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Firefox 4 on Tiger PPC


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#1 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 05:58 PM

From the if-you-want-something-done-you-do-it-yourself department, as posted to the OS 9 list.

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.)



#2 ChristTrekker

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 07:54 PM

First, WOW. Another very cool project. I'm running 10.5, but if the plug is pulled on PPC builds, I'll be out of luck.

Second, can you lend me some of your free time? ;) My own s/w projects are stagnated because I have too little of it. :p

Third, names. KaiserFox, PhyrePhauCs, Webtastic, Longboard (surfing on old school equipment...get it?). I'm sure someone will offer something more clever than those.

#3 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 08:34 PM

I do want to support Leopard, but none of my PPC machines run it and I don't want to set one up specially for that. I do have a solitary Intel Mac mini running Leopard that I use for development purposes, however, and I might test it under Rosetta (if it runs there, I would be surprised if it didn't run on a real PPC). Now that 10.7 is obviously in play, the end of Safari for 10.5 and therefore PowerPC is also clearly visible.

The PhyrePhauCs one took me a while to get :-p interesting idea though. Any others?

The compatibility portion I am most worried about is plugins, specifically Flash. That said, 10.1 looks like the last PPC Flash anyway, so it may all be a moot point soon.

#4 PowerPup

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 06:44 AM

That's great ClassicHasClass! :D I've been hoping someone would figure out how to do this. ;)

Can't wait for a binary release. It'd be nice to see how well WebM videos play on my G4 Tibook. (I hope well enough to watch stuff!)

A name huh? Let's see, Debian has IceWeasel... Mozilla has FireFox, hmm... How about, Air/Wind/Stone/something-Bengal?

There's also Pixie-Bob,Savannah, and the Toyger

Now StoneToyger, that sounds kinda cool. :D

Macs I own: Classic II, LCIII, PowerMac 6100 w/ NewerTech G3 250Mhz CPU, PowerMac G4 "Sawtooth", PowerBook 5300, PowerBook 1400c, PowerBook 3400c, PowerBook G3 "Lombard", PowerBook G4 Titanium.


#5 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 06:48 PM

Bengal. That could be a source of interesting variations.

I pulled more current source from them yesterday since they're down to a handful of blockers and I'll do a rebase when it gets final. I'd like to have a very, very, VERY slow debugging binary available with beta 7 so people can make sure it runs and prove it's for real.

#6 Bunsen

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:33 PM

FoxForce 9

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#7 ~Coxy

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:35 AM

Why not FireTiger?

Gives a nice allusion to Blake, or perhaps Spike Milligan if you're feeling silly.

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
Watch out! You'll set the jungle alight


#8 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 04:33 AM

@morrick and I were jawing on Twitter and I think we have a name (which as it turns out we both independently came to), but I'll hold that for the "test alpha."

Small frownie: OpenGL acceleration (and possibly WebGL) is a no-go. This is Apple's fault; Tiger PPC only comes with OpenGL 1.x, and even in Leopard only about half the supported graphics chipsets for PPC support OpenGL 2. For example, the iBook G4 with its Radeon R200-series chip is still OpenGL 1.x, even with 10.5.8; so is the MDD with its stock Radeon 9000. Mozilla's code absolutely requires support for non-powers-of-two textures, so that's that. I shortcircuited the compositor to always render in software mode, although there still seem to be some graphics glitches which I can't tell if they're my bug or Mozilla's bug.

The list of blockers keeps building up in Bugzilla, so this will necessarily delay a public proof-of-concept, but it's coming as soon as they clean out that blocker list.

#9 Bunsen

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 05:57 AM

Tiger PPC only comes with OpenGL 1.x

There's no software upgrade route, I presume?

even in Leopard only about half the supported graphics chipsets for PPC support OpenGL 2

Is there a list somewhere?

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#10 applefreak

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 10:57 AM

10.5, 10.6, ..... recent macs
Of course, I'm probably not going to be gaming in Mac OS X anyway, because the 3D performance is so horrible. As important as OpenGL is to Mac OS X—and it is important, because it's used for important tasks like compositing the desktop—it ain't quick. It's not kept up-to-date, either. ... In Mac OS X? You don't even get 100 percent conformance with OpenGL 3.0. Which dates back to 2008. Because Mac OS X is unloved.

