Saturday, October 13, 2012

17 beta released; more dark clouds of Judgment Day

17.0 beta is now available from the Downloads tab; read the (WIP) release notes.

Besides fixing the problem with canvases (possibly suboptimally, but that's better than not fixing it at all) and including the security fixes from 10.0.9, I'm going to go for broke with Barry/Chris' theory on Tenderapp that PostScript Type 1 fonts are the problem for those people who get disappearing or "boxed out" text. Actually, that's not quite the issue -- the issue is fonts that contain only bitmaps and no glyph or CFF information, which includes some TrueType/OpenType fonts as well -- so this version simply ignores those fonts and selects a fallback. The configure settings for Arial, Helvetica and Times remain, just in case. If a font is ignored, it is logged to the Console, so you can run and see which fonts it believes it cannot render. This doesn't affect downloadable fonts, just the fonts already installed on your system. The moral of this story is, use TrueType and OpenType fonts unless you absolutely have no other way of getting them.

In the Judgment Day department, Tobias' AuroraFox version of 18 has uncovered some unpleasant findings. While the problems with JPEG images and our use of the built-in AltiVec JPEG decoder can be worked around, version 18.0 removes support for QuickDraw plugins, and as a result plugins crash when instantiated on PowerPC in 18.0. I warned you this day would come. Plugin code will be completely disabled in 18.0 to prevent users who have it enabled from being affected. This code will not be restored, and it is unlikely it would work properly even if it were.

Also, for some absolutely ridiculous reason, Josh Aas in what can only be described as an obsession with wrecking functional old code has decided to remove Growl support from 18 also. I don't know how many of you have Growl installed, but I do, mostly for TTYtter Texapp. However, Firefox and TenFourFox could use Growl to notify users about downloads and updates, and because it was part of toolkit/, it could be used by other Gecko consumers. Allegedly this is being replaced by XUL notifications, but this doesn't even appear to be on the radar. This was a really bad move with half-assed justification, people in the bug weren't too enthusiastic about the idea, and bluntly I'm pretty peeved at him (and I bet people on 10.6 and 10.7 using the real Firefox won't be very happy either, because the only replacement is the Notification Center support which is only in iOS 10.8). We might restore this code if it looks like we have to drop to feature parity between 17 and 24, which is, sadly, probable. I'm curious about how many of you were using Growl, just to see.

QTE update is next.


  1. The removal of QuickDraw plugin code is indeed unfortunate. Was that technically necessary to further develop the browser, or just a removal of dead code (cleaning up)? I wonder why one single person can make these decisions on their own (also regarding growl). Aurora 18 for Flash now shows an empty space, and loading the QuickTime plugin crashes the browser instantly. So, while painful, it's the right decision to disable plugin code completely in 18.

    The font issue is fixed for me in 17.0b1. Text is now displayed on websites with Postscript Type 1 fonts, albeit not it the intended font style. But web designers who are in their right mind wouldn't use these fonts because hardly anybody has them installed, so their browsers would fallback anyway.

  2. French, Swedish & German langpack installers available at . The Swedish one is new, please give it a test run if you speak this language.

  3. W/r/t plugins, they're also removing Carbon NPAPI support at the same time (bug 598397), which has not landed yet, but will.

    Their reasoning with plugins is at least understandable. Virtually all maintained plugins support the new CoreAnimation and Cocoa plugin APIs, and they are better documented to boot; plus, Apple has deprecated QuickDraw since 10.4 and Carbon is now deprecated as of 10.8. Eliminating a second code path which will now almost never be used makes good sense because intertwining it with the CA/Cocoa code probably increases the risk of bugs and decreases performance. That's why I say that if we add it back it's unlikely to work right anyway because we'd need to duplicate and maintain all those little interminglings. It's just not worth it.

    However, I just don't get why Growl had to go. That code is stable, connects to a stable API that hasn't changed since the 1.0 days, and provides a useful service option on supported platforms. So I think he's way out of line here. I don't know how he got review+ on that, but he did.

