The Firefox Enterprise Issue Hits the Media

January 12, 2008

In the last week, I did an email interview with Computerworld magazine, regarding Firefox and FirefoxADM.

You can read the resulting article here.

So, what do I think of the final article?  Well, its pretty much spot on for the situation as it is.  I have to say, I gave them a lot more information than they used from me, which is kinda annoying.  But expected, really, in that they wanted to make a readable article.

The article’s writer, Eric Lai, did a good job of including the opinions of most of the people who should have been asked:  Mike Kaply, Eric from Frontmotion, Rafael Ebron (who did a great job of spreading word of our third party tools) and, dare I be arrogant to say, myself.  I absolutely agree with what Mike, Eric and Rafael say in the article.

The article, though, unfortunately exposes the real problem with Firefox in the enterprise:  Mozilla.  Chris Hofmann from Mozilla gave some comments and they are ridiculous and FUD.  From the article:

He dismissed Active Directory as a “proprietary technology” that would hurt rather than help Firefox administrators.

“Multiple levels of permissions applied across different groups add a lot of complexity,” he said. “If you look at the track record for that feature, it’s resulted in less security for IE.”

This is rubbish.  Complete and absolute rubbish.  In fact, when he says “multiple levels of permissions”, I’m not actually sure he even knows what the hell he’s even talking about.  And this is the guy Mozilla put in charge of Enterprise strategy.  Heaven help us!

All of this has made me come to a decision.  I am going to start to look at sourceforge, the emails I’ve had over the past 3 years, looking at Firefox to see anything I’ve missed and am going to draw up a list of features I want to implement for new versions of FirefoxADM.  If you have feature requests, let me know.

6 Responses to “The Firefox Enterprise Issue Hits the Media”

  1. CGirardy Says:

    Thanks again Mark
    I don’t understand how a guy like him could be so stupid. He’s living in his own world.
    Well, here are the features I actually like in your current FirefoxADM :
    – Ability to lock settings in Firefox and in the extensions
    – Ability to set settings without locking them
    (those 2 are already present in your actual version so it’s just a reminder)
    But right now, it doesn’t work if we don’t set these options as EDITTEXT in the adm file…. Ok, it’s not clear.
    For example :
    The extension ForecastFox has an option It’s an integer but to set it with the actual version of FirefoxADM, I have to use the following :
    POLICY “”
    Otherwise, it doesn’t work.
    I would like the new version to work “normally”.
    I’m also looking for a tools that could extract and automatically create an ADM file from the about:config option. Right now, I’m creating my adm files manually… So it’s not really easy to make it up-to-date.

    Right now, I don’t have any other request but I’ll think of it and let you know (I’ll find something)
    Thanks for your efforts
    I’m still using your extension along with Frontmotion’s MSI creator.

  2. CGirardy Says:

    Am I the only one interested in what you’re offering ?
    That’s weird

  3. zimo Says:

    Also me!

    I try firefox.adm template in these days, but i’m an GPO rookie and so i have more than one problem… 🙂
    But i want in any case deploy FF via AD in our company… so… i’ll get it…

    In the meantime thank you very much for your work.


  4. realtime Says:


    I’ve been using FirefoxADM for a couple of months now. For some time, I’ve been seeing something quite irritating: More often than not Firefox displays its “updated to version” startpage, even though I had explicitly directed it not to show any start page using ADM. The settings are valid all the way, too.

    Today I discovered the reason for it: There is an option in prefs.js named “browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone”. If this is set to anything but the current version of Firefox the start page is displayed once, then the current version is entered into this line.

    So why was I seeing the start page again and again? Simple: If the option isn’t in prefs.js at all, the start page is also shown. And it kept being removed by FirefoxADM: The function RemoveCurrentPrefsFromFile() uses Filter() which searches not for a matching string, but for a substring. So if the ADM intents to remove “.startup.homepage” it also removes “.startup.homepage_mstone” along with it.

    I’ve fixed this “the crude way” by including an exception for this specific case. However, the problem could occur with other options as well.

    Would it qualify for an update of FirefoxADM to fix this?


    BTW, I couldn’t find an email or other contact option on your page. Could you please add one?

  5. […] since then – indeed Mark, creator of the Firefox ADM enterprise administration tool in a post on The Firefox Enterprise Issue Hits the Media has argued that “the real problem with Firefox in the enterprise: […]

  6. […] is to a problem I’ve seen before but never put my finger on what was causing it.  It took a comment on this blog for me to recognise the problem.  Thanks, user […]

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