MS, dotNET, and Fx

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Grumpy Old Lady
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MS, dotNET, and Fx

Post by Grumpy Old Lady » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:51 am

Posting this here because I don't think it has any new information for affected NS users, but I want to share :-)
Alan, by all means move it if you can find a more appropriate home for it ;-)

Another MS .NET assistant extension install-by-fudge example.

This system runs all .NET versions, including .NET 3.5, and updates are done manually, with the admin supervising all processes.
All critical updates/patches, as flagged by MS, are applied to whatever apps are installed, with a once-monthly poll of the Windows Update facility undertaken manually.
With the first reports of silent installs of the extension, I checked all Fx profiles and confirmed that none showed the extension installed. Nor was the general user agent string touched.
The .NET 3.5 latest patch at that time was:
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 and .NET Framework 3.5 Family Update (KB951847) x86

Today I applied the only other critical update to .NET that's been offered by Windows Update since that one:

Update to .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 for the .NET Framework Assistant 1.0 x86 (KB963707)

And all profiles of Fx presented a dumb extensions "update" dialog that made certain that the .NET extension was installed if the user wasn't alert.
I also created a new profile to make certain this was the go for new users. Yes it is. Still no clear opt-out pathway from this for the unwary of this global install.

It's still listed in extensions.ini I suppose this is a trace also for the WPF plugin - which has always appeared in the plugins since the original service pack install for .NET, and which is disabled by the usual Fx method.

Code: Select all

Extension12=c:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Windows Presentation Foundation\DotNetAssistantExtension
[ThemeDirs]
Extension0=C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\extensions\{972ce4c6-7e08-4474-a285-3208198ce6fd}

but there's no 972ce...folder. pfft. Edit: correction - 972ce... is the default Fx theme.

I'm taking the time to show this example because I believe that MS is not as green as it is cabbage looking; no matter that the extension wasn't installed on this system via the usual .NET patching routines, one way or the other it's now made sure that Fx users, as a whole, have accepted a stealth, opt-out global install of their "service", while it doesn't really care about those who have thought about it and want to opt-out - - evidence the disappearance of the extension from the UI even with a disable choice. All MS appears to want is the easy, default marks that it can capture with the default installs - - ie the ma and pa users who all of us here really want to help understand the net, and who MS want to keep nice and dumb. Someone who wants the service later on will have to jump through hoops - which is the MS tax on wanting to make your own decisions.
I'd be interested in any other reports of users getting default installs from MS for this extension, after installing .NET 3.5 with the latest patch.
I strongly suspect that the fudging around with the UI like this is their main intent, and that the disappearing NS icon and other extension affects is what the press these days calls friendly fire - side-kill, collateral damage; MS still want to own the net. I think their apparent inability to manage Fx extensions within the Fx framework is just that - apparent.
Not ethical from where I stand.

I'm leaving the registry key as it stands, so I can observe any further changes MS may make down the track ...and of course for any visitors here who have found use for the .NET extension, we'll find out how to enable it if ever that problem arises. :-/

EDIT: Removed links to obsolete screenshot cache and corrected a folder reference
Last edited by Grumpy Old Lady on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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therube
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Re: MS, dotNET, and Fx

Post by therube » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:31 pm

In addition to Extensions, check to see if you might not have (MS) 'Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)' in Plugins.
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.19) Gecko/20110420 SeaMonkey/2.0.14 Pinball NoScript FlashGot AdblockPlus
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.22) Gecko/20090605 SeaMonkey/1.1.17

Grumpy Old Lady
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Re: MS, dotNET, and Fx

Post by Grumpy Old Lady » Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:30 pm

Oh the WPF plugin is there alright. Has been since the SP1 .Net update in Feb this year. I do wonder what deleting the registry key would do to that, but, as I said, The WPF plugin is disabled by the correct Fx addon method, so I'll leave it accessible in the addons list.
Have to say that I don't like silent addon installs of any kind - - except those initiated by AMO, such as the Moz default plugin. For example, the Microsoft DRM plugins are de trop on this system because I have a blanket no-WMP policy on it, as well as a no DRM policy, but Fx thinks it should be default active. Same kind of story with the apple music player detector plugin that apple thought should be installed as default active when the itunes app was installed. I installed itunes just to get simplest access to the apple codecs for stuff on the lan, not the net.
Not that it's exactly a big bother, but the last thing I need is to have a guest user stuff up/lock up the browser or application permissions because of intrusive file use restrictions. I much prefer the old Fx way of a user having to do the work to install - or at least enable - plugins if they wanted a particular service.

But I guess that commerce trumps all.
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