Feeds

Mozilla takes Windows 8-friendly Firefox out back ... two shots heard

Alas and alack, all 1,000 users abandoned, just like that

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Mozilla has bad news for Firefox users who are fans of Windows 8 and its new, touch-centric UI – all 1,000 of you, worldwide.

On Friday, Firefox VP Johnathan Nightingale revealed that he had made the decision to "take the Windows Metro version of Firefox off the trains" – Mozilla-speak meaning he's canceled it.

"Mozilla builds software to make the world better, but we have to pick our battles," Nightingale wrote.

Mozilla has been working on a version of its browser that conforms with the UI requirements of Windows 8's Start Screen since 2012, before Microsoft's latest OS had even gone on sale to the public. But the effort has been a fraught one, with development delays causing its ship date to slip repeatedly.

A big part of the problem, it seems, is that there simply wasn't enough demand to justify the effort. As an open source project, Firefox relies on eager volunteers to test the prerelease versions of its code, but not enough were available for the Windows 8 version.

"On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop," Nightingale wrote, "but we've never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment."

Got that? To put that figure into perspective, there are nearly six times as many people living on Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, if you prefer) than were actively testing the Windows 8 version of Firefox.

Mozilla didn't have a lot of competition for the Windows 8 browser market, either. Other than Internet Explorer, which ships with the OS, the only other browser that offers a special mode for the Windows 8 Start Screen is Chrome, and its interface now owes more to Chrome OS than to Microsoft's UI guidelines.

Mind you, Redmond hasn't done browser makers any favors with the way Windows 8 is designed. Only one browser at a time is allowed to launch in Metro mode; when you register one, all of the others revert to being regular desktop apps. It's an inexplicable design choice, other than that it makes Windows 8 users less likely to try new browsers.

Given all of these difficulties, Nightingale ultimately decided to pull the plug rather than release an inferior product.

"We could ship it, but it means doing so without much real-world testing," he wrote. "That's going to mean lots of bugs discovered in the field, requiring a lot of follow up engineering, design, and QA effort."

So much for that, then. Of course, since Firefox is open source, anyone with sufficient interest is free to pick up the slack. Any takers? ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?