Firefox for Windows 8 preview, in pictures

Firefox for Windows 8 preview, in pictures

Summary: Mozilla's Windows 8-optimised Firefox Metro browser is now available to download in preview form ahead of its release later in the year.


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  • Firefox Metro for Windows 8 is now available to download in preview form from the Mozilla website, bringing with it a 'Widows 8' style Firefox start page and support for established features such as sync.

    The company released the early build software on Thursday, noting that it is still in preview and is not finished software; as such bugs and missing features may well abound.

    "Today's preview marks the beginning of Mozilla community testing for the Firefox Metro browser designed from the ground up for Windows 8," the company said in a blog post on Thursday. "Earlier this year, we began development on a version of Firefox that runs on x86 Windows 8. This version of Firefox runs in both the Windows 8 'classic Desktop' environment, and in the new 'Metro' environment. "

    Mozilla had not confirmed at the time of writing whether it would be making an ARM-compatible version of Firefox Metro. The preview version will only work on machines running the RTM version of Windows 8 currently.

    Included in the new look is a redesigned "Metro style" (pictured) Firefox start page.

  • Features such as Mozilla's well-established Awesome bar are also present in the Windows 8 optimised version of the software.

    In this case, searching in the Awesome bar returns results from your web history, as well as presenting the option to search the web using a variety of different providers, such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing.

Topics: Browser, Open Source, Windows

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Nicely done Mozilla. However while it looks very nice it's bound to get

    all the abm'ers panties in a bunch. You've just shown the absurdity of their incessant whining that MS had stopped other browser makers from making "metro" mode browsers. No doubt Chrome will be there with an offering too.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Re:

      I think the whining was about not having system level access to optimize the speed. If Metro Firefox and Chrome are limited and cannot perform as fast as IE10, that would be a disappointment.
      • Speed

        No, that's not really the issue. On x86, there isn't much of one.

        The issue is that on RT (ARM) tablets, it is IE or bust.
        x I'm tc
        • Well

          That is not Microsoft's fault. Anyone is free to develop a metro browser on Windows RT as well.

          Of course since no one of the general public or subcribers of MSDN, technet and VL customers has access to the rtm bits of Windows RT, no one would be even able to run these.
          • Everyone is free to do so

            But only IE10 Metro has access to some system functions on RT and no other Metro apps do, therefore giving IE10 an advantage for speed which other browsers won't have because they are stuck with Metro coding layer.

            What MS did on Metro for RT (ARM processor, the restriction does not apply for Metro on x86) is like if MS said that all desktop Windows app were to be coded through .NET and nobody could get direct system access, imagine the complains if they had done that.

            And having no restriction on x86 is no use as I can't see much people adopting Metro on x86 as keyboard/mouse is prevalent is that environment and 20" monitors are not made for fullscreen apps.
          • I am sure they are free to use

            The trident engine. This is in no way different from the way Apple is positioning Safari on IOS, with the difference that third party browsers on RT are not prevented from designing their very own engine, nor are they prevented from becomming the default browser.

            Microsoft has made it clear from the beginning, access to the desktop (or more precisely the win32 api) is limited to Microsoft applications only (and this includes IE10 metro). Seeing that Windows RT is a walled garden anyway and MS is doing what the market leader in the tablet segment is doing (although less strict) I see no problem with this approach, none whatsoever.

            Incidentially I actually very much like the metro browser on a 24 inch screen.
      • What "system level access" API are they restricted on.

        What kind of system level API does a browser need that you can't get from the WinRT API. In terms of graphics they have access to DirectX. What else do they need.

        Is it because the Win32 API is not available and they would need to use the WinRT API instead? Cry me a river.
    • Chrome "metro"

      Can be downloaded for quite a while already, I thin the first beta on the dev channel was released two months ago.
      • Yep.

        Chrome runs well in Metro.
  • Firefox looks terrific on Windows 8.

    really beautiful.
    Ram U
    • Nice looking yes

      I hope they bring some of these changes to the look over to the desktop version, mostly the tiles on the new tab and bookmark things (as long as I can still run it in a window!).
  • The only Question of Any Importance

    Will it run adblock plus? I won't be running any platforms/browsers I can't block ads on.
    • I think

      On Metro there is a no plugin stance. Even Microsoft's own silverlight does not run on WinRT. The only exception that I know about is flash.
      • Flash is no plugin on Metro

        MS had Flash builtin IE10 for Metro to go around their own restriction on plugins, but I think I read somewhere that Chrome had plugins working in their Metro version (is it limited to x86 though I don't know).
      • Re: On Metro there is a no plugin stance.

        I understand Microsoft's Internet Explorer has such a restriction, but I Microsoft forbidding third-party apps like Firefox from being extensible as well? Seems a pretty sad state of affairs if so.

        Or is this a fundamental limitation of the Windows RT architecture? Crippled shared-library dynamic-loading support, perhaps?
  • Look. I need tabs visible at all times. Otherwise I'll just use the desktop

    One of the reasons I look forward to W8 on a tablet is to get back some efficiency to my browsing. I've tried every browser on Android phone and 10" tablet and they pretty much all suck and I mean awful. I need to be able to open up my grouped app tabs all at once and see those tabs. And close them easily . I just hate the way all the mobile browsers handle tabs. I guess Dolphin is closest to being okay but still, give me Chrome or FF on even IE 9 on a desktop any day. I can surf literally 3-4 times faster on a desktop browser.
    • Chrome

      I think Chrome metro has tabs.
  • There wont be Firefox proper on WinRT

    Any recent Firefox JavaScript engine require APIs that re not made available to 3rd party apps in WinRT. (Yes. IE10 will have access. Now lets see what will EU say about that "fair" treatment of 3rd party devs)

    And there are more things that will be impaired by lack of such APIs.

    We will get at best Firefox-Metor-UI-looking thing, but without Firefox's charm with it. :(
    • Why would the EU say anything

      Clearly the market leader in the tablet space (Apple) is doing the same thing for over two years. Marketshare doesn't come into it anyway, as Windows RT has 0% market share. It would be a disgrace and anti competitive if they would allow Apple to operate and would not allow Microsoft to do the same. I would love to hear the reasoning, but I doubt we ever will, even Neelie isn't this dense, she does not have a case at all here.
    • Again...

      Do you have a list of those restricted API that does not exist in any form or factor as a WinRT API?