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Mozilla submits browserless Firefox to Jobsian app police

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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Mozilla has submitted its browserless Firefox application to the Apple App Store.

The open source outfit has no intention of submitting Firefox itself. It doesn't want to take the browser where it's not wanted. But it has built an iPhone version of Firefox Sync, the browser bookmark-syncing service formerly known as Weave, and with a blog post on Wednesday, it announced that it has formally sought the approval of the Jobsian app police.

Firefox Home provides remote access to your Firefox browsing history, bookmarks, recent tabs, and "Awesome bar" – the Firefox address bar that suggests sites based on where you've surfed in the past. In short, Firefox Home lets you tap your desktop Firefox setup from Steve Jobs' holy handset.

But when you actually visit a site, you'll have to use the iPhone's Safari browser. And you can't synchronize what you do on the phone with your desktop Firefox. Firefox Sync lets you synchronize data across multiple devices, but Firefox Home works only one way. Apple's end user licensing agreement for the iPhone SDK bars apps from downloading and running interpreted code, and that rules out full-fledged third-party browsers such as Firefox.

Opera Mini is on the iPhone, but it uses of proxy servers for code execution. The servers compress webpages and send them down to the Jesus Phone as static content.

Firefox Home doesn't violate the "no interpreted code" rule. But Apple could always make up some other reason for banning the thing. ®

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