Currently, Mozilla wants to collaborate with Google Chrome for the built-in plugins for Firefox. Project Mortar, developed by the foundation, aims to offer the same software interfaces as Chromium (the open source engine of Chrome) to the developers. This would help them since they would not need to build and improve non-essential components of Firefox.
Moreover, this allows Firefox to run the PDF viewer and the Flash player included in Chrome, thus saving the Mozilla programmers from developing and maintaining their own versions. Johnny Stenback, who works as a senior director of engineering at Mozilla, declared on Friday that Project Mortar aims in fact to minimize the time Mozilla spends on technologies which are needed for a complete experience when it comes to web browsing, but they are not core features.
He also added that they are going to look at opportunities to replace this type of technologies with some other existing alternatives, such as implementations from other browser developers. More exactly, under the Mozilla plan, Firefox intends to support the Pepper API made by Google so that it will be able to run pdfium, which is the open-source native PDF viewer in Chrome. Besides, it also wants to run the Pepper Flash player, built together by Adobe and Google, which runs in a sandbox in order to limit the malicious code that can damage the system if it finds a security hole in the plugin.
Currently, the Pepper API support in Firefox is at concept stage. Mozilla plans to bring the code to public versions of the Firefox browser in the next months, while developers hope they can start integrating the PDF reader in the first six months of 2017. If everything works out as Mozilla and Google plan out, they will completely remove support for NPAPI from the open-source browser.