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Firefox version 52 will break Linux support

posted 28 Feb 2017, 00:13 by Onno Benschop
At this time I can advise you that Linux will continue to be a supported platform for the ATO. This is great news!

As you may know, currently the AUSkey infrastructure relies on Java to authenticate. As of Firefox version 52 [1][2], legacy plugins using NPAPI technology will stop working. If you've been playing for a while you'll recall that this is also true for Chrome which discontinued support for NPAPI a year and a half ago [4].

This is essentially why the ATO software stopped working under Chrome on Linux and will stop with version 52 of Firefox.

This same change has happened under Windows and OS X. Fortunately, the solution that exists for Windows (and OS X) will also apply to Linux. This has as a side-benefit that both Firefox and Chrome will be supported under Linux. In addition, Chrome compatible browsers such as Vivaldi and Opera are also expected to be supported.

Until this is released we have several options:
  • While AUSkey is still working on your machine, you can link MyGov to the ATO and bypass the AUSkey authentication process. If AUSkey no longer works on your machine, you can as a once-off, use a Windows machine to do the linking. (Well spotted Rob!)
  • If you don't upgrade Firefox to version 52, AUSkey will continue to work.
  • If you move to Firefox ESR [3] (Extended Support Release), you can continue to use NPAPI plug-ins until early 2018.

I have also been advised that the libabrakmbe.so shared object file that Michael and Jayen discovered is code that does the authentication to AUSkey. In the past, this was achieved by a plug-in written by Oracle, which if you recall required installation prior to use - and instructions to achieve this formed the origins for this mailing list and the FAQ.

At this time I'm not able to tell you when this will roll-out, just that it exists today and that it's coming.


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