One of the complaints that seems to come up a lot with regards to Firefox in the enterprise is the lack of support for management via Active Directory (using Group Policies). There have actually been a couple attempts to solve this including FirefoxADM and WetDog. There is even a company, FrontMotion, that makes custom Firefox MSIs that can be managed via Active Directory.
I decided I don’t know enough about this area, so I’ve spent the past couple weeks investigating what Microsoft provides and the results actually surprised me: IE configuration via Group Policies seems to focus much more on customizing the browser(*) than it does on configuring individual preferences. Learning this made me wonder what exactly it is that people mean when the say that Firefox has a lack of support for Active Directory. Do they mean using Active Directory to manage install and updates? Or do they mean the types of customization that are provided via IE’s Group Policy.
So I’d like to pose a few questions to my readers:
- Do you use Active Directory and Group Policy to manage Internet Explorer? If so, what policies are most important to you?
- Do you use FirefoxADM or WetDog to manage Firefox? If so, what features are most important to you?
- If support for Group Policies was implemented for Firefox, should it focus more on customizing the browser or setting preferences?
For more information on this subject, here are some links:
- Overview of Internet Explorer Group Policies
- Microsoft Spreadsheet where we removed everything but the IE policies.
- Bug 337679 (cck could allow settings to be set via windows group policy)
- Bug 267888 (Windows 2000/XP/2003 Group Policies support (make firefox configurable with domain group policy objects))
(*) By customizing the browser I mean things like removing printing, removing the help menu, removing view source, removing the context menu, preventing saving files to disk, removing the ability to open new windows, turning off tabbed browing, removing access to bookmarks, etc.