Thursday, June 9, 2011

TenFourFox 5 beta 2 released

Beta 2 is released. This fixes the issue with widgets and bookmarks on Leopard (confirmed this time :), and has the video repaint fix I was waiting for. Sadly, this fix reduces speed a bit, but the display glitches the bug was causing were really quite unacceptable. People who also want to use the Ghostery add-on should see if the tweak in issue 67 fixed things for you.

Beta 2 also adds more AltiVec-accelerated scaling and YCbCr conversion routines to make three of four scalers converted, which reduce CPU usage while playing back video by about 33%. For example, my 1.33MHz iBook G4 can now play Mozilla's brand video with only occasional video freezes, and the 450MHz Sawtooth can now finally play it at all. In fact, VP8 (WebM) video due to our juicing and custom code now performs better than VP3 (Theora). The fourth scaler is a complex edge case and I'm trying to weigh how to best do it. I should also note that these AltiVec accelerated modules are actually only about half as effective as they could be -- since they are more or less simple-minded ports of the Intel MMX versions, they only use 64 bits of the 128 bit AltiVec vector registers because the MMX registers are only 64 bits wide. Once our versions are well-proven, I will try to refactor them to handle more data at a time; it's just easier to debug the algorithms if they are similar.

That's that for feature development in TenFourFox 5. There is one new bug that came out late while I was building beta 2 and this one worries me a bit, namely, issue 68. This has to do with plugins being dynamically instantiated by JavaScript, and it fails (and, possibly, crashes) on TenFourFox 5 for reasons I am so far unable to fully determine. I can wallpaper the issue, and wallpapering the issue will at least let us ship a somewhat "safely broken" plugin host in 5, but really, even if I do solve the actual underlying failure this absolutely must be the last version for plugins. There are too many ugly plugin-related bugs already with non-obvious causes and I can't wait to see how Fx6 and Fx7 will make them worse. The wallpaper fix is not in beta 2, but it will be in the next one if I don't figure out what caused it.

Read the release notes, then get:


  1. Using G4/7450. Ghostery is working again, and the display problems with checkboxes and other controls seems to have been fixed. Thanks for all the hard work!

  2. (forgot to add) Jonas, for some reason your comment got posted but didn't stick. However, I put that BSD source file into issue 66. I think we can probably adapt that, minus the FreeBSD-specific glue.

  3. My comment did stick, but it was to another post :) See

    Thanks for the follow-up!

  4. Hm. TFF 5 beta 2 doesn't seem ready for primetime yet. Yesterday it started pageing out with no end, until OS X itself became largely unresponsive (I had to kill the Login Window to recover), today several crashes in a row. Can't reproduce them, but crash logs consistently show something like this:
    Thread 0 Crashed:
    0 XUL 0x02e68f00 JS_UnwrapObject + 4640.

  5. That's issue 68. It's actually Mozilla's bug (filed as 663789), and turns out to be a JavaScript bug that just happens to be triggered on those sites. I'm waiting for a fix and then we'll run off an RC since that's the only outstanding issue.

  6. What worries me, though, is that the Mozilla brand video plays with better picture quality (deblocking?)and more fluid (??) in SeaMonkey 2.0.14. "More fluid" is of course subjective. In this case it means that SM stutters mildly thoughout the whole movie, skipping, like, two frames every half second, but the video seems sort of smooth to the eye. TFF plays the first 50 seconds perfectly, then starts stuttering very noticeably, skipping lots of frames every few second, which is much less tolerable to the (my) eyes than what SeaMonkey does.

  7. SM is playing VP3, not VP8, and the graphics pipeline in Mozilla 1.9.1 was faster than 2.0/5.0 (hoping that Cairo 1.10 fixes this, but I don't think we get this until Firefox 6 or 7). There's probably a combination of factors involved.


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