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. TechBytes Episode 89: Chromebooks, Privacy, and Vista 10

    An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows



  2. Links 2/9/2015: Chromebooks and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  3. Software Patent From Troll Called 'Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations' a Symptom of a Rotten Patent System

    Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations



  4. When Even Patent Lawyers' Blogs Acknowledge the Rapid Demise of Software Patents

    Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)



  5. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  6. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  7. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  8. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  9. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  10. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  12. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  13. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  14. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  15. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  16. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  17. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  19. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  20. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  21. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  22. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  23. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  25. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  26. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  27. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  28. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  29. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  30. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day


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