Friday, August 31, 2018

TenFourFox FPR9 available, and introducing Talospace

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 final is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from beta 3 except for outstanding security patches. Assuming no changes, it will go live Tuesday evening Pacific due to the US Labor Day holiday.

Allow me to also take the wraps off of Talospace, the new spin-off blog primarily oriented at the POWER9 Raptor Talos family of systems but will also be where I'll post general Power ISA and PowerPC items, refocusing this blog back to Power Macs specifically. Talospace is a combination of news bits, conjecture and original content "first person" items. For a period of time until it accumulates its own audience, I'll crosspost links here to seed original content (for the news pieces, you'll just have to read it or subscribe to the RSS feed).

As the first long-form article, read this two-part series on running Mac OS X under KVM-PPC (first part, second part). Upcoming: getting the damn Command key working "as you expect it" in Linux.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

TenFourFox FPR9b3 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 beta 3 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). This version has site-specific workarounds for Github's sudden hostility to TenFourFox (fixed using the same workaround we use for Imgur) and pages that use the new version of Cloudflare RocketLoader (by essentially defeating it). I also reduced idle time deferral for a couple rare crashes on the test systems that seemed to be from low memory and added a little tuneup for HTML5 parsing from Firefox 55.

Of the security patches that landed in this version is a specific one for an issue that affects 10.5, but not 10.4. It's more of an information leak than anything else and wouldn't seem to be very common, but I was able to exploit it on the test network, so now it's worked around. Our implementation is completely different from Mozilla's largely for performance reasons since we only have two operating system flavours to worry about.

Watch for the final to emerge this weekend sometime, for public release next Tuesday (not Monday because of the US Labor Day holiday).

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

TenFourFox and legacy addons and their euthanasia thereof

Presently TenFourFox uses Mozilla Addons as a repository for "legacy" (I prefer "classic" or "can actually do stuff" or "doesn't suck") add-ons that remain compatible with Firefox 45, of which TenFourFox is a forked descendant. Mozilla has now announced these legacy addons will no longer be accessible in October. I don't know if this means that legacy-only addons will no longer be visible, or no longer searchable, or whether older compatible versions of current addons will also be no longer visible, or whatever, or whether everything is going to be deleted and HTH, HAND. The blog post doesn't say. Just assume you may not be able to access them anymore.

This end-of-support is obviously to correlate with the end-of-life of Firefox 52ESR, the last version to support legacy add-ons. That's logical, but it sucks, particularly for people who are stuck on 52ESR (Windows XP and Vista come to mind). Naturally, this also sucks for alternative branches such as Waterfox which split off before WebExtensions became mandatory, and the poor beleaguered remnants of SeaMonkey.

For TenFourFox users, there is an archive available from SourceForge of the last Firefox 45-compatible versions of popular addons, both classic and current. Naturally this archive is not comprehensive and won't ever be, though I'll consider adding other addons I believe are notable. Download and drop the XPI on any open browser window. Other users are welcome to grab stuff from our archives, but I consider 52-compatible versions out of scope, so please don't ask.

For OverbiteFF users, I will probably move it back over to Floodgap's gopher clients page and maintain it there, since if you have an interest in Gopher I can pretty accurately predict you probably don't use a vanilla stock web browser either. However, because OverbiteWX and OverbiteNX are fully compatible with WebExtensions, they will not be affected by this change.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

TenFourFox FPR9b2 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 beta 2 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). This version tightens up the geometry on the date/time pickers a little, adds some more hosts to basic adblock, fixes a rare but easily wallpapered crash bug and further tunes up hash tables using a small patch from Firefox 63 (!). I am looking at a new JavaScript issue which does not appear to be a regression, but I'd like to fix it anyway since it may affect other sites. However, I'm not sure if this is going to make FPR9 final, which is still scheduled on or about September 4 due to the American Labor Day holiday on the usual Monday.

The WiFi fix in beta 1 was actually to improve HTML5 geolocation accuracy, and Chris T has confirmed that it does, so that's been updated in the release notes. Don't worry, you are always asked before your location is sent to a site.

On the Talos II side, I've written an enhancement to KVMPPC allowing it to actually monkeypatch Mac OS X with an optimized bcopy in the commpage. By avoiding the overhead of emulating dcbz's behaviour on 32-bit PPC, this hack improves the T2's Geekbench score by almost 200 points in Tiger. Combined with another small routine to turn dcba hints into nops so they don't cause instruction faults, this greatly reduces stalls and watchdog tickles when running Mac apps in QEMU. I'll have a formal article on that with source code for the grubby proletariat shortly, plus a big surprise launch of something I've been working on very soon. Watch this space.