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Dev delays push ship date of Metro-ized Firefox to January 2014

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The Mozilla Foundation has quietly delayed the release of the version of its Firefox browser for Windows 8's Start Screen yet again, citing slower-than-expected development.

According to notes posted from the most recent Mozilla planning meeting, which took place on Thursday, the velocity of the Firefox Metro team decreased by 10 per cent over the period from August 13 through August 26.

Based on that slowdown, the team no longer believes that the public preview release of the Windows 8–friendly version of Firefox will be ready to ship with Firefox 26 in December, as was thought in August. Instead, that code will now arrive no sooner than Firefox 27, which is due to ship on January 21, 2014.

Mozilla has struggled to develop a version of its browser for the Windows 8 Start Screen, owing to the radically different runtime model that environment uses, as compared to the Windows desktop.

Even once the nonprofit delivers a Windows Store version of Firefox for Windows 8, there will be no comparable version for the ARM-based Windows RT OS, because Microsoft has steadfastly refused to give outside developers access to the resources they need to build a functioning browser for that platform.

Mozilla first began teasing Metro-ized builds of Firefox in late 2012, but so far they have only been available to testers daring enough to download Mozilla's bleeding-edge Nightly builds.

The code is expected to graduate to the Aurora channel – still recommended for developers and testers only – with Firefox 26 in the week of September 17. Where it goes from there, however, remains to be seen.

"Whether or not the Metro Preview Release will graduate from Aurora to Beta and Release channels is still to be determined," the Mozilla bods wrote. "At a minimum, it should significantly increase the number of testers and feedback."

Most of the remaining bugs involve cosmetic issues of varying significance, ranging from thumbnail images not appearing to UI elements being hidden behind other elements. The introduction of Windows 8.1 seems to have introduced some new issues, as well, although these are described as minor and are not expected to affect the overall release schedule.

Should development of Firefox's Windows 8 mode continue to slow down, however, its public ship date could potentially slip even further. If it slips past Firefox 27, the next version is currently scheduled to arrive on March 4, 2014. ®

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