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28 March, 2008

the pot is good at calling kettle black

Safari in Apple Software UpdateDuring the week, there's an interesting discussion in SillyDog701 Message Centre - Mozilla CEO: Apple's Safari Auto-update unethical. The issue started with Apple putting Safari in Apple Software Update dialogue, even those who do not have Safari installed. (Many Windows users have Apple Software Update installed due to the popularity of iTunes and iPod.)

Then, Mozilla CEO John Lilly even dared to make a fuss about it. What wrong with him making a fuss on Apple's Software Update? His own (as in his company's) Firefox deployed a dirty tactic on forcing users to update the software at Firefox's wishes. To put it clear, Firefox's default setting would force users to install the update (automatically install the update) upon next re-launch of Firefox. Under default setting, users are forced to accept the update, and will be installed with no way to escape.

Before I continue, I must point out that I do not against applying the update or patches, however, it is extremely unethical to force users to install the updates. Firefox even dared to push users for the latest updates.

As you can expect, open-source extremists would defend Firefox's unethical dirty tactic. Something like it is important to get the latest patches installed. They are fine for being pushed by Firefox. I bet you that they don't show the same attitude towards Microsoft.

As we know, many open-source extremists loathe Apple, they simply hate everything Apple.

One open-source extremist even responded back to my message saying

What's dirtier a tactic: automatically updating something you have, or labeling something you don't have to begin with as an "update" and automatically installing that?

The problem is that he forgot to check the fact. Apple Software Update does not automatically install anything. It is not Firefox, forcing users to install updates under default setting with no way to escape. As the screenshot shown that Apple Software Update merely informs users that Safari, the fastest browser is available for installing.

Safari in Apple Software Update

And the discussion keeps going, the open-source extremist claims that Safari is preselected in Apple Software Update. What that open-source extremist was trying to avoid is to mention the way to opt-out. In Apple Software Update, you can opt-out easily as well as ignore Safari update for the future. But in Firefox case, once the following message window shows up, users are left with no option but to install the update at next re-launch of the software. That is "forcing" users to do things at Firefox's wishes.

Firefox forcing people updating

Firefox die hard support would point out that the software update setting can be disabled in preference. However, to disable that, users would need to fiddle through all the settings under Preference.

Not everybody is capable and confident on making changes in Preference settings, and Firefox is using such advantage to force users rushing for the latest whatsoever Firefox deems fit. Shame on you Firefox!

shame on FirefoxAnd the Mozilla CEO even have the nerve to make a fuss on Apple's message. The pot is certainly good at calling kettle black. Shame on you Firefox! Also shame on you Mozilla CEO John Lilly!
Of course, if you are one of the open-source extremists, you would probably support this dirty tactic... making more people using the latest of whatsoever software.

Thanks to Billy Miller for starting the thread.

related blog entry:
Firefox's unethical forcing users to update dirty tactic (24 February 2007)

related discussion threads:
Mozilla CEO: Apple's Safari Auto-update unethical (SD70 Message Centre)
Firefox's (semi) forced updating policy? (SD70 Message Centre)

Posted by Antony on 28 March 2008 10:06 PM | website related

more March 2008 blogs. (or 2008 blogs)
from iTunes Store:
Your misinterpreting John Lilly's statements, you know better.
The issue isn't "updating" as your trying to make it sound.
Apple is taking people who downloaded iTunes or installed with the purchase of an iPod and promoting Safari in the updater (checked by default). There are iTunes customers, not Safari customers.
This isn't much different than Firefox auto-downloading Thunderbird for a software update. It's wrong. A user should be able to trust that an update system will do just that "update", and keep them secure. Nothing more.
These are users who only had iTunes being confused into thinking they need Safari. This isn't the case. It's a completely separate product.
Software update is a critical part of keeping an application secure. That's why Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft all invest heavily in their upgrade systems.
Apple's misstep isn't the updates. If anything they should do MORE updates and quicker. What they need to stop doing is advertising and pushing their other products via updates.
You market new products, update existing products. Not the other way around.
Posted by Robert Accettura on 30 March 2008 2:43 AM.
You're joking, right? I mean, this is some kind of silly satire, isn't it.
Posted by Asa Dotzler on 30 March 2008 10:19 AM.
In Firefox, users once received the message as detailed in this entry, there is no way to cancel the update. In Apple's case, users can still opt out.
Posted by Antony Shen on 28 September 2008 9:07 PM.
This article keeps it real, no doubt.
Posted by Morey on 1 October 2011 1:30 AM.
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