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Mozilla Firefox Windows

Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro 200

Posted by timothy
from the when-the-burglars-bring-your-couch-back dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today announced it is abandoning the Metro version of its Firefox browser, before the first release for Windows 8 even sees the light of day. Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale ordered the company's engineering leads and release managers to halt development earlier this week, saying that shipping a 1.0 version "would be a mistake." Mozilla says it simply does not have the resources nor the scale of its competitors, and it has to pick its battles. The Metro platform (which has since been renamed to Modern UI, but many prefer the older name) simply doesn't help the organization achieve its mission as well as other platforms Firefox is available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android."
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Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:05PM (#46488249)

    Good, lets not waste time and resources metroifying things that need not be, at least not until we get some clarity from microsoft on what they're going to do to fix the mess from windows 8. They could keep the metro language and so on, but they might be better to wipe some of that slate clean for windows 9 and apologize for fucking up so badly. And how they try and fix it could beak anything people would be working on now.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sideslash (1865434) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:37PM (#46488465)
      The idea some people got that all existing Windows apps were supposed to be rewritten as Modern Apps is certainly wrong.

      However, the idea that the WinRT / Modern App platform needs to go away in a future Windows version is also misguided. What you refer to as "Metro" fills a useful function that isn't otherwise served on Windows, which is enabling touch screen use, and it does a very nice job of that. True, there aren't many Windows tablets or touch monitors out there, but the number of them is increasing every day, and it would be stupid of Microsoft to ditch the whole WinRT effort now.

      If you want to make the case that keyboard and mouse users shouldn't have to look at the Modern UI if they don't want to... why then I will heartily agree.
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by frdmfghtr (603968) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:56PM (#46488603)

        Before I agree or disagree, I have to ask: are you equating the Modern UI with WinRT? Unless I'm mistaken, they are not the same thing. WinRT uses the Modern UI but the Modern UI is not exclusive to WinRT.

        Having said that, I would disagree and state that WinRT does need to go away; if it looks like Windows and feels like Windows but doesn't run Windows apps then it's confusing.

        At the same time, I recently upgraded my laptop from Win7 to Win 8.1 (I got the $15 upgrade to Win8 Pro way back when) and I'm getting used to the Start menu now being the Modern UI Start screen. When I remote in using Remote Desktop from my iPad, it feels quite natural and useful. When I'm at my machine and using a mouse, not so much.

        • by bondsbw (888959)

          Modern UI is not exclusive to WinRT.

          No, Modern UI is exclusive to WinRT, unless you're talking about skinning a desktop application to look like a Modern UI application. But it won't be able to integrate with all the WinRT services or run in a metro frame (full-screen independent of the desktop).

          There is an exception to this rule, the default web browser. Web browsers are the only apps (that I know of) that can hook into some of the Modern UI capabilities without having to be built for WinRT. You can also download them without going throug

          • WinRT is a stripped down version of Windows that does not include the desktop or related functionality. Windows on the desktop is a superset of WinRT and includes "the interface formerly known as Metro".

            • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

              by exomondo (1725132) on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:52PM (#46489793)

              WinRT is a stripped down version of Windows that does not include the desktop or related functionality. Windows on the desktop is a superset of WinRT and includes "the interface formerly known as Metro".

              No, WinRT is the Windows Runtime [wikipedia.org], it is an application platform for Metro apps. You are thinking of the operating system called Windows RT.

        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:08PM (#46488697)

          The way I understood his post is that we shouldn't abandon Metro because it serves a purpose on RT, regardless of whether or not it belongs on other platforms. I don't think RT needs to go away so much as it needs a name that doesn't use "Windows"

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

          by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruising-slashdot@@@yahoo...com> on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:11PM (#46488737) Homepage Journal

          You are (very) mistaken. WinRT (Windows RunTime) is an API set, a platform for running what Microsoft has (at various times) called "Metro", "Modern", "Immersive", and "Windows Store" apps. While you can make a full-screen touch-friendly UI without using WinRT, you need to use WinRT to integrate with the other "app" stuff that Win8.x does (the new task switcher, the sandboxing, the snapping, the automatic suspension in the background, etc.). To be fair, Firefox probably wasn't really trying to do that (the sandbox part, in particular, would be Really Good for them to have but would be a lot of work) so I expect it was more like what Chrome is doing, where they tack some Win32 UI functions onto their otherwise-traditional browser.

