Skip to comments.Mozilla scraps Firefox for Windows 8′s Metro citing low adoption of the platform
Posted on 03/15/2014 3:36:50 AM PDT by markomalley
Mozilla today announced it is abandoning the Metro version of its Firefox browser, before the first release for Windows 8 even sees the light of day. Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale ordered the companys engineering leads and release managers to halt development earlier this week, saying that shipping a 1.0 version would be a mistake.
Mozilla says it simply does not have the resources nor the scale of its competitors, and it has to pick its battles. The Metro platform (which has since been renamed to Modern UI, but many prefer the older name) simply doesnt help the organization achieve its mission as well as other platforms Firefox is available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
Unfortunately, Nightingale says that as the team built, tested, and refined the product, Metros adoption has remained pretty flat and that Mozilla should focus its efforts in places where we can reach more people. While millions of people test pre-release versions of Firefox desktop on any given day, he notes the company has never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment.
As a result, he pulled the plug:
This leaves us with a hard choice. We could ship it, but it means doing so without much real-world testing. Thats going to mean lots of bugs discovered in the field, requiring a lot of follow up engineering, design, and QA effort. To ship it without doing that follow up work is not an option. If we release a product, we maintain it through end of life. When I talk about the need to pick our battles, this feels like a bad one to pick: significant investment and low impact.
Nightingale notes that Metro could indeed take off one day, but he would rather play catch up than invest in a platform Firefox users have shown little sign of adopting. Since Mozilla is all about open source, the code will still be available.
Mozilla first noted a Metro version of Firefox was coming back in February 2012 and revealed a prototype in April 2012. The company then showed off a pre-release of Firefox for Windows 8 in October 2012 and offered a Nightly build in February 2013.
Cancelled launch dates have included December 10, 2013, February 4, 2014, and March 18, 2014. The regular delays should have been a hint: Metro just hasnt worked out for Mozilla.
I like Windows 8.
I love my Windows 8 but never use the Metro.
I can see how that would be a nice interface for tablets, but for computers it actually makes the experience awkward. It is almost as though none of the programmers in Redmond is a computer user. People get used to an experience over a period of 25 years and then they change it drastically? If there is one thing you do NOT want to do, that is it. Also applies to their new ribbon which replaced the dropdown menus in newer versions of Office. I absolutely hate that. Again, why make changes after everyone is familiar with the dropdown over 25 years? Idiots in Redmond.
The company is successful IN SPITE OF themselves.
Hmmm - I think I see a theme here.
I personally like the ribbon. I don’t have to try and figure out where the functions are, if I momentarily forget.
You are the first person I met who does.
I suspect the main opposition is really a screen space issue, not the change in how it was done.
All I can say is that 23 inch monitors are fairly cheap these days. :)
They make a terrible web browser that never worked well = Microsoft s fault.
Standard internet BS that will easily be bought by the usual trolls.
Change the screwy ribbon to old Menu:
I don’t have Windows 8, but I am guessing the ribbon in the OS is similar to what they did to Office?
I am (or at least, was) an accomplished Excel user. I never preferred Windows, but there were some things that I did like, and I liked Outlook and Excel. Great products, in my opinion.
Then my company had me upgrade Office from Office 2003.
What an abortion. I cannot believe what they did to the interface, never mind performance. Simply opening a document is so sluggish it makes me grit my teeth every time I have to do that, which is often.
But it is the “Ribbon” interface that has me flabbergasted. It makes ZERO sense to me, and after using it for months, I still struggle with it. I find it extraordinarily inefficient and non-intuitive.
Looking under “View” to find macros?????
What were they thinking?
I think that is a valid complaint because that would be, at least in my mind, an edit function.
They should have left the categories alone to what people were already familiar with.
I work in IT and I remember when they took away my Office 2003 way back when. I too did’t like the ribbon but you know, you had to adjust. They changed many of the keystroke shortcuts that had become almost muscle reflexes for me.
So just this year, I’ve been consulting at a client who still has an XP box with Excel 2003. Oh boy, does it cause a hugely partial vacuum. Just take a peek at the differences in conditional formatting and you’ll see an example of what I mean.
And as for Outlook? Newer versions blow the 2003 version away by light years. I am stuck with Outlook 2003 for a couple more months as well at this client.
I am okay with 2010 Outlook. I am one of those people who never discards an email, so that is great for me due to the better handling of large PST files in the newer version.
It is Excel I have the major issue with. Even the guts...now, you cannot calculate a median value in a pivot table! Why the H E double hockey sticks did they have to change something like THAT?
“I love my Windows 8 but never use the Metro.”
Correct - Windows 8 without Metro is great as a computer platform. Where Metro really shines is on touch screen tablets. I have an MS Surface and I love it - so much easier to use and organize. My old iPod seems definitely clunky by comparison.
