Sunday, September 4, 2011

7.0b1 available, whither 6.0.2, and a special pirate edition: YARR, THIS INTERPRETER SUX

So, it's Labor Day weekend and I've spent it watching Law and Order DVDs, painting the house trim and tweaking TenFourFox. Today, for those of you with nothing better to do on a holiday weekend either, 7.0 beta 1 is available, roughly corresponding to Firefox 7 beta 4. Generally I am loathe to talk about subjective speed improvements in this blog because they are just that, subjective. However, there is a lot to like about Fx7, and the biggest one isn't the memory footprint improvements (because we're forced to take a hit on that, read on). Instead, it's the graphics stack, and the new Cairo really benefits our rendering pipelines. Pages paint quicker, animations are snappier and movie playback is less jerky. The improvement is subtle, and there is still much improvement to come, but I think virtually everyone will notice the difference. Tobias, the early trailblazer on 7, said it was the first version he felt was truly useable on his PowerBook. While I politely demur that I've been perfectly happy with TenFourFox on my iBook G4 ;) , I certainly do agree that 7 is better in nearly every metric.

Also new in 7 is the beginnings of a new HTML5 canvas backend (Azure, which will eventually take over the entire rendering pipeline; fortunately for us, the CoreGraphics version is likely to work and even if it doesn't there's still Cairo), improvements to Sync, a new Telemetry module for reporting performance back to Mozilla (we don't track this information ourselves, but if you want to remind Mozilla that PowerPC lives, go for it :), a new API for sites to determine load times and adjust themselves to slower systems, and CSS3 ellipsis support.

Oh, and it takes http:// out of the menu bar. Strangely, I'm not as offended by this as I thought I would be, but I'm not wild about it. gopher:// does still appear, though, and so does https://, so I guess that's all that matters. :D

So, yeah, about that "memory footprint" thing. Firefox 7 is being touted as the first product of Mozilla's MemShrink project, bragging numbers that reduce its overall memory usage by 20-50%, will leak considerably less, and will more aggressively release memory as tabs are closed. Naturally such must be taken with a grain of salt, but I will say that memory usage is noticibly less on both my G5 and my iBook. In typical usage on the iBook, comparing 6 versus 7, 7 seems to use about 25% less memory, and the system is able to reclaim it more easily.

Our problem, however, is it appears we are dramatically underestimating the PowerPC's JavaScript stack demands. Longtime TenFourFox veterans will recall several bugs that in succeeding order jack up the stack ceiling more and more, and in this version we jump from 64MB of stack to 256MB of stack (repairing issue 85). This is unfortunately unavoidable because the PowerPC ABI requires us to save registers to the stack on function calls and the PPC has a massive number of registers. As OS X has a hard cap limit we must ask for this cap in advance, and the original limits we asked for were too small because our stack frames are so much larger, causing it to crash out on certain scripts. This means in the worst case the browser may require a minimum of 256MB of RAM just for the stack, let alone the app or the rest of the OS. For this reason, starting with 7.0, the minimum system requirements will be for 512MB of physical memory. Systems with 256MB of RAM will no longer be supported. Every Power Mac we support in TenFourFox is capable of at least that much; even my Outrigger beige Power Mac 7300 has a gig, and my blueberry iBook G3 has 576MB. The recommended minimum will now move to 768MB. Fortunately, thanks to the other improvements, you'll be able to do more with the rest of your memory, and the 256MB is only a peak possibility, not a persistent requirement. So do yourself and your Mac a favour (RAM is dirt cheap these days) and max out your memory now.

A few of you will be wondering about that cryptic title, and that's the other thing that we need to mention: YARR sucks. Mozilla is expanding their JIT to JavaScript regular expressions using WebKit's YARR library. YARR originally used the Perl-Compatible Regular Expression library (or at least their heavily hacked version of it) as the interpreter fallback for when a JIT was not available, and since we don't (yet) have support for methodjit or the Nitro assembler on PowerPC, we used PCRE for regexp evaluation. In 7.0 Mozilla "upgraded" YARR to a version that now uses its own interpreter as the fallback instead of PCRE. All of their shipping platforms use the JIT, which to be sure, is very quick.

