vote buttons
21 Apr 2015 by Charlie

Chrome 42 disables NPAPI, Oracle recommends other browsers for Java


Google has disabled the support for NPAPI (Netscape Plug-in API) with Chrome 42. Popular plugins which would now stop working include:

  • Java
  • Unity
  • Silverlight
  • Facebook Video

Google has its own implementation of NPAPI called PPAPI which is a restricted sandboxed native client, but only Flash Viewer & PDF Viewer are implemented using this. However Google and Adobe are struggling with PPAPI since the beginning and hardware accelerated flash in Chrome is almost painfully slow. A few years back Mozilla had openly announced that it won't support PPAPI, stating that it does not believe in running Native Code inside the browser and stresses that HTML5 is the future. However it still supports NPAPI. Google also advocates HTML5, but has flash bundled inside its browser. None of the other major browsers have as yet announced any support for PPAPI.

The workaround which will only work till September 2015, is to enable NPAPI in chrome://flags/ page, or for enterprise administrators to whitelist plug-ins via EnabledPlugins policy list. However after September 2015 the support will be completely removed.

Oracle now recommends using other browsers for Java in its FAQ page. To quote: "we strongly recommend Java users consider alternatives to Chrome as soon as possible. Instead, we recommend Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari as longer-term options."

Unity also depends on NPAPI plugin for its games running in a browser. It though has a WebGL export function, but the response from developers regarding its stability, performance and size isn't positive, so it will remain affected for some time.

Additionally too many enterprise tools & applications (e.g. hypervisor management interfaces) are dependent on Java Applets, which won't go away anytime soon.