Microsoft offers to help Firefox into Vista

Microsoft offers to help Firefox into Vista

Summary: The Redmond giant is offering to help Firefox join the Vista community


The head of Microsoft's open source business has offered help to get Firefox to work with the upcoming Vista operating system, but it remains to be seen if Mozilla and the open source community will respond positively to the gesture.

Sam Ramji, director of Microsoft's open source software lab, posted an open invitation to work with Microsoft on a Mozilla development discussion group on Monday.

"I'm writing to see if you are open to some 1:1 support in getting Firefox and Thunderbird to run on Vista," Ramji wrote.

He stressed that Microsoft was "committed to evolving our thinking beyond commercial companies to include open source projects" in the Vista project.

Ramju was also anxious that Mozilla and the open source community should not take the offer lightly. He stressed that his contribution to Vista is the "non-trivial effort of getting slots for non-commercial open source projects".

The early signs from the open source community are that some are suspicious of Microsoft's motives.

But others believed that Monday's offer was a sign that Microsoft was changing. The company has finally realised that "ultimately… proprietary technologies will always get replaced by an industry-supported, open-standard alternative, hence the embrace of RSS, Open Source Lab, XML and royalty-free access to Open XML", posted one enthusiast on the Ars Technica Web site.

Firefox already runs successfully on existing Windows, Linux and Macintosh operating systems. Testing by ZDNet UK Reviews found that it also runs well in Vista beta 2, so it's not clear why Mozilla would need help from Microsoft.

However, the Vista Readiness Labs does includes use of Microsoft's Application Compatibility Toolkit, which tests more of a product than might be explored during normal use.

Mozilla Europe said it was "too early to comment" on Microsoft's offer.

Topics: Apps, Software Development


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Embrace Extend Extinguish - do they really think we are that stupid?
  • Hmm. Think you can trust Microsoft after it has been making promises about its "Business Conduct". Here are the lastest scandals while this new "Business Conduct" is in place:
    a) Significant weblinks concerning Vista problems have been removed from the open web, amoungst others that "Microsoft admits 'Windows is broken'" and Vista won't include .Net. Older posts on the same websites are still there.
    b) It broke to the surface that German computer mags had to allow MS to OK any article on their products before publishing, would refrain from comparing it with compative products when they wanted to include a trail version of Office 2007. Furthermore, they were not allowed to include any FOSS products on the CD like Open Office.

    New business conduct, huh..?

  • That Microsoft is willing to help Firefox work on Vista indicates they are afraid their Firefox-using customers would rather not upgrade to Vista if it means having to give up their favorite browser. If there were not a significant number of them using Firefox who are unwilling to switch browsers, Microsoft probably wouldn't make the offer.
  • By the look of it, they already have this in the works,
    with firefox being a major league player, i don't think microsoft really have a choice, after all,
    if somebody loved firefox so much, would they really lay out
  • Run away!!!!!

    Microsoft is an evil empire!!!

    Besides, FireFox runs well without help from Bill's nasty programmers