LinuxDevices has a story by the leaders of the “Minimo” (Mini Mozilla) project, an effort to reduce Mozilla’s code and runtime footprints and optimize its display for the small screens on embedded devices. The Minimo authors believe Minimo will become the browser of choice on embedded Linux devices with 64MB of RAM. Our sister site NMC featured an interview a few months ago (with shots).
Mozilla gets a Mini-Me
2004-05-20 Mozilla, Gecko 27 Comments
… an effort to reduce Mozilla’s code and runtime footprints and optimize its display for the small screens on embedded devices.
Maybe they should concentrate first on getting it running optimally on desktops before they start worrying about embedded devices, no? I mean, Mozilla is cool and all, but I think I’d rather sit naked in a bathtub full of scissors than try to run it on a PDA or something.
“Maybe they should concentrate first on getting it running optimally on desktops before they start worrying about embedded devices, no? I mean, Mozilla is cool and all, but I think I’d rather sit naked in a bathtub full of scissors than try to run it on a PDA or something.”
mozilla firefox is pretty fast on any machine i run including windows linux and macintosh with very low specs. mozilla is slightly slower to load but very fast in rendering pages.
they can attack multiple fronts simultaneously
Why wouldn’t they apply optimizations to minimize the size of the codebase and footprint to the standard Mozilla branch? Isn’t this a good thing across the board?
If they’re going to be optemizing this much, what are they going to cut out? If they can keep the bulk of the functionality, I forsee using Minimo on my laptop.
the main mozilla project from adopting any optimizations the mini-mo project can come up with anyway
so there’s really nothing wrong with it. but i agree. they need to substantially make this software lighter.
many of the optimizations made by Mini-Mo seem to optimize for **Size** (e.g, code size, memory usage) not, for **Speed**. Note that optimizing for size often slows down raw speed, which is preferable for the desktop-Mozilla.
“Maybe they should concentrate first on getting it running optimally on desktops before they start worrying about embedded devices, no?”
The world isn’t a zero sum game. Maybe the people working on this find it more interesting and wouldn’t work on desktop Mozilla.
“Mozilla is cool and all, but I think I’d rather sit naked in a bathtub full of scissors than try to run it on a PDA or something.”
Why not do both?
I didn’t know you had a sister website. I really like OSNews and format, and I welcome adding another site that makes use of this formula to my regularly visited sites.
Tho I feel you should better advertise the sister site on the main page. This is the first I’ve heard of it and it was due to a mention in passing which is too hit or miss. If you had a link on the main page, those that visit here might be more likely to find their way over to NMC.
What’s that about embedded devices with 64 MB RAM? My *entire* system with browser, terminal, chat program, mail client and several servers runs in 64 MB RAM – and I mean without swapping.
I’m going to write a ray tracer on tomorrow’s embedded devices with 8-way G5s and 16 TB RAID clusters!
why is everything about embedded linux and stuff, what about the others .. *sniff*
I use firfox on my Sharp Zaurus. It runs just fine, just a wee bit slow.
Minimo is still far too basic to be of much use.
I don’t get it. Everyone is saying that the Firefox would be light-weight and suitable for low-end devices. I tried to run it in my old 486 laptop with 16 MB RAM and I can tell you, that Firefox was pain in the ass to try to use. Netscape 4.7 was the only browser, which ran fast enough to be usable. Even Opera was too slow (I was testing all these browsers under Linux). I love Mozilla and Firefox and use those daily with my newer hardware, but I can’t use those with my older machines.
Firefox is light and fast. I have been playing around with Explorer, Opera, Konqueror, Netscape, Mozilla, Galeon and Firefox. After three years of daily web surfing i have made Firefox the defaul web browser on my Win2000 and my Redhat machine. As a web developer, I find that Mozilla provides the best control over the content. It also performs muche better than the others when dealing with forms and passwords.
Talking about wearable devices, Opera seems to be getting its share of the Lion. They have compiled the application for 7 different OS’ and for several wearable devices as well. Key industry players such as Nokia and Sharp are now betting on Opera. Opera does not seem to make it well on the desktop market, but I feel they’ve got a lot of potential on wearable devices.
I guess the Minimo developers should seriously be getting to work if they want to see Minimo established amongst wearable devices. The application is good, and if they can get it to work well, they’re gonna hit homerun.
The recent headlines from NMC are displayed at the side of the osnews page, near the bottom.
Firefox is not light-weight. It’s based on Mozilla, which was once the heaviest browser around. They have managed to strip out a lot, but it’s a long way from being light-weight.
