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Mozilla Shows Metro Version of Firefox for Windows 8

By - Source: Brian Bondy | B 22 comments

Firefox for Windows 8 Metro probably won't be released until the second half of 2012, later than previously planned.

Mozilla's Brian Bondy has provided an update on Firefox for Windows 8 Metro, throwing up a few screenshots in the process. Based on his report, it doesn't seem that the browser will make its 2Q12 release, as there are still some unresolved design questions and "a ton of platform integration work to do."

Still, the team has a working browser up and running in Microsoft's blocky OS. The end user can navigate the web, create tabs, bookmark pages, build history, retain cache, adjust preferences, and more. It also looks and feels like the Android browser.

"Our prototype in its current form is based on the Fennec XUL code," Bondy writes. "We used to use Fennec XUL on Android, but changed to a Native UI on Android for startup performance reasons. We haven't seen the same types of startup performance problems we've had on Android yet, even on VMs."

According to the images, the browser's UI is more Android-like than Metro because Metro specific UI guidelines and Mozilla UX work feedback has not begun, but hopefully that should be changing soon. Right now the team is writing up a proposal on how they should proceed with the Metro work which will be posted here.

"If we are able to keep using Fennec XUL we'll be ahead of schedule, but I anticipate some serious discussions once that is posted," he reports. "Since our prototype is based on Fennec we have a multi-process capable browser for free. Currently there is only one content process, but I believe the longer term plans are to increase that."

The Alpha and Beta version of Firefox for Windows 8 Metro are now listed as "2H," or rather the second half of 2012. The Alpha will prove the installation path and basic browsing features. The Beta will be feature complete for a 1.0-capability product, the roadmap states.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    el33t , April 4, 2012 2:26 PM
    Toms, it'd have been much more convenient if those screenshots were attached in the article..
  • 11 Hide
    franky4ro , April 4, 2012 3:27 PM
    is it me or win 8 will be the next milennium and vista :) )
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    el33t , April 4, 2012 2:26 PM
    Toms, it'd have been much more convenient if those screenshots were attached in the article..
  • Display all 22 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    cnox , April 4, 2012 2:27 PM
    You know, the last 'boxy' ui i worked with was Lotus Notes. Oh my god, that was the worst experience I've ever had...EVER. EVER EVER. I hope I never go back, but it looks like the metro UI may be just that...15 years later.

    The optimist in me will say that there will be a transition from what the first release delivers and what the long term Ui design will be, but it's going to be a painful transition methinks. But we'll all take it because there's nothing better for gaming out there...
  • -2 Hide
    Marco925 , April 4, 2012 2:32 PM
    Mozilla! Don't give into pressure! Buck the trend!
  • 6 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 4, 2012 2:34 PM
    Time for Google to exploit this delay with a Metro version of Chrome?
  • 6 Hide
    blazorthon , April 4, 2012 2:39 PM
    Ehh, at least Mozilla is trying to keep with the times. I still don't like Metro, but it would be wrong of Mozilla to ignore a UI that a lot of people will be using in the future.
  • -9 Hide
    seels , April 4, 2012 3:10 PM
    Apple > Microsoft yet again. Microsoft is full of mistakes and too many junky OS' to count.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 4, 2012 3:20 PM
    I'm more than worried by these succeeding Windows version, XP, the crappy Vista, 7, now a really worrysome 8, and more importantly all the significant user problems and painful transitions that come with them. I'm still using XP with delight.

    May be application companies have their word to say, by not necessarily following what MicroSoft dictates.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 4, 2012 3:21 PM
    You mean like all the pre-OSX versions especially 9.0 and 9.1?
  • 11 Hide
    franky4ro , April 4, 2012 3:27 PM
    is it me or win 8 will be the next milennium and vista :) )
  • 1 Hide
    wiyosaya , April 4, 2012 4:29 PM
    franky4rois it me or win 8 will be the next milennium and vista )

    I don't think you are the only one who thinks this.
  • -2 Hide
    Hypertraxx , April 4, 2012 7:32 PM
    franky4rois it me or win 8 will be the next milennium and vista )

    wiyosayaI don't think you are the only one who thinks this.

    Neither do i.
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , April 4, 2012 7:44 PM
    franky4rois it me or win 8 will be the next milennium and vista )


    Hey, Vista wasn't as bad as Millennium and is a lot better than it first was. XP also sucked when it first came out and wasn't too great until the second service pack. Vista also just needed until it's second service pack before it didn't suck much anymore.

    mhchI'm more than worried by these succeeding Windows version, XP, the crappy Vista, 7, now a really worrysome 8, and more importantly all the significant user problems and painful transitions that come with them. I'm still using XP with delight.May be application companies have their word to say, by not necessarily following what MicroSoft dictates.


    Companies don't skip OS updates just because they suck at the time. Companies skip OS updates because they see no reason to upgrade what is still working just fine for them, especially with how expensive upgrading an entire infrastructure is. Companies are still often using XP, Server 2003, and even Win 2000 on many computers for this reason. If fixing something is as expensive as it is in the business world, why fix what isn't broken? That is why they don't upgrade.

    Besides that, Windows 8's only serious problem is Metro, which can easily be disabled or worked around if you can't learn to live with it (it really isn't too bad once you give it a chance, but I'd probably disable it after playing with it for a while anyway). Vista had several problems including poor performance, poor driver support, poor software compatibility, poor stability, and more. Windows Vista still has fairly poor performance, but it's better and it's other problems improved a lot. Windows 8 is not slow (it's the fastest Windows since XP, if not even faster than XP), has great driver support (it works with almost all Windows Vista and 7 drivers), has great software compatibility, and is stable.

