Thoughts on Win64 Firefox Plugin Restrictions

I understand what Mozilla is doing with in the Win64 Firefox in regards to only allowing the Flash NPAPI plugin. It starts to make sense if you look at the browser ‘market’ as a whole. Microsoft’s new Edge browser (Windows 10) does not support SilverLight and Java and neither does/will Chrome (Google plans to phase out NPAPI plugins by end of 2015). All of these browsers including the Win64 Firefox do support Flash. Also, remember Flash is integrated (no plugin) into Chrome as Google bribed paid Adobe to build a custom version of Flash directly into Chrome.

It is almost painful to make this comparison, but may be it makes more sense if you look at the Win64 Firefox is to Mozilla what Edge is to Microsoft. The same can be said for Firefox 32 versus Internet Explorer. Perhaps, Mozilla should take a different approach and rebrand the Win64 Firefox as something else so that people will stop thinking that it is ‘broken’ when compared to the 32-bit version. I should note though that Edge and Chrome browser provide both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

I find it funny how people are whining about the lose of Java and SilverLight in the upcoming Win64 version of Firefox when Chrome is phasing out Java and SilverLight completely as in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. At least Microsoft (Internet Explorer) and Mozilla (32-bit Firefox) are still providing support for Java and SilverLight. There are two sub issues that are not directly related to the current bugs for what NPAPI plugins are/not supported in the Win64 version of Firefox (but people keep trying to make these part of those bugs):

  1. The 32-bit version of Firefox needs vast improvement in performance and memory management (many users report this version becomes sluggish when memory usage reaches ~2 GB).
  2. Sites such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video need to create HTML5 (or Flash) versions of their site for Firefox users. Netflix supports HTML5 on Edge (along with IE, Safari and Chrome), but not Firefox.

While I don’t know how HTML5 videos affect memory usage, I am thinking that they use less memory than SilverLight. If this is the case then may be #1 wouldn’t be such as an issue. However, in the case of #2 if these sites would provide HTML5 support for Firefox (they did so for Edge, why not Firefox?) then #1 wouldn’t matter as people could use the Win64 Firefox for those sites.