A representative of Firefox web browser developer Mozilla, has criticised computing giants for ‘unwanted plug-ins’ installed by the companies into the Firefox browser.
“Why do they think this is okay?” asks Asa Dotzler, famously outspoken Mozilla director of Community Development in a blog entry referring to the practice of installing plug-ins to Firefox when installing software from Apple, Microsoft, Google and ‘others’.
“When I installed iTunes, in order to manage my music collection and sync to my iPod, why did Apple think it was OK to add the iTunes Application Detector plug-in to my Firefox web browser without asking me?” asks Dotzler.
He went on to criticise Microsoft for installing plug-ins for Windows Live Photo Gallery and Office Live Plug-ins and Google for installing the Google Update lug-in when installing Google Earth or Google Chrome.
“This is not OK behavior. I downloaded and installed a specific application from these vendors intending to have only that application installed, and without my consent that application foisted additional software on me.”
“In my book, that fits the definition of a trojan horse,” wrote Dotzler before reiterating that the practice was “not okay” and calling the practice “evil behaviour.”
“Microsoft, stop being evil. Apple, stop being evil. Google, stop being evil,” he said.
“It's really simple. ASK first!”
One of the reasons for proliferation of browser plug-ins is to provide security updates for third party applications while others simply want their rich content to appear within a web browser or tell the web browser how to open various kinds of files which should open in their third party software.
While calling this software a 'trojan horse' is perhaps a bit strong, it does call into question the prevalent practice of not even telling a user exactly what software is being installed.