We knew about this going in and several of Tobias' patches were to fix the JavaScript core to deal with the situation where the YARR JIT was not enabled. When I got this together and ran it through Dromaeo for conformance testing, however, I was shocked to see the G5 drop from 110+ runs/sec (in 6) to a dismal 65. All of this regression was paid on the regular expression part of the benchmark. When I hacked PCRE back into the JSRegExp portion of the library, the number went back to the old figure. While WebKit admits benignly that YARR's interpreter is "slower" than PCRE, frankly we really take it in the shorts with YARR and so will any other tier-3 platform that doesn't yet have methodjit/macro assembler support. I filed this with Mozilla as bug 684559 so they can ignore it, but we are shipping with PCRE back because we can't afford a hit like that. Eventually we will have methodjit and we can play in the full JIT party too, but that won't be for a couple cycles yet.

Specific to us, because of my continuing downtime (AT&T is coming out to look at installing a second NID this week for my T1), there has not been any new TenFourFox-specific features in 7 other than updating Sluggo for the new Apple CEO. However, as mentioned, issue 85 is repaired, and a 10.5 specific bug with dropdowns (issue 72) has a putative fix. This fix is limited to 10.5; if you are one of those affected by that bug, please let me know if triggering dropdowns actually crashes the browser instead, because this would imply that my theory is incorrect (i.e., that issue 9 should only be worked around on 10.4). 10.4 is not affected by this issue. This version does not fix issue 84, the table spacing issue; although we have test cases, we haven't narrowed it down to the exact Mozilla patch that provoked the issue and I don't want to wreck my one working 6 repo until I don't need it anymore since none of my ad-hoc offline repos have history. As this bug is a simple nuisance, occurs only on certain sites and the sites in question are otherwise useable, we're shipping with this bug for now.

Soon we will need to turn our efforts to methodjit so that we can keep pace with Mozilla's improvements to JavaScript. If you know PowerPC assembly language and want to help, we can always use more coders.

I'm also working on a new release of the TenFourFox QuickTime Enabler. Watch for it in the coming week or two.

In news from the Mountain View mothership, Mozilla is planning a chemspill for their chemspill, viz., a Firefox 6.0.2. This version "fixes the fix" for DigiNotar, which seems to have caused some collateral damage, but their fix-fix is similarly controversial. I am not planning to generate a 6.0.2 as 6.0.1 will fail safe and I'm not convinced there won't be more changes in the pipeline before 7 emerges. If you are affected by the changes in 6.0.1, you could always use this beta, of course. :) However, if there is a large demand for it, I will consider releasing it as well.

For now, read the 7.0 beta release notes, and grab for your architecture:

57 comments:

  1. Great overall performance on my PowerBook. Noticeable better than any previous version. Good work, guys.

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  2. http://blog.mozilla.com/security/2011/09/02/diginotar-removal-follow-up/

    Anyone can manually remove any remaining "DigiNotar", "PKIoverheid", and "Staat der Nederlanden" certificates, so there isn't an absolute need for 6.02.

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  3. Well. 7.0 Beta works sweetly on my old iMac G5 with 768 MB SDRAM, which I've never gotten round to upgrading. Where 6.0.2 continues to hang for a few minutes on start-up, 7.0b1 snapped open on a whip crack.

    Admittedly, several extensions were disabled on start-up for reasons of incompatibility, so I'm wondering if it might not have been extension conflicts which generated the issue on 6.0.2 ?

    Regards graphics rendering, pages I frequent do seem to load now almost immediately. Paint time is hugely important to me - speaking of which, how are those sills coming along ?

    I would have posted my thanks and thumbs up here in 7.0b1, but I use Abine to login now on Blogger since 1Password is out the window on all but FF 3.6.21 (or whatever that last build was which addressed the SSL CA issue).

    Anyway. You lost me on the YARR issues there, but 7 seems like a major improvement.

    @ Art

    On the subject of manually deleting DigiNotar certificates, so far as I can gather the keychain in OS X does not seem to respect the integrity of user override on SSL certificates it reads as valid. Reverting to Default.

