Two browsers for old Mac OS X and classic Mac OS releases, developed by the same developer, are shutting down. TenFourFox, the browser developed specifically to give PowerPC Mac users a modern browser, is the first.
I’ve been mulling TenFourFox’s future for awhile now in light of certain feature needs that are far bigger than a single primary developer can reasonably embark upon, and recent unexpected changes to my employment, plus other demands on my time, have unfortunately accelerated this decision.
TenFourFox FPR32 will be the last official feature parity release of TenFourFox.
Today is a one-two punch, because Classilla, too, is calling it quits. Classilla is a modern-ish browser for Mac OS 9 and 8.6.
An apology is owed to the classic Mac users who depend on Classilla as the only vaguely recent browser on Mac OS 9 (and 8.6). I’ve lately regretted how neglected Classilla has been, largely because of TenFourFox, and (similar to TenFourFox in kind if not degree) the sheer enormity of the work necessary to bring it up to modern standards. I did a lot of work on this in the early days and I think I can say unequivocally it is now far more compatible than its predecessor WaMCoM was, but the Web moves faster than a solo developer and the TLS apocalypse has rendered all old browsers equal by simply chopping everyone’s legs off at once. There is also the matter of several major security issues with it that I have been unable to resolve without seriously gutting the browser, and as a result of all of those factors I haven’t done an official release of Classilla since 9.3.3 in 2014.
It’s an inevitable consequence of just how complex the web and web browsers have become. Single individuals – or even a small group of people – simply cannot maintain a modern web browser, let alone two, let alone on two outdated platforms. A big hit for PowerPC Mac and Mac OS 9 users, for sure.
Modern HTML (along with CSS, JS and WebGL) is not a document standard anymore but an API, which means it has breadth and complexity befitting to an API.
Modern webpages have long abandoned any concept of “document-ness”, they are apps. I wish we could get plain HTML pages, not even CSS (that stuff should be compiled server-side IMO).
BTW, the Mac community should start worrying about the retirement of Intel Macs. Intel Macs are going to receive one more version, just like PowerPC.