          Windows RT, on the other hand, is completely different from WinRT. It can run WinRT apps, but saying they're the same thing would be like saying that Linux and the JVM are the same thing. Well, aside from the fact that those are made by different companies and don't have idiotically similar names... To the best of my knowledge, there was no real effort to port Firefox to Windows RT. I've tried doing that port myself (as a desktop application for jailbroken RT systems, not as a "Metro"/WinRT app) and it would be a tremendous amount of work.

          • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

            by roc97007 (608802) on Friday March 14, 2014 @08:21PM (#46488789) Journal

            Thanks very much, I was powerful confused by earlier posts. So to paraphrase, WinRT is the run time API for what we call Metro, (on Intel and ARM) and Windows RT is that version of Windows (8, currently) that runs on ARM? Wow, no wonder people are confused.

            • Maybe a bit of confusion, but in my opinion not so bad. Windows RT ARM tablets are so named because you can only install WinRT targeting apps on them.

              If Microsoft called the devices and software layer WinTouch or something, that might have helped a little, as a lot of people have been disappointed that a "Windows" computer can't run legacy mouse/keyboard Windows apps.
              • Thats not correct. Windows RT is an actual product name for an OS.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]

                • That's technically true, and you could raise the same objection if you hear someone talking about an "Android ARM tablet". I think my general point still holds despite my informal usage, no?
              • The Windows 8 ARM devices need to cease to exist now. Win 8 tablets with modern Atom processors exist, priced at under $300 from vendors like Dell. The market for "priced less" Windows RT tablets has been superseded by the new Windows 8.1 tablets. I am typing this on my Dell Venue 8 Pro.

                • by roc97007 (608802)

                  I don't think Windows RT devices exist because they are "priced less". I think they exist so that Microsoft can show that they are a player in the ARM space. As a product, it doesn't need to succeed, it merely needs to exist.

                  I agree, though, that the user base could do without them.

                • The Windows 8 ARM devices need to cease to exist now

                  The main advantage at this point to the Win8 ARM platforms is the epic battery life compared to their x86 counterparts. Atom is pretty good, but still not as good.

                  • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                    by Anonymous Coward

                    So I can't do what I want to do, for longer?

                  • The main advantage at this point to the Win8 ARM platforms is the epic battery life

                    There are plenty of Windows desktop apps that have no close WinRT counterpart. If your workflow relies on one of those, you can't complete your workflow on a Windows RT device unless you pay for a cellular data plan so that you can RDP to a PC elsewhere on the Internet. And for that price, you might as well just buy a laptop and a spare battery.

              • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

                by roc97007 (608802) on Friday March 14, 2014 @09:51PM (#46489243) Journal

                > If Microsoft called the devices and software layer WinTouch or something, that might have helped a little, as a lot of people have been disappointed that a "Windows" computer can't run legacy mouse/keyboard Windows apps.

                IIRC that was true of Windows CE also, and cause considerable confusion back then. Everything old is new again etc etc.

                I think that this is one more issue that stems with wanting to call everything "windows".

              • If Microsoft called the devices and software layer WinTouch or something, that might have helped a little, as a lot of people have been disappointed that a "Windows" computer can't run legacy mouse/keyboard Windows apps.

                Call it LoseTouch .. it works both ways!

          • by Richy_T (111409)

            Windows RT, on the other hand, is completely different from WinRT

            What could possibly go wrong?

          • by frdmfghtr (603968)

            Thanks for the clarification. When I read WinRT, I thought it was shorthand for "Windows RT".

            Knowing that, I'll stand by my original comment and clarify that I meant "Windows RT", the tablet OS that looks and feels like Windows but won't run regular Windows apps like a Surface Pro can (or am I mistaken about the Surface Pro too?) then it needs to go away or a name change. It generates confusion. I mean, the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro is the feature set, but they run the same applicati

            • by cbhacking (979169)

              No, you're right about the Surface Pro. It's an x64 (Core i5 to be specific) tablet which runs Windows 8[.1] Pro.

              For Microsoft's *intended* use case (where you use the Store to get apps, simultaneously limiting your exposure to malware, having one place you can find the tools you need for your tasks, and giving MS a cut of every "purchase" [in quotes because DRM]), the Surface and Surface Pro do generally run the same applications. There are very few apps available (on the Store) for x86 but not for ARM, be

              • by mpe (36238)
                For Microsoft's *intended* use case (where you use the Store to get apps, simultaneously limiting your exposure to malware, having one place you can find the tools you need for your tasks, and giving MS a cut of every "purchase" [in quotes because DRM]), the Surface and Surface Pro do generally run the same applications.

