Feeds

Mozilla brews browserless iPhone apps

Firefox 'experience' without the Firefox

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.