Mozilla’s Fennec gets Firefox 3.5 core

Chicago (IL) – Mozilla thinks beyond the desktop version of its Firefox browser and the next big opportunity to claim market share: The mobile version of Firefox, currently code-named Fennec, will receive similar capabilities as the desktop version and integrate the core technologies of Firefox 3.5.

Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox at Mozilla, confirmed in a recent conversation with TG Daily that Fennec will adopt the same code base as Firefox 3.5, which is currently available as a public Beta 4. While it will be a streamlined version, Fennec will be based on the Gecko 1.9.1 rendering engine and include the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine. Beltzner noted that Mozilla believes that mobile browsers “should not be second class browsers,” but provide an experience similar to a desktop browser.

Beltzner made the comments when talking about growth opportunities for Firefox, which he said are primarily in making the software faster, more secure and much more extendable to enable a “customizable web.” Another opportunity is in corporate applications, which still rely on Internet Explorer 6 in many environments. Beltzner said that Mozilla moves into this field by allowing companies access to Mozilla developer teams and browser documentation. For example, the organization helped IBM develop an “IBM-specific version” of Firefox, which apparently is deployed company-wide.

He noted that Microsoft has significant progress with the recently released Internet Explorer 8 and said that Mozilla welcomes that “Microsoft is investing in the web again.” However, despite the apparent enhancements in privacy and performance, he did not think that IE8 has any new or unique features Mozilla would want or adopt for Firefox.