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  4. Quick test (7450 on PowerBook G4 1333 MHz, 2 GB RAM) shows PeaceKeeper about as fast as 6.0.1.
    Pages do load quicker. I played a bit with custom initial paint delay settings, and I now get the same result (e.g., a complete page) about 1000ms earlier than before. Which means about "instantly" in most cases.
    Memory footprint at one time went up to 450 MB.
    Noticed no further regressions in plugins (relief…)
    I find the missing http:// a bit inconsistent (why *does* it show https if the url bar is green anyway?) and just set browser.urlbar.trimURLs = false.
    Also useful is extensions.checkCompatibility.7.0b=false because I just need my mouse gestures and my web developer toolbar.
    Thanks for all your hard work!

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  5. I immediately checked my pet peeve: the speed of opening a new window (Dual G5/1.8, running at "reduced" performance). With 6.01, it took 2-3 seconds for a new window to appear after pressing cmd-n. Now it takes about 0.5-1 second. Fantastic! (or rather: finally acceptable :)

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  6. Chris, what painting settings are you using?

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  7. I'm now using the default painting setting which as I understand is 250ms (reset nglauout.initialpaint.delay, which results in no value and deletes it after browser restart). I used to go with 1500ms (TFF 4 and up) which gave me a page that's finished loading (that's for "normal" websites, not Facebook or the like). Now at 250ms I get the same complete page, only I have to wait ~ 1 sec. shorter, so I figure the browser is faster. When I was still on dialup I used to set it to 0 so I could start reading while the page was loading.

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  8. Oh, and I'm on a 12 Mbps line which in reality gives me about 10-11 Mbps.

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  9. i noticed speed improvements immediately on my emac 1.42ghz with 2gig of ram. it feels about twice as fast as 6.01. great work and thank you

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  10. Like the idea of adding more RAM to max out our kit. Did a post on http://jnorthr.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/mozilla-firefox-4-for-apple-mac-os-ppc-systems-g3-g4-g5/ to show how to and where to order more RAM from - no kickback for me just a fair price to upgrade memory. Wish i could replace the RAM chip at top of apple dome to reach the 1GB capacity, if i only had arms like a squirrel, i could manage it - just :)

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  11. @ib

    Firefox/TenFourFox does not use the keychain, so the system-level certificates in 10.5 and earlier do not affect it. The system certificates are only an issue if you're using Safari or another browser that uses the keychain. Apple has released a security update for 10.6 and 10.7 that deals with the system certificates, but as expected 10.5 and earlier were left out in the cold.

    If you want to remove the compromised system certificates, so that Safari will also be secure, you can do so manually by issuing the commands below in terminal (you need an admin account). This works even when attempting to untrust or delete the certificates via Keychain Access does not:

    sudo security delete-certificate -Z C060ED44CBD881BD0EF86C0BA287DDCF8167478C /System/Library/Keychains/SystemRootCertificates.keychain

    sudo security delete-certificate -Z 59AF82799186C7B47507CBCF035746EB04DDB716 /System/Library/Keychains/SystemRootCertificates.keychain

    sudo security delete-certificate -Z 101DFA3FD50BCBBB9BB5600C1955A41AF4733A04 /System/Library/Keychains/SystemRootCertificates.keychain

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  12. Also, if you want to be completely safe, you should remove DigiNotar's Extended Validation Certificate listing from EVRoots.plist. To edit that file you need to be root, and the simplest way I found was to enter the following command in a terminal:

    sudo "/Developer/Applications/Utilities/Property List Editor.app/Contents/MacOS/Property List Editor" /System/Library/Keychains/EVRoots.plist

    This gives the Property List Editor the necessary privileges to be able to save the file once you're done editing. Your copy of the PLE may be located in a different directory, and if so, you'll need to change the path appropriately.

    Now look for the line that has this number:

    2.16.528.1.1001.1.1.1.12.6.1.1.1

    Select it. Then click Delete in the menu. Then exit the Property List Editor. You'll be asked to save the file before it closes.

