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In the software patent quarrel between Eolas and Microsoft, Microsoft now seems to be on course to work around Eolas' patent by deactivating the user interface of ActiveX controls (which of course includes Java applets and Flash) until users explicitly activate them through a mouse click.
It's not as bad as the original plan (see 2003-10-07-activeMess) - prompting surfers with a message box for every embedded control when a page loads, furthermore there's a relatively easy workaround: controls embedded by external scripts by means of document.write(...), setting innerHTML &c. aren't covered by that restriction; nevertheless, it won't exactly make using a huge amount of legacy content more comfortable.
From Microsoft's white paper on MSDN:
"Interactive controls are ActiveX controls that provide user interfaces. When a web page uses the APPLET, EMBED, or OBJECT elements to load an ActiveX control, the control's user interface is blocked until the user activates it. If a page uses these elements to load multiple controls, each interactive control must be individually activated."
But: "Interactive controls loaded by external script files immediately respond to direct user interaction."
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