Mozilla plans to "Ribbonize" Firefox

Mozilla has unveiled plans to "ribbonize" Firefox 3.7 for Windows Vista and Windows 7 in an attempt to reduce on-screen clutter and free up screen real estate.

Mozilla has unveiled plans to "ribbonize" Firefox 3.7 for Windows Vista and Windows 7 in an attempt to reduce on-screen clutter and free up screen real estate.

Mozilla announced that "starting with Vista, and continuing with Windows 7, the menu bar is going away" and will "be replaced with things like the Windows Explorer contextual strip, or the Office Ribbon."

Here are a couple of mock-ups:

It's also interesting to note that Mozilla has been quick to dismiss suggestions that the move is an attempt to copy Chrome, IE or Safari:

We are not trying to make Firefox look like any other browser. Firefox is Firefox. Similarities between browsers are unavoidable. They all have shared lineage and are ... all trying to solve the same problems, so evolutionary ideas that are similar are inevitable."

Mozilla has a number of ideas for simplifying and clarifying the Firefox UI, but given that Chrome, IE and Safari have all made significant UI improvements, this move by Mozilla feels reactionary. The Mozilla UI revamp is long overdue and we're only seeing it now because Firefox is feeling the pressure from other browsers.

Another interesting point is that these improvements will only apply to Firefox for Windows, which means that Firefox on other platforms will have a significantly different user interface.

Firefox 3.7, currently scheduled for release in March 2010.