Mozilla's mobile browser due out in September

Mobile Firefox is coming, but it's deployment will be hobbled (for me) by Apple. Open up, Apple!

While the world rightly awaits Firefox 3.0 with anticipation, it's actually the mobile Firefox browser Fennec that I am looking most forward to seeing. According to the head of Mozilla Europe, we should be seeing Fennec in September, with a beta release later in 2008.

The problem? It won't run on my iPhone:

For the iPhone, Apple's licence can not install software to have an interpreted language. But Firefox includes JavaScript, which makes it legally impossible to carry on the iPhone....For Android, Webkit is integrated into the OS, and only Java applications can run. And Firefox is not written in Java. So that's why [Fennec will not run on Android]. However, in both cases, things may change in future, but it does not depend on Mozilla.

It will be hugely disappointing if Apple forces the world into its Safari browser. I like Safari and used to prefer it (until CNET forced me to use Firefox, much to my belated delight), but I'd prefer to use Firefox on my mobile device, just as I do on my Mac. Long term, Firefox is going to be where the innovation is.

In sum, the news is bittersweet. Mobile Firefox is coming, but it's deployment will be hobbled (for me) by Apple.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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