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How does a plugin become "known" by Firefox?

  • 20 replies
  • 3534 have this problem
  • Last reply by cor-el

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Firefox "knows" about a number of plugins. By what means can a plugin become known to Firefox and have automated updating?

I could understand (not like) the fact that Microsoft might not be eager to make their products any easier to use with Firefox. But, I would think that Google and Real Networks would.

RealPlayer(tm) HTML5VideoShim Plug-In (32-bit) RealPlayer(tm) HTML5VideoShim Plug-In Unknown plugin Research

WPI Detector 1.1 wpidetector Unknown plugin Research

Windows Live? Photo Gallery NPWLPG Unknown plugin Research

Microsoft Office Live Plug-in for Firefox Office Live Update v1.5 Unknown plugin Research

Dimdim NPRuntime Plugin for Netscape browsers Unknown plugin Research

Google Update Google Update Unknown plugin Research

RealJukebox NS Plugin RealJukebox Netscape Plugin Unknown plugin Research

RealPlayer Version Plugin Unknown plugin Research

Microsoft SharedView Plugin npsharedview Unknown plugin Research

Google Talk Plugin Video Accelerator Google Talk Plugin Video Accelerator version: Unknown plugin Research

Google Talk Plugin Version Unknown plugin Research

ActiveTouch General Plugin Container ActiveTouch General Plugin Container Version 105 Unknown plugin Research

Garmin Communicator Plug-In Garmin Communicator Plug-In Unknown plugin Research

All Replies (20)

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The post has been here four (4) months.

120 people have this problem.

We can get this kind of support from Google.

Someone on the Firefox effort knows the answer. Please be forthcoming. Thanks.

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Many plugins are located through the registry. This link has some details -

For info questions on this forum are mainly answered by volunteers.

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@TonyE - Many thanks for your quick reply.

My question is not about how FF scans to find plugins on the machine to load.

My question is about the plugin update process. Why are so many plugins "Unknown plugin" and the user given a "Research" button?

What would RealNetworks, Inc. do in order to get RealPlayer to be "known" by FF and give the user an easier way to update?

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Are you referring to the Plugin Check page?

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@the-edmeister - Yes, I am referring to the add-in plugin check page.

Tools > Add-ons > Plugins tab > Find Updates button

Many plugins report "Unknown plugin" and present a "Research" button.

What would RealNetworks, Inc., Google, or Garmin do in order to get their plugins to be "known" by FF and give the user an easier way to update?

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I don't know what they would have to do. AFAIK, that service needs a lot more work, so that it can properly detect more plugins than it does now. Plus it sometimes reports that a plugin needs an update when the user has the last version available for their Operating System. One user mentioned that about QuickTime for W2K, the version he had installed was the last version made for W2K, and the Plugin Check page told him it needed to be updated.

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For something that is so often referred to as a security risk, one might think that there were a standardized process for identifying and getting current versions of a plugin onto the machine.

Surely the detection of the current plugin version is not a one-off for each and every plugin. Likewise, I would hope that plugin developers could provide a web service with an interface defined by Mozilla. Wouldn't that help ensure accessibility to plugin versions?

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so unless you are a computer whiz there is no fix to get RealPlayer Version Plugin is what I see after reading this mess. Gee if someone could just explain in a manner that us non computer people could use would be nice, but I don't think that will happen anytime soon LOL

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im a computer cave man...have no idea..i think that firefox blocks the downloads because they are strangers...

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900-1000 people have indicated that they have this problem.

What is Mozilla doing about it?

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If you update Real Player, their plugins gets updated too - are you sure Real Networks wants you to bypass updating their player?

Modified by 11.ththo.11

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It seems to me - from the perspective of a Firefox end-user - that each revision of Firefox ends up disabling more and more of the plugins and add-ons that I've come to depend on in the operations of my online business.

