Firefox Windows 8 Metro coming for standard 'Nightly' testers today

It's been several months since Mozilla launched the first test version of its Metro UI version of its Firefox web browser made to run especially on Windows 8. This version was offered for people who used the Nightly test version but on a different development branch, called Elm.

Now it appears that the standard Nightly Firefox testers will finally get a chance to check out the Windows 8 Metro version of the browser. In an update on his blog, Mozilla's Asa Dotzler stated:

On Tuesday, our preliminary Metro Firefox development work arrived at mozilla-central, the source code repository that feeds the Firefox Nightly channel. This means that if you are on the Firefox Nightly channel and you have a Windows 8 device, your Wednesday Firefox update should deliver a Metro Firefox tile to the far right end of your Windows Start screen.

Dotzler added that while there is still a lot of work that needs to be done for Firefox running on Windows 8 Metro, he did say that the current build is "stable enough" for more people to test the browser. You can go ahead and download the current "Nightly" version of Firefox at its website.

If you install this test build on your Windows 8 PC, keep in mind that you will also have to change the default web browser from the current IE10 to the Nightly Firefox build for it to run. Also, this browser cannot be used for Windows RT-based PCs.

Source: Asa Dotzler | Image via Mozilla

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31 Comments

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Great news since I can now use my Firefox plugins for docs with Windows 8 as well. I am definitely going to do some testing with my regular Firefox plugins and add-ons such as GroupDocs viewer plugin for Firefox to check the performance based on the load. I am also looking to develop Add-ons for Firefox and found this helping blog post to use Firefox Add-on Builder and SDK for the purpose. It is quite an easy way to create add-ons on your own. Do check it out!

http://groupdocs.com/blog/tech...add-on-builder-and-sdk.html

Will firefox metro still have a schedule release date for March 2013 still or will they hold it back to fix bugs like the touch and stuff?

It still has horrible touch scrolling on most websites. Most of the time the flick touch scrolling just highlights things. One websites that it does work some times it will stop working on start highlighting instead.

Pikey said,
Not working here with the latest Nightly update , maybe tomorrow?

Try setting Nightly as your default browser again. Then the should appear on Start as expected.

I'm seeing lots of misinformation here , Mozilla, Google , Opera or anyone is free to build a browser for Windows RT just not the desktop version. Mozilla does not want to build a windows RT version of Firefox because they do not want to port gecko to windows RT

Thanks, that kinda clears things up for me. But a few of the links I found also say that Metro IE on RT has access to other APIs that are not available to other browsers. So it's not a blanket statement like in iOS--"No other browser engines allowed"--it's more like you can do it, just without these APIs.

icwhatudidthere said,
So it's not a blanket statement like in iOS--"No other browser engines allowed"--it's more like you can do it, just without these APIs.

Correct. Nobody (except Microsoft) has access to certain security-sensitive API... all comes down to data execution prevention and JIT JavaScript interpreter optimizations.

I'm a die-hard Firefox/Mozilla fan. But sadly, Nightly for Metro is currently severely limited and it's not something even I'd use as my main browser.

I basically looked at a few pages with it (compared it Chrome for Metro which was just Chrome in fullscreen), and didn't ever really use it again. It might be useful for touchscreens, but as they said in the article, it has a ton of work left.

Sweet. I could be using this a lot.
I normally don't like fullscreen Metro apps, but my web browser is always full screen so this'll be an easy way for me to switch to and from it by clicking in the top left corner.

I understand there isn't a lot of marketshare on RT but you'd think they want to plan ahead. They also build a version for Android (and I believe iOS as well) so its not as if they arent able to bring it to new platforms.

I'll be purchasing a Surface RT soon (finally available in my country) and I'm not going to use a browser on one device that isnt available on another. I hope Mozilla will add RT support in the future.

Ronnet said,

But they could on iOS and Android? Too bad.

1. The windows store only allows IE-based browsers
2. iOS doesn't have firefox. It will have Firefox Junior soon, but that's webkit base due to the appstore limitation.

You cannot install alternative browsers in WinRT. The Metro browsers on Windows 8 are actually a special class of program.

Ronnet said,

But they could on iOS and Android? Too bad.


They can't build on iOS either. Chrome on iOS is also just a skin on Safari.

What so we'll never get any alternative browsers to IE on the Surface RT? If that really is true I might have to sell mine as I really can't stand IE.

J400uk said,
What so we'll never get any alternative browsers to IE on the Surface RT? If that really is true I might have to sell mine as I really can't stand IE.

You might get alternative browser but all of them will have to use Trident for rendering - same situation as iOS and Windows Phone.

link6155 said,

1. The windows store only allows IE-based browsers

Point me to where in the SDK / dev agreement / store rules you read that because up to my knowledge only the Apple's appstore restricts browsers to the safari engine. The only problem chrome and firefox devs had was with limitations on the RT desktop + restrictions on specific APIs that are used to host plugins/subsystems used within the browser.

You actually can make a brand new browser on WinRT, it would just be slow as hell because there aren't the native API's that would be required for your JS engine and stuff. These API's don't come with WinRT because they require low-level hardware access.

nub said,
You cannot install alternative browsers in WinRT. The Metro browsers on Windows 8 are actually a special class of program.

If true then that's just one more reason to avoid WinRT.

Windows store allows any browser .. they (Mozilla) just want access to the desktop because they think porting the Gecko Engine to Windows RT is too much work

link6155 said,

1. The windows store only allows IE-based browsers

False. Absolutely false.

But you don't have access to APIs to make data executable, because this could be a security risk. Unfortunately, this is also functionality that you would want to use to create a JIT JavaScript engine.

So, in short, yes, you can create your own web browser and sell it on the Windows Store, but it will be a bit slower.

rfirth said,

So, in short, yes, you can create your own web browser and sell it on the Windows Store, but it will be a bit slower.

More than a bit, it would be like pre-2K speeds.