                An app store may protect against non-Microsoft (approved) malware. But it will do the exact opposite with malware Microsoft (Apple or Google) either approves of or is being paid to diastri
      • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TClevenger (252206) on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:58PM (#46489817)

        The idea some people got that all existing Windows apps were supposed to be rewritten as Modern Apps is certainly wrong.

        What's the point of having nice big buttons to touch to launch an app if you still have to use a mouse to use the app?

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        What you refer to as "Metro" fills a useful function that isn't otherwise served on Windows, which is enabling touch screen use,

        Except that I've used the touch versions of XP, Vista and 7 and they all worked fine without it. Actually they worked better, because your finger worked like your mouse which meant that the same UI worked for everything in exactly the same way, once you figured out the conventions for left and right click, and naturally you need to make some elements a bit larger for fat fingers to click on (which works well for mouse users on high res screens and mouse users with poor motor control).

        But that's actually b

      • Re:Good (Score:4, Informative)

        by Solandri (704621) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @01:40AM (#46490141)

        However, the idea that the WinRT / Modern App platform needs to go away in a future Windows version is also misguided. What you refer to as "Metro" fills a useful function that isn't otherwise served on Windows, which is enabling touch screen use, and it does a very nice job of that.

        If that were all it did, I wouldn't have a problem with it. But the only way to sell a Metro app is through Microsoft's Store. And they take a 30% cut of anything sold in the store (introductory 20% deals notwithstanding).

        Metro apps are Microsoft's attempt to convert the Windows software market into an iOS App Store-like walled garden, where Microsoft is the gatekeeper who collects a 30% toll on everything sold. As long as that remains true, it needs to go away.

        And no Google's Play store is not the same. Google doesn't restrict app installation to the Play store. Toggle one setting ("allow installation from unknown sources") and you can install anything you want. You can install apps bought from other stores (Amazon being the most notable alternative). You can side-load apps via USB, microSD card, or cloud storage. Heck, you can download an app over any website.

    • by exomondo (1725132)
      Metro is fine for applications designed purely for touch devices but frankly desktop web browsers like Chrome and Firefox work fine in Windows 8 on touch devices and with a mouse and keyboard anyway so why bother creating a "Metro" version? I never saw the point in that at all.
    • Good, lets not waste time and resources metroifying things that need not be, at least not until we get some clarity from microsoft on what they're going to do to fix the mess from windows 8.

      They don't fix it, they come out with another Operating System. They have a track record of every other OS not being generally accepted.
      Win98 > ME (flop) > XP > Vista (Flop) > Win7 > whatever you want to call Win8 (Flop)

      • You missed Win95 & Windows 2000.
        • You missed Win95 & Windows 2000.

          Parent was looking at Consumer OS's. They arbitrarily chose Win95. Why not Win 3.11/Win3.1/Win 3.0, Win 2.11/Win2.0/Win 1.0?

          Windows 2000 was on the business Side:
          NT 3.1/ NT3.5/ NT3.51/ NT4/ Windows 2000 / (merge with Consumer at Windows XP)

  • Still works on it (Score:4, Informative)

    by Laconique (3426803) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:09PM (#46488271)
    It's just the app for w8 and frankly since many people use the windows 7 hidden under 8, and not w8 proper apps,where normal FF would work, it sounds like a reasonable decision.
  • I think the renaming of Metro to Modern UI has to do with the trademark rights of Metro AG in the E.U. Microsoft is not allowed to call the GUI Metro in Europe, thus the need for a new name.
    • by Tridus (79566)

      Not to mention trying to change the channel after Metro was met with an abysmal reaction. They didn't want another situation like Vista, where the name itself is toxic.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      The problem is, like many Microsoft product names, "modern UI" is too generic to mean anything to the casual listener.

      • by guises (2423402)
        Yeah, whoever comes up with names at Microsoft really needs to get promoted to somewhere useless. The Xbox One, which is not the same as the Xbox one, and is in fact the Xbox three, being the sequel to the Xbox 360... that one is so stupid it makes me angry.
        • Yeah, whoever comes up with names at Microsoft really needs to get promoted to somewhere useless. The Xbox One, which is not the same as the Xbox one, and is in fact the Xbox three, being the sequel to the Xbox 360... that one is so stupid it makes me angry.

          They have a history of terrible names:

          Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs: [wikipedia.org] (Replaced by Windows 7 based "Windows Thin PC ")

          Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP [microsoft.com] before someone thankfully gave it a real name: Windows SteadyState [wikipedia.org]

          Their consumer AV is called "Microsoft Security Essentials". At least the business version has a real name: "Forefront"

          Windows Live Essentials

          Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Messenger service (source of SPAM).

