updated 07:00 pm EDT, Wed June 11, 2008
Firefox 3.0rc3 released
Mozilla.org has been forced by Apple to release yet another release candidate of its next-generation Firefox 3 browser. Firefox 3.0RC3, released on Wednesday for all operating systems, offers a single bug fix, a workaround for a bug introduced in the Apple's latest Mac OS X 10.5.3 update, released a few weeks ago. First noted by MacNN, the bug, which causes some systems to hang or crash at start-up or shutdown, has been tracked to changes Apple made to "VerifiedDownloadPlugin" in Mac OS X 10.5.3. While available for all systems, the workaround for the Mac OS X 10.5.3 bug is the only change each release and may affect the release date of the browser, which is set for middle of this month.
"The problem is 'VerifiedDownloadPlugin.plugin', which is located in /Library/Internet Plugins. A little Googling reveals that this plugin was first introduced by Apple in 10.4.7, and I'm guessing that Apple did something bad in 10.5.3. We're dying in OS X's image loader," one user wrote in the Bugzilla tracking system. "Anyway, removing this plugin and rebooting solves the problem for me, but I'm worried that the plugin is part of Apple's download security scheme (maybe it's this plugin that is responsible for marking downloaded executables as coming from the internet)."
Computerworld reports that Mozilla developers reported the problem to Apple and that the company's engineers replied with tacit acknowledgement of the issue: "After further investigation, it has been determined that this is a known issue, which is currently being investigated by engineering."
The open-source team, however, decided to workaround the bug, rather than wait for an official fix from Apple, which is traditionally very mum about bugs, security issues, and other internal development issues. Users on the Mozilla's bug tracking system said that the bug was still present in early (private) developer builds of Mac OS X 10.4.
"Anything we do in our application will be a work-around; any real fix has to come from Apple, on their timeline," Mike Shaver, Mozilla's chief evangelist, noted in a message yesterday on the Bugzilla thread discussing the patch, according to the publication.
Mozilla's Shaver said he created a work-around that prevented "VerifiedDownloadPlugin" from loading to mimics the Safari behavior, as reports indicate that Safari does not load the plugin; his work-around was added to the Firefox code yesterday, the report says.