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NoScript vs Adblock - a war we didn't know about
Mozilla community awakened
tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 5:16 am on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

A protracted war between authors of two of the most popular add-ons for the Firefox browser has prompted calls for changes in the way extensions are written, after one of them admitted he added camouflaged code that disabled features in the other's program.

In a heart-felt apology posted Monday, Giorgio Maone admitted that he added a small piece of code that worked around the EasyList filter used by Adblock Plus. The code, which was obscured so it wouldn't be noticed by people who maintain the Adblock filter, was designed to ensure that commercial ads carried on Maone's websites continued to be displayed on browsers that use the popular ad-blocking extension.

Reported at The Register...

[theregister.co.uk...]

 

johnnie

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Msg#: 3906911 posted 10:00 am on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I for one detest ad blockers. Maone is providing a free piece of software, so whats wrong with it being 'ad-supported' on his own website?

mattur

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 11:08 am on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

whats wrong with it being 'ad-supported' on his own website?

Nothing. However, there is something wrong with deliberately hiding a piece of code in a security extension that disables another extension for some sites. It's about trust. And NoScript blew it.

grelmar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 11:31 am on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hmm...

Part of me gets a chuckle out of the childishness of it all.

But Maone went pretty far over the line with this. He'll likely face some significant consequences from the community for this once word gets around.

On the plus side, it's going to result in a lot of extensions getting better peer review. There's no real approval process for FireFox extensions, and once an extension makes it across the small enough hurdles placed in front of it, then updates tend to get a free pass from the community.

It had to happen sooner or later that one of the major extensions got caught in a bit of monkey business. Now that it's happened, hopefully to extension community will start looking at each other's work more closely.

With luck, some of the nagging bugs that have plagued the extension community will iron themselves out now. I'm thinking of the problems with memory leak (which is partly the core app's fault, but is worsened by poorly coded extensions), some of the cross extension conflicts, and just overall stability issues.

limbo

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Msg#: 3906911 posted 1:52 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

With luck, some of the nagging bugs that have plagued the extension community will iron themselves out now. I'm thinking of the problems with memory leak (which is partly the core app's fault, but is worsened by poorly coded extensions), some of the cross extension conflicts, and just overall stability issues.

Wouldn't that be nice. I had to fresh install FF the other week. Without the 8/9 extensions I had installed it operates at a much faster speed. Firebug was the worst offender.

It's a shame when people take advantage, but I image it would be easy for a provider of plugins to exploit users in many ways.

A more stringent approval process would be a great reassurance.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 2:07 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

from the original article
Maone said he added the anti-Adblock Plus functionality after discovering the people who maintain EasyList had modified the filter so it blocked not just ads on Maone's websites, but all scripting languages as well. This made it impossible for Adblock Plus users to get updates for NoScript or FlashGot, another Firefox extension Maone maintains, he said.

maybe this moane guy has a fair point, if that is true. it sounds like six of one and half a dozen of the other.

frontpage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 3:28 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

We use both AdBlockPlus and NoScript on our Firefox browser and NEVER have viruses, malware, downtime. I just wish we could uninstall IE as it is such a security risk.

moTi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 4:07 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

the point is: as i see it noscript wants to earn money from advertising by navigating their users to their homepage from time to time (news, updates etc). their homepage is full of adsense ads. adblock blocks all these ads.

BUT: noscript is nothing other than an ad blocker, too. because you mostly need javascript to deliver ads. so, they circumvented the ad blocking feature of their own add-on by putting their website in their exclusion list.

people who give away software with revenue destruction capabilities for the rest of the internet thereby being the only ones profiting. THAT is the scandal, if you ask me.

civgroup

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 4:14 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

We DON'T use either AdBlockPlus or NoScript on our Firefox browser and NEVER have viruses, malware, downtime.

Those extensions are a bane to the publisher community.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 4:54 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I run NoScript because I am weary of ads that do not interest me... or sites that think more than two ads, heavy js, flash, and more is the way to go. The little war, however, does reveal the approval process for add-ins needs another looksee and the add-in writers might look to interoperability between their products, ie. do no harm to the core app, for example.

victor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 5:03 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Until the providers of Javscript (etc: code from your server that is requesting execution on my client) can provide industrial-strength guarantees that their code is completely benign, there will always be the need for vital client-protection tools like AdBlockPlus and NoScript.

So the answer lies in the hands of the server-code industry. Get your code (ads, etc) certified, and I'll allow it to run.

