A new stable version of the popular Firefox browser was released today. This is the first version of the browser which has support for classic NPAPI plugins disabled. Let's see what else has changed.
In Firefox 52, the only NPAPI plugin which remains working out-of-the-box is Adobe Flash. Plugins like Silverlight, Java, Unity (a framework for games) and Linux's Gnome Shell plugin will stop working.
Mozilla has made an exception only for Adobe Flash. Lots of web sites still rely on Adobe's Flash Player technology, so they decided to keep it. If these web sites stop working in Firefox, this can cause Firefox users to switch to another browser.
In Firefox 52, the user can turn on NPAPI plugin support using about:config.
Here is how it can be done.
- Open a new tab in Firefox and enter the following text in the address bar:
- Create a new boolean option and name it plugin.load_flash_only.
- Set the plugin.load_flash_only option to false.
- Restart Firefox.
Note: With Firefox 53, the ability to restore NPAPI plugin support will be removed completely.
Besides the NPAPI plugin support being disabled by default, the key changes in Firefox 52 are as follows.
- The multi-process feature is available in Windows versions of Firefox installed on devices with touch screens.
- The ability to send opened tabs from one device to another via the built-in Sync feature is added.
- The Battery Status APIs were removed for privacy reasons. These APIs can be used to track the user.
- Firefox 52 now comes with support for WebAssembly.
- When opening a page with a password prompt using the plain HTTP protocol, Firefox shows a special warning that the connection is not secure and that your login data can be compromised.
Also, Firefox 52 is ESR (extended support release). Windows XP and Windows Vista users will be moved to this ESR version from the stable branch automatically, because the next version, Firefox 53, won't support the mentioned operating systems any more.