So after being poked and prodded by people (you know who you are.. you’re on my list now) to start a blog, here is my first post!
According to this post, it seems Gecko is going to definitely remove LiveConnect and OJI soon. I had heard whispers of this before, but people stopped talking when I got close. Probably because I stumble into discussions drunk and start rambling about how Picard was the best captain… but we will never know. Anyway, now it is official.
This is a problem for the IcedTea plugin, which uses LiveConnect/OJI. Here is a brief history of things:
- Around the end of 2004 (this date is from Wikipedia without citation, so it may not be accurate) browsers supporting NPAPI agreed on a new scriptable extension to NPAPI, known as NPRutime. Around 2007, Sun started working on a new plugin (libnpjp2.so) that uses NPRuntime. The new plugin is now the default.
With the Sun plugin having switched over to the new API, there are very few users of LiveConnect/OJI now and Gecko has decided to therefore remove it and reduce the maintenance burden.
As there is no date available for when the new Sun plugin will be released as Free Software, we’ve decided to start work on a new plugin that works via NPRuntime. The new plugin will be implemented in 2 phases:
1. Get normal Java applets working (including signed ones)
#1 is relatively easy, and will cover a large number of use cases. It is #2 that will be time consuming. Since NPRuntime is just an extension of NPAPI, that means that the older GCJ Web plugin (which uses NPAPI) can be used as a skeleton. That is the route I am currently taking. The idea is to modify GCJWebplugin so that it can use the new NetX-ified Java backend that IcedTea plugin uses, and consequently support signed applets, cookies, proxies, etc.
As stated in the message by Josh in the link above, Gecko will be making the change in 1.9.2 which will be the base for Firefox 3.6 due in Q2 2010. Bleeding edge distros like Fedora Rawhide will switch to Gecko 1.9.2 sooner than that of course, but it will still be a good few months before that. Hopefully it will be enough time for a rewrite! I am close to being done with the first phase. Next on my list is planning how we will be implementing the bridge, figuring out the necessary resource allocation, etc. I will keep updating this blog as things progress. Rest assured, we will try our best so that when OJI is removed there is a smooth transition to keep productivity at a minimum by allowing everyone to use Yahoo Games, Absolute Poker, etc.
1: Not that it needed saying, but still: I was kidding – I don’t stumble into discussions drunk and ramble about Star Trek. And as if Picard needs to be justified!
2: Edit: I should’ve reworded that. What I meant to say was that there is no confirmed release date. As per
It is targetted for M4. However it cannot be confirmed and should that date be missed, it will be rather late to start a plugin rewrite and distros like Rawhide won’t have Java plugin support in that mean time. Hence the push for rewrite now…