back to article Netscape plugins about to stop working in Chrome for Mac

Google has let it be known that it will stop working on 32-bit versions of Chrome for Mac OS. In a brief post, The Chocolate Factory says “Unlike on Windows, where Chrome is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit, on Mac, Chrome will only be available in 64-bit with version 39 and after.” There's no explanation for the change …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All recent Mac's have had a 64-bit processor. Lion is 64-bit and with Mavericks "free", why would Google continue to support basically Snow Leopard and earlier? I'm sure Google has run the numbers and there are very few that this would impact.

    Eventually Google won't support XP either.

    Google only supports a few versions back for browsers, so I can see them only supporting a few releases back on an OS as well.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      OS cost isn't an issue, but there are plenty of white iMacs with core (1) CPUs out there - 32bit only - running snow leopard.

      Mac users tend to be split between must-upgrade fan boys and if-it-works-keep-it people.

      The downside of a hw vendor giving a free os is that they will use it to try to get you to upgrade your hw.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Google doesn't support Windows 2000. Snow Leopard is EOL/EOS from Apple. They are not patching it and they are also not patching Safari 5.x which is the latest that can be run on SL.

        April 2015 is when Chrome no longer supports XP. Google isn't going to support every OS forever.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    Spy in our Office?

    We just had this conversation on Thursday, when will Chrome be RTM 64bit? Truly timely!

  3. bazza Silver badge

    Presumably on Mac Chrome does the same thing with plugins as it does on Windows. That is the plugins are run in a separate process to the main browser and communicates via Inter Process Comms.

    In which case the browser could be 64bit and the plugins could remain as 32 bit (IPC really doesn't care about it at all AFAIK). The plugins wrapper and the browser are merely sharing data through shared memory, pipes, semaphores, etc. So long as the 64bit browser and 32bit plugin wrapper have the same understanding of the data conveyed between them (which should be very easy) then it would all work just fine.

    So killing off '32 bit plugins' is more of a political statement than a technological necessity. Except that on Windows (and I presume Macs also) the plugins wrapper is merely the chrome executable itself spawned with appropriate command line options. They'd have to calve off the plugin wrapper portion of their code into a separate executable to pull the trick I've outlined. It's that extra work that is what they've judged is probably not worth their while doing.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      On MacOS X NPAPI is the OS standard for internet plugins. When Google say they're not supporting 32-bit plugins on the Mac what they mean is they've killed off support for the OS standard. Luckily Safari and Firefox still support 32-bit plugins when ran in 32-bit mode... they both could have done this in a better way via a plugin wrapper when running in 64-bit mode but they don't.

      Same goes for Linux I believe.

      Lately Google seem to be having a bad case of dropping support because it's NIH.

    2. KroSha

      OSX will only run an app in either 32-bit or 64-bit. A 64-bit app will not run 32-bit plugins and vice versa. If you have a plug-in in the "wrong format", the app has to relaunch to run it. System Preferences does this if you try to run an old 32-bit pref pane.

      All Macs using Core2 or later are 64-bit, so this only affects pre-2008 Macs, which are probably on the way out by now anyway.

  4. petur

    NPAPI soon RIP on Windows too

    A Googler told me recently that probably by the end of this year or shortly after, there will be no NPAPI support on Chrome for Windows either...

  5. Ian Rogers

    NPAPI already RIP on Linux

    NPAPI in Chrome has been killed in Linux since chrome 35 - - which kills Java! Without an alternative way to access sites with Java plugins I've seen various comments of people moving back to Firefox.

    Google seems to be shooting itself in the foot with this, I can't see this being a good way to force Go onto websites....

    1. phil dude

      Re: NPAPI already RIP on Linux

      But since it is FOSS you can at least access a working version.

      The reason I run >1 browsers is just this. Somethings work better in some browsers than others. I wish we had window by window secure process trees, but that's another story...

      I am sure there are obscure plugins out there that someone depends on, and I hope some backport appears...


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