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  13. Tenfourfox 7 beta is super fast on my Powerbook G4 12' 1.5GHz. Thank you for tenfourfox and keep up the good work :)


    Some one is looking for you in macrumors forums hear is the Link http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1215289

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Speaking of security breaches, here is a BBC article i came across this morning about mozilla. Dunno if it will have an impact on tenfourfox or not.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14851639

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  16. I enjoy using TenFourFox on my iBook G4, but the lack of Flash support is becoming a problem. I sorta understand the reasons, although I'm a user and not overly technical. I find myself using Safari more and more (for Flash sites). Will TenFourFox offer an alternative, because using 2 browsers is impractical.

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  17. You can use flash in tenfourfox 6 and 7 beta by doing this: type in about:config press enter,look for tenfourfox.plugins.enabled , Set it to true. i am useing Flash 10.1 in TenFourFox 6 and 7 Beta and it works just fine :)

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  18. For the last couple versions, TenFourFox often "beach balls" when I hit a menu bookmark button, thinking for sometimes 15-30 seconds before finally opening the folder or going to the web page. Any thoughts?

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  19. @ Art

    Thanks for the clarification, and the direction.

    I tend to stay the hell away from terminal - like a chastened infant warned away from an open fire - but no doubt my reluctance to engage with it is wildly alarmist.

    Nonetheless, it's interesting that while Mozilla has been very proactive in this regard - going so far as to issue compliance deadlines to certificate issuers - Apple so far has been hesitant to release a Safari specific fix.

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  20. @ marc

    The issue of using Flash on PowerPC systems is that Adobe is no longer updating it for that platform, so there are an increasing number of security holes that could end up biting you in the butt.

    If you're going to continue using Flash on a PPC machine, then I suggest you take some practical steps to limit your exposure:

    (1) Use extensions such as NoScript and Adblock Plus to prevent sites you don't know or trust from loading potentially harmful flash ads and animations.

    (2) Do all of your non-admin browsing in a non-admin account. What do I mean by that? I only use my admin accounts for doing just that, system administration tasks like downloading and installing new versions of software like TenFourFox, and I only browse trusted sites. All my other browsing is done via non-admin regular accounts. I also have separate accounts for intentionally unsafe browsing (yes, that).

    (3) When browsing in my admin accounts, all plugins are disabled. Plugins are only enabled in non-admin accounts.

    (4) When browsing in an admin account, only a bare minimum of extensions are installed, including NoScript and Adblock Plus. No other non-essential extensions are allowed.

    None of this is an absolute guarantee against being hacked or infected, but it's better than the way too many people setup their computers, which is to have a single account that they use for everything. That's asking for trouble.

    @ib

    Apple has issued a fix for Safari. That's what the recent security update is for. It just doesn't apply to 10.5 and earlier. Safari doesn't store it's certificates internally like Firefox/TenFourFox, so there is no such thing as a Safari specific fix. The fix has to be done at the system-level.

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  21. I actually noticed Flash 10.1 is a bit faster in TenFourFox than it is in Safari 5.0.6, the last PowerPC version. YouTube videos start right away and run a bit more smoothly.

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  22. >PowerPC ABI requires us to save registers
    >to the stack on function calls
    Out of interest: why jitcode needs to follow the ABI for internal calls?

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  23. I'm sorry about being away from this for several days. However, the Internet problems may be reaching an end; AT&T will finally provision the T1 on Friday after much screaming and complaint escalation. Thank goodness DSLX is dealing with AT&T on my behalf.

    CCC, I'm not sure what to tell you. It may be related to issue 72, but we don't have a clear cause for that problem yet, and it only affects 10.5.

    ib, the other problem Apple has is their issues with EV certificates. It has also stymied them with releasing a fix for iOS. Removing the certificates entirely is the best approach as Art says, because you can bet they will never be trusted again.

    marc, Art's suggestions are all very reasonable and well-considered. The long and short is that I don't want to be in the position of supporting code I have no control over and already has known security concerns. These concerns will mostly simply cause Flash to crash right now, but that doesn't exclude larger-scale cross platform attacks in the future. For those of you using the unsupported settings in TenFourFox, feel free; just remember they are and remain completely unsupported. See previous blog entries for longer discussions.

    zubr, the jit calls out to other native functions and therefore it must observe the PPC ABI because it can call a function it did not build itself. With the current design of the tracejit there is no way to tell if it is calling internal or external code, and Mozilla's development is extending away from tracing. I am currently investigating the feasibility of porting methodjit to PPC, but being a method-based compiler it has an even greater need to stay ABI compliant. Bottom line is that the stack issues will need to be watched very closely.

