+ Post New Thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12
Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Why can't we use Firefox? in Technical; I asked our county-supplied technician recently why we could not install Firefox alongside IE on staff laptops. I understand it's ...
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    87
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    9

    Question Why can't we use Firefox?

    I asked our county-supplied technician recently why we could not install Firefox alongside IE on staff laptops. I understand it's a personal choice, but I prefer it because I find it less prone to the appearance of endless toolbars and the latest new dialogue box that seems to appear weekly.

    He didn't have a problem with the element of personal choice but said that Firefox could not be used because it does not use / respect Group Policy Objects (GPOs). I understand what GPOs are but have had only limited dealings with them.

    My question is whether it is really necessary to rely on client software (i.e. the browser) to enforce security restrictions. Is this not a task better achieved with restrictions at infrastructure level (i.e. the network / proxy / ISP - which is also provided by county)? I am talking about staff-only machines, if it makes any difference.
    Last edited by will_; 1st February 2012 at 09:14 PM. Reason: clarification of wording

  2. #2

    elsiegee40's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    10,640
    Thank Post
    1,774
    Thanked 2,155 Times in 1,594 Posts
    Rep Power
    767
    Firefox is a PITA to maintain on a network IMO... a new version every 10 minutes (OK 6weeks) ... although allegedly things will improve with Version 10 that has just been released.

    This thread Firefox 10 is out! amongst others will explain the antipathy many have developed to it.

    Your county tech is right in that it cannot be controlled through GPO and we use GPO to lock everything down to ensure network security and stability.

  3. Thanks to elsiegee40 from:

    will_ (1st February 2012)

  4. #3

    Michael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    9,238
    Thank Post
    239
    Thanked 1,564 Times in 1,248 Posts
    Rep Power
    339
    That's right, Firefox (currently) does not support GPOs, but this is something that is coming very soon on Mozilla's development schedule.

    Google have published ADM/ADMX files you can import, so you can control Chrome just as you would Internet Explorer.

    Without GPOs, configuring browser restrictions, proxy settings, homepage settings etc... can become tedious.

    As for your question (if I've understood correctly), web filtering for example is typically controlled/managed at county level, but your establishment also has a responsibility to ensure internal security is maintained to a high level. This includes browsers, Windows itself and Office too. Internet Explorer is very easy to update centrally and is the most comprehensive browser in terms of GPOs available.

    Firefox lately has gone through 6 versions in 7 months and they're currently up to version 10 now. It's a ridiculous release schedule and keeping up is proving difficult. It's not something I'd recommend for deployment in a school or business. If you are looking for a viable alternative, look at Chrome as this does have GPOs available.

  5. Thanks to Michael from:

    will_ (1st February 2012)

  6. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    87
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Without GPOs, configuring browser restrictions, proxy settings, homepage settings etc... can become tedious.
    This is the information I was after. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Firefox lately has gone through 6 versions in 7 months and they're currently up to version 10 now. It's a ridiculous release schedule and keeping up is proving difficult.
    Wow, I had no idea the updates had become that frequent! I agree, that is ridiculous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    If you are looking for a viable alternative, look at Chrome as this does have GPOs available.
    Thanks. I might ask, although I think I know what the answer will be. Would Chrome have "it's own" GPOs, or would it respect IE's?

  7. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    England
    Posts
    267
    Thank Post
    6
    Thanked 67 Times in 59 Posts
    Rep Power
    51
    Group policy allows a few people to manage and configure large numbers of pcs very quickly, for example setting up a new proxy, adding a troublesome site to the trusted sites group, or setting it to use compatibility view. If everyone is running their own favourite browser, then these all need to be configured or the settings distributed to end users who then have to become admins of their own computers, rather than doing the job they are paid to do. Even having a few PCs with unique configurations can take up a large amount of time for the technician, who should really be doing other stuff like making things work.

    Unfortunatly in this job, you can't please everybody, and its a mistake to try. Without meaning to sound harsh, the technician is paid to provide a working solution, not to provide everyone with their perfect setup.

