This article provides links and references to issues that might come up when considering or executing a Firefox deployment plan. It describes a wide variety of tools and features available that can be used to deploy Firefox and centrally manage and control the use of Firefox in enterprise, business, education, and a variety of large and small organizational settings.
Deploying Firefox ESR
Firefox ESR is an extended support release; deployment tools should be very similar since there are only minor changes between the normal release version and the ESR.
See Installer:Command Line Arguments for details on how to customize the Firefox installer and make it run silently.
Automated deployment of Firefox with extensions, themes, and pre-configuration http://firefox.dbltree.com/ (no longer maintained)
Firefox ADM (Active Directory deployment) Manage Firefox settings through Group Policy and Active Directory. http://homepages.ed.ac.uk/mcs/FirefoxADM/Readme.htm
Mozilla offers automated updates of security patches and bug fixes for Firefox and Thunderbird though its software update system. You can choose to use this system or modify the Firefox configuration to turn software updates off and gain more control over the update process. An overview of the software update system can be found at Software Update.
Extending and Customizing Firefox for Enhanced Productivity
You can control thousands of Firefox settings, and extend Firefox with additional Addons to provide the best web experience for your users.
To see the many settings that can be customized in Firefox type:
in the location bar of the browser. Documentation about each of these preferences is available from a wide variety of sources. One of the best may be at the mozdev site
The Very Best Firefox Extensions for Entrepreneurs article recommend several Firefox addons that might be useful for increasing productivity of users inside large organizations.
A variety of tools are also available to assist in making changes to the browser and repackaging these changes before deploying to your users. More information on those tools is provided below
Firefox Customization (CCK and Repackaging Tools)
The Firefox Client Customization Kit (CCK) was designed as a successor to two Netscape products, CCK, and Mission Control Desktop (MCD). These two products were used to customize Netscape browsers for deployment for ISPs (CCK) and enterprises (MCD).
The goal of the Firefox CCK is to provide an extension that can be deployed with Firefox that does most basic customizations.
A CCK addon is now available at https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/cck/
Information on the release repackaging tool is available here http://benjamin.smedbergs.us/release-repackager/
Centralized Settings Management and Control
The core technology in Firefox and Thunderbird contains a feature called "Mission Control Desktop/Auto Config" that can be used to centrally manage Browser and Mail configuration settings for the client software that is deployed across an organization. The source code is here:
The code is still in use by Thunderbird, and still probably works for Firefox, although testing would be needed to confirm. If anyone has tested please update with status here.
More documentation on this feature can be found at:
Most of the controls are carried out via the preference system. An overview of the this system can be found at
Extensive lists of preferences can be found at:
Some customization ideas can be found here
This article also talks about controlling other features such as bookmarks and history and an approach to "Securing Mozilla in the Public Library":
List of companies and contacts who can help with your evaluation, pilot projects, and deployment of Firefox or Thunderbird across your organization is provided below.
Epidata Consulting - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Wayforth - London, UK
Browser Garage - Mountain View, CA
Link/website appears inactive 2011-10-05
We are also interested in hearing about your success stories or problems at firstname.lastname@example.org
Licensing/Distribution Terms and Conditions
The Firefox End User License can be found here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/legal/eula/
and more information about logo and trademark use can be found here: http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/trademarks/
United States Export Control Information
Companies looking to provide Mozilla Software outside the United States often ask about Export Control provisions to comply with US laws and regulations.
The Export Notice can be found at http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/security/export-notice
In 2002, NSS 3.4 requested a CCATS commodity classification id G023895 to make it easier for companies to file when they include NSS or Mozilla Applications such as Firefox which use NSS. http://www.mozilla.org/projects/security/pki/nss/nss-3.4/nss-3.4-algorithms.html This CCATS filing covered all the crypto operations used in the Mozilla code base, including SSL and S/MIME.
More recent versions of NSS have not filed for further CCATS numbers, instead claiming a TSU exemption via 740.13(3) of the EAR because the NSS crypto code is "publicly available" and the binaries are built from purely open source software.
- NB : the associated ECCN for software packages that include NSS is likely to be 5D002.c.1 (TSU unrestricted, via EAR 740.13(e)). One could theoretically request a review of a specific set of binaries for authorization under 5D992.b.1 ("No License Required", but it's not known whether anyone has. See Frank Hecker's Jan 2005 post: http://hecker.org/mozilla/eccn )
More information on exporting products made from Open Source can be found at https://www.bis.doc.gov/encryption/enc.htm and http://www.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/ear_data.html (Part 740. Section §740.13(e) is on page 30 of the PDF).
We strongly caution you not to act on your personal reading of export regulations. They are complex and loaded with history, precedent, and context which often require interpretation from a qualified attorney.
Most questions about features provided by Mozilla's security library are contained in this document: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/security/pki/nss/nss-3.9/nss-3.9-algorithms.html
Collection of other random thoughts, press, and other articles on Firefox Deployments in Enterprise and Large Organizations