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  24. So far Flash hasn't crashed on me in TenFourFox. I've had plenty of hangups in Safari, though.

    I definitely understand your reasons, though. But if anyone needs to use Flash on a PowerPC Mac, then the unsupported settings in TenFourFox are the best way to go.

    Hopefully I'll have a job to get an Intel Mac by the time the Flash setting is completely phased out from TenFourFox. I really appreciate you keeping it there, though.

    By the way, I'm the guy that commented earlier with the garbled username. I tried using my AIM account, but my username came out as a bunch of letters and numbers. Using Google now.

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  25. Flash...There are now many ways to bypass Flash, Dr. Cameron has gone through most of them in previous posts, but in case a newbie lands on this site here goes:

    Mactubes, hands down awesomeness. Watch youtube in Quicktime, mmmm, mmmm, good. Download options abound.

    Youview, close second, uses ffmpeg instead of flash.

    Downloadhelper extension: Yes, you too can download webvideo from most streaming sites and play it anything (VLC, mplayer, Quicktime with Perian, umm, anything). Better than good.

    Flashvideoreplacer extension: A little buggy on my macs (much, much better in mintPPC where gnome mplayer is the default player), but launches quicktime, either in a browser or standalone. I find standalone works better.

    Herr Kaisers nifty little haxie in 6.0 that will hand off some webvideo to Quicktime. Still very beta, but very promising!

    None of this will help Farmville addicts,or peeps who have to watch BBC iplayer. I suggest if you really need flash, get a cheap(or free,I found a decent Dell Optiplex on the side of the road the other day, no HD but 2gb of RAM and a P4 2.8 ghz, not too shabby for nothing dollars) at your local Uni recylce center and put Linux Mint (zee best) or Xubuntu on it.

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  26. @dr.dave I'm aware of that post, although everyone should have the choice to choose one or the other. And I'd appreciate the Flash setting still being there for as long as possible, as I'm sure others would, too.

    Broke right now, so that why I'm still sticking with my PowerPC Mac mini. I bet there's many in the same boat, so thank you very much to ClassicHasClass for developing TenFourFox.

    Before this, I was using Safari, which would always annoyingly lag. I always had to open a new window for it to stop. And it would crash, not infrequently. My guess is the latest Intel version is a very different beast from the PowerPC, and that towards the end they stopped focusing on PowerPC specific-fixes. Then they ditched PPC altogether, of course.

    Then again, Apple is a company that makes products for rich people, and they did give us a few years. But for those that don't have the money to always buy a new computer or don't see the point, it is frustrating.

    As for the "official" Firefox, my impression was that they were behind Safari speed-wise, especially since they stopped development for PowerPC before Apple did.

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  27. "Downloadhelper extension: Yes, you too can download webvideo from most streaming sites and play it anything (VLC, mplayer, Quicktime with Perian, umm, anything). Better than good."

    I was stuck using Downloadhelper for years on BeOS because there wasn't a Flash player for the BeOS version of Firefox. It was such a relief when I switched to Mac and finally had working embedded Flash.

    Downloadhelper works well, but it's a pain in the ass to have to download complete video files then find out it's not the video you were looking for. Also, it doesn't work on many sites and forums where people post videos. (you just have to guess what they posted while looking at a blank box)

    MacTubes works well for YouTube, but again, not for most other sites and forums.

    I'm going to keep using the Flash plugin in Firefox as long as possible. After that, I'll probably have to get another computer.

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  28. And this is why Flash is, at its root, a bad thing: you're having to depend on a proprietary solution that isn't under your control which is no longer supported for a computer that remains completely functional.

    Steve Jobs was right to expunge Flash from iOS. Hubris or not, doing so has made a Flash-free existence at least possible.

