Asa Dotzler has been promoting Mozilla Firefox for more than six years, and he's not happy about other software vendors installing unwanted plug-ins in his browser. Among the vendors getting under Dotzler's skin are Apple, Google and Microsoft, each of whom also happen to produce a competing web browser.
Apple, Google and Microsoft are by no means the only companies that install plug-ins to Firefox, but most companies at least ask the user before doing so. Dotzler is concerned about plug-ins like the iTunes Application Detector or Google Update being installed silently in the background without even a prompt. In Dotzler's view, this behavior is akin to installing a Trojan horse. Although the Firefox evangelist is not accusing Apple and the others of installing anything malicious, just the act of pushing unknown software is troubling.
Since plug-ins and extensions are typically the leading cause of browser instability and crashes, even seemingly benign additions can cause user frustration. While silent plug-ins are doubtlessly annoying, the fact that it can happen is troubling. Instead of accusing other software companies of being evil, perhaps the Firefox developers need to change the code to prevent this from happening in the first place. If Apple or Google can install a plug-in without asking, what's to prevent a hacker from doing the same and grabbing your private data? Do Safari or Chrome allow silent plug-in installations? If not, then perhaps it's time to move on from Firefox.