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Mozilla The Internet Software

Mozilla To Launch "Build Your Own Browser" 171

Posted by kdawson
from the have-it-your-way dept.
angry tapir sends in a piece from Down Under which begins "Mozilla is readying a program that will allow companies to build their own customized browsers based on the next version of Firefox, which will be out in a few weeks. ... Through the Build Your Own Browser program, which will start sometime soon after Firefox 3.5 is released at the end of June, companies can use a Web application provided by Mozilla to specify certain customizations for the browser, such as bookmarks to certain sites or corporate intranets or portals. ... The bulk of enterprises still use Internet Explorer if they mandate a browser for company use, because Microsoft provides provisioning and installation software for IE that makes it easy for enterprises to control browser settings and install across all corporate desktops, said Forrester analyst Sheri McLeish. Mozilla has not historically done this, but something like the Build Your Own Browser program is a good start to encourage enterprises to use Firefox over IE."
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Mozilla To Launch "Build Your Own Browser"

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  • Opera did this too (Score:5, Informative)

    by nacturation (646836) <nacturation.gmail@com> on Monday June 08, 2009 @11:51PM (#28261259) Journal

    At least they used to. Starting with Opera 7 you could import a set of bookmarks, setup the home page, etc. and then distribute your own customized version of Opera. Good to see Firefox starting to consider this as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by paganizer (566360)

      Out of curiosity, when chronologically was this? I know I was building customized Internet Explorer 4 browsers using an NT 4 IEAK back in '98.
      I'm sort of vaguely remembering a comparable feature involving Netscape about then, also?
      By the way. I still think IE4 didn't suck in comparison to the competition when it came out. As a matter of fact, I would say that about Microsoft in general up until mid/late 2000. They got really squirrelly about then.
      Evil and monopolistic, sure. but in a useful way.

      • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:13AM (#28261425) Journal

        Out of curiosity, when chronologically was this?

        Actually, it was back in Opera 5 days. The URL http://composer.opera.com/ [opera.com] seems to date back to June 30, 2001:

        http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://composer.opera.com [archive.org]

        Checking the main Opera site as of that date shows Opera 5.12 was released for Windows.

      • And you could do this with Netscape 3 as well. That even earlier.
  • Not for us (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:00AM (#28261331)

    I dunno, I work for a Fortune 100 company and we use IE because all the crappy "enterprise" software we run requires stupid ActiveX or JavaScript or whatever that only runs on IE6. Good luck to FireFox, but customizations ain't got nothing to do with it where I work.

    • Re:Not for us (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Photo_Nut (676334) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:09AM (#28261379)

      I dunno, I work for a Fortune 100 company and we use IE because all the crappy "enterprise" software we run requires stupid ActiveX or JavaScript or whatever that only runs on IE6. Good luck to FireFox, but customizations ain't got nothing to do with it where I work.

      There's even more to it than that. The WebBrowser COM/.NET control is the IE control. Even if you manage to supplant IE as the browser of choice, all code which embeds the COM or .NET wrapped COM control depends on it. So for example, the Windows Shell and the help system, and Windows Update, Windows Media Player, third party apps integrating the system WebBrowser such as WinAmp, etc.

      The Internet Explorer browser itself is really just a light weight set of UIs wrapped around the standard WebBrowser COM/ActiveX control. It's actually pretty fun to write .NET code that interacts with the WebBrowser. You can add some interesting features like web page scrapers, etc.

    • Re:Not for us (Score:5, Informative)

      by supernova_hq (1014429) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @02:10AM (#28262069)

      Blaming enterprise software for your inability to install FireFox is nothing but a cop-out. The solution to this problem is so simple, I can't believe people even see it as a problem anymore.

      Install Firefox, then install ieTab. ieTab can be set to do nothing until you browse to a any of a list of domains. Once you enter a domain, ieTab takes over and runs that tab inside a native IE browser. IE is seamlessly embedded inside the tab, and the user won't even notice.