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  29. You don't have to tell me about it. I hate Flash. I've hated it since it came out - just like I hate Microsoft .doc and .xls and every other proprietary format that locks you into proprietary software (and usually only working on a proprietary OS).

    But once something's become a de facto standard used all over the place, it's a bit annoying to not be able to access it properly. I hope all proprietary formats die quick and horrible deaths. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening any time soon.

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  30. Can anyone using 7.0b1 under 10.5 take a look at this page:

    http://slickdeals.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=9

    The formatting in 7.0b1 is completely off, while it looks fine in 3.6.22. Anyone else see that?

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  31. OK, I switched back to using 6.0.1 and the problem is still there, so it's not 7.0 specific. The problem is definitely not there in 3.6.22, so it may be related to the table formatting issues that have cropped up with TFF and 10.5.

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  32. @Art: This is issue 84. The website displays correctly in TFF 5.0.

    @mr_a500: I agree completely. I'd rather have people embed html5 video in forums and on websites, but the pragmatic reality is that you need the Flash plugin if you want to get to the content *now* and don't have time for constant workarounds.

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. flash 10.1 is actually enjoyable in you-tube even in full-screen dare i say at 360p i am getting 18-20fps and is quite smooth. this is on an emac 1.42ghz g4 with 2gigs of ram. great work.

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  35. There is no reason to prohibit (!) Flash in Ten4Fox 6+. Of course its developer is free to warn about it, but many users know what they're doing when they freely choose to play flashgames or watch youtube etc.pp. We are the users! So the mighty dev should please, please not complicate the life of Flash users who know about Flash's pros and cons.

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  36. It's not prohibited, it's just disabled. You can enable it anytime you want and use it at your own risk, no problem. Also, I would advise everyone to just try it and live without Flash for a week. I did that. For me, personally, the day to abandon Flash has not come (yet), but I can see it coming. See for yourself. TFF is just a bit ahead of its time.

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  37. And, more accurately, unsupported. One day it won't work properly if at all, and may not be fixable. This is the most graceful way of dealing with a sinking ship.

    Ars Technica is reporting that Microsoft will be disabling plugins in the Metro IE 10, by the way, though they will still be operational in the desktop version.

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  38. Okay, but I found the about:config Flash de-/activation only here in this discussion. The dev should explain this possibility clearly in his main announcements, please. Or better: Simply offer a user-friendly GUI checkmark in "FF > Preferences > Content" beneath "[√] Enable JavaScript", please. Because Mac users hate CLIs (and deservedly so)!

    BTW: A "Java Plug-in 10.0.2" or "Java 1.3.1 Plug-in" exists, too. Does that mean that in Ten4Fox6+ also Java is completely disabled by default? And what about all those QuickTime audio/video formats in the whole WWW?

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  39. All plugins are disabled by default. If you enable them, you can choose to only hide the Java plugin (which is a nuissance and a security risk anyway and not working correctly anymore in some situations), and/or hide only fullpage plugins such as these stupid websites that consist of Flash only (that I hope will die out soon). If you look through about:config, you'll find these options the developer was considerate enough to give us. I highly doubt there'll be a GUI option for that, though, because the way is going towards a Flash-free future, and it's the right way. Just think iPad. Apple said, no Flash, period, and people are buying them anyway.

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  40. Hi, their is nothing subjective about the speed improvements in Firefox 7, and specifically TenforFox 7. You can benchmark the performance over at: http://service.futuremark.com/peacekeeper/

    In my effort to find the fastest browser for my PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz (PowerMac7,3) I tested all of the modern browsers, and here are the results:

    TenfourFox 7.0b1: 1696
    Opera 10.63: 1578
    TenfourFox 6.0r: 1539
    TenfourFox 5.0: 1527
    Safari 5.0.6: 1266
    TenfourFox 4.0.3: 1252
    Camino 2.1b2: 835
    Firefox 3.6.22: 697

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  41. Thanks for the stats, Nikolas. You might see how iCab plays; 4.8 even beat Safari at JavaScript. I'm not sure how Alexander is juicing WebKit, but it performs rather better than Safari and OmniWeb. However, I have no idea how long he will still support PPC either and I'm not sure how his integrates with the OS WebKit (OmniWeb carries its own, which is why I prefer it).