  8. Thanks to Chris_Cook from:

    will_ (1st February 2012)

  9. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    87
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Cook View Post
    Without meaning to sound harsh, the technician is paid to provide a working solution, not to provide everyone with their perfect setup.
    Doesn't sound harsh at all. I'm a teacher by day but a techy at the weekend.

  10. #7


    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    51.405546, -0.510212
    Posts
    8,706
    Thank Post
    220
    Thanked 2,615 Times in 1,926 Posts
    Rep Power
    777
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Firefox lately has gone through 6 versions in 7 months and they're currently up to version 10 now. It's a ridiculous release schedule and keeping up is proving difficult. It's not something I'd recommend for deployment in a school or business. If you are looking for a viable alternative, look at Chrome as this does have GPOs available.
    This sentence doesn't make any sense! Google Chrome has also had 6 releases in 7 months (and 17 days, to be exact).


  11. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    England
    Posts
    267
    Thank Post
    6
    Thanked 67 Times in 59 Posts
    Rep Power
    51
    What I like about chrome is that it just gets on with it, and applies the upgrade on the next restart of chrome. It seems every time i start firefox, it needs its hand holding through an update, and then says its broken half my addons.

    I think chrome uses its own gpos independantly of ie.

  12. #9
    tin
    tin is offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    13
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    This sentence doesn't make any sense! Google Chrome has also had 6 releases in 7 months (and 17 days, to be exact).
    Haha I agree entirely with this, and Firefox apparently is starting with the silent update on next restart lark.

    Nonetheless I also agree the release schedule and in particular version numbering of both is utter foolishness - google have a lot to answer for there.

    I personally use firefox everywhere as when there's a problem to troubleshoot, it's the only one that doesn't lie horribly when there is a proxy or firewall problem.

    I do wish however they'd get their act together and obey MSIE's gpo's if they are present. Some schools I work in entirely rely on the fact that IE is locked down, and no other browser can be run/installed as a security policy. Unfortunately we jointly looked long and hard at alternatives and the answers were not clear to see

  13. #10

    Michael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    9,238
    Thank Post
    239
    Thanked 1,564 Times in 1,248 Posts
    Rep Power
    339
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    This sentence doesn't make any sense! Google Chrome has also had 6 releases in 7 months (and 17 days, to be exact).

    It makes perfect sense, but you're right about the release schedules. Firefox has no official GPOs whereas Google Chrome does. The point I was making was if will_ wants an alternative to Internet Explorer, Chrome is probably the better choice at the moment.

    Chrome updates itself automatically and it has official GPOs, just like IE. Firefox doesn't at the moment. Managing Firefox in a network just isn't realistic at all.

  14. #11

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    87
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by tin View Post
    Some schools I work in entirely rely on the fact that IE is locked down, and no other browser can be run/installed as a security policy.
    Yes, I suspect that's where we're headed.

  15. #12
    Duke5A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    789
    Thank Post
    79
    Thanked 129 Times in 112 Posts
    Blog Entries
    8
    Rep Power
    31
    Firefox Community Edition is a quasi fork that makes use of GPO templates. You can get it here:

    FrontMotion Firefox Community Edition

    I've been using it in my district for three years now and with the GPO templates you can control every single option in Firefox's about:config page. It's on orders of magnitude more configurable than IE. FirefoxCE is typically only a couple days behind the official release schedule in updating. The MSI packages make pushing out extremely easy too.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Can we use Igel 332 with Windows Server 2008??
    By magicbharat in forum Thin Client and Virtual Machines
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 27th September 2011, 07:46 AM
  2. What software can we use to keep track of outstanding issues?
    By zx2012 in forum Network and Classroom Management
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 14th September 2011, 09:19 AM
  3. Why should we use Moodle? Presentation to management
    By Number6 in forum Virtual Learning Platforms
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 25th February 2009, 03:39 PM
  4. Why can't we print from word processing software?
    By broc in forum Office Software
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 25th April 2008, 02:43 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •