Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Nov 2009 00:07 UTC
Amiga & AROS An effort is currently under way to port the Firefox web browser to the Amiga operating system. This effort goes by the name Project Timberworlf, and is the latest in a long line of efforts to port Firefox to alternative operating systems. This raises the question: is Firefox really suited for these small platforms?
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Sharing? One way in Amigaland!
by n.l.o on Wed 25th Nov 2009 00:27 UTC
n.l.o
Member since:
2009-09-14

Watch how "les enfant terrible" keep as much code as possible under a closed license when they release this thing.

Reply Score: 0

FireFox & alt. OSes
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 25th Nov 2009 00:56 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

All this does raise the question: is Firefox really the kind of browser you want on a platform like the Amiga?


For the past few months, even several developers who worked on the "BeZilla" port have been saying that effort would be best-spent developing a native webkit-based browser. Last I checked, work on the BeOS/Haiku port had stalled due to the increasing number of dependencies going from 2.x to 3.x (especially Cairo and SQLlite, IIRC).

As a BeOS junkie, I recall the days of using Firefox on the BeOS - and trust me, it wasn't (and isn't) pretty. The BeOS/Haiku port of Firefox is stable and usable, but it just doesn't feel right.


It's been bearable to use for a while now, but it certainly doesn't feel like a native application if that's what you mean (with all due respect to the hard work of the BeZilla devs).

It was really eye-opening to try out the Arora browser that was included with the sample apps from the QT port to Haiku. Even in an Alpha state, it already launches faster & is more responsive than Firefox (not to mention more native-feeling).

Reply Score: 4

RE: FireFox & alt. OSes
by BigBentheAussie on Wed 25th Nov 2009 01:33 UTC in reply to "FireFox & alt. OSes"
BigBentheAussie Member since:
2008-03-29

Timberwolf uses Firefox's own GUI library. The Friendens have said they would attempt to Amigafy the experience, but right now they are still trying to get it all to work.

If bloat is your concern, need I remind you that it is unlikely that today's Amiga hardware will be the last. OWB is great and all, but there's this saying about putting all your eggs in the same basket.

To correct the article, the Friendens did not pick up an existing bounty. The bounty came about as encouragement, once they had announced what they were attempting. It appears to many to be the first credible attempt. The Amizilla bounty had remained stagnant for years and was recently decommissioned.

The Friendens, being the principal developers of OS4 have a vested interest in the success of the platform, and therefore it is understandable that they are not interested in the progress of other Amiga-like and classic platforms. They have stated they will abide by the rules of the code license, which doesn't mean they have to release absolutely everything. Why do they have to work for charity after all?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: FireFox & alt. OSes
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 25th Nov 2009 15:53 UTC in reply to "RE: FireFox & alt. OSes"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

What is firefox, except a gui framework over the gecko renderer? Many others have looked at doing the same. The most successful of the projects is Camino, which still lags behind firefox. Many others have chosen webkit, with better success ( chrome, safari*, etc).


*safari was the impetus behind webkit's reorganization from khtml. Yeah that's right. Apple decided to create something form almost scratch instead of splitting gecko from firefox's gui.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: FireFox & alt. OSes
by n.l.o on Wed 25th Nov 2009 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE: FireFox & alt. OSes"
n.l.o Member since:
2009-09-14

MorphOS runs OS4 binaries anyway so whether the wonder kids release the code or not is moot.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: FireFox & alt. OSes
by AmigaRobbo on Wed 25th Nov 2009 19:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: FireFox & alt. OSes"
AmigaRobbo Member since:
2005-11-15

With this?
http://amigazeux.net/os4emu/hist.php
Good luck in getting that to work.

Reply Score: 2

RE: FireFox & alt. OSes
by TQH ! on Wed 25th Nov 2009 07:55 UTC in reply to "FireFox & alt. OSes"
TQH ! Member since:
2006-03-16

Firefox was good back when there was no options and it wasn't bloated. Which was true when the BeOS port was put together.

Now it's just messed up, the handling and communication with ports is not there, the design don't abstract away the platform so you are really left to follow what is done on the main platform. And most of the code seems to be written by hackers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: FireFox & alt. OSes
by Michael Oliveira on Fri 27th Nov 2009 04:49 UTC in reply to "FireFox & alt. OSes"
Michael Oliveira Member since:
2005-07-07
OS4
by r.j.l on Wed 25th Nov 2009 01:08 UTC
r.j.l
Member since:
2009-08-15

I just wish they would port OS4 to x86 or AMD64

Reply Score: 0

Great news
by Moochman on Wed 25th Nov 2009 01:29 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

For newer hardware I don't think the "heaviness" of Firefox would be much of an issue. I also think it's nice that the myriad extensions that make Firefox so great will be available for Amiga--one less reason for a switch from a mainstream OS to Amiga to be painful. And, if it's OS integration you're most concerned with, I assume it would be possible to create a native wrapper around Gecko a la Epiphany or Camino. But to get there, getting Firefox running is the first step.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by supercompman
by supercompman on Wed 25th Nov 2009 04:00 UTC
supercompman
Member since:
2008-09-14

I'm sure there are some people that might chastise me for even thinking this, but beyond just the Gecko being ported, I'm really happy to see XUL ported as well. This opens up the door to other modern applications being ported.

Reply Score: 1

What is a small platform?
by frajo on Wed 25th Nov 2009 06:44 UTC
frajo
Member since:
2007-06-29

Don't know whether you call it "mainstream" or "small platform", but on eComStation (aka OS/2) Firefox is performing pretty well. Compared to Fedora and Mandriva (the distris I use).

Reply Score: 1

RE: What is a small platform?
by TQH ! on Wed 25th Nov 2009 07:58 UTC in reply to "What is a small platform?"
TQH ! Member since:
2006-03-16

OS/2 and windows code is very similar, so it will stay pretty close to the 'main' platform. The linux code is pretty bad and code could be improved in a lot of places. When porting to BeOS in many cases the Windows code was way better when comparing platforms.

Reply Score: 1

On balance, good move
by AaronD on Wed 25th Nov 2009 06:59 UTC
AaronD
Member since:
2009-08-19

While it would be nice if there was a homegrown Amiga browser, the fact is that Amiga browsers have lagged behind the big guys since the advent of frames. There have also been some attempts to port Firefox and Mozilla before that.

When every OS is rated on performance on the internet, a modern browser is a necessity. A Firefox port is an acceptable shortcut.

Reply Score: 1

I didn't care about feeling
by vezhlys on Wed 25th Nov 2009 07:25 UTC
vezhlys
Member since:
2005-08-19

When I used BeOS I didn't care about how Mozilla felt in it. It gave a possibility to browse web pages quite normally. That's the main point. Probably it is easier to port a browser than to maintain a native one and keep up with a very dynamic web world. The only question is why firefox?

Reply Score: 1

RE: I didn't care about feeling
by bornagainenguin on Wed 25th Nov 2009 07:54 UTC in reply to "I didn't care about feeling"
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

vezhlys asked...

Probably it is easier to port a browser than to maintain a native one and keep up with a very dynamic web world. The only question is why firefox?


Because people like Firefox.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

Vice versa?
by emilsedgh on Wed 25th Nov 2009 08:35 UTC
emilsedgh
Member since:
2007-06-21

Actually, I think the proper question is:
Is AmigoOS suited for these huge applications?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Vice versa?
by MORB on Wed 25th Nov 2009 10:47 UTC in reply to "Vice versa?"
MORB Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd go further: is AmigaOS suited for anything?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Vice versa?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 25th Nov 2009 12:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Vice versa?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'd go further: is AmigaOS suited for anything?


I was thinking the same thing about your comment ;) .

Seriously though, of course it is suited for something. It is suited for people who like the Amiga.

On top of that, several aspects of the Amiga are extremely interesting, and even today technically impossible to achieve on other systems.

While virtual desktops are older than god, can common operating systems have multiple desktops with different resolutions, and the ability to show them at the same time? In AOS, you can drag the desktop down, and reveal a different desktop running in the background in a different resolution.

Then there's the file system layout. You can build a running AOS system completely from scratch, simply be creating directory after directory. While this seems useless, it implies that the FS structure and oeprating system are extremely flexible and easy to understand - something modern software is deviating far too much from.

