Firefox 3.0 set to ditch support for older Linux versions

Mozilla's open source Firefox browser is set to abandon support for older distributions of the Linux operating system, a company executive has said.

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Mozilla's open source Firefox browser is set to abandon support for older distributions of the Linux operating system, a company executive has said.

Mike Conner, director of Firefox development, has proposed that the browser's next edition work only with more or less current Linux distributions, rather than support older versions. "We have been building binaries that work across a large range of runtimes and with a fairly aggressive backwards compatibility story," said Conner in a blog entry. "[But] this has resulted in a lot of workarounds and ugly hacks to keep going."

After discussions with representatives from Red Hat, the largest Linux distributor, and Canonical, which distributes the popular Ubuntu Linux, Conner said Mozilla has come up with new runtime support guidelines for Firefox 3.0.

"Older distros will be able to have build-time support/workarounds as necessary, but Mozilla will not ship or test builds for older platforms," Conner said. "This is still a proposal, but it seems as if everyone is very much on the same page, so I am hoping to make this final in two weeks' time."

Firefox 3.0, which is now in alpha testing - and will be until July - is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. The open source browser currently accounts for 15.4% of the global browser market.

Now read: Microsoft: We won't sue over Linux, for now….

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