      The best part is that once a lot of companies do this, the enterprise software companies can start developing their software to standards, since most companies will already be using FireFox. Using IE for every website, just because of one domain (usually local network) requiring IE is just stupid

      This whole "We can't use FireFox because of enterprise app X" is bullshit. People need to learn how to properly manage corporate computer systems without coming up with these pathetic excuses for not doing their jobs properly.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by michaelhood (667393)
        The theoretical PHB problem here then is that there is no commercial support for ieTab. There is probably some money to be made for someone who manages* to make ieTab work seamlessly in a Mozilla installation in both RHEL (or another well-supported Linux distro) and Windows and providing commercial support for it. *This isn't a scenario for me and I have no idea how difficult or easy it might be to do this.
        • Re:Not for us (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @03:16AM (#28262413) Homepage

          ieTab doesn't work in Linux because there's no IE to load in the tab in Linux. That's all ieTab does...

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pbhj (607776)

            IMO, IEtab for Linux is actually a great idea. Currently people use IEs4linux or just plain WINE or a virtualisation environment - having an IEtab for linux that can seamlessly hook into a virtualised / WINE version of IE could be useful for those migrating from a Microsoft OS to a Linux distro or those doing testing with IE.

            Bonus marks if it virtualises IE6/IE7/IE8 and allows compatibility modes too and only shows as a tab in FF none of the virtualisation env being revealed.

            Currently I use dual-boot and vi

      • Re:Not for us (Score:5, Informative)

        by wintermute000 (928348) <bender.planetexpress@com@au> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @03:39AM (#28262539)

        Er, IE tab doesn't always work seamlessly esp. if said stupid enterprise software relies on a lot of popups, it starts behaving funny. Have you tested it against all the crappy .net custom apps out there?

        Heck at work the all bling new BMC Remedy system they brought in, the web facing frontend doesn't work properly in firefox. Thats a serious $$$ app. IEtab? I refer you to my popup issues.

        Also IETab is not a fully supported product, if something doesn't work well with it, tough.

        "This whole "We can't use FireFox because of enterprise app X" is bullshit. People need to learn how to properly manage corporate computer systems without coming up with these pathetic excuses for not doing their jobs properly."

        With that kind of attitude, I take it you don't run large enterprise environments (no, medium business with some branches or shops and one or two big sites doesn't count, where you get to be the grand wizard techie who overrules all).

        Technical arguments aside there are plenty of practical reasons. Just resistance to change, lack of tangible benefits, lack of support (you already pay MS for support so thats 'free'), user inertia / retraining (yes every call to the helpdesk where they explain clicking on the orange icon not the blue E icon costs $$$). We're techies and we like our own browsers and love sh1tting on MS but that's not how management looks at it. What is the bottom line gain YOU CAN DEMONSTRATE to the company? zero, and don't start talking about security, the you can demonstrate bit is the most important bit.

        • What is the bottom line gain YOU CAN DEMONSTRATE to the company? zero, and don't start talking about security, the you can demonstrate bit is the most important bit.

          You may be able to demonstrate a security flaw, depending on what it is and your skill level...if push comes to shove, round up some virus samples and put together a "crash dummy" PC/VM for demonstration purposes...

        • by pbhj (607776)

          lack of support (you already pay MS for support so thats 'free'),

          You make some valid points on resistance to change, etc., but really when was the last time MS fixed an IE rendering bug for you?

          IEtab I imagine just wraps the MSIE DLL into firefox. I bet it's open source too.

          Why are you paying "serious $$$" for an app that requires a specific browser to run? Why not include in the NSR that the web front-end must validate against the testing requirements on (say) any 2 of the top 5 browser programs.

          Do you also insist that your electrical chords are all moulded proprietary

          • Three letters: OWA. Now would you like to engage in a 'how smb4 + openldap + kerebos' stack can replace an AD stack and whether or not its very feasible to do?

            So many products out there that take IE as granted and you don't always get to pick what you want, its often saddled upon you by either legacy or decisions made by some non tech idiot who has no business managing in tech as he can't manage and doesn't know tech either.... ask the entire SOuth Korean banking industry about online banking browser requir

        • by MrMunkey (1039894)
          We have an enterprise app that requires IE. I tried IE tab, but it crashes Firefox every time I try and load it. It's riddled with ActiveX.
          • If it was a while ago, try it again... there were some stability issues at one point, but it's been better in the later versions.