    There won't be a GUI option for plugins, for several reasons: 1) it's another thing we have to merge with and keep up to date against the Firefox sources, which is a nonzero amount of work to do to maintain an unsupported feature; 2) frankly, I don't want people who are unable to find the instructions for themselves turning them on, because these are likely to be the users who will least understand the ramifications of doing so and what it means for them to be "unsupported", and 3) as Chris says, this goes against the idea of a plugin free future.

    If plugins are really that important to you and the existing "non-support" isn't acceptable, there still are other choices for PPC. I don't expect people to agree with this choice; I've laid out my reasons why and people can still investigate other options while they last. For me, however, security will trump functionality every time. The about:config options are the best compromise that I am comfortable with.

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  42. For the occasion I am repeating my One Week Without Plugins Experiment and have to say that things have changed a lot since my last serious try about four or five months ago. Although we're not quite there yet, many websites now offer a Flash-free alternative. Youtube seems to be catching up encoding their videos in WebM (rather than Flash and H.264 only). Good.

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  43. Hi, I tried out iCab 4.8 and it scored a respectable 1535 on my PowerMac. I tried OmniWeb 5.11 too, but it crashed every time I tried to run it.

    I also tested my work issued Lenovo T400 2.4GHz (Intel P8600) running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. It originally scored 2523 with Firefox 3.8.18, but after upgrading to Firefox 6.0.2 I'm now getting 4318. After seeing such a dramatic jump I upgraded Firefox on my iMac 24" 2.4GHz (iMac7,1) to 7.0b5 and I'm getting a whopping 4556!

    My Archos 70 Internet Tablet (Android 2.2) scored 326 on their benchmark, which identified it as Safari 4.0... guess it uses WebKit.

    Keep up the good work, and thanks for helping to extend the viability of PowerPC macs.

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  44. The Intel macs have methodjit which greatly improves their JS benchmarks, not to mention full OpenGL support. Methodjit for PowerPC is coming; more about that in a blog post as it gets finished (it's about 25% written).

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  45. Oh, and Nikolas, report the crash to Omni; they're very good about fixing such things.

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  46. Well, I just wrote for those of us who simply wanna use uToob-FLVs, SWF-Apps, Java-Apps, QT-MOVs, -MP3s etc.pp. without leaving FF7 cumbersomely. However, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your great work; I personally have no problem with the about:config PlugIn activation; TFF7.0b1 runs superfast on my 1.25GHz 7450 (2GB RAM, OSX.5.8) and also Flash seems to run faster than ever now!!! >:D SCNR. But honestly: Neither my friends nor I have ever (!) experienced any "security" issues concerning Flash, Shockwave or any other PlugIn medium since 1993.

    And one last thing: If you write "plugins are disabled by default, and are no longer supported", then it sounds like "plug-ins are absolutely not possible anymore" so that thousands of potential TFF users run away from here and won't use TFF at all! Is that really what you want? Why not simply declaring "plugins are no longer supported, but can be enabled via about:config"?

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  47. I agree with the above post. My computer even has the same specs. Flash 10.1 is definitely smoother and almost crash-free in TenFourFox, unlike Safari.

    And I don't know what methodjit is (not a techie), but I'm grateful for all the steps you can possibly take to make TenFourFox a modern browser. Sounds tantalizing. :D

    By the way, tenfourfox.com seems to be completely offline now. The message page won't load at all.

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  48. Actually my Mac mini is only able to take 1 GB RAM, so not exactly the same specs.

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  49. > thousands of potential TFF users run away from here and won't use TFF at all!

    I think I need to be very explicit here about the purpose of the project: it's not accumulating a large user base, though if that happens, it is a nice side-effect. TenFourFox exists because I don't like Intel Macs (I'd sooner buy a regular PC), I have an investment in POWER and PowerPC after long years of Mac usage and as an AIX system administrator, and I need a secure and supported browser to do my daily tasks without worrying about security holes when I'm doing my banking. When you want something done right, you do it yourself. Even if no one used the browser and no one contributed code, I would still be developing it because I personally use it. So that argument doesn't really make much difference to me when there's so many better arguments against it.