This is nothing more than spin. The Windows 8 platform is used by virtually the same number of users that Windows 7 had at this point in its release. The problem for Mozilla is most Windows 8 users are simply using the preinstalled IE browser, or are using Chrome for those not using the Metro interface.
Has nothing to do with the platform. Mozilla has been losing marketshare to Google for years, and since Windows 8, IE has seen a dramatic increase in users as well.
How to kill a good browser?
Rapid Release new versions every 6 weeks so 3rd parties don’t have time to update add-ons.
Mozille took a good browser and is killing it.
I stopped at FF 15 because every new release had new conflicts and problems with add-ons, Java, Adobe Flash and PDFs.
It wasn’t worth trying to keep FF updated. Also, FF has effectively become bloatware.
Thanks for posting that.
Opera is a better browser than all of them.
IMHO, Excel went down the tubes when they got past 2003. I didn’t like the GUI, (keep it simple, I’m working here!), and I have always hated the way something that worked in the last version doesn’t quite in the next. I refused to buy a newer version to open the “x” (docx, xlsx) files, and just downloaded Open Office.
I am wondering if you mean something different by 'calculate a median value' because in a Pivot, using (right-click) > Value Field Settings gives you the options to sum, average, std dev and others. (This would be a complete threadjack if we all suddenly go off on an Excel session - LOL)
Wait, scratch that. Median Value. Gotcha.
Just keep this in mind the next time you see some Microsoft shill on TV boasting about the adoption of Windows 8, and how it has been installed on tens of millions of computers, as if users are loving it. Only 1,000 Firefox users running Metro at any given time is ABYSMAL, and is a real world number. That's worse than the equivalent PMSNBC viewers for TV.
I'm in IT, and can't tell you how many times I've ever heard coworkers(usually the people in charge) use the empty headed phrase: "Change Is Good". Usually that's the response when people complain about changing to an undesirable product or upgrade. I usually make it a point to disagree, saying "No, POSITIVE Change Is GOOD". Going out of business, losing your job, or death is also change, but it isn't necessarily a situation where "Change Is Good" or an 'upgrade' being "progress". Just look at our President who wanted to implement "change" for a perfect example of change NOT being "good"....
I quite like Metro on my Windows tablet and Windows phone. I tried the FF beta for Metro, but it couldn’t compete with Internet Explorer on Metro, which is actually quite nice.
I can’t imagine not using Firefox in the future. I have so many privacy add-on now that just make using the internet so much more convenient. I block most every kind of annoyance that can be thrown at me. I even block pages that read my blocks and try to circumvent me.
Google has done fairly rapid regular updates to Chrome and I haven’t had any significant issues with browser extension updates (Symantec has been very timely with updates to the Identity Safe extension from Norton Internet Security).
They need to abandon Thunderbird too. Mozilla is not hesitant to ship incomplete or buggy T-Bird and then let us to suffer through fixes, if they ever come. Through the many “upgrades” it seems every other one is buggy to the point of distraction. Design by volunteer committee works no better that Central Planning Committee.
I have had T-Bird long enough to make it difficult to switch back to Outlook and not loose most of my files.
Agreed on all counts. Firefox on Windows 8 in the Metro environment was simply not a great experience.
If you install Classic shell, Windows 8 is familiar and works just fine. You even have the option of diving into Metro if you feel adventurous.
When you open any of the Office Suite apps, the Ribbon’s still there, but click on Menu link at left-top Ribbon, and it reverts to the Good Old 2003-07 Menu. It’s a tiny app, works beautifully, and stops gnashing of teeth. Heh.
I was hoping when I read that, that it was only the number of Metro/Firefox RELEASE TESTERS.
But you could be right, it might be the total number of Firefox users on Metro. Though that's unfathomably low.
I've heard that Metro makes it difficult to choose an alternate browser. If so, then virtually everybody will stick with Exploder.
I know. You want to know what REALLY infuriated me recently? I work in a hospital, and we have to still use Internet Explorer 7 enterprise wide, because we have system critical systems that have not been validated to work with IE-8 and up. You install it and have a problem, the vendor refuses to help and tells you to downgrade. So here we are, really far off the mark. Same with OS...we have to stay on XP for much the same reasons, though we are agressively trying to move to Windows 7 (pretty much because we have to)
But here is what burned me. I had to look up a solution to a Microsoft problem, using their OWN help, which steers you in 2010 to their OWN website, and...it refused to let me enter the site unless I upgraded from IE7.
Sure, I could get Chrome or Mozilla, but...IE7 on their own website is refused?
I was hyperventilating. Sometimes I detest Microsoft.
I was surprised, because I use that a lot. Ah, well...this is progress!
Seriously, MS help hasn't been as much as doing a web search and picking answers of a forum somewhere.
I;m still running XP because I have a half dozen machines which run it, they do the work I need done, and I don't have time to reinvent the wheel.Eventually I will have to "upgrade", but if I had a choice I'd just stick with the devil I know.