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Hands-on and under the hood: Ars tests Firefox on Android

Feb 23, 2010, 20:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ryan Paul)

"Mozilla's mobile Firefox browser is coming to Google's Linux-based Android operating system. Although the porting effort is still at an early stage of development, it is moving forward swiftly. Mozilla's developers achieved an important milestone this week by demonstrating that the browser can run on the Nexus One smartphone.

"Due to the highly experimental status of the project, Mozilla has not yet published packages for testing, but that didn't deter us from getting our grubby mitts on the goods. As our readers know, we just can't resist the doughy flavor of half-baked software, and we will gladly brave the bugs for a chance to taste test the new hotness before it really heats up. In order to get our own hands-on look at Firefox on Android, we had to compile it from source code.

"About Android and the NDK

"Although Android is a Linux-based platform, it has its own totally unique userspace environment that is built on top of a custom Java runtime. Android applications are typically coded in Java and compiled into Google's own bytecode format so that they can be executed on Android's Dalvik virtual machine. Due to the somewhat insular and alien design of the Android userspace stack, porting a conventional Linux application to the platform is a highly complex and non-trivial effort."

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