Which Adobe Flash Player Version to Install – NPAPI or PPAPI or ActiveX?

After putting the Adobe Flash Player in the back-burner for a couple of years, Adobe has announced the release of a new version of the Flash Player plugin for the Linux. The new version of Flash Player can be downloaded from the usual website of Adobe at https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/. But if you visit this web site, Adobe has made two versions of the Flash Player available for download – NPAPI and PPAPI. This is confusing for many of the users who were in the habit of downloading just one plugin from the website and update it for Firefox browser.

So which of these Flash Player version should you download and use – NPAPI or PPAPI? What is the difference between these two? NPAPI stands for Netscape Plugin API and was developed by Netscape back in 1995. This is basically a plugin interface API which controls how plugins are loaded in a web browser. The Netscape browser is dead for a long time. But Mozilla Firefox was inspired from Netscape and as such it uses the NPAPI. The same is true for another web browser Seamonkey which also uses NPAPI. In fact, any web browser forked or built using the Mozilla Firefox code will use NPAPI version of Adobe Flash Player.

Adobe Flashplayer NPAPI, PPAPI, ActiveX

PPAPI stands for Pepper Plugin API and is developed by Google for the Chrome web browser. It offers security features which lack in NPAPI. Any web browser that uses Google Chrome code base is going to use PPAPI, for example, Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi. So if you have any of these web browsers then you will have to download PPAPI version of Adobe Flash Player.

In case of Windows operating system (Vista, 7 and XP), Adobe also allows you to download ActiveX version of Flash Player which is obviously for the Internet Explorer browser. For Windows 8.x and 10, they offer only PPAPI (for Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi) and NPAPI (for Firefox, Seamonkey, Palemoon etc).

What makes it confusing is that Google Chrome or Opera automatically update the PPAPI Flash player on their own. So what was the need of making it available via the Adobe website? Perhaps the Adobe developers want to take the reigns of Adobe Flash Player back in their own hands.

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