Stealth Firefox updates to cure permissions fatigue

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Stealth Firefox updates to cure permissions fatigue

Mostly for Windows users.

Mozilla is considering “silent” updates for its Firefox browser in a bid to prevent update fatigue among users.

With a six-week upgrade cycle in its browser, Mozilla said it wanted to take the annoyance out of updating the software by preventing Windows from always asking for permission for new versions.

“The rapid release process has some very positive side effects, like delivering new web technologies faster, and attracting world class developers who like to see their code ship fast," said Brian Bondy, lead developer on the project, in a blog post.

"But rapid releases also have some negative side effects. One of the negative side effects is that minor annoyances with software updates suddenly become much more noticeable.

"Most users don’t want to think about software updates nor version numbers, and now they are being forced to do so every six weeks.”

Bondy said User Account Control (UAC) in Windows, which asks permission for any operation that requires administrative access, caused irritation with such short update cycles.

“UAC in particular makes every process run with limited permissions, and if you want to do something like write into Program Files, then the user has to give permissions to the application to do this,” he said.

“This makes things like automated software updates hard to do without user interaction.”

Instead, Firefox will ask for elevated permission only once and then assume it has ongoing permission to automatically update.

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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