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Mozilla Stripping Firefox Of All Plugins Except Flash: Future Browser Versions Won't Have Plugin Support

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On Friday Oct. 9, Mozilla confirmed that by the end of 2016 the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) will no longer feature plugin support in its browser.

The concentrated efforts of Mozilla and other web developers were to produce quality streaming video, advanced graphics, and gaming features and some of them worked only with NPAPI plugins. While running the plugins, Firefox became increasingly vulnerable to security threats, reduced its speed and lost overall stability. The fact that the code is entangled and clunky did not help, either.

Mozilla follows in the steps of other big names in browsing industry. Google renounced support for NPAPI when it launched Chrome 42 in April, and Microsoft did the same in July, at the release of its proprietary browser, Edge.

Firefox made a tradition out of allowing users to manually activate their plugins. As new Firefox versions will leave behind existing ecosystems of plugins and users, the 64-big Firefox for Windows has no reason to offer further plugin support.

Publishers of web content that work with Silverlight or Java plugins were advised to "accelerate their transition to Web technologies." A little more than a year remains until these plugins will become obsolete for the Firefox browser. Java applet users have the choice of using plugin-free alternative such as Java Web Start, software engineers from Oracle advice.

Flash gets a free pass in all browsing ecosystems. Microsoft, Mozilla and Google intend to keep using it.

"Because Adobe Flash is still a common part of the Web experience for most users, we will continue to support Flash within Firefox as an exception to the general plugin policy," Mozilla announced.  

"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," a blog post from the company reads.

A notable partnership for Mozilla is teaming up with Unity so that Unity-based content can be accessed in the browser, sans plugins. For dedicated developers, Unity already made public an updated roadmap for its Web Player technology.

Web technologies seem to play a huge part in the future of Mozilla Firefox, and significant shifts to the add-on development have already been promised.

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