Firefox coming to Metro in Windows 8

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.

Comments closed
    • Tristan
    • 8 years ago

    What about plugins support ? I dream about Flash and Silverlight native support in FF Metro.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 8 years ago

    Wow. Metro gets better by the day doesn’t it? When I first heard about the “App” store, I knew MS was trying to make a walled garden, just didn’t expect it to be worse than my expectations. Also, the whole no flash thing? Is Microsoft becoming Apple? I guess they aren’t even bothering to acclimate us by turning up the heat slowly.

    [url<]http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/microsofts-metro-proves-the-pc-is-dead/18705[/url<]

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 8 years ago

      Microsoft has slowly been becoming Apple for a while now. Xbox 360 was their first highly successful foray into reveling in the Apple, closed-system “bliss.” I mean, consider. People were lapping up proprietary hard drives, proprietary video cables (not able to use the older Xbox’s component cables/VGA cables), proprietary memory cards, proprietary wireless add-on’s, Live games being locked down to Xbox…

      After they knew that cash cow, the PC was forgotten. They axed all their PC developers, then they axed all their first party developers save a select couple of big name ones (LyingHead, Bungie). The latter left of their own accord, leaving a skeleton crew of sweatshop taskmasters to run the sweatshops full of ex-GRIN, ex-Bizarre, ex-Infinity Ward slaves all churning out “moar Halo, moar Forza, moar Fable.”

      This has been so successful and iPad/iPhone/iPod touch has done so well, Microsoft now realizes its mistake. It gave up on the PC industry, but now it greedily hungers to go back, reclaim their PC crown just long enough to offer “a brand new Windows,” and then transform the PC users it abandoned into the users it’s always wanted: locked in, app buying users with fewer and fewer expectations for open platforms and configuration options.

      I expect from here on, we’ll have desktops be de-prioritized and the app store emphasized. Every iteration of Windows bringing less options in the name of, “Improved simplicity!”

      Of course, there’s always the possibility that Windows 8 will be seen as the next Vista or ME. Or, better yet, the next OS/2. One can hope.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      “I knew MS was trying to make a walled garden” – The only way to protect consumers from themselves.

      People bitch day-in-and-out about malware, when 95% of malware is caused by the end user. Well, guess the best way to stop 95% of the malware installs? Limit what the end user can install.

      The good news is MS has ways to side-load metro apps.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    “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.”

    Wow really? I think the EU is going to have a field day with this one.

      • insulin_junkie72
      • 8 years ago

      It seems to be a Metro thing – if you set another browser to be default, IE disappears from Metro.

      It’s not pro-MS, it just the way browsers are handled. IE isn’t treated any differently than any other browser.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        It’s going to be the installed explorer and you can only use another one if you set it to default.

        Which is more restrictive than Windows was.

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 8 years ago

          One can certainly argue how smart allowing one browser at a time in Metro is.

          However, from a ‘Will this tick off a government organization?’ perspective, anytime you install a browser, the install is going to ask/want you to make it be the default browser, so it’s not like Microsoft is making it very difficult for using another browser.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            Look, I’m not the one who ruled against Microsoft in the first place, but they lost this battle once, in a more open system.

            • yogibbear
            • 8 years ago

            Yeah mannnnn having to double click IE and then google firefox / chrome / safari / etc. was just HELLL. I want my money back for those 5 seconds of hell!

    • crabjokeman
    • 8 years ago

    Bad news: Metro compatibility won’t come until Firefox 53.0
    Good news: Firefox 53.0 is only about two months away

      • Madman
      • 8 years ago

      Blame the Google for version number race.

        • crabjokeman
        • 8 years ago

        I blame general stupidity by all parties involved. What I really don’t understand is how Mozilla intends to catch up to or surpass the Chrome version number (that was the whole point of going with the new version scheme, right?). They have the same amount of time between versions as Chrome (~6 weeks) and they’re 7-8 version numbers behind. Something doesn’t add up…

          • Sargent Duck
          • 8 years ago

          1…2…skip a few…99…100!

            • DrCR
            • 8 years ago

            It worked for Slackware. 😉

        • bcronce
        • 8 years ago

        It’s not a number race. Version numbers need to only convey one thing.. is it newer?

        Quick successive releases allow software to evolve faster. There are a few corner cases, like Corps, that want a stable environment, so this new version fad needs to figure that out.

      • gmskking
      • 8 years ago

      That is why I moved to Chrome. Firefox is slow and weak.

    • dashbarron
    • 8 years ago

    64-bit? No? Getting a mobile version instead? Oh ok.

      • Madman
      • 8 years ago

      Well, it’s not like you need more than 4GB of RAM for the browser anyway.

        • Steel
        • 8 years ago

        Ha! I’m using more than that with my 57 open tabs right now!

      • ChronoReverse
      • 8 years ago

      I’m kinda curious as to what imaginary benefit you think there’ll be for working on a 64-bit version of Firefox (which already does exist in Minefield experimental builds).

        • boing
        • 8 years ago

        The 64 bit version of IE9 is not much faster than the 32 bit version, though there difference is not insignificant if I recall the benchmark results posted on various sites. Any speedup is welcome.

        • dashbarron
        • 8 years ago

        1) With my average of at least 200-300 tabs open I’m sure I can milks some benefit out of it.

        2) Because it’s 2012.

        3) Because if there’s any speed-increase why not?

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