Firefox coming to Metro in Windows 8


— 4:56 PM on March 12, 2012

Good news, Firefox users. If you plan to use Windows 8 on a touch-enabled system, you won't be stuck with Internet Explorer. Firefox Platform Engineer Brian R. Bondy says development of a Metro version of the browser is already underway—in fact, work began last Monday.

Firefox for Metro might not be what you'd expect. Bondy explains that Windows 8 enables three types of applications: traditional Desktop apps, native Metro apps, and what he calls "Metro style enabled desktop browsers." Firefox for Metro will belong to the third category. In Bondy's words, it will "have the ability to run outside of the Metro sandbox," so you'll be able to use it in Desktop mode.

That's a good thing, because Bondy says Microsoft won't let you use Firefox in Metro mode unless you set it as the system's default browser. There will be no browser hopping on tablets, evidently.

Bondy says porting Firefox to Metro is a "very large project" that will "require a lot of new code." So, I wouldn't go looking for an alpha or beta release for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview anytime soon. Perhaps Mozilla will have something out by the time Windows 8 hits stores, though.

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