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5/4/2009
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NoScript Developer Apologizes For Meddling With AdBlock

His methods caused a furor in the Mozilla community over the weekend because he did not provide clear notification about what his software was doing.

Perhaps more significant than the conflict between two extension makers is the fact that AMO, the Mozilla add-on group, allows authors of popular extensions like NoScript to be "trusted," so their code can be posted without review.

Mozilla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Such absence of oversight becomes even more troubling in light of some of the comments on Palant's blog post that suggest attempts to corrupt extension developers may be widespread. One post, ostensibly from another Firefox extension developer, asks whether Palant has been approached by a company called KallOut, seeking a partnership to promote its software aggressively.

"I think this sort of seedy business is just going to increase as the browser becomes the platform," the anonymous developer suggests. "The bigger the ecosystem, the more room for bad actors."

The implication is that conflicts surrounding adware, spyware, Web page framing, and the user's ability to control his or her computer have returned with a vengeance. The battlefield this time is the browser ecosystem rather than the operating system.

KallOut's CEO, Lee Lorenzen, rejects the characterization that his company is promoting unethical software. "We believe our business tactics are completely fair and shouldn't be scary to anyone," he wrote in a post on the Mozilla add-on site. "While not every one of Firefox's 220 million users may agree with them or like them, those who don't can decide not to use our product. However, we don't believe that we have crossed any lines in a way that would be offensive to members of the Firefox community of developers and users."

Whether or not KallOut has been unfairly singled out, with a recession in full swing and ad revenue under pressure, further fights along these lines appear to be inevitable.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on what executives really think about security. Download the report here (registration required).

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