Systems like AOS have a lot to offer, it's just that you need to look beyond the tip of your own nose to see them. Sure, it's easy to deride AOS or BeOS from your quad-core 64bit Windows 7 machine, but then again - add up the time you spend waiting for your system to boot, and that's time an AOS or BeOS user spends GETTING WORK DONE.

Edited 2009-11-25 12:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Vice versa?
by timefortea on Wed 25th Nov 2009 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Vice versa?"
timefortea Member since:
2006-10-11

...add up the time you spend waiting for your system to boot, and that's time an AOS or BeOS user spends GETTING WORK DONE.


Not if the work requires using a modern web browser or any other modern (heavyweight) applications. I agree that AOS is something to be appreciated/studied/revered but when my work needs done, I'll reach for my quad-core machine with modern OS thanks ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Vice versa?
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Nov 2009 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Vice versa?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

add up the time you spend waiting for your system to boot, and that's time an AOS or BeOS user spends GETTING WORK DONE.


How do they get work done without the software most people need?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Vice versa?
by MORB on Wed 25th Nov 2009 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Vice versa?"
MORB Member since:
2005-07-06

On top of that, several aspects of the Amiga are extremely interesting, and even today technically impossible to achieve on other systems.

I used to be an amiga user and I developped a lot on the damn thing back in the day, and I disagree that there's anything that amigaos does that isn't either useless or done much better nowaday on modern OSes.

While virtual desktops are older than god, can common operating systems have multiple desktops with different resolutions, and the ability to show them at the same time? In AOS, you can drag the desktop down, and reveal a different desktop running in the background in a different resolution.

It was useful in the days of yore when always using the maximum resolution with the maximum number of colors was not feasible because we lacked graphic memory and bandwidth to manipulate the content in it at a decent speed.
What would be the use case for it today?

Then there's the file system layout. You can build a running AOS system completely from scratch, simply be creating directory after directory. While this seems useless, it implies that the FS structure and oeprating system are extremely flexible and easy to understand - something modern software is deviating far too much from.

You can do that with linux, or even any other os today. And no, the amigaos filesystem layout wasn't that simple. Compare for instance unixes' init scripts, which are modular and can be installed independently of each other (and in modern systems such as upstart, you control the execution order by defining dependencies, a rather good system). On AOS, it's one monolitic script called startup-sequence that runs another monolitic script called user-startup. At installations, programs have to actually insert crap directly into those files.
I remember hacking the bloody thing all the time to tweak the order into which things were done.

Systems like AOS have a lot to offer, it's just that you need to look beyond the tip of your own nose to see them.

You'll need to provide some examples because I can't recall anything amigaos did that I'm missing in a way or another today on linux.

Sure, it's easy to deride AOS or BeOS from your quad-core 64bit Windows 7 machine,

...which probably cost me a fraction of the price of the oddball non-mainstream hardware that AOS insist on running exclusively on.

but then again - add up the time you spend waiting for your system to boot, and that's time an AOS or BeOS user spends GETTING WORK DONE.

Add up the time users of those platforms have been dreaming of the messiah descending into their community and bringing them modern applications, frameworks and hardware support and that's time everyone else got work done.

Edited 2009-11-25 18:20 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Vice versa?
by Amiganostalgia on Thu 26th Nov 2009 06:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Vice versa?"
Amiganostalgia Member since:
2009-11-26

i'd second Thom Holwerda on all he said and i'd also add:

it is not a fault of lean OSes such as the Amiga if the mainstream industry goes with huger OS upgrades / updates + uselessly big apps, which could have been much smaller in size to run on lean OSes too! (and Firefox is by far undoubtedly one of the best of its kind in terms of being a lean app doing more in less space, even on a lame Windows OS, vs IE8.0 for example.)

if wasting hardware storage space / invaluable RAM / vital CPU clock cycles and all other priceless system resources to run the OS FIRST and THEN some apps as well means 'neat and nice' programming, then yes, there is no use for the AOS anymore but is that really where people who created computers in the first place intended their legacy to get: to allocate an entire huge skyscraper's space to lazy and retard staff alone only to slowly and erratically serve a long line of patiently waiting customers at the narrow gate at a pace of only a few at a time?

