Mozilla to nail Firefox’s NPAPI coffin in four weeks

February 6, 2017 brianradio2016

Mozilla in four weeks will bar plug-ins built using a decades-old technology from Firefox, ending a years-long process designed to make the browser more secure.

The single exception to the ban: Adobe’s Flash Player, which will continue to run, with limitations, in Firefox.

Mozilla’s plug-in prohibition will apply to NPAPI plug-ins, (Netscape Plug-in Application Programming Interface) a standard that harks back to Netscape, the 1990s browser that Microsoft buried in its antitrust-triggering battle over the browser market. NPAPI was long the plug-in default, but has now been blocked or barred from most browsers.

Google banned NPAPI plug-ins from Chrome in 2015 and Opera Software followed suit last year in its flagship Opera browser, while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) has always called on its own proprietary ActiveX architecture. (Edge, IE’s successor, never supported ActiveX.) And although Apple’s Safari still supports NPAPI plug-ins, the browser has aggressively deprecated their use; Safari now blocks plug-ins from launching automatically, for example.