#11 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 03:12 PM

Yes, here are the list of supported cards and OpenGL versions by Mac OS X release, direct from Apple.

http://developer.app... ... 11PPC.html
http://developer.app... ... _1058.html

The part that really steams my broccoli is comparing it to the 10.4.11 Intel list.

http://developer.app... ... Intel.html

Even the software renderer is OpenGL 2! WTF, Apple! Why couldn't you have done this for PowerPC, you lazy ></span><img src='https://68kmla.org/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/sad.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':(' />< s?! AFAIK, there is no way to update the renderer in software. I would LOVE to be proven wrong.

So Peter Bright's slam on Apple's OpenGL support is right on (posted by applefreak above). Now I can see why Valve ripped on Mac gaming for many years. OpenGL 2 came out in 2004, for Zarquon's sake.

Anyway, now that that little rant is over, the Mozilla list is up to 18 blockers from 13 a couple days ago, so this is not looking good for a timely release.

#12 protocol7

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 09:40 PM

10.5, 10.6, ..... recent macs
Of course, I'm probably not going to be gaming in Mac OS X anyway, because the 3D performance is so horrible. As important as OpenGL is to Mac OS X—and it is important, because it's used for important tasks like compositing the desktop—it ain't quick. It's not kept up-to-date, either. ... In Mac OS X? You don't even get 100 percent conformance with OpenGL 3.0. Which dates back to 2008. Because Mac OS X is unloved.

This guy is my new hero. He's managed to sum up everything I couldn't put into words. Sadly we know Jobs Inc. won't take onboard a single bit of it.

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#13 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 03:58 AM

Hmm. Seems like Firefox 4 b7 is going to be a bit delayed. Oh well, more time to work on it, I guess.

http://www.theregist... ... x_4_slips/

#14 Bunsen

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:55 AM

Seems your efforts made the LowEndMac news :)

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#15 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 04:25 AM

There had been a lot of bemoaning the state of PPC browsers, so I dropped a little tease to Charles Moore.

Good news is, as of this arvo, the list is down to five blockers and counting. Code freeze looks like it might be as soon as this week.

Edit: Btw, WebGL is confirmed to be a no-go, at least this time around. I'm looking into software renderers, but this is low on my priorities list currently.

#16 Sloar

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:49 AM

How about naming it "PowerFox" since the main aim is too have an up to date as possible browser for PowerPC Macs?

#17 PowerPup

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 02:45 AM

"PowerFox," the first thing I thought of as an alteration to that was "Mighty Fox." Like the old cartoons of Mighty Mouse. :lol:

Macs I own: Classic II, LCIII, PowerMac 6100 w/ NewerTech G3 250Mhz CPU, PowerMac G4 "Sawtooth", PowerBook 5300, PowerBook 1400c, PowerBook 3400c, PowerBook G3 "Lombard", PowerBook G4 Titanium.


#18 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 03:26 AM

The name has been chosen :) (mostly because it's unique and expresses the original idea of a Tiger Fx 4).

Mozilla finally locked the tree today to run off beta 7, so I ran a quick pull+rebase and grabbed it. The original idea was to issue a debug version, but the debug version is just WAY too large (insert Mozilla bloat joke here). Instead, there will be optimized versions, including a G3, a "universal" 7400/7450 G4 version and a G5 version. In fact, I'm typing this on the G5 optimized version, and it's definitely faster than 3.6. Look for this next week (I'm visiting friends over the weekend, but I intend to push builds out on Monday).

#19 PowerPup

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:48 AM

And we STILL don't know the name you've chosen! :p

A G3 build?!? Awesome! :D I'll be sure to try that out on my Lombard. ^_^ Thanks so much for doing this ClassicHasClass! And I thought we'd be left behind in the "dawn of the HTML5 era."

Macs I own: Classic II, LCIII, PowerMac 6100 w/ NewerTech G3 250Mhz CPU, PowerMac G4 "Sawtooth", PowerBook 5300, PowerBook 1400c, PowerBook 3400c, PowerBook G3 "Lombard", PowerBook G4 Titanium.


#20 ClassicHasClass

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:25 PM

Of course there's going to be a G3 build! How could I leave all those Pismos out in the cold! :) The G3 build is actually useful, because I use it to test under Rosetta since I have no Leopard PPCs.

There are a couple bugs I need to shake out over the weekend. The G5 build was a rocket, but started getting crashy, so I need to tune the optimization parameters a bit. The G3 and G4 builds are more solid once I countered a bug that could make the browser crash when the window was closed. I'm using the 7450 build for this post now.




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