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Mozilla: Firefox would be crippled on Windows RT

Mozilla came out with guns blazing at Microsoft on Wednesday, saying that Microsoft's decision to limit access to web browsers, such as Firefox, on Windows RT (also known as WOA) could be a violation of Microsoft's antitrust settlement that was approved a decade ago.

News.com reports that according to Mozilla, Firefox could in theory be made to work on Windows RT. However, Microsoft has chosen to limit developers' access to a set of APIs for that OS that, in Mozilla's viewpoint, would cripple a Windows RT-based Firefox browser.

Mozilla spokesman Asa Dotzler states:

Of particular concern are the APIs that IE has access to which Microsoft is denying other browsers, including VirtualAlloc / HeapAlloc and friends, CreateNamedPipe, ConnectNamedPipe, DisconnectNamedPipe, CreateProcess, and various others.

These APIs allow for things like making memory executable, a prerequisite for building a JIT [just-in-time compiler]. Without a JIT, it will be impossible to build a modern browser. These APIs also allow for things like spawning additional processes, and communicating between them -- something we use to isolate plug-ins for security and stability purposes and other browsers, including IE, use to isolate tabs and windows for security and stability purposes.

Microsoft has said in the past that Windows RT is not the same as its x86 version of Windows. Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky stated back in February, "If we enabled the broad porting of existing code we would fail to deliver on our commitment to longer battery life, predictable performance, and especially a reliable experience over time."

Google has already stated it agrees with Mozilla's viewpoint over the Windows RT restrictions. So far, Microsoft has yet to comment on Mozilla's statements.

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