How to prevent updates

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How to prevent updates

The Real Bev
There was a thread in m.s.f in which one person explained how to do it
in windows and others dumped on him for defeating security blablablabla.
  I did the same thing with FF73.0.1/linux and NO MORE NAGS.  Apparently
my confirmation message was deemed unsuitable, so I reproduce the info
here...


On 07/07/2020 05:53 PM, Nobody wrote:
 > > On Wed, 8 Jul 2020 01:34:56 +0100, ? Good Guy ? <[hidden email]>
 > > wrote:
 > >
 >> >>On 07/07/2020 13:09, Cooker Donkin wrote:
 >>> >>> Is there a way to disable FOREVER the imposition of IT folk
doing Firefox upgrades whenever they feel like it, have a new
"brain"wave etc?
 >> >>
 >> >>Yes there is a way.
 >> >>
 >> >>1) create a blank file called "policies.json"
 >> >>
 >> >>2) Enter this text in to it:
 >> >>
 >>> >>> {
 >>> >>>   "policies": {
 >>> >>>     "DisableAppUpdate": true
 >>> >>>   }
 >>> >>> }
 >> >>
 >> >>3) Create a folder called "distribution" in the Firefox main folder.
 >> >>This is normally at for 64 bit version <C:\Program Files\Firefox\>
  The
 >> >>new folder will now look like:
 >> >>
 >> >><C:\Program Files\Firefox\distribution>

... and put the policies.json file in it.  Different path for linux, but
logical.

/stuff/FF72/firefox/distribution/policies.json

{
  "policies": {
   "DisableAppUpdate": true
}
}

(>s removed for your convenience!)

 >> >>4) In Help >> about you'll get:
 >> >>
 >> >>[ img attached ] <https://i.imgur.com/effco6e.png>

It seems to have worked in FF73.0.1/linux.  Yay!

 > > <blink>
 > >
 > > How does that idea mesh with (1) not using add-ons... (2) not meddling
 > > with 'about:config'... but now (3) suggesting suppression of critical
 > > updates?

...along with loss of valued capabilities which are apparently not
valued by the developers.  There are always tradeoffs, but they didn't
used to be so unpleasant.

--
Cheers, Bev
    If he had any brains, he'd take them out and play with them.
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Re: How to prevent updates

The Real Bev
Ugly cut+paste.  Here's the useful part:


/stuff/FF72/firefox/distribution/policies.json

{
   "policies": {
    "DisableAppUpdate": true
}
}


--
Cheers, Bev
    If he had any brains, he'd take them out and play with them.
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Re: How to prevent updates

Dave Royal
In reply to this post by The Real Bev
On 8 Jul 2020 11:55:49 -0700 The Real Bev wrote:
>There was a thread in m.s.f in which one person explained how to do it
>in windows and others dumped on him for defeating security blablablabla.
>
Yes, I thought it was a really useful post by Good Guy. I didn't know
anything about policies. They're described here:
<https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/customizing-firefox-using-policiesjson>

I suppose old versions of Fx might not recognise all of the keywords.



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Re: How to prevent updates

Mayayana
"Dave Royal" <[hidden email]> wrote

|
<https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/customizing-firefox-using-policiesjson>
|
| I suppose old versions of Fx might not recognise all of the keywords.
|
The details are here:

https://github.com/mozilla/policy-templates/blob/master/README.md#disableappupdate

   Generally they seem to start with v. 60. But with
earlier versions it's not necessary. The policies
file is intended for business use, so that IT people can
control workers' browsers. This is similar to the IE
approach: Hide or obfuscate everything but leave
an obscure, secret option for IT people.

    In older FF versions there are
prefs like app.update.enabled, app.autoupdate.enabled,
etc. I disable those and then delete the updater EXE.
(And of course, in the earlier, more civilized versions there's
an option under Options -> Advanced, so you don't even
have to know the prefs.)


