Google ends NPAPI Support with Chrome 45

People are still complaining about how Mozilla is removing support for NPAPI plugins (Silverlight and Java specifically) in the upcoming Windows 64-Bit release of Firefox (now tentatively scheduled for Firefox 42 in November) even though the move is not that unusual given the trend to move away from NPAPI plugins by other browsers. Microsoft’s Edge Browser (Windows 10 only) does not support Active X or any of the NPAPI plugins (Flash is integrated not a plugin). On Tuesday, September 1st Google released Chrome 45 which ended the browser’s support of NPAPI plugins as well. I found this out when I updated Java and the ‘Verify Java Version’ page opened in Chrome.

chrome45 NPAPI

The same thing for when trying to install Silverlight via Chrome 45.

chrome45 Silverlight

Mozilla will still support the out dated (introduced in 1995 with Netscape Navigator 2.0), unstable and insecure NPAPI plugins with the 32-bit version of Firefox. Further, there are no plans to end support of the 32-bit version of Firefox. I still say Mozilla needs to ‘rebrand’ the Windows 64-Bit version of Firefox as Microsoft did with Internet Explorer and Edge (though Edge is both 32-bit and 64-bit), especially since it still has yet to be officially released. This could help quell the fears, confusion and complaints about Mozilla killing support for Java and Silverlight.

The people who are complaining to/about Mozilla in regards to the lack of Silverlight support breaking Netflix and other VOD sites (such as Amazon’s Instant Video) should be complaining to those sites about not supporting HTML5 with Firefox. Of course Netflix HTML5/Silverlight support page still shows Silverlight support for Google Chrome. For whatever reason Netflix still does not support HTML5 in Firefox even though Firefox has supported DRM videos with the Primetime Content Decryption Module by Adobe plugin introduced in Firefox 38 back in May 2015.

One final observation…a lot of people have asked why Flash is still being supported in the Win64 version of Firefox as well as Chrome and Edge when it is by far the ‘worst of the worst’ of NPAPI plugins in terms of security exploits (and stability). Remember, Google Chrome (and Microsoft Edge) run a custom build of Flash that is integrated into the browser (no plugin needed). Flash is also the most common/used NPAPI plugin and while there has been progress in moving away (YouTube for example) it is a still slow and painful process. Also Mozilla plans on running Flash in a sandbox with the 64-Bit version of Firefox (as per Bug 1185532) which is also the reason the first official release of Win64 Firefox has been pushed back to Firefox 42.