the nice thing about a lean OS (namely AOS) is that it does exactly the reverse: an array of a few (or several at the most) truly smart and capable staff serve many clients at a wide counter or gate, all at the same time, given the right program and app is written for that OS too!

now, can -even- Windows 7.x running on a godly hardware set up beat that?

how much of the 8GB memory and 750GB HD space plus the extra speed and performance gained through using an intel Quad whatever CPU is 'spent' for the user's needs and how much of it is 'wasted' serving the OS?

you tell me that please `cause i haven't jumped on the Windows 7 bandwagon yet, and am hoping / praying i'll never have to, even because of job requirements.

best to all

Reply Score: 1

Webkit = Answer!
by Brunis on Wed 25th Nov 2009 10:21 UTC
Brunis
Member since:
2005-11-01

I don't expect Google to ever port Chrome to AmigaOS, but what's stopping someone else from creating a native GUI around the webkit renderer! This goes for BeOS aswell.. I think Chrome and Safari are fast enough to be a true Amiga/BeOS experience!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Webkit = Answer!
by Moochman on Wed 25th Nov 2009 10:40 UTC in reply to "Webkit = Answer!"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Already been done--Origyn Web Browser (OWB) uses WebKit.

Reply Score: 3

Is it worth?
by biffuz on Wed 25th Nov 2009 12:07 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

Is it worth the effort porting Firefox to AmigaOS?

Actually, my question is: is it worth anything any effort porting anything to a platform in such a condition as AmigaOS is?

Closed source, high priced, low featured, works on a handful of high price/low specs machines, barely any compatible app... my answer is "no" until they fix at least some of this.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Is it worth?
by Lennie on Wed 25th Nov 2009 13:37 UTC in reply to "Is it worth?"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I think you should look at it differently, it's not your time they are wasting (if think you it's waste). They obviously don't see it as waste, they think it could be useful to them (or their customers or whatever). Was it useful to port Linux to PowerPC or Sparc or ARM, etc., yes it was useful to the people that had that kind of hardware. Did the people that did it, feel it was a waste, no, because otherwise they wouldn't have done it.

Reply Score: 2

Judgemental assholes
by Karitku on Wed 25th Nov 2009 16:14 UTC
Karitku
Member since:
2006-01-12

"Who the f--k cares!" Would be probaply answer from true amiga lover. Don't like don't use. If it makes developer happy let him do it. Does it make you feel less "special"? Get the f--k out of here!

Reply Score: 1

References?
by chocky on Wed 25th Nov 2009 17:48 UTC
chocky
Member since:
2005-08-26

> This effort goes by the name Project Timberworlf,
> and is the latest in a long line of efforts to port
> Firefox to alternative operating systems.

It is? Please name a single example to back this up. It might be true, but then I suspect it isn't.

> This raises the question: is Firefox really suited for these small platforms?

No, it doesn't. At least, not without bothering to share you line of thinking here. The real question is, "what on earth is Thom talking about?"

Anyway, I'm the RISC OS Firefox porting guy, and I've been following this with interest. It's a shame it's taken so very long, but I'm not surprised also - if possible, the Amiga world has even more drama than the RISC OS one, and this is certainly a significant demotivator above any technical issues.

As for alternatives - the *only* alternative here to get a fully fledged browser on a small OS is webkit, and then you still need a UI, which is a huge amount of work itself, and webkit didn't meaningfully exist when both the Amiga and RISC OS Firefox efforts started.

Doing a "native" browser from scratch is such an insane amount of work that it's simply not practical in producing a complete end result, as more than 10 examples on RISC OS have shown. The most complete example of this on RISC OS (NetSurf) is a valiant effort, but still lacks JavaScript. Of course, the Firefox port is not really complete either, but that's had far far less effort put into it (although still a very large amount, mostly by myself).

But even with a complete browser, you still need Flash, (never mind the legions of users who think that flash is part of the browser), and gnash remains far from a comprehensive solution.

Anyway, congrats to the Amiga guys. And OSNews - just stick to the facts next time.

Reply Score: 3