    This isn't to say that user input isn't considered. Clearly, it is, and I do consciously try to make the project beneficial to the community at large, but it is only one coefficient in the final calculation and I don't think it trumps the argument that Flash is *bad* for the PPC community and the web as a whole. Also, and I'm trying to be polite here, but just because Flash has not been a security issue for you doesn't mean it won't be, and doesn't mean that everybody else is in the same boat. It would curl your hair about what attacks are possible, especially with Flash's socket code, even with its safeguards.

    I'm glad Flash works well for you and others. I'm not planning to decommission the code personally, but it won't ship enabled by default, there will be no interface to it other than what exists now, and if there are bugs in it I can't fix, I won't fix them and I will ship the browser in that state. That is, by definition, unsupported. General and advertised declaration of a pathway to keep plugins running ('Why not simply declaring "plugins are no longer supported, but can be enabled via about:config"') implies a level of support that I refuse to provide, because the next step when it stops working someday will be a flood of bogus bug reports from people who don't understand what that actually means. And they will (unwittingly) have a point, because I advertised the functionality.

    I don't really think I can say any more on the topic than I've already said. For those users who really can't function on the web without Flash, this is not the browser they should use. There are still other choices for PowerPC, and as long as they last, they should leverage them. You can consider this my last comment on the issue, at least on this blog entry.

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  50. > […] so that thousands of potential
    >TFF users run away from here and won't
    >use TFF at all!

    With all due disrespect :-) I'd almost be inclined to say that people who are unable to google the plugins issue will also likely be the ones that are still running IE 5.2 on the Jaguar system their PowerBook originally shipped with.

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  51. As per usual, eloquently put Cameron, Flash needs to go bye-bye, and Allah be willing it will. It still boggles my mind that such a badly written piece of software not only survives but dominates in the marketplace, but then again look at Windows...with all the numerous work arounds mentioned above I really don't miss Flash at all, either in OS X or MintPPC. Completely agree about Intel Macs, I was at an Apple store the other day in Scottsdale AZ, and the latest offerings from Cupertino left me ice cold. Also looking around I thought, who are all these people? The great unwashed and uncomputer educated masses are flocking to Apple and the iOS now, and only bad things can come from that.

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  52. Actually, I don't mind the Intel Macs that much (a Mac is a Mac, no matter what's inside, although admittedly, PPC is different and therefore by definition cooler). What I don't like is the direction Mac OS X is going right now with the kindergarten iOS style features in 10.7. Tastes bitter that my money went into that wrong development, as I paid my 129,-€ for every single OS upgrade since 10.1. I still don't know what I'm going to do when 10.5 and PPC become completely unusable for daily work. 10.7 is out of the question.

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  53. I really love the new version, BUT have noticed that quit and save no-longer works at all (have checked the about:config settings and they are right).

    Any ideas?

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  54. Looks like the site is FINALLY back up! :D

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  55. I am really impressed with TFF7 and the other versions I have used like TFF5. These are the browser of choice on my travel iBookG4.

    I am however a bit confused re HTML5 and YouTube I installed the QT add on and it works great on the test sites.

    YouTube however seems to default to WebM which chokes on my iBook. When it does play the audio is garbled The h.264 option is not enabled.

    There are hints in these blogs that this is because the browser ID is "FireFox." That if one changes the ID to Safari, then it will enable the YouTube h.264

    Google searches of these terms such as "tenfourfox h.264 YouTube enable settings." do not return any useful results.

    I would really like it if I did not have to enable the flash to view some of the embedded videos. I tried the flashblock and other add ons recommended in the blog, but all they did was to try and launch flash.

    Any other places to look for where to enable the h.264 on YouTube?

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  56. The problem is that sites like YouTube think they know better than the browser, so they don't even offer H.264 as an option when they see "Firefox" despite the fact that there are H.264 enablers for Firefox, not just our own.

    A user agent add-on that lets you switch user agents on the fly is probably the best solution there. There are many on AMO and all of them should be compatible with TenFourFox. I'm looking into other ways of having the QTE spy on the stream.

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