If you want a really light weight browser, but are not prepared to go text-based, take a look at Dillo. It’s a pure GTK+ app, small, and fast. Unfortunately, lots of features are still missing. They will come, though. I hope the developers will be smart enough to leave them optional, though.
If you want a usable text-based browser, I recommend w3m. It’s just a tad bit more usable than lynx, in my experience. You can even get graphics (yes, that’s real graphics in a text-based browser).
By the way, can anyone tell me why a browser like lynx, which is little more than a program that extracts the text from an HTML file and displays it, is still hundreds of kilobytes large?
“Why wouldn’t they apply optimizations to minimize the size of the codebase and footprint to the standard Mozilla branch? Isn’t this a good thing across the board?”
It’s the wrong way about it. They should have kept an eye on the cholesterol when developing Mozilla. Losing bloat once you’ve got it is very very hard, often so hard it’s easier to start over.
Well, if they optimize for size, they should really optimize the memory footprint of images.
This would definitly need to be ported to mainline Mozilla, because if you open a lot of big images, it will start swapping like crazy and really slow when trying to view those images.
Now THAT’s a fast and lightweight browser. Firefox is wonderful, and performs well on a 500 MHz 64M box, but Dillo will run a 486 with 16M. Cool.
If you’re running Gentoo linux, try ’emerge links’, then fire it up in graphical mode with ‘links -g’. It’s everything dillo is plus https.
Dillo is also excellent!
But unfortunately Dillo and Links doesn’t really support a heck of a lot. I find it kind of hard to understand (not that I’ve really tried to) why a browser that displays text and some images has to use 40MB RAM.
And why is it that MSIE 6.0 on an 800MHz Duron box seriously beats Firefox on an 1,33GHz Athlon at scrolling in a complex page. In MSIE 6.0, when I scroll like madness, for the purpose of stressing the machine, the CPU usage never gets above 70%. That’s 30% CPU left on the 800MHz. Firefox on my 1,33GHz box on the other hand uses 100% CPU when scrolling, and often LAGS. There’s no excuse! The GFX card on the Athlon is superior, the memory speed is superior. Everything is. (I built both machines)
That’s not to say that Firefox isn’t a fine browser. I enjoy using it much more than MSIE, since the speed is acceptable on a 1,33GHz box. But on slower machines, like my 366MHz laptop, Firefox is really not fun to use. I’d kill for a feature-packed lightweight replacement
Is there a Win32 build of Dillo, or a similar project for Win32?
but this allso allows for a lot of extendability as you dont have to go into the c++ code to add stuff to redesign the gui.
it allso allows for mozilla to have the same gui across the board with the same skinability.
in many ways its what micrsoft is adding to longhorn with the xaml (or whatever they called it) system, and i fear that many programs that use that will show similar memory footprints (alltho some of it may be hidden by other longhorn prosesses that in fact is the rendering engine)…
That portability and accessibility doesn’t do anything for end users like myself who just want the browser to perform well on ONE OS. Instead, we get to see it perform somewhat acceptably on all OSes (or badly, YMMV). I use IE on Windows because it’s there, it works exactly as I need it to (except for the utter lack of PNG alpha tranparency) and is mostly the only browser web sites get “made for” any more. On BeOS I use Net+ when I can (less and less possible) and some form of Zilla the rest of the time. I dislike this situation.
I would like to see all that “portable” GUI stuff stripped out and a native GUI and API used on each OS. Preferably. Wont happen, but hey, I can dream.
As for MiniMo… I’m with everyone else where it comes to wanting to see Zilla in general get cleaned out and improved for speed AND size. At the very least, give me a list of components and files that I can delete and forget about (meaning, clean and clear addons with clean and clear descriptions).
nice to see other people who like to use text based browsers
i’ve been using lynx forever, i just tried out w3m and i like what i see, thanks for the remcommendation
Try K-Meleon for Windows. It uses native Windows GUI with the Gecko engine. http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/
Try Camino for OSX. Another native app that uses Gecko. http://www.mozilla.org/products/camino/
Check out Galeon or Epiphany for Gnome. Both use Gecko. http://galeon.sourceforge.net/
Is Firefox availible or did you compile it? What OS are you using on your zaurus?
Dillo is already running on several handheld platforms, and I believe it will run excellent in 1/4 the ram of Minimo. A lot of potential here but I don’t consider it useful yet. There are some patches floating around for tabs, frames and SSL.
Minimo is free from XUL? I’d sure like to see an i686/Linux version.