  • Sometimes cutting your losses is a smart move.

    Hopefully this is one of those times.

    • by fwarren (579763) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:37PM (#46488469) Homepage

      After 18 months, "Metro" is not a roaring success. Firefoxes absense on Metro will only hurt WinRT users. By definition, being a WinRT users they have already decided they are going to have a stripped down experience.

      I don't think Mozilla is losing anything here.

      • by sosume (680416)

        There is a larger market for Firefox in Windows Metro users than in Linux desktop users. Heck, the installed base of Windows 8 is larger than all Mac OS flavors combined. So why keep developing for these inferior audiences and ignore the big fish? This smells like anti-MS propaganda.

  • by Zeio (325157) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:12PM (#46488281)

    Without Start8 and ModernMix or Classic Shell or whatever , Windows 8.x is not useable.

    I gladly have for the first time ever used a pay-for program to fix how bad default Windows shell is. I was annoyed classic start was gone from windows 7 but I got used to it.

    Windows 8 is a special kind of strange. Microsoft should learn to SKIN to whatever the old version looked like to keep people from having to retrain. The metro apps stink without modern mix.

    Microsoft's new CEO should put a stop to this loser behavior. under the hood, the OS isnt half bad.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Despite that use Start8, Win8.x is usable without it. It just has a more annoying learning curve compared to what everyone else who's been using Windows since the mid-90's is used to however. Drop someone who never used a classic shell and not a problem though, the real problem as it was came to life because there was no easy method of transition. And that, will cause more people to throw a fit and rightfully so.

      • by SCPaPaJoe (767952)
        This all reminds me of the transition to win 95, or win 1. Hell, I can still remember playing with the Gem environment. I'll never forget the old DOS years when a new game meant an hour of fucking with config files so you could play. I just fixed a win 98 computer (not connected to the internet) that runs abandonware software for my job. I'm typing this now on my wife's win 8.1 tablet. Do I like it? Not much, but hear I am.
      • by Knutsi (959723)

        I have dropped someone who has never used that classic shell into it. In fact, he has never really used a computer before. It's unbelieveably confusing for him. His laptop is Windows 8.1. It does not have touch screen. So, I cannot teach him the new Explorer, because he cannot swipe from the sides, and the mouse does different things depending on where he right-clicks. I added explorer to the taskbar in Deskop, and told him to use that. But then, there is no visible way to restart the computer og shut

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geek (5680)

      And yet you bought and use Windows 8 rather than abstaining and hitting MS in the pocket book where it counts. They really learned a lesson there.

      • And yet you bought and use Windows 8 rather than abstaining and hitting MS in the pocket book where it counts.

        What new laptop should people buy instead? A MacBook, which is even more expensive?

      • by ratboy666 (104074)

        That upsets me the most. Just bought an Acer Iconia W700. Came with Windows 8 which I never used. What it is, I guess.

        PS Works ok with Fedora 20. No application support for multi touch or the accelerometer though.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      You're wrong. It's very usable. I like it quite a lot, when using a touchscreen. It's kinda' awesome, actually.

      That's just my opinion.
  • I've bought a few laptops recently but they've all been older models with Windows 7. I wouldn't buy a laptop with Windows 8. Used it in the store. The Metro interface sucks. Why do I want to waste time learning something that sucks when Win 7 worked fine.

    My employer has ditched Windows versions of our software and we're now all tablet. Developers warned Microsoft this would happen and they arrogantly ignored us.

    Everyone makes mistakes, but only an idiot refuses to admits it and keeps their jalopy pointed at

    • Something is Flamebait isn't it's untrue. Here this was modded flamebait because a couple of Windoze fanboiz didn't like what my employer was doing with a rival platform. Slashdot needs to publish mods.
  • I assume it still runs on the Win8 desktop UI? Or are Win8 users unable to use Firefox outside a VM?

    • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:30PM (#46488413)

      Yes, it still works just fine as a desktop app. This is just about making a special version that plays nice in the Metro/Modern UI 'tiles' environment. You can already just drop a shortcut to the FireFox desktop app on there if you think it's a nice launcher, of course.

    • Of course it does. Microsoft is very good with backwards compatibility, especially from NT onward, and that's assuming Mozilla wasn't interested in supporting their most commonly used platform (I'm pretty sure Windows is). This is just talking about the port to Metro, which has seen poor reception.

