Old Firefox add-ons get 'dead man walking' call

After version 57, plugins go to browser heaven

The end of legacy Firefox plugins is drawing closer, with Mozilla's Jorge Villalobos saying they'll be disabled in an upcoming nightly build of the browser's 57th edition.

While he didn't specify just how soon the dread date will arrive, Villalobos writes: “There should be no expectation of legacy add-on support on this or later versions”.

It's been a long dark tea-time of the soul for plugins: back in March, with Version 52, the devs made Flash the only anointed plugin, with anything reliant on the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) forbidden.

There's always a legacy base, however, and that's what Mozilla's taking aim at in Version 57.

“All legacy add-ons will have strict compatibility set, with a maximum version of 56.*. This is the end of the line for legacy add-on compatibility. They can still be installed on Nightly with some preference changes, but may break due to other changes happening in Firefox”, Villalobos' post states.

Developers can no longer upload legacy add-ons with the maximum version set higher than 56.

Those who moved to the WebExtensions API back in March also need to pay attention to versioning, since very recent API developments will demand a minimum version of 56 or 57.

“That can make it difficult for users of older versions of Firefox to find a compatible version. To address this, compatibility filters on search will be off by default.”

Villalobos says the changes will land in the “coming weeks”. ®

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