Feeds

Mozilla brews browserless iPhone apps

Firefox 'experience' without the Firefox

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Mozilla is tinkering with multiple applications for the Apple iPhone. And no, that doesn't include a Firefox browser.

"There is something of the Firefox and Mozilla experience that might be possible on the iPhone - that isn't the Firefox browser. We've got some people prototyping some ideas that may end up becoming iPhone applications," Mozilla director of community development Asa Dotzler tells The Reg. "But there's no plans or intention or discussion around building a browser there."

Last week, Opera hinted it will soon offer a browser for the iPhone, but Dotzler says Mozilla has no intention of taking Firefox where it's "not wanted."

Apple's end user licensing agreement for the iPhone SDK forbids applications from downloading and running interpreted code. And though Opera boss Jon von Tetzchner says this may or may not forbid the use of web browsers, Dotzler sees no ambiguity.

And he's right.

"Apple has made it very clear in their public statement and their license agreement that it is not permitted to build - not just to host at the App Store, but to build - any program that can interpret code," Dotzler says. "If you agree to their SDK, you cannot build another browser."

Well, Opera has built an iPhone app, and judging from von Tetzchner's veiled comments, it has even spoken to Apple about getting it into the iPhone App Store. But Dotzler and Mozilla see no reason to even try. "In the end - whether the SDK is ambiguous or not - Apple's intention is to not allow other browsers. So we say 'You know what, they don't want to be open. So why spend a lot of time and energy fighting that when there are other more open platforms?'"

Mozilla is already offering browsers for Windows Mobile and Nokia Maemo phones, and now that Android is accepting native apps, the open sourcers have built the first prototypes of a Googlephone browser as well.

But despite its stance on Apple's iPhone SDK, Mozilla is building something for the iPhone. In mid-October, Mozilla's John Lilly told GigaOm the outfit would release a single app for the iPhone "in the next few weeks." And Dotzler indicates that multiple ideas are in the works - though he declined to describe them.

"There are a couple of people who are doing work in their spare time," Dotzler said. "I think it's interesting and I hope they push it out to the public soon." He too indicated this could happen "in the next few weeks."

GigaOM speculated that Mozilla's mystery iPhone app would involve Weave, the Labs project that lets you upload your Firefox meta-data - including bookmarks, stored passwords, history, tabs, preferences, and add-ons - to Mozilla's servers for use across multiple browsers.

It's unclear why that would be useful without Firefox - or why Mozilla thinks Apple would welcome such a thing. But there you have it. Whether Weave is involved or not, there's something on the way. And it won't run interpreted code. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.