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Mozilla will end support for NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016

Mozilla will end support for NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016

by AshwinOctober 9, 2015

Mozilla has announced that it will end support for NPAPI plugins in its browser, Firefox, at the end of next year.

NPAPI Plugins Mozilla Firefox

The browser maker’s decision follows in the footsteps of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, which ended support for the plugin systems in April and July respectively.

NPAPI is one of the plugin systems, which cause issues related to the performance (read lag and memory hogging, crashes and even security vulnerabilities in browsers. Mozilla wants to ensure that Firefox supports modern Web technologies, for streaming video, advanced graphics, and gaming features.

Mozilla has also confirmed that the 64-bit Firefox for Windows will launch without plugin support.

So, ending support for NPAPI plugins is actually quite a welcome move, as opposed to Mozilla’s other plans to ditch the existing extensions API in favour of Web Extensions, and its upcoming Electrolysis tech, both of which will require add-on developers, to rewrite their coding.  And it is also about to enforce a mandatory signing rule for add-ons to verify that they are safe to use. Many experts are worried these changes could result in popular add-ons being abandoned.

But sadly, it appears that Flash is going to linger around. Once again, Mozilla isn’t the only browser maker to still support Adobe’s dying plugin, even Microsoft and Google still support it, because many websites still rely on the plugin.

Mozilla blocked Flash Player temporarily in Firefox earlier this year, when the plugin was found to be vulnerable to serious security flaws, but the browser maker soon restored support for it, when the plugin maker patched in the security loop holes.

Here’s a quote from Mozilla’s announcement,

Mozilla and Adobe will continue to collaborate to bring improvements to the Flash experience on Firefox, including on stability and performance, features and security architecture.

That was a good one Mozilla, simply hilarious.

Sarcasm aside, Flash may not be around for long, Google’s YouTube, Amazon’s Twitch, Facebook, BBC, are some of the examples of the internet giants who have dropped support for Adobe Flash Player. The reason behind this is simple, Flash is outdated, insecure and is simply outperformed by a superb alternative, in the form of HTML5.

The browser maker is also working with Unity, a Web based video player plugin maker, to support it without any plugins.

Mozilla advises websites to switch over from NPAPI plugins like Silverlight, Java to modern Web based plugins, before the end of 2016, which is when it will end support for legacy plugins.