    XP originally had all of the same problems that Vista had (except fore the performance thing; it wasn't that much slower than it's predecessors) too. Come service pack 2, XP became far better. XP went on to become the most popular consumer version of Windows because it became great. Vista didn't become great, but it's decent now. It's kinda like how IE 9 is a decent browser, but it's previous versions all suck (previous versions of Vista all sucked, that's the analogy). IE 9 still isn't great and there are better options both older and newer, but it is decent. Vista still isn't great and it has both superior predecessors (XP) and superior successors (7), but it is decent.

    Also, a lot of the perceived Vista is crap came from it being installed on machines that had less than 2GB of RAM (not a rare thing back in 2006 and 2007). XP's memory needs weren't as bad for it's time because it only needed 256MB to run properly (hardly worse than Windows 2000's needs and was a common minimum amount of RAM back then). However, many machines of the time from Windows Vista's upbringing had only 256MB to 1GB of memory and Vista doesn't do well with so little RAM.
  • -2 Hide
    pjmelect , April 4, 2012 10:15 PM
    Mozilla need not bother developing a Metro interface for Firefox as I predict that Windows 8 will fail worse than Vista. No one will want or use it on the desktop although it may find some limited acceptance on tablets.
  • 2 Hide
    killerclick , April 4, 2012 11:30 PM
    Microsoft is forcing Metro on users in order to move the PC towards becoming a closed/kiosk system that runs only preapproved apps from the Windows store. They want that 30% cut from app sales and since they can't gain any traction in the mobile market, their solution is for everyone to start using their PC as a smartphone or tablet. What? You have three 27" screens? No worries, you can use this interface we made for mobile phones.

    What could possibly go wrong?
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , April 5, 2012 12:57 AM
    killerclickMicrosoft is forcing Metro on users in order to move the PC towards becoming a closed/kiosk system that runs only preapproved apps from the Windows store. They want that 30% cut from app sales
    Metro is a UI. It has nothing to do with the move towards "App Store" type ecosystems. They're going that direction because that is where the market is headed everywhere you look - on phones and tablets this type of distribution platform dominates. I don't see you bitching about iOS and Android doing the same thing all this time (taking a 30% cut).

    Heck at least with MS, if your app becomes a hot seller and sells $25,000 they drop their cut from 30% to 20%. So any popular app for Windows 8 (which will be on a ton of devices) will soon be sending more money the developer's way. They also let you sync and use purchased apps on up to 5 devices, at the same time, using your account. So you could own 2 tablets, 2 laptops, and a desktop, all just for you, log in and you've got access to your stuff on all of them. I'm sure you can de-register devices too.
  • 3 Hide
    killerclick , April 5, 2012 1:45 AM
    Quote:
    Metro is a UI. It has nothing to do with the move towards "App Store" type ecosystems. They're going that direction because that is where the market is headed everywhere you look - on phones and tablets this type of distribution platform dominates. I don't see you bitching about iOS and Android doing the same thing all this time (taking a 30% cut)


    Metro is Microsoft's way of forcing their existing user base onto the App Store walled-garden model. That's why you can't disable Metro and that's why desktop mode is being aggressively relegated to legacy-land. Sure, the Microbots have their talking points about people being afraid of change and all that, but the reality is they're salivating over that 20-30% cut, the ad revenue from ad-supported apps and of course $50-$100 registration fee for developers.

    I know I'll be sticking to Windows 7 for as long as it can run the software I need, or until Microsoft makes Metro entirely optional (I can live with the App Store software model).
  • -1 Hide
    livebriand , April 5, 2012 3:48 AM
    Metro is ugly and useless, Firefox for metro is also ugly, why must Microsoft force metro on us all?
  • -1 Hide
    livebriand , April 5, 2012 3:49 AM
    eddieroolzTime for Google to exploit this delay with a Metro version of Chrome?

    Honestly, if Mozilla continues with this ugly metro UI crap, I may just switch to Chrome as a way of saying F-U to them. Seriously.
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , April 5, 2012 3:53 AM
    killerclickMetro is Microsoft's way of forcing their existing user base onto the App Store walled-garden model. That's why you can't disable Metro and that's why desktop mode is being aggressively relegated to legacy-land. Sure, the Microbots have their talking points about people being afraid of change and all that, but the reality is they're salivating over that 20-30% cut, the ad revenue from ad-supported apps and of course $50-$100 registration fee for developers.I know I'll be sticking to Windows 7 for as long as it can run the software I need, or until Microsoft makes Metro entirely optional (I can live with the App Store software model).

    I completely agree with you. Maybe when Windows 8 fails dramatically they'll realize their mistake (that we're all warning them about right now) and undo it.
  • -1 Hide
    livebriand , April 5, 2012 3:55 AM
    franky4rois it me or win 8 will be the next milennium and vista )

    ME: Unstable, based on the old 9x kernel that was about to go extinct.
    Vista: Stable (NT 6.0), but slow and poor driver support at the time (which has since improved, and with 2GB RAM performance is fine). It really wasn't that bad.
    8: Fucked up from the start, with the metro UI being forced on desktop users. This will fail horribly, worse than Vista, no doubt about it.
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