Farewell to my Firefox

It’s now official. The whole company has been informed that on 1 Jan 2005, the new Copyright Law would come into effect, with criminal penalties for offenders. At the same time, the new company IT security policy would also be implemented.

Mozilla Firefox was listed as one of the programs not allowed on our systems. Much has been sacrificed in the name of security. So I thought I should at least write my favourite web browser a farewell message.

Dear, dear Firefox. How did I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

Opening multiple tabs so I could view all ongoing web projects simultaneously. It was neat. I knew what was going on, real-time.

Viewing text in any size that I want. No pain. No eye strain.

Blocking popup windows. And having the option to allow popups for trusted sites.

That nifty web search toolbar. Doing editing work was fast – I could do a Dictionary.com search in a jiffy.

It’s officially the end of an era, dear Firefox. But in my house, on my computer … you’ll still rule.


  1. Fatty

    I’m confused – why would a company specifically ban Firefox from use on company systems? I could understand (if not agree with) them saying “You can only use programs X, Y and Z on our systems”, but why specifically proscribe Firefox?

  2. Dave

    Why not just install it anyway, and change your user-agent to use IE’s user-agent? Or quit your job for that kind of bullshit IT policy.

  3. Jasmeet

    Err, what kind of company creates their own demise?
    So how exactly is Firefox a problem to the company? Or is it just that the sysadmins are too lazy to push the software onto workstations?

  4. vantan

    Fatty – it’s probably because I was pushing for Firefox to be installed for many months. My request to install Firefox was even raised to Director level. This could have been a way to make it very clear to me that the answer was NO.
    The good news is that Firefox is being monitored as an ’emerging’ technology, which means there may be hope in the future that it will be considered ‘safe’ for our office PCs.
    I don’t have anything personally against the IT staff – frankly, it is out of their control. They’re just following orders to ensure that no unauthorised software has been installed. We can only hope that increasing awareness of the benefits of using Firefox, will convince management to change their policies.
    However, while Firefox is on the ‘waiting list’, I was told that Opera was definitely not allowed. Perhaps it is because the free version makes you download ad banners.

  5. Phil Wilson

    Do you think it’s really a security issue, or just because they don’t really know much about Firefox and how to roll it out? (e.g. no official MSI, no network admin toolkit like IE, etc.)
    Phil, a Bristolian 🙂

  6. Shantanu Oak

    >> it’s probably because I was pushing for
    >> Firefox to be installed for many months.
    >> My request to install Firefox was even
    >> raised to Director level.
    That’s right. Don’t push it. If you had used it quietly for a few more months, it would have become standard!
    1) Firefox is for power users.
    2) It’s still not ready for prime time.

  7. skebrown

    Shantanu Oak said:
    1) Firefox is for power users.
    2) It’s still not ready for prime time.
    Not ready for prime time?
    In what way is it not reay for prime time?
    Personally, I don’t think you have to be a power user to use it. It seems quite usable for anyone… browsing websites, bookmarking and general web surfing is the same with FireFox as it is with IE, Netscape or Opera?
    Perhaps I am missing something?

  8. Roger Johansson

    Firefox is definitely ready for prime time, and it is for all kinds of users, novice or expert. You don’t have to install any extensions or customise it if you don’t want to.

  9. Steve

    Any chance you could post the context where they said no dice? e.g. was it an email?
    If it was just verbal, e.g. “No unauthorized S/W”, then, without causing a fuss, I’d gently, casually ask, “Is there a request form to fill out for installing new software?”
    If so (or even if not), you can write out a formal request… explaining in detail, the:
    1.) Need
    2.) Rationale
    Make sure to indicate, that if the request is turned down, that you would like to know the exact reason(s) why the software is not allowed.
    At least with this, you can know why it isn’t allowed (logical or otherwise)

  10. Robert A.

    IE has a built-in security policy feature that allows the user (whether an individual at home, or a corporate network) to ban certain URLs. The banned URLs can be specific, or use wild cards. Firefox does not have that feature, not even with extensions known as of early April 2005. I know, because I have been looking for them.
    Why ban URLs? In a corporate context, it could be used to prevent workers from accessing e-mail programs other than the corporation’s own system; to prevent them from surfing sites known to be time-wasters; or to prevent them from accessing sites at which a disaffected worker from another company posts proprietary information.
    I doubt very much that the company “hates Firefox” or “loves Microsoft.” There may or may not be a concern with whether or not open-source software is truly free of infringements, but I suspect that the security and liability is paramount. As recent updates have revealed, Firfox is NOT necessarily more secure than properly-maintained IE.
    On my private website, I banned Safari from a small number of pages that exposed a browser bug. Rather than have a visitor’s browser bomb, I simply scripted a message warning them to change to another browser or do without the content. It’s not that I didn’t like Safari.

  11. Marcus Uy

    I’m like 9 months late to this conversation, but here goes anyway.
    I agree, what copyright problem? Firefox is GPL’d.
    As for networked and corporate controls, it’s a silly idea to implement security at the desktop level. Even novice hackers know that constant physical access (such as a personal workstation) is the easiest way to re-educate the control routines places at the workstation level.
    Proper security is better managed at the network and server level. e.g. Don’t use the ban function in Group Policy, it can actually be circumvented by anybody with a hex editor — instead configure the firewall to drop packets going to and from those target destinations you want to ban.
    Hope they have changed by now.

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