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Mozilla considers dumping Firefox support for Win2k, early XP

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Mozilla execs have taken to their developer forum to mull whether to ditch support for versions of ageing Microsoft operating systems when it releases Firefox 3.5’s successor in 2010.

Over the course of the past day, the browser maker’s developer team and company execs have been discussing which Windows operating systems Mozilla should offer support for.

Mozilla software engineer Michael Conner kicked off the discussion by proposing the organisation ramp up minimum requirements for Gecko 1.9.2, as well as any versions of Firefox built on the rich internet apps platform, to require users to be running Windows XP SP3 or higher.

Conner pointed out that Microsoft plans to kill support for Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP2 in July next year.

However, Mozilla’s Firefox director Mike Beltzner didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about such a move.

"Right now, the majority of our Windows users are still on XP, but I'm not sure it's clear how many of those users have upgraded, or intend to upgrade, or in some cases are able to upgrade," he said.

"And while I understand that the platform itself isn't supported by Microsoft, I do think that keeping those XP users from being able to use Firefox will end up doing more harm (to them) than good, no matter what the intent."

Others waded into the discussion by suggesting that there was greater justification for dropping Win2k and XP “entirely”, because “there are many more new features in Vista that we could take advantage of,” according to Mozilla developer Rob Arnold.

“I think we should see how Windows 7 pans out. If the result is good and users migrate from XP, then we should consider dropping XP. Of course, there will always be people who cling to old systems like Win2k and XP and they will be vocal,” he added.

Mozilla continues to procrastinate over future support for later versions of its browser on its dev.planning forum, which you can take a wander over to here.

In the meantime, the company is working on its Gecko 1.9.1 engine that powers the oft-delayed Firefox 3.5, which Mozilla still has under its development hat. The next version of the outfit's open source browser is now expected to arrive in the second quarter of this year. ®

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