So-called NPAPI plugins such as Java, Silverlight or Flash are on their way out. While the time frame varies browser by browser, all major browser developers announced the end of NPAPI support.
Mozilla did so about a year ago on October 8, 2015 stating that plugins were the source for performance, crash and security incidents.
The organization published a schedule recently that details when support for NPAPI plugins end in Firefox.
The first Firefox version to ship without support for NPAPI plugins by default -- except for Adobe Flash -- is Firefox 52.
Mozilla plans to ship that version with an override that allows you to turn support back on in Firefox 52. This override is removed from Firefox 53 however, and the only Firefox version with support for NPAPI plugins onward is Firefox 52 ESR.
Firefox 52: end of NPAPI
The end of NPAPI in Firefox 52 affects all plugins except for Adobe Flash. Flash is still widely used, and the chance is high that this won't change in the coming six months.
Note: You may still see content listed under plugins, namely Content Decryption Modules or Video Codecs. These don't use NPAPI and will continue to work just fine in Firefox.
Eventually though, Flash NPAPI support will also be removed from Firefox. This may coincide with Mozilla bringing Pepper Flash, the same that is used by Google Chrome, to Firefox.
First, lets take a look at the timeline of events:
- March 7, 2017 -- Firefox 52 and Firefox 52 ESR are released. All plugins but Flash are disabled by default. Mozilla Firefox users may flip a preference switch to enable support for non-Flash NPAPI plugins in Firefox 52. Firefox 52 ESR will support plugins throughout its lifecycle (until Firefox 60 ESR is released). Firefox users may flip the preference plugin.load_flash_only to false to re-enable support for other NPAPI plugins.
- April 18, 2017 -- The release of Firefox 53 marks the end of NPAPI plugin support in Firefox. The override preference is removed. Flash is the only plugin left standing.
- First half of 2018 (May) -- Firefox 60 ESR is released.
So, Enterprise customers and users who rely on plugins may switch over to Firefox 52 ESR for the time being to extend support for another year.
Starting today, new profiles that you create in Firefox 52 Nightly will block all plugins but Flash from being used by the browser. From tomorrow onward, this will also be the case for existing Firefox profiles.