Although I already published one article about NPAPI support and Firefox, it is not valid now, as all major web browsers are stop supporting add-ons like Java, Flash and Silverlight in recent versions.
Mozilla Firefox in the next version 57, will have no add-ons at all, while the Microsoft Edge from first release has no add-ins capability.
To summarize, with new releases of the most popular web browsers, it becomes even more difficult to run applications that still requires popular Add-ins like Adobe Flash and Java.
Oracle users are definitely affected, as there are many Oracle Forms applications around.
Although Oracle recommends to use Oracle ADF for a new apps, it will take a years (or even decade) till all Oracle Forms apps will be replaced/upgraded with a newer technology.
Oracle Retail is one such example, where the central module – RMS (Retail Merchandising System) along with a couple of smaller modules (ReSA – Sales Audit and RTM) are, even in the latest releases, still created using Oracle Forms technology.
Oracle Retail 16 is the first release that fully replace Oracle Forms.
As Oracle Retail is one of the most complex SW around, it will take a years till all clients will upgrade it to use ADF instead of Oracle Forms.
Adobe Flash is in extensive use by Oracle, as Oracle EM (Enterprise Manager) and many monitoring packages are based on it.
To conclude, many users will still need to use Java and Flash plugins for many years.
Even some of users will need it to run online banking software, as Java plugins will be required for pairing USB stick.
If you are running Firefox web browser, instead to use the latest version (which is at time of writing this article version 56.0), you can install and use the latest Firefox ESR 52.8.0 where you can still user Java Plug-in, as that is the last version where you can still run popular plugins.
Unfortunately, official support for 52.8.0 ESR will expire by the June 2018.
For that reason, you cannot rely on Firefox ESR as a long term solution.
Other option is to use Internet Explorer 11 if you need to have Java/Flash or Silverlight at your disposal.
There are two main disadvantages of using Internet Explorer:
Microsoft has already released a new web browser (Edge which is default option from Windows 10), where plugin support is disabled (meaning there are no more Java/Flash/Silverlight inside the browser), and Edge will be the only browser Microsoft will continue to develop/support.
Internet Explorer, on the other hand, will continue to receive only critical security patches, but no new functionality will be developed for that browser.
Internet Explorer is bind to Windows OS. Linux and MacOS users cannot use it.
As Windows users still have some time in front to use popular plugins, situation with other OS users are not so bright.
Thanks to the Pale Moon web browser, situation is better then most of people think.
What is Pale Moon web browser?
In Wikipedia you can find their motto: “Your browser, Your way.”
Pale Moon is fork of well known Mozilla Firefox web browser, but with a few crucial differences.
One of them is add-on capability, which Firefox will remove entirely in the next release (57).
You may also notice old-fashion, classical, adjustable user interface.
Although with very low market share, this browser has several advantages in case, for some reason, you need to use Java or Flash Add-ons.
Browser support Linux, Windows and unofficially MacOS platform.
Why I recommend Pale Moon browser?
It has his own profile directory.
If you click on Help —> Troubleshooting Information and then click on button Profile directory, your file manager will opens at the following direcotry:
/home/USERNAME/.moonchild productions/pale moon/generic_alphanumeric.default/
This is a good news, as you can run Firefox and Pale Moon side by side, as there are no influence between them (separate profile directory under the user HOME).
If you are running 64bit Linux, your Firefox library file are probably in (for Red Hat branch of Linux OS):
I assume you already have: Oracle JDK installed. If not, install the latest Oracle JDK.
As Pale Moon uses 32bit libraries (which is actually a good news, as your add-ins will be separated from the Mozilla libraries), you need to create the following directory (as a root user):
mkdir -p /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
and to create the following soft links (you should change path and Java version name to match with version that you have installed):
ln -s /usr/java/jdk1.8.0_144/jre/lib/amd64/libnpjp2.so libjavaplugin.so
ln -s /usr/java/jdk1.8.0_144/jre/lib/amd64libnpjp2.so libjavaplugin.so.x86_64
ln -s /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/libflashplayer.so libflashplayer.so
When you list directory, you should see the following files:
libflashplayer.so -> /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/libflashplayer.so
libjavaplugin.so -> /usr/java/jdk1.8.0_144/jre/lib/amd64/libnpjp2.so
libjavaplugin.so.x86_64 -> /usr/java/jdk1.8.0_144/jre/lib/amd64libnpjp2.so
Now Flash and Java plug-ins should be visible in your Pale Moon web browser.
To conclude, with Pale Moon you’ll get both: updated web browser that includes new features, but at the same time, you still have supported technologies that you need.
I expect that users will still have several browsers installed, one for general surfing like any from major ones like Firefox/Chrome/Internet Explorer/Edge, while Pale Moon (or Internet Explorer) will be use to run apps that require Java/Flash functionality.