Pipelight will not suddenly stop working, but you will not receive any further updates. As a result all enabled plugins (e.g. Silverlight/Flash) stay at the same version and do not get any security fixes. This might be a security thread for your system and we therefore recommend to remove Pipelight using the package manager of your distribution. For Debian based systems you can use the following command:
Removing Pipelight through your package manager is sufficient to get rid of all components, but there are some plugin related files that will still remain in your home directory. They don't cause any harm, but you might want to remove them using the next line to save some disk space:
The Wine Staging project (which was initiated during the development of Pipelight) is not affected by this change and will continue to provide updates on a regular basis.
When I started working on Pipelight back in 2013, the main idea was to make Video On Demand services like Netflix and Amazon accessible on Linux in an easy fashion. Pipelight achieved this goal by wrapping between the Windows and the Linux version of NPAPI, the plugin interface supported by most browsers and plugins. In April 2015 however Chrome/Chromium dropped support for NPAPI, resulting in my favorite browser no longer supporting Pipelight. This was not very motivating but also had a positive side effect, as it forced content providers to find other solutions to protect their streams (HTML5 EME). While I dislike the solution of having a DRM module bundled with a browser (instead of having a DRM plugin that you can use with any browser), it made many services natively accessible on Linux. For most VOD services it is therefore no longer necessary to use Pipelight. By using a native (and often also sandboxed) DRM module you should get improved performance and better security than Pipelight could ever offer.
Although Silverlight was basically obsolete, I continued working on the project for quite some time, mainly because Pipelight also supported other plugins like Flash. The Chrome/PPAPI version of Flash for example does not have support for DRM protected streams and the NPAPI Linux version was way too old for many services. While I was happy about the high interest in Pipelight, even though it was no longer necessary for many services, this lead to another problem. Originally, I intended Pipelight to be a workaround that can be enabled for trusted sites when necessary, but many people started switching to Windows Flash as default version. This was getting a more and more serious security concern since the Flash auto updater does not work in Wine and I had to manually update the installation scripts each time a new version was released. While Pipelight was able to provide plugin updates without releasing a new package, there were some limitations. These were mostly a result of some design decision back from the times when Pipelight only supported a single plugin (Silverlight). A while ago I therefore started working on a rewrite to fix some of the conceptual issues (adding support for 3rd party plugin sources and updates, plugin updates do not require root rights, ...).
However, I never finished the rewrite (so much to code, so little time...) and the last major browser with NPAPI support, Firefox, also wants to drop support in a few months. Without ongoing support by browser and plugin developers most websites will have to find a different solution without relying on ancient plugins. I therefore decided to discontinue the project. The code of Pipelight is still available at Bitbucket (stable branch) in case you have any use for it.
- Michael Müller