Getting rid of popup windows for good

Mike Connor mconnor at
Fri Aug 29 13:38:18 UTC 2014

+1 to what Benjamin's arguing.  This should be easy to hook up in the
backend (if it's not already) and we already have other mixed permission
lists in prefs (cookie prefs) without any ill effect.

-- Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: firefox-dev [mailto:firefox-dev-bounces at] On Behalf Of
Benjamin Smedberg
Sent: August 29, 2014 9:25 AM
To: Gijs Kruitbosch; Rimas Kudelis; firefox-dev at
Subject: Re: Getting rid of popup windows for good

On 8/29/2014 8:38 AM, Gijs Kruitbosch wrote:
> On 26/08/2014 19:06, Rimas Kudelis wrote:
>> I believe that the ability of a blacklisted website to open pop-ups in
>> response to certain JS events is certainly a bug (I took time to
>> blacklist it, why is that preference not being favored?). If we don't
>> want to block all pop-ups by default, than perhaps at least this bug
>> should be fixed. However, in that case, our permissions UI should also
>> be updated, because this setting is then effectively not binary (allow
>> [all]/block [some] pop-ups), but trinary (allow all/allow some/block
>> popups).
> At the risk of sounding very ignorant about the product I'm working 
> on... what blacklist is this, and how are you modifying it?
> The popup notification bar, about:permissions, the prefs dialog, and 
> the page info dialog all expose the same system, AFAICT, which is 
> hardcoded to "block most popups by default" (ie based on the events 
> pref you discussed previously), and where changing the pref to "allow" 
> will adjust the whitelist, AIUI.

That's the problem. The current "Block" default only blocks unrequested 
popups, and so if a site has a habit of popping things up on click so 
that they look like a requested popup, there's no way to get Firefox to 
stop that.

In about:permissions terms, we should change the current "Open Pop-up 
Windows" permission from a binary "Block/Allow" to a three-way "Block 
unrequested (default)/Block all/Allow".

> Finally, I expect that there'll be issues where sites both use "good" 
> popups (ie, you specifically click something which tries to open a new 
> window, and if you prevent that from happening, you can't do whatever 
> you were trying to accomplish - things like the dialog you noted was 
> broken, but done by the webpage instead of by chrome, and therefore 
> not "fixable" by us) and bad ones (the ones we *want* to block). 
> Adding a blacklist wouldn't really fix the issue on those sites, as 
> it's an all-or-nothing approach.

I have never encountered a single site which had both behaviors. It's 
certainly not the case that we should be designing for!


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