THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has announced a big crackdown on the types of extension that it will allow to be used with its Firefox browser.
The big change is that from 10 June, any extensions containing obfuscated code - that is to say code written in a way that is almost indecypherable by human eyes - will be removed from the store, as the team push to find ways to make the whole experience a bit more secure. After all, if you can't understand a piece of code, it makes it very difficult to tell if its up to no good.
The use of obfuscated code isn't always nefarious - some programmers use it to disguise elements of original work that they don't want to be copied or reverse engineered, but with Firefox being an open-source browser, it doesn't really fit the vibe.
There is a workaround, of sorts: "We will continue to allow minified, concatenated, or otherwise machine-generated code as long as the source code is included. If your extension is using obfuscated code, it is essential to submit a new version by June 10th that removes it to avoid having it rejected or blocked."
The source code won't be available to the public, only for Mozilla to analyse and approve.
On the same day, there will be a crackdown on Firefox extensions which break the rules in one way or another. This includes everything from serious infractions down to naming conventions - for example "Firefox Twitter Client" is out, but "Twitter Client for Firefox" is in.
Other rules include the blanket of "no surprises" - that is to say no hidden functionality, monetisation etc. User interfaces should be "appealing".
These rules sit alongside more fundamental ones involving security, privacy and monetisation.
In the first instance, Mozilla will contact non-compliant authors to liase a fix, but should that fail, the next stage is suspension or complete removal. μ
Much a (dil)do about nothing
Neither the time nor the face
The tiny tweaks are coming thick and fast now
Gitting more secure