Mozilla is making changes to the way plugins are handled in Firefox, in order to give users more visibility and control over the plugins running in their browser.
Starting with the latest Aurora pre-beta test build of Firefox, which has just been released, the browser will no longer activate most plugins by default, according to Mozilla. Instead, when a website tries to use a plugin, the user will be able to choose whether to enable the plugin on that site.
Writing on the Mozilla blog, engineering manager Benjamin Smedberg warned that plugins can be a significant source of hangs, crashes, and security incidents. This is exacerbated by the fact that many users may not be aware that they are running plugins within their browser.
"By allowing users to decide which sites need to use plugins, Firefox will help protect them and keep their browser running smoothly," he said.
Firefox will adopt a click-to-play approach, whereby the browser will only load plugins when a user clicks to make a particular plugin play, or if the user has configured plugins to always run on that particular website.
Another reason for the change is that plugins are now considered a legacy technology, according to Smedberg. New technologies such as WebGL, WebSockets, WebRTC, and asm.js now enable audio, video and other content to be handled directly by the browser.
Smedberg added: "Mozilla encourages website developers to avoid using plugins wherever possible."
The exception to this rule is Adobe's Flash plugin, which will remain enabled by default because Flash content is so common on the web, said Mozilla. Many websites use "hidden" instances of Flash, which the user does not see and cannot click on.
The new approach to handling plugins will eventually find its way into the release version of Firefox, once it has been adequately tested out in the Mozilla Nightly and Aurora preview releases.
Uber manager raised concerns about self-driving vehicle programme five days before fatal Uber crash in Arizona
Uber manager complained about series of near misses by autonomous vehicles that had not been properly investigated
Privilege escalation bug already being exploited in the wild
NASA's Voyager 2 probe set to reveal secrets of space beyond the heliosphere as it goes interstellar
The probe is now more than 18 billion kilometres from Earth, with equipment enabling it to reveal some of the secrets of interstellar space
Four glaciers located west of massive Totten glacier have lost almost three metres of ice in height since 2008