      • by MrCrassic (994046)
        Why would that be any different than just using IE? IETab runs a native session of IEXPLORE inside Firefox, so...

        In fact, this can actually be worse considering that IT departments will have to test Firefox working with their images and everything else...

        The real solution is to make intranet applications cross-browser compatible, which is much easier said than done.
        • Once IE Tab fires up, you're correct, there's no difference. The benefit is, everything else the employees do on the web will be in Firefox.

          Plus, it's a gateway to actually building cross-browser compatible intranet applications...

    • by pr0nbot (313417)
      Here's a bizarre thought... is it time for an open source IE6 clone? 1. Provide a drop-in replacement for enterprise IE6 2. Provide upgrades with strict backwards-compatibility but a managed way forwards 3. Converge with mainstream browsers
  • ActiveX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Green Light (32766) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:05AM (#28261355) Journal

    Enterprises support IE because it runs ActiveX controls. Until FF does this, it will not appear in desktop builds for the majority of Corporate America.

    • by Techman83 (949264)

      Enterprises support IE because it runs ActiveX controls. Until FF does this, it will not appear in desktop builds for the majority of Corporate America.

      Then they need to find: IE TAB [mozilla.org]

      Get the best of both worlds, pretty trivial to add sites to the list of IE sites and it all happens automatically. Been building a plan to migrate to FF completely in my spare time. Build your own browser will make a huge difference as currently I'm relying on some custom scripts to make the app deployable and maintainable. It works, but I hate to admit that it just aint as easy as using the registry or belting links into the favourites folder. Unfortunately all the native te

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by linebackn (131821)

      Enterprises support IE because it runs ActiveX controls. Until FF does this, it will not appear in desktop builds for the majority of Corporate America.

      Actually, what SHOULD happen is that companies need to stop using those old ActiveX controls. Otherwise eventually companies are going to find themselves in a situation where they run one browser and the rest of the world runs something else!

      • Actually, what SHOULD happen is that companies need to stop using those old ActiveX controls.

        Within the context of internal applications that run with a Web interface on a company Intra net, there is nothing in particular wrong with ActiveX.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by QuantumG (50515) *

          Ya kidding right? The intranet/internet distinction is DEAD. Malware runs on the client, the client is on the intranet, end of story.

          • Thank that through again. ActiveX components that come as a part of purchased and supported enterprise software are more often than not, safe. The company that is selling you CRM software for a couple of hundred a seat plus whatever the CRM server and the support contract cost, are not going to give you spyware ActiveX components as a part of their software.
            • Re:ActiveX (Score:5, Insightful)

              by silanea (1241518) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @05:02AM (#28262965)

              Oh, [computerworld.com] of [zdnet.com] course [scmagazineus.com] established [pcworld.com] companies [securecomputing.net.au] never [computerworld.com.au] release [techtarget.com] flawed [securityreason.com] software [computerworld.com], right? Their ActiveX control does not have to be malicious in itself, it is sufficient if it tears holes into your defense for others to abuse. ActiveX needs to die a very quick death already. And can we please club that idea that a browser, JavaScript and a bit of fairy-dust can fully replace any local application regardless of specific implications out of people's heads?

              • by GaryOlson (737642)

                ...can we please club that idea that a browser, JavaScript and a bit of fairy-dust can fully replace any local application...

                That argument is just a straw man propped up by security consultants and other vendors to propagate sales of thin clients, virtualization, and "cloud based infrastructure". Must address the greed and PHB plays golf with vendor factors before we can kill the browser as a universal platform misnomer.

              • by pbhj (607776)

                And can we please club that idea that a browser, JavaScript and a bit of fairy-dust can fully replace any local application regardless of specific implications out of people's heads?

