It’s been a few months since I wrote about the work our plugin check team has been doing, but there are a couple of pretty excellent pieces of news I’d like to share, most notably: the Mozilla plugin check now works for users of other browsers as well.
Plugin Check: A Refresher
Last fall, we started a program to help our users keep their plugins up to date. Outdated plugins are a major source of security and stability risk for web users, and some studies have put the proportion of users with older versions as high as 80%.
In the months since we’ve deployed the page, we’ve seen some great success. These days, over 60% of the users we see on the plugin check page with Adobe’s Macromedia Flash plugin installed are running the most recent version, and the number grows to more than 75% if we include the second most recent. That’s much higher than the web as a whole, and there is still a lot of work to do to get that number up, but we’re confident that the integrated checks for outdated plugins in Firefox 3.6 will improve things even further.
We believe that plugin safety is an issue for the web as a whole, so while our initial efforts focused on building a page that would work for Firefox users, the team has since expanded plugin check coverage to work with Safari 4, Chrome 4, and Opera 10.5. We have added support for Internet Explorer 7 and 8 for the most popular plugins, as well, but since IE requires specific code to be written for each plugin it will take us a little longer to get to full coverage. You can see the updated page for yourself here.
This has been a phenomenal amount of work to develop and test, and the matrix of browser, plugin and OS grows very quickly. Our web team is remarkable, but they couldn’t have done it without the continuing support of Mozilla community members like Lloyd Hilaiel who helped write some of the plugin-specific logic.
Plugin Check Badges
Finally, now that we have delivered a more universal plugin check page, I wanted to call your attention to the plugin check site badges our team developed a little while ago. Adding these banners to your site will help your readers stay current regardless of which browser they use, and make the internet a safer place for everyone.
One More Request
Our Plugin Directory will eventually become the main way we keep our data about plugins up-to-date. If you’re a plugin vendor, we need your help! The directory is currently in alpha stages, and we need vendors to let us know as new versions come out, and old versions become dangerous. Please email plugindir @ mozilla . com for information about how you can get involved.
Director of Firefox Development