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May 23, 2005

Firefox Developer Rips Netscape



Courtesy of TechWeb News

Responding to Netscape 8's release and immediate security gaffe last week, a lead developer of Firefox lambasted the rival browser -- which uses much of the same code as Mozilla's Firefox -- as "unsafe."

Ben Goodger, a former top Mozilla Foundation developer who now works at Google -- albeit still at least part time on Firefox -- used his blog to blast Netscape.

Goodger posted a link on his blog to a demonstration of exploit code that the original Netscape 8 was vulnerable to when it first rolled out early Thursday.

"If security is important to you, this demonstration should show that browsers that are redistributions of the official Mozilla releases are never going to give you security updates as quickly as Mozilla will itself for its supported products," Goodger wrote.

Goodger posted his rant prior to America Online releasing an update later Thursday that brought Netscape in line with Firefox 1.0.4, which had earlier patched the cross-scripting vulnerability.

Netscape 8 and Firefox share a common ancestor, the original Netscape, from which the Mozilla Foundations's Mozilla suite and Firefox stand-alone browsers are descended.

When Goodger first announced he was working for Google, rumors of an impending Google-branded browser based on Firefox intensified. His latest comments would seem to nix that idea, since by definition, a Google Firefox (dubbed "Googlefox" by some wags) would be a redistribution of Mozilla, and thus insecure in Goodger's opinion.

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