Thursday, June 23, 2016

Progress to TenFourFox 45: milestone 2 (plus: get your TALOS on or else, and Let's Engulf Comodo)

After a highly prolonged porting phase, TenFourFox 43 finally starts up, does browsery things and doesn't suck. Changesets are available on SourceForge for your amusement. I am not entirely happy with this release, though; our PowerPC JavaScript JIT required substantial revision, uncovering another bug which will be fixed in 38.10 (this one is an edge case but it's still wrong), and there is some glitch in libnestegg that keeps returning the audio sampling rate on many WebM videos as 0.000. I don't think this is an endian problem because some videos do play and I can't figure out if this is a legitimate bug or a compiler freakout, so right now there is a kludge to assume 22.050kHz when that happens. The video is otherwise parseable and that gets it to play, but I find this solution technically disgusting, so I'm going to ponder it some more in the meantime. We'll see if it persists in 45. On the other hand, we're also able to load the JavaScript Internationalization API now instead of using our compat shim, which should fix several bugs and add-on compatibility issues.

Anyway, the next step is to port 45 using the 43 sets, and that's what I'll be working on over the next several weeks. I'm aiming for the first beta in mid-July, so stay tuned.

For those of you who have been following the Talos POWER8 workstation project (the most powerful and open workstation-class Power Architecture system to date; more info here and here), my contacts inform me that the fish-or-cut-bait deadline is approaching where Raptor needs to determine if the project is financially viable with the interest level so far received. Do not deny me my chance to give them my money for the two machines I am budgeting (a kidneystone) for. Do not foresake me, O my audience. I will find thee and smite thee. Sign up, thou cowards, and make this project a reality. Let's get that Intel crap you don't actually control off thy desks. You can also check out using the Talos to run x86 applications through QEMU, making it the best of both worlds, as demonstrated by a video on their Talos pre-release page.

Last but not least, increasingly sketchy certificate authority and issuer Comodo, already somewhat of a pariah for previously dropping their shorts, has decided to go full scumbag and is trying to trademark "Let's Encrypt." Does that phrase seem familiar to you? It should, because "Let's Encrypt" is (and has been for some time) a Mozilla-sponsored free and automated certificate authority trying to get certificates in the hands of more people so that more websites can be protected by strong encryption. As their FAQ says, "Anyone who owns a domain name can use Let's Encrypt to obtain a trusted certificate at zero cost."

Methinks Comodo is hoping to lawyer Let's Encrypt out of existence because they believe a free certificate issuer will be a huge impact to their business model. Well, yes, that's probably true, which makes me wonder what would happen if Mozilla threatened to pull the Comodo CA root out of Firefox in response. Besides, based on this petulant and almost certainly specious legal action and their previous poor security history, the certificate authority pool could definitely use a little chlorine anyhow.


  1. I need to find more creative ways to tell Raptor to please take my money in exchange for POWER8 goodness. Hoping they build it!

  2. Careful CK - that is coming dangerously close to being an Emotional Response ;0)

    But seriously, it sounds like a fabulous system - let's just hope there is sufficient library support to enable porting of worthwhile software. Have not heard much from the PPC laptop project - sounds unlikely.

    BTW have found a fun new only speed-tester you might enjoy trying
    Not as empirical as say SunSpider, but shows how one's browser stacks up against other devices - useful in gauging how much life a PPC system still has for the internet.

    My DP MDD with TenFourFox 38.8 scored just above a Galaxy S4 Phone - so pretty good considering that device GeekBenches around 3100, and this Mac comes in around 1275 (your JIT is apparently the $#!T ;0)

    Seems only to take into account actual Javascript speeds, because FoxBoxes come in with virtually identical values even-though they complete the tests faster.

  3. I wish so much I could afford the Talos at the moment... =((((((((

  4. Regarding compiler issues, for Leopard WebKit I already changed to gcc 6.1 since there were quite some linking issues (even in gcc 5.4) because of a devirtualization bug. gcc 6.1 has a different bug though.
    Both gcc 5 and 6 have a bug that cause WebKit to crash in the CSS parser - but that can be worked around by compiling the CSS parser completely separately (might in the end be another devirtualization issue).
    And of course I need a lot of workarounds for incomplete Objective-C++ support (Objective-C support is better but a little outdated as well).
    I didn't ever try gcc 4.9 because it doesn't support C++ lambda closures in Objective-C++ which WebKit uses a lot.


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