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Mozilla: 'no plans' to bundle Flash with Firefox

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Application security programs and practises

Unlike Google, Mozilla says it's not committed to the idea of integrating Adobe Flash with its web browser.

"Mozilla has no current plans to bundle Flash with Firefox downloads," the open source outfit said in an email to The Reg. "Mozilla has always made it easy to install Flash and other plugins via the Automatic Plugin Finder Service, which has been part of Firefox for years."

Earlier this week, Google announced it intends to integrate Adobe Systems' Flash with its Chrome browser as quickly as possible, and it had already bundled the plug-in with Chrome's developer build.

Famously, Apple chief Steve Jobs has barred Flash from the iPhone and the imminent IPad, calling it "buggy," littered with security holes, and a "CPU hog." But rather than shun the plug-in, Google has vowed to embrace it in an effort to improve stability and security problems.

Unlike other browser makers, Google automatically updates its browser without user approval and Flash will become part of this silent update. The company also says that it will include Flash content in the Chrome "sandbox," which restricts the system privileges of the browser's rendering engine.

Google likes to trumpet the HTML5 standard as the future of the web. But clearly, it also intends to keep the plug-in alive - especially Flash. Flash is, among other things, a widely used online advertising technology, and we all know how much Google enjoys advertising.

It's unclear whether Google will allow the user to prevent Chrome from installing Flash.

Mountain View is also developing a new browser plug-in API, and with a blog post earlier this week, said both Mozilla and Adobe had joined this effort. When asked, Mozilla declined to discuss this effort, merely providing the statement that it has no plans to bundle Flash with Firefox.

But Google is going whole hog. "Improving the traditional browser plug-in model will make it possible for plug-ins to be just as fast, stable, and secure as the browser’s HTML and JavaScript engines," the search giant said in a blog post. "Over time this will enable HTML, Flash, and other plug-ins to be used together more seamlessly in rendering and scripting."

Meanwhile, Mozilla has pushed out a Firefox developer preview that runs Flash and other plug-ins as a separate process.

The second developer preview of what will become Firefox 4.0 includes what Mozilla calls out-of-process_plug-ins (OOPP), which uses a shim layer to execute the plug-in API, separating it from the browser proper. So far, the open sourcers have tested the technology with Flash and SilverLight. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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