Mozilla Working on Opt-in Activation for Plugins

Pulkit Chandna

Browser plugins like Flash and Java have always had their fair share of critics, but the clamor against them seems to be getting increasingly louder. Many of these critics no longer seem content with merely criticizing them, and instead want such plugins to be dispensed with at the earliest. Well, they now have a reason to pop the celebratory bubbly as Mozilla is working on incorporating a click-to-play mechanism for plugins in future versions of its flagship browser.

The “click-to-play plugin” feature, already available in Chrome and Opera, has now found its way into the latest Firefox nightly build, and is expected to enter the stable channel as part of Firefox 14. Obviously, this opt-in plugin activation scheme is aimed at preventing plugins from adversely affecting browser performance and security.

“To see and play with the feature, download a Nightly build of Firefox, go to about:config, and enable the plugins.click_to_play flag,” wrote Mozilla’s Jared Wein, the man in charge of the project, in a blog post . “When plugins.click_to_play is enabled, plugins will require an extra click to activate and start ‘playing’ content. This is an incremental step towards securing our users, reducing memory usage, and opening up the web.”

Under this scheme, users will be able to enable the click-to-play option either for all plugins or just the ones specified by them. Further, Mozilla also plans to allow itself to remotely enable this option in case of out-of-date and/or vulnerable plugins.

Image Credit: Jared Wein

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