Mission Control is what Netscape used to have for deployment of Navigator and Communicator: the possibility of having corporate browser and e-mail client preconfigured and locked down for end-users. I used this very successfully in the late ninetees for locking down preferences in both those tools. It saves huge amounts of time on end-user support, when vital settings (e.g. name of HTTP proxy, e-mail address, etc.) are locked and cannot be modified by a user.

When the Mozilla foundation took over the Netscape code, major parts of the code seem to have gone down the drain. Although there are very many references to the MCD a.k.a. autoconfiguration throughout the web (also Mozilla’s web), it would appear as if certain parts of Firefox support autoconfiguration, but large parts of Thunderbird don’t. It depends on how the individual package has been built and which components where included during the build. That, in itself, is obvious. But why leave out the code? Just to save on a few kilobytes?

The latest Firefox 1.5 for example, taken from the Portable Firefox site, supports loading a Javascript configuration from a URL (the MCD setting for that is called autoadmin.global_config_url) and actually does so, but simple settings like locking the browser’s startup page don’t work, although others do. It is driving me crazy.

There being so many pre-built binaries for both Firefox and Thunderbird, I really don’t want to go building my own.