                I'd be interested in your counter-examples. Since Adobe made their online version of Photoshop, Google (et al.) made online office apps (that appear to work better than the off-line analogues), etc., I'm of the opinion that pretty much anything in userspace _can_ be converted to a browser based app.

                Now the wisdom of such a move is a different question. But you were just talking about possibility. So?

            • Try re-reading GP's post.

              Unless your intranet has no internet access, any security hole open to your ("trusted") intranet is ALSO open to the internet. (Unless you set up a firewall to specifically prevent this. But wouldn't it make more sense to just get rid of the security hole in the first place?)

        • Re:ActiveX (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jason Earl (1894) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @01:39AM (#28261909) Homepage Journal

          Other than the fact that relying on ActiveX ties to you to Internet Explorer. In many cases it even ties you to an obsolete and insecure version of Internet Explorer. Microsoft has essentially pulled the plug on ActiveX. It wants you to move to new technologies (and when you do migrate it will pull the plug on those technologies and force you to migrate again).

          I would be that, in most enterprises, if you added up the costs of continuing to support IE6 it would become clear that relying on ActiveX was a very poor bargain. The advantages of using ActiveX over other competing technologies was relatively small, and the cost of choosing ActiveX has been quite high.

        • Re:ActiveX (Score:5, Informative)

          by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @01:44AM (#28261931) Homepage

          Microsoft will stop releasing security patches for Windows XP in five years. If your business relies on something that only works in IE6, you have until 2014 to figure out a new solution, or continue running an unsupported operating system with no security updates available.

          However, you may have difficulty before then, if new PCs start shipping with hardware that isn't supported by WinXP. Of course this assumes you have an existing site license that covers the use of WinXP on new PCs; Microsoft has stopped selling WinXP, so when OEMs and retailers run out of copies, you won't be able to buy it - and the option to downgrade from Vista to XP will end in less than two months.

          • by MrCrassic (994046)
            Who said the party had to stop? Windows XP Mode, baby!!
            • by Phroggy (441)

              As I understand it, Internet Explorer 6 can't be installed on Vista or later, except inside an emulator that's running XP (and operating systems running under emulation still need security patches).

              Am I wrong?

        • by linebackn (131821)

          Within the context of internal applications that run with a Web interface on a company Intra net, there is nothing in particular wrong with ActiveX.

          One of the original driving ideas behind making applications "web based" was to make the application independent of the specific operating system. ActiveX does the exact opposite. Now, many intra nets are probably already tied to Microsoft Windows in a large number of other ways so they don't see anything wrong with that - but changing the OS to a true commod

          • Re:ActiveX (Score:4, Informative)

            by KingMotley (944240) * on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @01:58AM (#28261991) Journal

            Actually, in every web based application I've developed, the driving reason was so to avoid the installation problems and support. It's easy to tell users to go to this or that URL to use a new application, a heck of a lot easier than rolling out apps everywhere. Independance from a specific operating system or browser has NEVER EVER come up.

            • by pbhj (607776)

              Independance [sic] from a specific operating system or browser has NEVER EVER come up.

              Then maybe you should have raised it?

              Something like: "You do realise that you're entirely beholden to Microsoft in order to run this MSIE(*) based application? If you keep up to date with security releases then the application I've made for you could be completely broken as it relies on MSIE version X.XXXXX. If you don't keep up to date with security releases for MSIE then you will almost certainly be hacked. No MS don't support 2 MS browser versions to be installed concurrently, yes - that would largely fi

          • by drsmithy (35869)

            Now, many intra nets are probably already tied to Microsoft Windows in a large number of other ways so they don't see anything wrong with that - but changing the OS to a true commodity is something that people should be keeping an eye towards, even if it doesn't happen immediately.

            The OS is not a "commodity" in any non-trivial environment. Once you have established knowledge, tools and processes for dealing with one OS, changing to another is a massive undertaking, regardless of whether it's Red Hat Lin

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afabbro (33948)

        Enterprises support IE because it runs ActiveX controls. Until FF does this, it will not appear in desktop builds for the majority of Corporate America.

        Actually, what SHOULD happen is that companies need to stop using those old ActiveX controls. Otherwise eventually companies are going to find themselves in a situation where they run one browser and the rest of the world runs something else!

