla, they don't care about the users they only want their dream to come true.

      And I WANT the older versions of Reader. The new Acrobat Reader version are complete crap.

      • by higuita ( 129722 )

        There are OTHER pdf readers, most of then with plugin support ... no need to use a buggy and insecure acrobat reader

        • Except that I think reader 7 & 8 have the best UI, for things like search, moving forward and back in history, etc. All others I have tried are clumsy. I use Preview on my Mac at work but am not at all happy with it.

          The whole thing is stupid because no one ever should have added the possibility of malware in a read-only non-executable format! What next, RTF viruses? Well, I guess I thought the same way about HTML and didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to add features to it to make it dangero

      • by jonadab ( 583620 )
        My main objection to HTML5 is that it is a step back toward the bad old days of HTML4 when parsing the markup was a royal pain in the hind end. XHTML's concept of well-formedness is so immensely useful, I cannot imagine anyone who understands the implications ever wanting to go back to the horrible morass of SGML-based markup. XML-based markup is so much easier to manage, both for the content creator (e.g., web developers) and also for software developers (browsers, editors, server-side stuff, indexers, a
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, click-to-play does what you think it does. Like FlashBlock. The Acrobat Reader prompts are an additional feature.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      It supports both, the behaviour is configurable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by caspy7 ( 117545 )

      To enable click-to-play for all plugins go to about:config in the location bar and set “plugins.click_to_play” to true.
      The feature is considered still under development which is why it's not enabled by default.

    • Considering that there is at least one exploitable vulnerability per month in Adobe plugins and the number of computers getting pwned through that vector, this is still a good thing... even if it is not as useful as something like flashblock or noscript. Can't have the user in control over their own experience now can we? External entities should be in control.

      Noscript for the win.

    • You know, I don't understand it.

      Every company bitches to high heaven about updating constantly, every piece of software does daily update checks, sometimes with a background process, and you get a billion prompts a day to update. How is it possible to even run old software unless people go out of their way to disable the idiotic, intrusive update messag...

      Never mind.

  • by dstyle5 ( 702493 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @04:58PM (#42046469)
    which should release in about 3... 2... 1...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      20 was out today, though it was still missing support for the "comedian" add-on.

      If you could spare some time could you sort them out? You seem to be on the ball.
      Support is there for joke recycling already but you'll have to implement flogging dead horses yourself.

  • Is it faster now? It's the only browser where you can feel a delay when you change tabs..
    • Works for me but I'm not running an old virus ridden windows machine like many people as I know what I'm doing with my computer. That's why I also know Chrome isn't that fast and has many flaws the google fanboys don't want to talk about given that google tracks them and knows all the questionable sites they've been on.
      • by Desler ( 1608317 )

        And those flaws are what exactly?

        • Tabs die too quickly and it poorly handles broken HTML which causes it to use up all it's memory and cause the thing to be unsable are the two biggest. The biggest reason I quit using it is because it's performance was just generally much more poor than Firefox.

          Its problem is that it's always used more memory and CPU than pretty much any other browser but they focused on making it feel fast which is fine but that little trick seems to be failing. That or I guess they expect me to have a computer more pow
          • by higuita ( 129722 )

            Having used all major browser i agree.

            for browsing 2-3 pages, chrome is good, startup fast, but start to load more tabs, demand more from it and you will see the cpu and specially the ram going up.
            During the last year and half, firefox manage to rebuild its memory usage and today have the best long term memory usage of all.

  • ESR 17.0 is also available for download (as is ESR 10.0.11), but the autmatic update mechanism is not offering it as an option (at least not yet), only 10.0.11.

    I guess they will let the Quality testing phase to be completed before offering it as an automatic update

    • Eric S. Raymond is now up to version 17?

      I knew he was into all that Cathedral and Bazaar stuff but hadn't realised he'd open sourced himself!

  • Sandbox (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mx+b ( 2078162 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @05:59PM (#42047361)
    What I find more fascinating in TFA is that Firefox has added simple support for HTML5 Sandboxes. You can apparently specify whether the data inside the IFRAME is allowed to access outside domains, etc. (if I am reading it correctly; I am not actively involved in web design at the moment and so am a bit behind the curve; does anyone know how good this sandbox function is compared to other software/browsers?).
    • by extra88 ( 1003 )

      The sandbox [] adds security restrictions plus "tokens" for explicitly allowing the things that you, the site developer, want. The main purpose of the restrictions is to prevent content within an iframe from accessing content in or related to the parent page. For example, lots of ads are loaded in iframes, the sandbox attribute can prevent JavaScript in the ad from executing. The site Can I Use [] is a decent place to look for which browsers and browser versions support particular parts of HTML5, CSS3, etc. The i

  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:24PM (#42047761)

    Notice that Firefox 17 is also an Extended Support Release, so if you are a fan of a more conservative update cycle, now is a good time to hop on the wagon.

    Mozilla Firefox ESR Overview []

  • I thought from the description that this would require clicking *all* Flash, Java or other plug-in applets before they would run. That would be true security (until the dumb masses find and click one they shouldn't). I thought this would be a relief for when I'm using a fresh copy of Firefox; I could possibly go a bit longer before installing Adblock, NoScript and the rest. But no... it only blocks this crap from loading without a click when an "old" version of a plug-in is used. Yay. Talk about pointl

    • This would be more of an issue if they had still been supporting PowerPC, since Leopard was the last OS X version for PPC (PPC support ended with 3.6.x.). It seems silly though that they discontinued Leopard support in the version right before the ESR. At least all Intel Macs can upgrade to Snow Leopard, and TenFourFox [] is keeping PPC on life support for now. Still, Mozilla's discontinuation of Mac platforms is widely disproportionate to their Windows counterparts.
      • by BZ ( 40346 )

        The amount of effort needed to support multiple versions of OSX at the same time is much larger than the amount of effort needed on Windows, because Microsoft usually bends over backwards to not break compat, while Apple will go out of its way to do so.

        Combined with the lower user base on Mac and the faster OS update cycle of Mac users, this means that dropping support for old MacOS versions is a much simpler call than dropping support for old Windows versions: They're more work to support, and the number o

  • As a web developer, I would love to see FF support WebP. As an end user, I wish the UI was responsive and it took advantage of more than 1 of the cores in my multi-core CPU. Do they even make single-core CPUs anymore?

  • Acrobat (aka "reader") nags the shit out of me to the point where its in my better interest to just the fucker off, then nothing gets updated until the next reinstall, which is a good way to encourage updating

  • Firefox 17 is unusable for me - the font rendering appear broken on non-ClearType enabled systems and my Bookmark Bar links no longer loads things when I click them?! (I have it placed on my Navigation Bar). Broken beyond use for me: I have just installed latest Pale Moon release instead and migrated my profile, apart from a bit of tweaking of the status bar everything works fine for me. The point that Pale Moon is allegedly faster than stock FF releases rendering wise is secondary to me but quite nice to k

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