Mozilla plans add-on approval as Firefox 6 arrives

Mozilla will ask user permission before installing add-ons, as the open-source developer gets ready to unveil the latest version of its Firefox browser.

Mozilla plans add-on approval as Firefox 6 arrives

Add-ons are popular with Firefox users, but Mozilla has had trouble in the past with such third-party extensions introducing security problems to the browser or being installed without user permission.

“These add-ons installed by third parties present a number of problems: they can slow down Firefox start-up and page loading time, they clutter the interface with toolbars that often go unused, they lag behind on compatibility and security updates, and most importantly, they take the user out of control of their add-ons,” wrote add-ons manager Justin Scott on the Mozilla blog.

Regardless of installation method, we encourage users to disable add-ons they aren’t using to improve Firefox’s performance

To battle the problem, Firefox 8 will have two new features.

“If Firefox starts and finds that another program has installed an add-on, Firefox will disable the add-on until the user has explicitly opted in to the addition,” Scott said. “Users that want the functionality provided by a third-party-installed add-on can easily allow the installation, while users who don’t can cancel or ignore the prompt.”

Second, users will have “an opportunity to fix the past”. When they upgrade to Firefox 8, they will be shown a dialogue page that shows the add-ons they have installed – and whether it was installed by a third party application or by themselves.

“Regardless of installation method, we encourage users to disable add-ons they aren’t using to improve Firefox’s performance,” Scott said.

The system will first show up in the Aurora pre-beta that will go live tomorrow.

Firefox 6

Mozilla is expected to release Firefox 6 tomorrow, with leaked links to the final version already posted online.

Firefox 6 includes no major user interface changes, but will now highlight domain names for added security, and offer faster startup times, along with many other minor tweaks, Mozilla has said.

Mozilla has followed Google’s lead with Chrome, increasing the regularity of its updates. Firefox 4 arrived in March after more than a year of work, while version 5 landed only three months later in June.

The faster release schedule caused some troubles with the quick arrival of Firefox 5, breaking add-ons and making it difficult for businesses to keep up. Mozilla has said 94% of add-ons should work with Firefox 6, and created a working group to address business concerns.

Firefox 7 is expected at the end of September, while version 8 is planned for November; Firefox 9 could arrive by the end of the year.

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