One example that immediately comes to mind is the disabling of the Roboform plugin, which I've used quite extensively in my business, but now has been blocked following a recent version update of Firefox. Mind you, this is an add-on that I've PAID for, and through no fault of Siber Systems - the publishers of Roboform - it's now useless in Firefox! Mozilla's "solution?" To contact the publishers of the add-on and tell them to make a "compliant" version of the plugin (which will most likely be "obsoleted" by the next update of FF!).

This is NO way to run a business, regardless of whether you're charging for your browser or not!

In addition, there are many other plugins which have been disabled by the "upgrade" to FF9, which appears to me more of a scramble to plug security holes and flaws in FF than anything else.

Because of the loss of functionality of the Roboform plugin, I'm forced to make a decision - either spend an extra three to four hours DAILY posting ads for my business, or using Internet Explorer - which STILL supports the Roboform add-on. Gee - take a wild guess what my choice is going to be... Thanks for NOTHING!

Modified by DigitalDonHill

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Roboform (not technically a plugin but rather an application that integrates with Firefox) was added to the list of Blocked Add-ons because it was causing Firefox to crash at startup. This block only affects RoboForm versions 7.6.1 and lower on Firefox 8 and above. The solution is to download and install the latest version of RoboForm from


Modified by AliceWyman

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You seem to know something in this area.

If we drop back to the original question, how does a plugin become "known" to Firefox? How would a Firefox plugin developer get their plugin to be "known?"

2552 people have this problem 104 new this week

It would seem that there is a level of interest in knowing the answer to this question.

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Found it (the real audio downloader add-on)..... the problem with finding it, to "enable" it, is that it is an "extension", rather than a plug-in or an add-on. Go to Tools/Add-ons/Extensions and "enable" the Real Audio Browser Record 15.0.1. Problem solv-ed.

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OldhippieRick: Go to Tools/Add-ons/Extensions and "enable" the Real Audio Browser Record 15.0.1 there. Problem sol-ved.

Modified by Oldbud

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@Oldbud - This really only answers a question about one specific package.

The question is much broader than that. How would any software developer get their package "known" by Firefox?

2800+ people still want to know.

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This exchange shows why it is unwise to upgrade FF...something I tried and then found, as others here (DigitalDon for one) have noted, that only after you get the "latest and greatest" FF release and install it do you find that your trusted add-ons/extensions don't work.

The problem is, most of these add-ons/extensions/doohickeys are forced on us by websites we stumble into -- not because we really want them. Me, I have Interclue and Lazarus by choice. This other stuff was installed (like the umpteen "ActiveX" installs) because we couldn't make something work without it. So I tried the latest FF only to find that the poor guys down in Christchurch were still recovering from their miseries and hadn't done a compatible update to Interclue/Lazarus.

But now, I was stuck with a FF that I didn't want. And the trouble of retrofitting my old FF 3.6 wasn't any picnic. But I'm there now, and not about to trust Moz and co. to check this stuff out for me BEFORE I commit to the "latest and greatest".

Funny, but I never have these kinds of issues with IE -- sure, I know why. Gates and Co. have the resources to ensure upgrades are there, Moz doesn't.

But Moz DOES have the smarts to check this stuff at install time and give me a "heads up" BEFORE I continue committing to the "latest and greatest" FF release. It's a simple DB table lookup, uploading and comparing my add-on/extension config. to a master table. Then, the install. should ask, "The following add-ons/extensions are not currently available for the new FF: . . . Do you want to replace FF x.x with the latest FF?


But hey, if you commit to the newest and are disappointed, well, you should have known that there's " add-on for that"! Moz's "Addon Compatibility Reporter". If you install "latest and greatest" FF and your add-ons die, you can report it. That's all after the fact, of course.

All this as a patch for poor design, it seems to me.


Webbie at 3.6 and hoping for better.

Modified by webistrator

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Don't know if this helps anybody, but the ActiveTouch General Plugin Container ActiveTouch General Plugin Container Version 105 Unknown plugin Research option is the browser plugin for WebEx.

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[locking thread due to the age]