        I don't think they'd care. For most companies, the browser is just a UI into various enterprise apps. E.g., instead of having to install a Peoplesoft Win32 executable client, Peoplesoft has a built-in web server and users access PeopleSoft through the intranet. This is extremely common - in fact, it may be the most common way for users to interact with enterprise apps these days. For most desktops, what the rest of the world runs is immaterial - it's whether the browser talks to application X, Y, and Z

      • by barzok (26681)

        Actually, what SHOULD happen is that companies need to stop using those old ActiveX controls

        Yeah, that'd be nice. Unfortunately for my employer, that would mean retraining about 80% of our employees after spending several man-years and 7 figures upgrading or replacing some of our critical software, while the same people doing the upgrade/replacement are trying to support the old version. Except the "upgrade" option hasn't been released yet by the vendor, so we're kind of stuck there on timing anyway.

        • by pbhj (607776)

          http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1261543&cid=28261931 [slashdot.org]

          I think you should start thinking about it. You're going to have to move at some stage unless you fancy scavenging old hardware to patch up your systems.

          • by barzok (26681)

            We're going to have to upgrade that system, it's just a question of when. And since the vendor's next release which could potentially free us from IE altogether is still at least 6 months from release, we're not moving to an "intermediate" release which will put us on the same treadmill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jalefkowit (101585)

      Enterprises support IE because it runs ActiveX controls. Until FF does this, it will not appear in desktop builds for the majority of Corporate America.

      People make this argument -- "enterprises" won't use Firefox until it has feature X, or Y, or Z -- a lot, and it's just wrong.

      "Enterprises" are lagging indicators because their IT staff are generally guided primarily by risk aversion. Even if Firefox was 100% bug-compatible with IE, they wouldn't switch, because IE runs their crappy, poorly written "enterpri

    • by MrCrassic (994046)
      Additionally, contrary to "popular" belief, Internet Explorer has actually been a decent product since version 7.0; web sites render quicker and more accurately, and security is actually acceptable, especially under Vista.

      With this in mind, IT departments or their overseers will probably lack the need to switch.
  • by pseudonomous (1389971) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:06AM (#28261363)

    I wonder if this will spawn a trend where every single distro ships with thier own branded firefox version. Meaning that in distro reviews, we'll have the mandatory screenshot of the login screen art, the defualt desktop background, and the firefox branding. Great.

    I would welcome this for Arch, though, we have to rebuild firefox from source or we're stuck with the ugly "built from source code" icons.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:12AM (#28261409)

    Even more than before, ISPs will push "their" own flavor of a browser that comes bundled with those godforsaken coasters that unsuspecting victims dump into their machines, only to end up with an IE (or FF from now on, too) that blatantly advertises the ISP, rehijacks the "favorite browser" position every time you rip it from him and stuff all kind of browser addons into it that you strangely cannot get rid of anymore due to miraculously missing deinstall routines.

    I like the idea. No really, I do. But this is what it will be (ab)used for.

    • by deadsquid (535515)
      We've thought about this a lot, and the rules for customized versions of Firefox that are distributed publicly are quite different. We limit changes to those editions - especially anything that directly impacts the user experience - as the type of behaviours you describe are exactly what we want to stay away from. Changing the start page to a corporate site adds very little value, where adding a bookmark to a support or product page can, as it's there when the user wants it. Those are the types of changes w
      • If the "branding" or customizing of the browser can easily be reverted, no problem on my side. My main beef with those "customized" Internet Explorers is that you need a fair lot of detail system knowledge to get rid of them.

        Or, to coin a catchy slogan, I don't mind features, as long as I can turn them off.

  • by phoebe (196531) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:16AM (#28261437)

    So instead of offering one browser that can be configured by Group Policy in an Enterprise IT deployment they offer a web service to generate hard-coded branded browser installers? Sounds like a lot of work to avoid implementing what IT managers really want.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah. It's not like the IT department is actually concerned with that "group policy" and "fine-grained control of all instances of the browser on the network" crap.