    Glad to hear that the font problem is now dealt with. I would really like to hear from some of the more vocal users on that trouble ticket, though. What happened to our Polish translator?

  4. I'll probably stick with TenFourFox 17 and won't upgrade anymore - I need Flash plugin, which is faster than HTML5 on YouTube and allows 240p streaming.

  5. That is probably your only option, yes. Note: when we aren't able to maintain source parity, 17 support will end early and the stable branch will be moved to the last buildable unstable version, to which feature parity items will be added. At best this will occur by Fx24, so even then your time is limited even if we make it to the next ESR (and Mozilla has not said if there's going to be a "next ESR" after 17). I'd start seeing if the QTE can meet your needs.

  6. Probably should be asking Tobias this, but since there is no Leopardwebkit development blog and he probably reads these comments here goes nutin':

    Will plugins still be supported in leopard webkit for the forseeable future? Click to Flash with quicktime in standalone is pretty awesome.

  7. Did you notice that the graphically nicer tab dragging from 8.0b1 is back in 17? Took long enough… Only the thumbnail is now always shown when dragging, which is a bit confusing.

  8. I was waiting for someone to notice. It's not quite as smooth as it was in 8, probably because of the thumbnail, but it's still nice. I wonder if there's an easy way to turn that off.

  9. I wonder why they didn't just let it be as it was in 8.0b1.

    You can always set nglayout.enable_drag_images to false, but then you won't get a thumbnail when dragging a tab out of the strip to make a new window. And dragging images to the desktop to save them will be just wire frames in Firefox 1.x style. The good thing is that this dramatically improves performance for these operations on slower systems (like my PowerBook G3 400 MHz).

  10. While watching my system.log for another reason this morning on a system running OS X 10.5.8, I noticed that entries like the following were being logged every time I quit TenFourFox 17.0b1:

    [0x0-0x4e04e].com.floodgap.tenfourfox[553]: Forcing _Exit (it's better than EXC_BAD_INSTRUCTION).

    This does not occur (a) when I quit TenFourFox 10.0.10 on the same system running OS X 10.5.8 or (b) when I quit TenFourFox 17.0b1 on a system running OS X 10.4.11. Is this expected behavior?

  11. Yes. This is issue 169. I'm going to suppress that message for final release, since I can't seem to fix it and the wallpaper that message indicates works for now. I'm hoping the compiler update for 18+ eliminates the problem.

  12. I use Growl wherever I can (like for notification that ClamXav updates are complete), so I would like to still be able to use it in TFF.

    Also, I have Middle-Eastern and Asian fonts installed for reading the languages, and some are bitmap fonts. I don't want them disabled. The websites I read use them.

    Restricting the fonts and software available does not seem to me like an advance.

  13. Enough people have complained to Mozilla about dropping Growl in 18 (it appears) that the code is apparently being reintroduced in Aurora-18 at least for that release until XUL notifications become available. We do want to use those, btw, but until then at least there will be Growl.

    As far as the fonts go, let me be explicit about what's going on. Those fonts didn't work in earlier versions of TenFourFox, at all. When those fonts were rendered, Harfbuzz puked, and all you got were "boxes" (after 10, then you just got blank space). Fonts that work now won't be affected by this; fonts that didn't work will now force the browser to pick a font that has a better chance of doing so, even if the actual face isn't quite right.

    tl;dr: If you're viewing sites with those fonts now, and they work now, then they will continue to work in 17. Only the fonts that never worked are filtered. And I should also make it clear that this only affects the browser's use of fonts; it doesn't change anything in the system.

    If you know of a font that worked in 10 that TenFourFox is now complaining it can't use, I want to know about that right away. Be very specific about the font face so I can write an exception. When the sec-fixed 17 comes out early next week, try it and see. The fonts it rejects are logged to, so you know exactly what it's doing.


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