Pontus_swe

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 7:06 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

It's a shame when people take advantage, but I image it would be easy for a provider of plugins to exploit users in many ways.

I have an addon which is quite large for my market. Maybe 0.1%-0.01% of all users of Firefox that speak the language the addon addresses. Frankly I thought many times to update the addon to redirect all users from my competitors' pages to mine. So the criticisms are not entirely unfounded. ;)

MatthewHSE

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 7:53 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

What Maone did wasn't necessarily right, although it certainly wasn't well-calculated to stimulate users' trust in anyone involved.

The main thing I don't understand about this is why the Adblock Plus guy wanted to single out Maone in the first place (which he admits he took proactive steps to do).

At the moment, after reading both sides, my personal opinion is that at worst, this is a case of an injudicious response to provocation.

koan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 8:51 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

The main thing I don't understand about this is why the Adblock Plus guy wanted to single out Maone in the first place

I'm not sure either but that's what makes the story juicy in a way. Add-ons used to block ads are trying to monetize themselves ... with ads.

As for the approval process, the editors are volunteers by the way, and it can take many, many months before an add-on is out of the "experimental" sandbox.

frontpage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 1:03 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

We DON'T use either AdBlockPlus or NoScript on our Firefox browser and NEVER have viruses, malware, downtime.

Those extensions are a bane to the publisher community.

Exactly! Its like watching TV or in this case the internet without commercials, without spyware, without tracking cookies, without statistical targeting, without invasion of privacy, etc.

Plus, they disable some of the major vectors for computer infections which are the bane of hundreds of millions of internet users.

Win Win.

callivert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 3:02 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Win Win.

I missed the bit where publishers win. Could you go over that part again?

craig1972

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 9:25 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

AdBlock rocks. NoScript's approach is throw-the-baby-with-the-bathwater. Use whatever you like, don't use anything if you wish. I've benefited from having adblock over the years. But for nut's sake, don't do anything surreptitious NoScript--that was nonsense!

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 9:36 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

It was NoScript that completely trashed my carefully crafted SeaMonkey install with the "Red Caret of Doom", a year or more ago.

That issue was the biggest single screwup I have ever faced with any Mozilla-based browser.

Xeon

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 8:41 am on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Although I use Firefox primarily, I do NOT and NEVER will use an Adblocking script.

I urge everyone to do the same.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 9:01 am on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

To deny or not deny is the user's choice (and I can see that advertisers/publishers hope they say no), but that is not the discussion. NoScript AND Ad Block targeted each other via the add-in functions of FF and did so behind the scenes outside the view of the Mozilla community AND the vetting process failed to catch this.

This is a wake up call. These products, whether you personally agree with them or not, should do right (ie, no harm) to each other and the users.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 6:55 pm on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well said tangor. This discussion continues to wander off topic and that is a drain on the people who click in to read about the topic itself. Please, this thread is about two authors of specific Firefox add-ons who held a personal war behind the scenes.

If you would like to discuss how a marketer might responding to adblocking, there's a new thread on that topic in our Advertising Forum: [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: tedster at 7:38 pm (utc) on May 9, 2009]

SuzyUK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member suzyuk us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 7:17 pm on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

IMVHO this discussion does not divert or wander it just teaches something different, if allowed to go with the flow..

I don't want to be diverted..I want to be in the comfort of what I know, but... I am an extension user (power user?) so I use the extensions as I need to, but maybe surf my sites with something else

I have views about both sides and have used both extensions, though never together because they never quite 'gelled' - Yes I have a favourite, and yes I appreciate the "apology" but I am not going to gush the apology nor the overt bait that pre-empted the apology in the first place - It is not my place to impose that on anyone else..

on a basic level this is 'linkbait' - and nothing more IMHO! 2 big extensions... are they both going to fail or is Moz going to"choose" one above the other?

well handled NS, I'm pretty sure both will survive unscathed

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 5:21 am on May 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another opinion found at The Register. A Follow Up article on 11 May.

[theregister.co.uk...]

SwitchFX

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 6:23 am on May 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I used these two extensions religiously for a year until I found my browser capability severely limited.

These two tools not only cause a headache for me because I know which one of my users are using but the fact that these two POS extensions cause site owners to lose possible $$$. Unless you go to suspicious sites, you don't need these two extensions to stay safe.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3906911 posted 7:33 am on May 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Go with getting dollars as an entrepreneur or be a user who might spend dollars if not yanked about with SEO style/spammy offerings. Guess which one wins...

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