      They're worried if they're able to slap their company's LOGO onto the browser! Way to set your priorities straight, Mozilla.

    • by prandal (87280) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @03:26AM (#28262475)

      There's FirefoxADM: http://ick2.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

      This stuff really needs to be in the core of Firefox for it to gain corporate users.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deadsquid (535515)
      The intent is to get to a place where we can do just that. The challenge is creating MSI's that can do that without relying on the registry for configuration changes (Firefox keeps all of its configuration directives - with the exception of some plugin registrations - in the appdir and user profile). It's a solvable problem that requires some concerted effort, and I'm always interested in hearing what kinds of configuration options the provisioning groups within an enterprise are looking for.
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        What's the purpose of not using the registry?

        Surely you could build a "configuration" layer that would use the registry on OSes with it, and some kind of XML format on OSes without it, right? I mean, thousands of cross-platform programs do this now.

        Or is it some kind of misguided knee-jerk "we hate the registry!" emotional thing? Double ironic, considering they're trying to re-implement a feature the registry adds practically for free.

        This *is* a hell of a lot of effort to avoid using the OS features (inclu

        • by BZ (40346)

          > What's the purpose of not using the registry?

          The two main ones that come to mind are:

          1) Allows easy side-by-side install of multiple Firefox versions (including multiple
                  nightly builds).
          2) Allows easy uninstall by deleting the install directory without having to rely on
                  resetting registry values correctly on uninstall.

          • Your first purpose could be just as easily done with the registry. Separate installs, separate keys...

            The second is definitely an advantage of not using the registry.

            Personally, I'd like to see the ability to have more than one installation of Firefox actually running simultaneously. You get the message saying Firefox is already running, blah blah blah.

            When I try to fire up my copy of Firefox Portable I don't want to see the message telling me that Firefox is already running (there was supposed to be a sett

            • by BZ (40346)

              > Your first purpose could be just as easily done with the registry.
              > Separate installs, separate keys...

              That would mean having to change keys every day, to make it work with nightly builds.

              > Personally, I'd like to see the ability to have more than one installation of Firefox
              > actually running simultaneously.

              You already can, by having them use different profiles (and should, since moving from newer to older versions in the same profile might not necessarily work so great).

              I can't speak to Firef

              • That would mean having to change keys every day, to make it work with nightly builds.

                Just use the build number in the registry key name. You'd still run into the problem of having to clean the registry when you uninstall, rather than just delete the program folder (or overwriting the version with the newer one)... but keeping them separate wouldn't be the issue anymore.

                You already can, by having them use different profiles (and should, since moving from newer to older versions in the same profile might not necessarily work so great).

                Simultaneously? I've never been able to. If you try to run it when there's another copy running, it pops up some message about Firefox already running and not responding. Maybe that's just a quirk of the portable version, tho

                • by BZ (40346)

                  > Just use the build number in the registry key name.

                  Build numbers are not globally unique.

                  It sounds like you're running the app by double-clicking the shortcut and the shortcut just points to the executable. If you change the shortcut to pass in a profile name, or run the executable with the appropriate arguments from the command line, and use different profiles for different installs, it all works.

  • by Bill_Royle (639563) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:20AM (#28261463)
    The problem isn't that companies can't deploy Firefox - it's that most vendors are IE-centric. It's easy to put together a default Firefox profile with the requisite bookmarks and customizations, but tougher to get the same "experience" when it comes to things like Sharepoint and SAP, among others. Once you can get some of those vendors (ok, maybe not MS) to play more nicely, the rest will take care of itself.

    I'm not saying it's all Mozilla's fault - in fact most of it isn't. But some corporate evangelism would go a long way towards getting traction within the enterprise.
    • by Techman83 (949264)
      I mentioned this in a post above, but IE Tab [mozilla.org] is your friend.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bill_Royle (639563)
        Good point - but then you're hitching the proverbial wagon to not just one vendor now, but two. While you could approach the problem this way, wouldn't it be a lot more efficient to just work with the web app vendor to build in compatibility?

