Friday, October 12, 2018

It's baaaaa-aaack: TenFourFox Intel

A polite reminder: if you're going to link to this build, link to this post please so that people can understand this build doesn't have, nor will it ever have, official support.

It's back! It's undead! It's ugly! It's possibly functional! It's totally unsupported! It's ... TenFourFox for Intel Macs!

Years ago as readers of this blog will recall, Claudio Leite built TenFourFox 17.0.2 for Intel, which the update check-in server shows some determined users are still running to this day on 10.5 and even 10.4 despite various problems such as issue 209. However, he didn't have time to maintain it, and a newer version was never built, though a few people since then have made various attempts and submitted some patches.

One of these attempts is now far enough along to the point where I'm permitted to announce its existence. Riccardo Mottola has done substantial work on getting TenFourFox to build and run again on old Intel Macs with a focus on 32-bit compatibility, and his patches have been silently lurking in the source code repository for some time. Along with Ken Cunningham's additional work, who now also has a MacPorts portfile so you can build it yourself (PowerPC support in the portfile is coming, though you can still use the official instructions, of course), enough functions in the new Intel build that it can be used for basic tasks.

There are still known glitches in the build, including ones which may be severe, and currently Ken's portfile disables the JavaScript JIT due to crash bugs which have not yet been smoked out. (That said, even running in strict interpreter mode, the browser is still much faster than TenFourFox under Rosetta which has no JIT and must run emulated.) If you find one of these glitches, you get to deal with it all by yourself because the support level (i.e., none) hasn't changed. To wit:

  • The Power Mac is still the focus of development for TenFourFox, and anything else is best effort. Don't expect any Intel-specific bugs to ever be fixed. If anything does actually get fixed on Intel, be grateful.
  • The Intel version will never supersede the PowerPC version. Although I'll try not to intentionally break the Intel build, I may unintentionally do so, and if a bug crops up which requires breaking the Intel build to fix an issue with the PowerPC build, the Intel build will be broken until someone figures out what to do.
  • Intel builds remain unsupported and will probably never be supported. Do not post problems with the build to Tenderapp. Don't complain to Riccardo or Ken. Definitely don't complain to me. In fact, unless you're willing to figure out how to solve a problem you're encountering, don't expect anybody to care about any problem you have running the Intel build.
  • There may never be any Intel builds issued by anyone ever again except for whatever build you make for your own use. Don't complain about this on Tenderapp. Don't beg (bug) Riccardo or Ken for updates. Definitely don't beg (bug) me.

If you are allergic to actually doing work and want to mooch off someone else's (ahem), then Ken has provided a 10.5 Leopard build of FPR9 for 32-bit Intel. This version should work on 10.6-10.8 as well, but obviously not on 10.4; although the browser should still be able to be built on Tiger Intel, right now you'll have to do that yourself with the portfile or the official build instructions. You can get Ken's contributed build from SourceForge. As I said, you should not expect it to ever be updated, but if there is another future release, you can get it from the same directory whenever I get around to uploading it (which you shouldn't expect either).

As before, good news if it works for you, too bad if it doesn't, and please don't make Riccardo, Ken or me regret ever bringing the Intel build back. Again, do not report bugs in the Intel version to Tenderapp, and do not open Github issues unless you have code to contribute.

7 comments:

  1. CK: Have REALLY got to hand it to you on TFF. My Powermac has been in a part of the house with weak WiFi and I've been perfecting a Linux setup (making a non-profit for repurposing unwanted computers for low-income people), and while it isn't faster at everything, TenFourFox running on my DP 1.42GHz G4 (2GB of RAM) is noticeably faster on a number sites than an ULTRA-Light Linux Distro running Firefox (AMD64) on a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM. Google Mail is especially faster. Also, while videos don't play quite as fast in browser (using PPC Media Center for playing), the other assets load faster. Also, really heavy sites like Flickr load in only slightly slower and all the interface controls work great. Even my new eBook hosted on archive.org displays very snappily.

    The biggest thing is how it doesn't noticeably slow down even with iTunes and a few FoxBoxes going as well. Am guessing my SSD is 'Paging like a Clinton', but is still very usable - not bad for 15 year old system, thanks to your efforts. Hopefully this can branch off to keep some Intel Macs alive too.

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  2. Thank you Cameron for spreading the work and keeping up the original TenFourFox going, which I still use on PPC of course!
    As you write, this is best effort. However TFF-Intel has been proven very useful to myself and Ken, so why not sharing it?
    It is usable for me with most modern site, provides more modern SSL, allows every day tasks for GitHub, MacPorts tracker, savannah and even gmail and yahoo mail. So definitely cool!
    But let us not regret sharing it - there is no Warranty of any kind implied!

    On FaceBook and soke other social sites it has minor issues, but these are present on PPC too, so they are not Intel specific.

    Intel specific is that ION is too unstable to use (although I made it build) so it is disabled.

    The github fork is here:
    https://github.com/rmottola/tenfourfox

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  3. Have to report that Ken's build is working perfect on an 32-bit A1151 17" MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 max.

    Just brought this Mac back to life for web browsing again! Quite fast too!

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  4. Many thanks to Ken! I'm using his Intel build on a Mac mini Early 2006 with a Core 2 Duo processor running 10.7.5. No issues so far.

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  5. This is a significant development. On Intel, Snow Leo is the last Mac OS that is unspoiled by the unfortunate tendency to force iThing-like controls and designs onto the Mac OS. Riccardo & Ken's built gives us a chance to enjoy TFF on Snow Leo thus giving us a reasonably up-to-date browser. My G5 pretty much died & I cannot find what ails it, and my G4 Powerbook has a bad display cable making it next-to impossible to use. So I use this on an "inherited" 17" MacBook Pro that I run Snow Leo on by choice. Runs like a charm.

    You rock! All of you!

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  6. For the fun : runs fine with 10.9 :)
    I will use it for my old MacBook running 10.6 : thanks a lot!

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  7. I have hoped for this day for so long!

    To be able to use TenFourFox FPR10 on all my PPC G3, G4 and G5 machines and on my Intel 32bit and 64bit OS X Snow Leopard OSs is JUST FANTASTIC....!!!

    Many, many thanks to Riccardo & Ken for all their efforts...:)

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