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Mozilla bemoans Windows 8 RT – a ‘return to the digital dark ages’

In a blog post, Mozilla's chief counsel Harvey Anderson wrote that the anti-competitive restrictions of tablet oriented Windows RT (Windows on ARM) indicate “an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages."

In a blog post, Mozilla's chief counsel Harvey Anderson wrote that the restrictions of Windows RT (Windows on ARM) indicate “an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages."

Windows RT is a kind of future Microsoft Windows OS specifically designed for tablet friendly ARM chips. Restrictions on RT make it impossible for compatible browsers besides Internet Explorer to access special APIs to take full advantage of platform features.

Mozilla is creating a Firefox for the PC version of Windows 8. But, if it does create a version for RT, it will be unable to compete with Internet Explorer due to the restrictions. Additionally, while RT is specifically designed for tablets, it may also expand to laptops and other devices in the future, further spreading the restriction problem.

There is no elephant in the room about Internet Explorer being the scourge of internet browsers. There are many people who use Internet Explorer for one reason – downloading a new browser. But if RT’s restrictions come to pass, according to Mozilla's Asa Dotzler, "there's no way another browser can possibly compete with IE in terms of features or performance."

Critics have pointed to Apple's iOS, which has similar restrictions on applications, giving its own ‘Safari’ browser advantages over competition. But Dotzler argues that Microsoft has former agreements with the EU regarding browser choice on Windows. He writes that the restrictions are "in direct violation of the promises [Microsoft] made to developers, users, and OEMs about browser choice."

Andersen ended his post by admonishing Microsoft to drop these upcoming restrictions, and embrace their more traditional path of user choice.

Of the three relevant operating systems- Mac OS, Linux and Windows- Windows is the in-between; not as open as Linux, but not as closed as Mac. Each OS, therefore, appeals to different people, and gives them a good variety of choice.

Hopefully nothing more will happen to change that.

Source: Wired News

Brandon Shutt
Brandon is an A+ certified technician and freelance writer living in East Tennessee. He loves God, writing, science (especially technology) and philosophy. He is currently preparing to enter the field of information security.

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