In the lead up to the next major release of its flagship Web browser, Firefox, Mozilla Corporation is now releasing public builds of Firefox 4 beta compiled with Nokia's Qt environment in addition to the incumbent GTK+.
This month Firefox developer John Ford posted some information on his blog about Mozilla now producing Linux Firefox builds using the Qt widget set.
“Specifically, we are compiling against Qt 4.6.2 from Nokia’s LGPL SDK bundle,” Ford wrote.
“These builds are bleeding edge and are likely to contain bugs, so as usual, your mileage may vary.”
The default theme does not yet work for Firfox 4 Qt, so Ford recommends installing another theme from addons.mozilla.org to achieve a working browser.
The Firefox 4 (beta) Qt builds are available on Mozilla's public FTP server at: http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/tinderbox-builds/mozilla-central-linuxqt/.
Qt is the toolkit used to build the interface for the open source KDE project and the MeeGo mobile OS jointly developed by Nokia and Intel.
Yesterday KDE developer Markus Slopianka also commented about Firefox 4 for Qt on his blog, saying “don’t bee too exited, yet. FF-Qt still has a long way to go”.
Slopianka highlighted errors with Firefox-Qt's interface and context menus.
As to why the port has come to light now, Slopianka says Nokia is porting the mobile Firefox variant to MeeGo so “I guess this desktop version is just a by-product”.
A Qt port of Firefox has been attempted in the past, but was thought to be abandoned by Mozilla as no official stable release has been made.
Back in January 2009, the Tech Freaks 4 You blog posted a number URLs (and screenshots) for the Firefox Qt port, stating it is a project co-sponsored by Nokia and Mozilla.
With nightly builds being published again, Firefox-Qt is now available to all Linux distributions as a bleeding-edge Web browser.
Firefox 4 final is due for release in the first quarter of this year.