Mozilla puts squeeze on slow Firefox add-ons

Firebug tops slow startup list


Mozilla is cracking down on Firefox add-ons that put an undue drag on the performance of the open source browser.

With a blog post on Friday, Mozilla said that within the next two weeks, it will add a warning to any add-on that slows Firefox's startup time by more than 25 per cent, and in an upcoming version of the browser, third-party add-ons will not be installed unless the user specifically approves the installation.

"It’s an all-too-common practice of third-party software to install toolbars and other bundled add-ons in your browser without permission," Mozilla says. "We know that these add-ons account for many of the performance problems reported to us, and users often don’t know how the add-on got there or how to remove it." Requiring approval for the installation of all add-ons, Mozilla believes, will have a "huge impact" on performance.

Every week, Mozilla will run automated performance tests on the top 100 add-ons in its add-on gallery, and it will display the results here. After the first round of tests, the slowest performing add-on is the hugely popular website debugger, Firebug. According to Mozilla's stats, Firebug slows startup by 75 per cent.

The seventh slowest add-on is FastestFox. It's designed for speedy browsing, but it slows startup time by 31 per cent.

In the coming months, Mozilla will also provide tools to developers that will let them test add-on performance on their own, and it will be contacting developers whose add-ons are putting an inordinate drag on startup time.

"Firefox performance is extremely important to our users, especially how quickly it starts up and loads websites," Mozilla says. "Customization is also extremely important, and while most add-ons cause only a tiny performance impact, others can significantly slow down Firefox. Many users don’t realize add-ons can cause these delays, and that’s why we’re committed to improving performance in a big way."

Eventually, Mozilla says, it will test all add-ons as they're submitted to the gallery, and it will expand testing to page load time. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading
  • Google assuring open-source code to secure software supply chains
    Java and Python packages are the first on the list

    Google has a plan — and a new product plus a partnership with developer-focused security shop Snyk — that attempts to make it easier for enterprises to secure their open source software dependencies.

    The new service, announced today at the Google Cloud Security Summit, is called Assured Open Source Software. We're told it will initially focus on some Java and Python packages that Google's own developers prioritize in their workflows. 

    These two programming languages have "particularly high-risk profiles," Google Cloud Cloud VP and GM Sunil Potti said in response to The Register's questions. "Remember Log4j?" Yes, quite vividly.

    Continue reading
  • Rocket Lab is taking NASA's CAPSTONE to the Moon
    Mission to lunar orbit is further than any Photon satellite bus has gone before

    Rocket Lab has taken delivery of NASA's CAPSTONE spacecraft at its New Zealand launch pad ahead of a mission to the Moon.

    It's been quite a journey for CAPSTONE [Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment], which was originally supposed to launch from Rocket Lab's US launchpad at Wallops Island in Virginia.

    The pad, Launch Complex 2, has been completed for a while now. However, delays in certifying Rocket Lab's Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) pushed the move to Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022