Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Minimo (from "Mini Mozilla") was a project to create a version of the Mozilla web browser for small devices like PDAs and mobile phones. The project also aims to make it easier for developers to embed parts of Mozilla into systems with limited system resources (for example, machines with low amounts of RAM).

To minimize the use of system resources, Minimo may not include a lot of Mozilla's functionality, such as support for FTP or SVG. In addition, the browser uses small screen rendering technology to reformat Web pages for pocket-sized displays. The user interface is also designed to take up as little screen space as possible. Because Minimo is based on Gecko infra-structure, developers can decide to build specific versions and evaluate other features such as the canvas, SVG support, and more.

To date, most Minimo development has centered around ARM devices (such as Hewlett-Packard's iPAQ) with around 64MB of RAM, running Familiar Linux and the GPE Palmtop Environment (where it is now the default browser). Minimo 0.1 was released for this platform in 2004. Version 0.2 came out in March of 2007 and represents a product targeted for developers.

A Windows CE version of Minimo is also under development, built against the Pocket PC 2003 software development kit. The first public build of Minimo for Windows CE was made available in February 2005.

Chris Hofmann created the Minimo project during his employment at Netscape Communications. He single handedly saved this project from being canceled many times. The loyal dog, Sparky, is the project's Chief Mascot. Currently Chris works for the Mozilla Corporation. Chris is also responsible for some of the Minimo key features such as the Homebase bar, a format for displaying bookmarks more amenable to mobile devices.

The lead Minimo developer is Doug Turner, who has headed this and additional Mozilla mobile projects such as the Mozilla labs project named Joey. The Mozilla Foundation hired Turner in December 2004 to work full time on Mobile projects. Minimo has been funded by Nokia and others. Nokia's involvement became public in mid-2004.

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