      Of course I doubt Firefox would have been a "true" Metro app... I don't think Chrome was... as part of MS' attempt to be anti-competitive with web browsers in Windows 8, they allow the default web browser to inject itself into Metro, but still run outside of the sandbox (otherwise, they would have to use the IE rendering engine! At least AFAIK). But you still want the UI to look Metro. Anyway, if the browser is not the default, it can still run but only on the desktop in its traditional UI. This restriction also applies to IE.

      • " Microsoft is very good with backwards compatibility"

        I am completely flabberghasted. They can't even keep backwards compatibility from one version of word to the next. It friggin blows my mind that someone would come here and post something that absurd. Seriously.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Unless you're using Windows RT as your OS, virtually everything that runs in Windows 7 also runs in Windows 8's desktop mode.

      Unless ARM based Windows tablets really take off, there really won't be a whole lot lost from this decision.

  • Those so thoroughly enamoured of Microsoft, that they endure Windows 8 as if it were not a non-functional eyesore? They'd also likely not venture far enough off the farm to Firefox - instead of scalding their retinas with IE.

  • It's that it's too different. It's a well argued fact that the 2 major mobile OSes are very similar programatticaly to their desktop brethren. In fact, the only visual different between iOS/Android and Mac/Windows is the lack of a multi-window interface. Almost every widget could be seen on both desktops and touch screens in some shape or form, and as such, coding a browser such as Firefox for any of them platforms is much the same regardless of platform. The problem with Metro is it's just too different. I
    • by akozakie (633875)

      It's a dead platform anyway. I wonder if in 5 years we'll remember it as fondly as we currently remember Vista.

      Hell no. There's no comparison between Vista and 8 flops beyond the fact of being a flop.

      Vista was an unbelievably badly executed step in the right direction. Bugs, half-baked ideas, better security done wrong, etc, etc... but essentially simply a next version after XP. With sufficient patches it becomes entirely usable and Windows 7 is essentially what Vista should have been. Failed version, not a wierd experiment.

      8 is a completely different case. Total redesign of the interface, new APIs, new business mod

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:39PM (#46488489)
    Steve Balmer is jumping up and down on his beach chair.
    • If he liked it so much, he can always pay for the programmers to support it. He's a free man now, sort of!
  • VLC just put the first ModernUI betal on the Windows store: http://apps.microsoft.com/wind... [microsoft.com]
  • It's a bit stupid to complain that there aren't any users if there hasn't been a release yet.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday March 14, 2014 @07:53PM (#46488575)
    I assume just having a fullscreen version of Mozilla for the Metro interface isn't good enough?
  • You heard it here first, a company with $311 million in revenues and 600+ employees "doesn't have the scale" to do a tweaked interface for their primary product.

    Don't get me wrong, I loathe Metro, and I fully agree with their assertion that not enough users are adopting Metro to make it worth it... but saying they don't have the scale is silly.

    Note: I realize that TFA actually says the scale of their competitors is the reason, but I think the summary's "don't have the scale" is analogous.

  • ModernUI. That must make AOL very happy.

  • I actually kind of like the Surface2 for some tasks, since it's thin and light for a 10" tablet and has a nice keyboard and a really nice screen. I often use it as a second or tertiary screen while I'm working since it's pretty easy to drop in to an RDP session or open Office documents and it can deal with printers and scanners just as well as any Windows 8 PC. It's a genuine workplace tablet.

    But web browsing on it BLOWS. Metro-IE has to be switched to desktop mode to make any configuration changes (say, ch

  • .. so that it doesn't lock the whole thing up ("program not responding") for 2 or 3 minutes at a time, while waiting to negotiate connections?

    THAT would be worth investing some resources in.

  • by DogDude (805747) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @12:07AM (#46489849) Homepage
    Another bad decision from Firefox. My company's moving to Windows 8. We'll be sticking with Chrome, which has a simple toggle between standard and metro. Every laptop made today is a touchscreen, and Windows 8 is awesome on a touchscreen.
  • by xenobyte (446878) on Saturday March 15, 2014 @03:50AM (#46490419)

    Nobody's using that crappy interface anyway. I use Windows 8.1 myself and it's fairly easy to completely hide almost all elements of that awful thing and stay completely in the classic desktop environment. With the addition of Start 8 you can have the START button back and disable all those useless 'charms' (stupid name too) and other 'modern' crap.

    The classic Firefox works just fine on the desktop where it belongs, as do the other browsers by the way.

  • So the "no beta" link goes right back to the front page. I can have the front page without beta, or read the stories? I'm off somewhere else.

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