        Clearly it can be done - I'm betting that Hong Jen Yee would be up for a nice paycheck for this kind of work.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Techman83 (949264)
          Depends on the vendor. If the business demands MS Exchange, then OWA in "Light Mode" is all you get in FF. It becomes very hard to justify a browser change if it's going to cost $$$ making a system supplied by $vendor that has a major business investment in it or even changing vendors when what comes with Windows "works" (term used very loosely there).

          I prefer the "Best of Both Worlds" approach. Free to deploy our browser of choice and no fighting with vendors that will state that IEx is a requirement so b
          • If the business demands MS Exchange, then OWA in "Light Mode" is all you get in FF.

            It's true currently, but it looks like it's going to change [infoworld.com] in Exchange 2010, which opens up interesting possibilities.

      • by linebackn (131821)

        I mentioned this in a post above, but IE Tab is your friend.

        One of the great things about Firefox is that it is cross platform. Unfortunately Microsoft's Internet Explorer is for Microsoft Windows only. As such IE tab is, unfortunately, no friend to those using Mac, Linux, or any other platform. For Windows users it is a crutch, that should be used only as a temporary measure until whatever IE-only site is brought in to this century.

        • by Techman83 (949264)
          Was just having a discussion with the boss, in that what ever we do, we need to start changing the applications people use to things more cross platform. When it becomes feasible to change the underlying OS, then the change won't come as much of a shock to the users.
  • I do this already (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andytrevino (943397) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @12:52AM (#28261643) Homepage

    At UW-Milwaukee [uwm.edu]'s dorms, I used FFDeploy [dbltree.com] to do just this: create a silent Firefox installer for student and faculty machines with some built-in bookmark buttons for our student service websites, e-mail system and so on.

    Doing this saves time and installs FF with a nice student-friendly UI right off the bat -- very useful in converting otherwise IE-centric students who don't care what browser they're using to Firefox.

    • by Techman83 (949264)
      I looked at this, but it appeared really really out of date. Mozilla release official MSI packages, so you can generally alter the MSI using Orca to do much of what you need to do.
      • It is indeed out of date, but I was able to get it working with FF 3 without too much issue... I can't remember exactly what it took, but it works well to this date (and the original "image" doesn't need to be updated when FF releases minor revisions, since I install FF over the top of the FFDeployed installation to finalize all the Windows shortcuts and things like that.)

  • by carlzum (832868) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @01:07AM (#28261717)
    Firefox has earned a lot of goodwill among the general population, but it's probably nearing a plateau in terms of brand recognition and new users. MS is starting to close the gap in features and security perception, so now is the time for FF to make some inroads in the enterprise software market. Users migrated to FF because they were dissatisfied with IE. If Modzilla solves shortcomings in IE for businesses and organizations they'll make some traction. If everyone's generally happy with IE, I don't see any new features that will compel them to invest in the change.

    I do see a lot of companies using login scripts to control IE settings, and Active Directory's group policies tend to be an all-or-none (no plug-ins or all plug-ins, can't change homepage or can change it to anything, etc.) so there may be a few things Mozilla can improve on.
  • Fine, but... (Score:4, Informative)

    by c_g_hills (110430) <chaz AT chaz6 DOT com> on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @01:23AM (#28261815) Homepage Journal
    What would be more useful to enterprises who want to distribute Firefox is an MSI package and a group policy template - like the version distributed by FrontMotion (Firefox Community Edition).
  • Now this would have been super useful about 6 months ago for me, when we needed an embedded linux browser.

  • Bookmarks? wheeeee...

    What I really want is a way to distribute my organization's SSL CAs!

  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @06:23AM (#28263337) Homepage

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I've yet to see a "burn install CD with current configuration" button, or similar.

  • Ok, it's a bit more work than a customized install, but you can already accomplish this pretty easily. Just distribute the FEBE .xpi and a .fbu backup of the profile as you want it. Fire up the fresh Firefox install, install the FEBE extension, and restore the profile from the .fbu backup.

  • i can has Firefox that installs add-ons to the program itself so they'll be on ALL profiles?

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