Firefox gives plugins more hang time

Users expect plugins to stall, but are happy to hang around and wait for them.

Firefox gives plugins more hang time

That’s the lesson Mozilla learned over the past few days, leading it to update its new Firefox crash protection system to let plugins hang for up to 45 seconds before taking them out.

Last week, Mozilla released Firefox 3.6.4 with a crash protection system, which keeps the browser up and running when plugins such as Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight fail.

If a plugin crashes completely, it and the page can be reloaded without restarting the whole browser. But if a plugin freezes for too long then Firefox shuts it down – leaving the browser up, but taking out the plugin.

Despite testing the system out on an “audience of close to one million users”, Mozilla found that Firefox users weren’t entirely happy with the system, said lead developer Mike Beltzer in a blog on the Mozilla post.

“Following the release of Firefox 3.6.4 we heard from some users, mainly those using older computers, that they sometimes expect longer periods of non-responsiveness from plugins, especially with games,” he said.

“For these users the default timeout of 10 seconds was too short. To address this, we increased the amount of time Firefox waits for a plugin to respond before terminating it from 10 to 45 seconds,” he added.

The change rolled out on Saturday as Firefox 3.6.6, which included no other bug fixes.

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