This is mostly off-topic, but since I know that many (like me) use Tiger
as our preferred version of OS X [when in OS X
] because it runs Classic
apps, there had been discussion on the list on what to do when web browsers
start drying up for PowerPC and Tiger as they are now.
Mozilla has already announced that not only will Firefox 4 not run on Tiger,
it will also not be supported on PowerPC. Although there will come a time
when adding the hacks needed to get it to backbuild will no longer serve, that
day is still a long way off: http://www.floodgap.com/iv/1074
Yes, this is Firefox 4.0b7pre "Minefield" running on my personal quad G5 with
10.4.11. It uses Mozilla's new Harfbuzz font shaper and part of Apple's
private CoreText framework secretly in Tiger that I reverse-engineered, and
no ATSUI. It also adds back the UI hacks from 3.6 for Tiger that were removed
for 4.0, and makes other changes to allow building. These changes are all
relatively straightforward to add and, like WaMCom was when 1.3 emerged without
OS 9 support, is overwhelmingly all Mozilla code still. It took less time than
I thought to do the legwork and make the tweaks, about a couple weeks.
Note that there are still some big challenges to come in Fx 4. Beta 7 final
activates JagerMonkey (which will run in TraceMonkey mode on PPC) and OpenGL,
and makes a lot of changes. I will pull source again when b7 comes out finally
and reapply all these changes to a new clean repo. If that works well, there
might be some public binaries for the adventurous to play with then. There will
be separate optimized builds for G3, G4 and G5 to wring as much performance
out of each CPU generation.
I have not decided if I will support Leopard PPC, but I will try to.
Making the jump from Firefox 3.6 to 4.0 is critical because Fx4 adds a
dramatically faster JS interpreter, OpenGL acceleration, improved HTML 5
support and improved CSS 3 support. Even if Fx4.1 dawns and I can't backport
it, we're at least at the point where we have next-generation browser support
and I can add high-priority new features to it separately like I do with
Classilla. Look at how long WaMCom lasted without anyone maintaining it.
This gives Tiger and PowerPC many more years of useful life.
By the way, Mozilla will almost certainly not accept my changes into the tree
since 10.4 is on their "tier WONTFIX" list now, so this will live as a
separate project and will get a Google Code proper repo for people to submit
code to (likely Mercurial since that is what Mozilla uses themselves). So this
PowerPC Tiger Firefox will not be called Firefox, and I'm soliciting names for
it. I have one in mind, but I want to see if someone comes up with something
better. (It has to be one no one is using -- I thought of "Tigerfox" but you
can see that's pretty much beaten to death. The one I have in mind is totally
novel. See if you can do better.)