Mozilla blocks Skype toolbar causing 40,000 Firefox crashes

By on January 21, 2011, 10:28 AM
The Mozilla team has decided to block the Skype Toolbar due to serious stability and performance issues. Up to and including the current shipping and beta versions of the Skype Toolbar will be added to the Mozilla Firefox Blocklist for all versions of Firefox sometime in the next 48 hours. Since this is a "soft block," users will be prompted and given the option to re-enable it if they wish.

The Skype Toolbar for Firefox is an extension that re-renders phone numbers in webpages as clickable buttons that can be used to dial the number using the Skype desktop application. As such, Skype itself will continue to work on your computer; this change only affects the Firefox toolbar. Because the toolbar is bundled with the Skype installer, a large number of Firefox users who have installed Skype also have the Skype Toolbar.

"The current shipping version of the Skype Toolbar is one of the top crashers of Mozilla Firefox 3.6.13, and was involved in almost 40,000 crashes of Firefox last week," a Mozilla spokesperson said in a statement. "Additionally, depending on the version of the Skype Toolbar you’re using, the methods it uses to detect and re-render phone numbers can make DOM manipulation up to 300 times slower, which drastically affects the page rendering times of a large percentage of web content served today (plain English: to the user, it appears that Firefox is slow loading web pages). We believe that both of these items constitute a major, user-facing issue, and meet our established criteria for blocklisting an add-on."

Mozilla says it has recently established contact with the Skype Toolbar team. The company will work with them to identify the issues that should be corrected and will lift the soft block on future versions that address those issues.

Skype claims that the latest version fixed the issue already. "Based on our initial investigation, we know that downloading the new client will fix for most users any compatibility issues, and we are working with Mozilla to ensure that there are no other compatibility issues," a Skype spokesperson said in a statement. "We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused our users. Users can download the latest Skype client with the latest included Toolbars OR the latest toolbar installer itself is here."





User Comments: 10

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Cota Cota said:

WTB survey to know if people keep using toolbars on their browsers or if they have them on because they dont know how to disable them.

treeski treeski said:

Toolbars were the worst idea for browsers since... well, they were the worst idea.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I see plenty of machines with various toolbars installed in the browsers. Most applications don't make it clear they're installing something or people don't pay attention. The average user just clicks through the installer without reading anything.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

JMMD said:

I see plenty of machines with various toolbars installed in the browsers. Most applications don't make it clear they're installing something or people don't pay attention. The average user just clicks through the installer without reading anything.

Bingo. Anytime my wife installs anything, I have to stand over her shoulder, otherwise she'll click "next" until there are no more "next" buttons to push. My mom is the same way. People just don't pay attention mainly because they aren't expecting it. They think they're just installing the program/app.

princeton princeton said:

matrix86 said:

JMMD said:

I see plenty of machines with various toolbars installed in the browsers. Most applications don't make it clear they're installing something or people don't pay attention. The average user just clicks through the installer without reading anything.

Bingo. Anytime my wife installs anything, I have to stand over her shoulder, otherwise she'll click "next" until there are no more "next" buttons to push. My mom is the same way. People just don't pay attention mainly because they aren't expecting it. They think they're just installing the program/app.

What drives me nuts is when people do that. Then they ask me what I DID to mess up their browser.

Lurker101 said:

Nobody with half a brain willingly installs these third party toolbars. What's worse is when you're trying to fix someones laptop, you open their web browser and half of the screen is just the toolbars they've installed. It makes you want to just give up, throw the laptop in the bin and set the owner on fire, because you know it'll end up in exactly the same state within a week.

Guest said:

...Is it just me, or does the title of this article make it sound like the act of Firefox blocking Skype toolbars caused 40,000 browsers to crash?

bakape said:

Guest said:

...Is it just me, or does the title of this article make it sound like the act of Firefox blocking Skype toolbars caused 40,000 browsers to crash?

Indeed, that was my first guess.

fyrfaktry fyrfaktry said:

toolbars are the antichrist.

Guest said:

Your headline is misleading and incorrect.

"Mozilla blocks Skype toolbar causing 40,000 Firefox crashes" reads like the process of blocking the toolbar CAUSED the crashes. A better one would have been "Mozilla blocks Skype toolbar that caused 40,000 Firefox crashes."

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