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Re: How to prevent updates

Dave Royal
In reply to this post by The Real Bev
On 8 Jul 2020 12:09:27 -0700 The Real Bev wrote:

>Ugly cut+paste.  Here's the useful part:
>
>
>/stuff/FF72/firefox/distribution/policies.json
>
>{
>   "policies": {
>    "DisableAppUpdate": true
>}
>}
>
Apparantly, on Windows, policies.json is not read if there are
Group Policy Objects in the registry. An ordinary user shouldn't have any but
this bug is interesting - AVAST added one and stopped disableUpdate working.
<https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1552600>
Mac and Linux (I use it) are not affected.

I was going to post on the m.s.f thread that you should be able to use the
OS's facilities to prevent update. When I ran XP I ran as a normal user, so
any attempt by anything to update itself failed. (Didn't stop them nagging, unfortunately.) UAC or whatever now exists can presumably do the same.

The main point about policies.json is not that it's 'hidden' but that it's
inaccessible on a locked-down business computer. Prefs, however you set
them, are not.
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Re: How to prevent updates

Mayayana
"Dave Royal" <[hidden email]> wrote

| >
| Apparantly, on Windows, policies.json is not read if there are
| Group Policy Objects in the registry. An ordinary user shouldn't have any
but
| this bug is interesting

   As I understood it, it's not a bug. Rather,
group policy is another way that Mozilla has
added to control FF behavior. See the Readme,
as I linked below:

https://github.com/mozilla/policy-templates/blob/master/README.md

  That lists the ways to adjust it. In general, there
should be no such entries under the Policies key unless
you put them there yourself. Again, that's a design meant
to cater to corporate IT people who work with group
policy editor, and also meant to confuse everyone else.


| - AVAST added one and stopped disableUpdate working.
| <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1552600>

  Weird. For people who want to update FF, this stuff must be
dealt with. The Avast problem is a problem with Avast that
should be accessible via program settings. (Better yet,
get rid of Avast. :) It's not a FF bug.

   In general, Mozilla
have thrust Firefox into the frustrating, esoteric world of
Windows tweaks. The general strategy is to prevent the
hoi polloi from adjusting or even understanding settings.


| The main point about policies.json is not that it's 'hidden' but that it's
| inaccessible on a locked-down business computer. Prefs, however you set
| them, are not.

  Yes, but in case you missed it, prefs are no longer working
in this case. The very nature of this setting would make it
useless if lackey users could change it by applying a pref.
It's intended for corporate system admins to be able to control
workstations, regardless of what the computer user chooses.
It's intended to trick and mislead the user, based on several
assumtions:

 * Computers are used by corporate workers.

 * Corporate workers have no right to access the computer
      except to do their work.

 * Corporate workers will only break things if allowed to
     access their computer.

   IE has been the same for decades. You can adjust all the
unintelligible, undocumented IE settings to your heart's content,
under HKCU, but a single setting under HKLM will override all
those with matching HKLM settings. And IE won't tell you that.
The settings you see in the Options window are coming from
HKCU. Windows is also designed that way. It makes a lot of
sense, except when the computer you use belongs to you
and you want to control it yourself. And it dates from a time
when we didn't need to worry about malware adjusting those
settings.

  If you want to run in corporate employee lackey mode then
you need to elevate in order to adjust these settings. Not
really a big deal, but of course you have to know about it.
Meanwhile, numerous FF users out there are confused because
they told FF not to update and it's not listening. :)


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Re: How to prevent updates

Dave Royal
On 9 Jul 2020 09:00:39 -0400 Mayayana wrote:

>["Dave Royal" <[hidden email]> wrote]
>
>>
>> Apparantly, on Windows, policies.json is not read if there are
>> Group Policy Objects in the registry. An ordinary user shouldn't have any
>> but
>> this bug is interesting:
>> <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1552600>
>
>   As I understood it, it's not a bug. Rather,
>group policy is another way that Mozilla has
>added to control FF behavior.

It /is/ a bug - see comment 10. They were fixing it when avast stopped
causing the problem, but it's still marked as a defect.

I was posting merely to point out to any Windows users that privedged software
such as an AV can prevent this method working, so it might be a good idea to not
rely on it if you're the kind of person who installs such software.
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