Fennec – M8

Fennec (Mobile Firefox) has reached milestone 8 (M8). You can install it on a Nokia N8x0 and take it for a spin. One of the big improvements during this milestone was the addition of several Mozilla QA team members. Fennec is being tested pretty hard now, and by people who love to find bugs. We are finding and fixing lots of issues now. Probably the biggest visible change in M8 is the new theme. It’s not entirely landed yet and will likely get some tweaks as we iterate on the design.

Although Fennec is still only targeted for the Nokia N8x0, that should be changing fairly soon. Work on Windows Mobile has heated up quite a bit. We should be getting some Fennec builds for WinMo soon. We have also seen Fennec showing up on other hardware too: Fennec on e-paper. Fennec on OMAP. Fennec in Ångström.

Some of the highlights in M8:

  • Initial UI support panel has landed. Tap “gear” button in the right sidebar to slide the UI panel into view. The UI panel contains separate panels for Add-on Manager, Download Manager and Preferences. The current UX design is not final. We need to integrate the new UI theme into the UI panel.
  • The sidebars (left, right and top) now slide into view as the user pans the content. The application menu button (F4) no longer forces the UI into view.
  • Support for kinetic scrolling has been enhanced and is more responsive.
  • The installer uses the Fennec icon and should prompt for the install menu location. It defaults to “Extras”.
  • A lot of work on rendering performance landed in M8. This includes front-end and back-end platform work.
  • Support for a Firefox-like security error UI and pages, instead of error alert dialogs.
  • Support for out-of-memory notifications.

Several features just missed M8 and will be landing very soon:

  • Ability to close tabs
  • Opening new browser windows as tabs (like in Firefox)
  • Initial Preferences support
  • Camera input support?

Note: M8 disables all plugins, including Flash. We found serious stability and performance issues with plugins. We intend to re-enable plugins as soon as possible.

As always, please take Fennec M8 for a spin and file some bugs.

Install instructions
M8 Readme

23 Replies to “Fennec – M8”

  1. As I said I did manage to uninstall (using dpkg) but it doesn’t work when I try to reinstall. Uninstalling with dpkg didn’t work properly either (same sort of error), I had to first install an older build of xulrunner which it then allowed me to uninstall successfully.

  2. Although I was not able to install Fennec M8 on a clean image of OS2008 through Application manager, I was able to install it using apt-get.

  3. @Brennan – There are no current plans to port to Blackberry. That’s not to say we’d never consider it, but we have our hands full with Maemo and Windows Mobile for now.

    There was work happening to port XULRunner to Symbian. If a Blackberry port of XULRunner appeared, it would make things a lot easier 🙂

  4. I’d like to begin work on porting Fennec to a NetBSD kernel running on a MIPS32 based SOC. I’ve already got GTK2+ and a full implementation of X (albeit stripped down specifically to match my hardware).

    It seems that getting XULRunner and TraceMonkey working are the first orders of business. Would you agree?

    After that are there any suggestions on how I can contribute to Fennec?

  5. I’m getting the segmentation fault error as well (using apt-get install xulrunner):

    Segmentation fault
    dpkg: error processing xulrunner (–configure):
    subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 139
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

    Anyone got a noob-friendly set of steps to make the install work? I’m really looking forward to playing around with fennec.

  6. @Charles – Starting with NSPR, NSS and XPCOM would be a good start. If you can get those ported, you should be able to start on XULRunner proper. Spidermonkey can be ported without any tracing support. Tracing support is a bit harder and isn’t needed on the initial port.

    Thanks for the interest. Join us on irc.mozilla.org – #mobile if you want to talk about porting issues.

  7. Pingback: Fennec M8
  8. What about the palm OS platform? I know it’s an aging platform, but is there any effort to port this so that I, and others, may use it on our Treos (non-Windows Mobile style)?

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