Killing the NPAPI plugin

“Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei.”
— horrible 1980ies german folk song lyrics

So, three month ago, the ESC discussed if we would still support the NPAPI plugin to show documents in the browser. The discussion was ignited over an mostly innocent bug: fdo#45071, but the discussion soon dived into long-term viability of this technology and with Chrome “phasing out NPAPI support over the coming year” and as Mozilla Firefox “will no longer activate most plugins by default” it became quickly clear that trying to keep the plugin alive would be throwing good developer time after bad. So in LibreOffice 4.4.x there will not be a NPAPI plugin anymore, as the patch that was waiting on gerrit for a month is now pushed to the master branch. As by the time of release plugins will not be enabled anymore on the most common browsers using it, this likely will not make much of a difference to most users anyway.

Luckily, LibreOffice is not only deprecating old technologies when they become more and more irrelevant — it is also moving towards new technologies when they gain relevance.