EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.31.09

Microsoft Accused of “Sabotaging Firefox”

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zoo park

Summary: Microsoft changes Mozilla’s software without permission from the users and the aim is self promotion

THE FIRST self-explanatory report is this one:

Microsoft Sabotaging Firefox With Sneaky .NET Updates?

Sabotage may be a strong choice of word, but it immediately came to mind with the news of Microsoft’s latest .NET update.

The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1, unleashed in February, forces an undisclosed Firefox extension on Windows users, called “Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant 1.0″, and it does so without asking the users permission.

It is not an unusual development and this was also entered into Slashdot and into Stefano Forenza’s Web site.

The Washington Post used much gentler words (Melinda Gates is in charge, so it’s wise to be cautious) and so did this Web site.

A routine security update for a Microsoft Windows component installed on tens of millions of computers has quietly installed an extra add-on for an untold number of users surfing the Web with Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser.

 

Here at Techgeist, we do not like it when software does stuff to other software without asking. The problems are made that much worse when it’s the operating system doing the dirty work. So we are all pretty angry at Microsoft right now. As part of a service pack for the .Net Framework, which they rolled out as a critical update via Windows Update, Microsoft also installed the “.Net Framework Assistant” add-on onto users’ Firefox installations.

The story in short: Microsoft uses its Windows Update franchise (monopoly) for unwanted/uninvited intrusion that’s justified by a EULA people cannot refuse. Moreover, Microsoft shoves its software down people’s throats to advance its business by interfering with rival software.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

20 Comments

  1. the11thplague said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Stefano Forenza’s Web site… nice site, I didn’t knew about it before!
    Thanks for the tip.

  2. pcolon said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Gravatar

    Was the Mozilla team contacted beforehand in reference to the Firefox modification?

    Updates, including security patches, do not occur without asking in the GNU/Linux distros I use. These forced modifications to the os and extended applications is reason enough for discontinuing the use of microsoft products and services altogether.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 31, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Gravatar

    I haven’t come across any official response from Mozilla.

  4. aeshna23 said,

    June 1, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Gravatar

    I attempted to remove this addon from my installation of Vista 7 following the directions given at http://www.annoyances.org/exec/show/article08-600.

    I could not follow those directions. There appears to be no longer be any reference to this add-on in the firefox configuration options (steps 5-7). I hope I’m not being paranoid in wondering why Microsoft would make it so difficult to remove this add-on.

  5. Bogdan Bivolaru said,

    June 2, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Gravatar

    Well… where are the antitrust regulators?
    European Commision? US?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Steve and Neelie might discuss this over dinner and candlelight.

  6. suresh said,

    June 2, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Gravatar

    Mozilla should take a leaf out of GNU Icecat’s book which is more concerned about privacy and spyware.

  7. Joe said,

    June 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Gravatar

    You can follow http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/963707

    to remove it.

    However, unlike Microsoft, AVG will ask you if you want to add their extension to FF. Kinda niffty how they did it in the first place.

    Btw, I had some malware/payware that infected IE and FF but not Chrome. Perhaps you should keep that just in case and/or a copy of FF in portable app guise.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’d love to try Chrome at some stage.

    Is there any response from Mozilla?

  8. alex said,

    June 3, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Gravatar

    I wish I had time to look at this in detail as it starts to slip toward copyright infringing to me.

  9. Juan Pablo Angamarca said,

    June 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Gravatar

    So typical of Microsoft… that’s got so stop!

  10. PaulGaskin said,

    June 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Gravatar

    This is really outrageous. They’ve changed the way millions of Firefox installations on Windows will function without asking permission, nor notifying users.

    This .net extension will undoubtably cause pop-ups, crashes and become a security problem. This was a desperate and probably illegal act by Microsoft.

    They should face the full force of the law for compromising people’s computers and illegally interfering with a business competitor.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I was not able to find any response from Mozilla. Is there such a thing? Is Mozilla too shy to complain? It’s already part of the Opera-led motion in Europe (with ECIS IIRC).

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve finally found a response from Mozilla:

    dealing with the .NET ClickOnce add-on
    http://shaver.off.net/diary/2009/06/02/dealing-with-the-net-clickonce-add-on/

    pcolon Reply:

    Thanks for the update. IMO Mozilla has tested this fix as much as possible since there is a vested interest. But that doesn’t rule out the fact that microsoft can modify, without user consent, a third party application running in a windows environment.

    Many people elected to use Firefox instead of IE thinking Mozilla and the owner of the computing device would be the only party to modify Firefox’s behaviour.

    Bogdan Bivolaru Reply:

    Let me get this straight:
    I need to install patch #2 just to remove something that shouldn’t be installed in patch #1 (without users’ consent)…
    That doesn’t sound like easy removal (as any patch from MS can break my system in lots of unexpected ways) and doesn’t sound like they stopped pushing patch #1 down the users throat.
    This message is like ‘We keep doing crimes, but we help those injured as a result of our actions.’
    What about stopping the patch #1, isn’t it still pushed down the channel?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s malicious. Like AARD.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “It’s malicious. Like AARD.”
    Well, MS’s intention with this add-on was to add .NET integration to Firefox so that .NET powered web apps can work. MS did not deliberately made it uninstallable, it was a side effect of how it was installed.
    In comparison, AARD was an attempt to prevent Windows 3.1 from running on DR-DOS (thus sabotaging it), there is no other way to explain it, period.

    Yuhong Bao Reply:

    “uninstallable”
    I mean non-uninstallable.
    “In comparison, AARD was an attempt to prevent Windows 3.1 from running on DR-DOS (thus sabotaging it), there is no other way to explain it, period. ”
    Not only that, it was clearly deliberately obfuscated code. Andrew Schulman disassembled it and says so.

  11. buck said,

    June 7, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Gravatar

    Another reason not to use Windows.

What Else is New


  1. Ruling Against 'Abstract' Software Patents is Already Derailing Patent Attacks on Linux and Free Software

    Patent litigation against Android/Linux impeded by the introduction of arguments that cite the Supreme Court



  2. Links 30/7/2014: Chris Beard as CEO of Mozilla

    Links for the day



  3. New Optimism in the Age of Doubt Over Software Patents

    As the tide turns against software patents, even in their country of origin, their opponents come out of the woodwork to celebrate



  4. Links 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  5. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  7. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  8. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  9. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  10. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?





  11. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  12. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  13. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  14. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  15. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  16. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  17. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  18. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  19. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  20. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  21. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  22. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  23. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  24. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  25. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  26. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  27. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  28. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  29. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts