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TenFourFox development has ended

Angelgreat

Well-known member
Well, TenFourFox is now dead, long live TenFourFox! That means that PowerPC in a way is also dead, long live PowerPC, Intel, and Apple Silicon!
 

aperezbios

Well-known member
While this may be new information to you, it was announced over six months ago. I'm frankly surprised it went on as long as it did.
 

Angelgreat

Well-known member
While this may be new information to you, it was announced over six months ago. I'm frankly surprised it went on as long as it did.
I know, but yesterday was the EOS for TenFourFox. I hope someday, someone could fork TenFourFox and continue to develop it.
 

MOS8_030

Well-known member
Yeah this is sad. I still use my MDD G4 for a few internet things.
It may be time to just let it go and find a newer iMac. :(
 

Unknown_K

Well-known member
Was it from a lack of interest or did something happen in the code where the task became impossible?
 

Angelgreat

Well-known member
Was it from a lack of interest or did something happen in the code where the task became impossible?
The developer of TenFourFox, Cameron Kaiser, had said that development of TenFourFox would end, largely due to his time becoming very limited and the increasing amount of development work that was required to keep TenFourFox up-to-date. After all, he's just one guy. If there were a group of people, maybe TenFourFox would last longer.
 

trag

Well-known member
Between Classilla and TenFourFox, Cameron did a boat load of work for the Mac community.

We should bake him a cake a week for the next ten years or something.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Cameron has done great work. I don't know if "a cake a week for the next decade" is merited especially because of some arguably destructive decisions like actively blocking Rosetta, when retail firefox worked fine in it when these were new, but.

This is arguably the right call, I suspect there are more people benefitting from the work he's doing on Firefox for PPC64/Talos machines.

Plus, there's the whole "PowerPC Macs by and large aren't fast enough and don't have enough memory for the way the modern web works" which is to say that my work firefox session with a relatively light tab load is casually using an entire gig of ram.

Yeah this is sad. I still use my MDD G4 for a few internet things.
It may be time to just let it go and find a newer iMac. :(

I am genuinely curious what was still working fine on G4 hardware, especially things that don't already still load fine in IE5 and Netscape 4.x/7. I should pull out my iBook G4 and take a look around because the web is bad enough that I'm seeing people start to say that Sandy Bridge (second-gen Intel Core from 2010/2011) is now over the hill for most people's use cases.

In theory there's modern linux for PowerPC Macs and Firefox (and maybe Chrome?) may be there but I can't imagine it's a good experience.

The current iMacs look great though, I'm almost certainly going to go that way myself -- just waiting to budget some money and to see what comes next before making a highend/lowend decison. Plus, Apple Silicon is sort of making the Mac an Interesting(TM) place to be again, at least if your primary interestingness metric is "not x86" which for a lot of people it does genuinely seem to be.
 

kitsunesoba

Well-known member
I may be wrong but I think the future of browsers on older platforms is probably going to look more like new web engines (and accompanying JS engines) written specifically for use on systems with limited resources, wrapped in native platform chrome. Or, perhaps a fork of WebKit that's been stripped down and refitted for the task, given that project's huge flexibility.

TenFourFox and Classilla are great don't get me wrong, but they're likely carrying a number of assumptions and design decisions that make them run more badly on older machines than they necessarily have to just by virtue of sharing so much with modern browsers. I doubt that behemoth, JavaScript monster web apps like Google Docs or Slack will ever run well on a G3 or G4, but for the larger modern web I think tricks along the lines of Safari's compiled native code content blockers (which can block gobs of ad/tracker JS without the overhead of dynamically traversing the DOM and intercepting requests) and targeted optimizations could go a long way. Additionally, XUL/XULRunner aren't exactly lightweight themselves, and not needing to drag all that around may help.

I am genuinely curious what was still working fine on G4 hardware, especially things that don't already still load fine in IE5 and Netscape 4.x/7. I should pull out my iBook G4 and take a look around because the web is bad enough that I'm seeing people start to say that Sandy Bridge (second-gen Intel Core from 2010/2011) is now over the hill for most people's use cases.

It's probably a YMMV sort of thing. For my usage of the web, I've had no issue with a circa 2008 Dell laptop that was originally equipped with an E-series Core 2 Duo (E7400 I think?) and is now upgraded to a Core 2 Quad QX9300 and 8GB RAM running Windows 10 and Edge/Chrome and uBlock Origin. With either CPU page loads are a little slower, but it's still plenty usable to the point that I'm shocked by its responsiveness every time I use it.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
My apologies for firing off term papers in your direction tonight, but, here goes:

Core 2 Quad QX9300 and 8GB RAM running Windows 10 and Edge/Chrome and uBlock Origin.

Last year, before its "the quadro version of the GeForce 8400" died, I was playing around on a similar system. Core2Quad Q6600, 4GB DDR2, aforementioned GPU, SSD, 10, Chredge, uBO. (*base machine Dell Precision T3400, 2007).

It was fine. It didn't rocktane/shocktane set my world on fire but if I'd upgraded it to the platform-with-bios-updates max of 16 gigs of RAM and put a fresh video card in, it would have been able to substitute for my own daily driver, then an i5-2300/gtx750ti/16gb/ssd, just fine. It's possible I was giving it more benefit of the doubt because it's from 2007 and I'm generally super impressed with the way Windows 10 worked very well on extremely old hardware (it's not fundamentally any heavier than Vista is and the only reason it doesn't run on PIIIs is because Microsoft added some requirements for a couple CPU instructions).

I ran a couple web apps (onedrive.com, word, onedrive) in Chredge, did my normal social media load on it, listened to spotify on their web site, watched a couple youtubes, used discord and visual studio code on it and it handled the load fine.

If I had bothered to use native or non-electron solutions for all those things, it would have left more load available for casual web consumption, and the whole experience would have been that much more "fine".

So, I 100% agree with your assessment that while the web is wild and it is a performance driver in the modern context, it's not quite as dire as some, even me in some contexts, make it out to be.

But, it's worth noting that even one thread of 65nm Core2Duo is like... 4x as fast as a thread of G4, absolute minimum, plus 64-bit, plus chromium having a couple efficiency/reliability things done that firefox didn't yet have at the time, etc etc. And that's all on top of "web browsers can run individual tabs in their own threads on their own CPU cores, now" trick that started happening a couple years ago.

I may be wrong but I think the future of browsers on older platforms is probably going to look more like new web engines (and accompanying JS engines) written specifically for use on systems with limited resources, wrapped in native platform chrome.

This would be super interesting to see. I don't agree with the way Cameron Kaiser framed both Classilla and TenFourFox, and some of the decisions he made such as explicitly excluding Intel users (even excluding Rosetta) but I get the idea and the intent: both in terms of extending the life of the machines and in terms of "make using the macgarden better" -- which, tenfourfox in particular does do.

To your point about javascript behemoths - I don't think we can ever expect any PowerPC Mac (even a dual 2GHz PowerMac G4 with 2 gigs of RAM, or even The Quad with a fully kitted out 16 gigs) to do well with some aspects of the modern web. From a "vintage computing" standpoint, I'm not bothered by this. Slack, Discord, and the OneNote Web App didn't exist when these machines were shipping. Most of them didn't even exist until after Snow Leopard, the first version of OS X not to run on PPC Macs, shipped. Most of these things didn't even exist until OS X 10.5.x officially fell out of Apple's "support" lifecycle, upon the introduction of 10.7.x in 2011.

Anyway... it would be super interesting to see what a modern browser engine could do on that hardware. I'm probably going to pull out my iBook G4, update TenFourFox and just poke around. But, I'm also kind of in the camp of... "is it necessary?" - MacGarden appears to be in the process of bringing up an updated version of their site with the explicit intent to be friendly to older computers.

This... I'm just thinking out loud here. This whole situation is going to be interesting over the next couple years as people really do get more into XP/OSX-era and newer "vintage" computing. The Web, genuinely, is a meaningfully big part of this era. But, unlike a copy of Word, Photoshop, or Myst -- the web is not, itself, static.

For newer computers from time periods where the web was a meaningful and important part of the overall experience, it's going to be super interesting to see how people handle things.

And, again, I think it depends on whether you view access to the web as a tool to enhance the rest of the machine (e.g. access reference info about period software) or an integral part of the experience (e.g. read blog posts and write forum comments.)

It's tough and I don't know the answer. I don't even know what I'll think in three years.
 
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