Saturday, July 6, 2019

TenFourFox FPR15 available

TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 15 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from the beta other than outstanding security fixes. Assuming all goes well, it will go live Monday evening Pacific as usual.

Also, we now have Korean and Turkish language packs available for testing. If you want to give these a spin, download them here; the plan is to have them go-live at the same time as FPR15. Thanks again to new contributor Tae-Woong Se and, of course, to Chris Trusch as always for organizing localizations and doing the grunt work of turning them into installers.

Not much work will occur on the browser for the next week or so due to family commitments and a couple out-of-town trips, but I'll be looking at a few new things for FPR16, including some minor potential performance improvements and a font subsystem upgrade. There's still the issue of our outstanding JavaScript deficiencies as well, of course. More about that later.


  1. [Chris-T] Do/will we support DNS over HTTPS? Is there a timeframe for TLS 1.3 support?

    1. TLS 1.3 is a "do eventually" but I don't know if it will require string changes.

      I'm undecided on DNS over HTTPS.

  2. I wish I still owned a Mac that could use TenFourFox, but the work you do is heroic and always fun to read. Thanks for everything.

    1. Agreed completely.

      For TFF, I suggest a used Mac mini G4! Very cheap and performant. Can install 9.2.2, Panther, Tiger and/or Leopard on those. (And regular BSD & GNU/Linux, of course. And MorphOS for those that care about Amiga.)

    2. PPC Arts > I've been recently considering NetBSD and Debian on the 1st gen Mac mini G4 (with an SSD), so which OS amongst the ones you tried do you think is the best choice for a 100% web dedicated machine? — currently running 10.4 and TFF. :-)

    3. Oh, web, as in, webserver? The most lightweight and thus ideal option, as far as I can tell with my little knowledge, should be NetBSD, which is designed to run decently even on abysmal hardware. But Debian is still great on PPC (although it won't run the latest version anymore), especially if you care for Libre software, as it's the closest thing to a fully libre distro on PPC to this day (no kernel blobs, and it's easy to stick purely to libre software). All other PPC GNU/Linux and BSD variants, even NetBSD, aren't blob-free etc..

      But you can't go wrong with any system! (Except Mac OS 9.2.2, which is sadly quite outdated for such things, and MorphOS, because it's a not-so-reliable, very niche, non-gratis system with some hardware incompatibilities like lack of FireWire and compatibility with certain SSDs.)

      But if you mean simply web browsing, then 10.4 and TFF is probably the best way! Especially considering the low-level, non-plugin, speed-increasing, TFF-exclusive adblock, plus PPC optimizations. :)

    4. Thanks a lot! — I actually meant web browsing and mail, as the main user for that machine is my 86 year old mother. ;-)
      I was wondering if there was a more optimized OS I could use instead (together with Firefox Linux, for example) but I'll probably stick to the existing 10.4+TFF...

    5. Ah, yes, I believe TFF on 10.4 or 10.5 would be best, then... By nature, I think GNU/Lnixu would be a bit too unfriendly or "risky" in terms of keeping everything as simple and nimble. My Mac mini G4 is 2nd gen, but it's almost the same as 1st gen, and it works nicely with TFF!

  3. I'm sorry to say that FPR15 is a lot slower in everything (even local files, even just displaying the prefs or addons pages!) than FPR14.1.
    I've tried emptying the cache — I actually had to hit the button 3 or 4 times to make it go down to zero... — but no change.
    Reverted to 14.1 and it's ok.
    Mac Mini G4 1.25 GHz. My usual bunch of addons is Decentraleyes, uBlock Origin and uMatrix.
    I'll try and check on a clean profile with no addon and look if something weird happens in the Console...

    1. You could narrow it down further if you like by comparing the beta to final (the difference are security patches). That said, while there are some extra checks in the security fixes, I could not find a discernable difference between FPR14, 15b1 and 15.

    2. False alarm... As I'm not the main user of that machine (actually, I'm only doing an occasional maintenance), I think what happened is that I completely forgot that it takes 50s for TFF to "calm down" at launch (CPU at 100% in Activity Monitor...), so after a few hours trying 15b1 then 15 again, all has come back to normal. :-)
      Sorry for ringing the alarm.
      AFAIK, the cause for the heavy load at launch is XUL library being loaded in RAM? (I think I've read that somewhere...)
      I suppose that delay before TFF gets usable is inevitable? No way to load only the indispensable parts and then load the rest slowly in the background?

    3. Yes, plus font enumeration (while font enumeration is much faster than it used to be and we have a cache that regular Firefox doesn't, it involves a lot of I/O). It used to be possible to split everything into separate libs loaded on demand but that hasn't been an option since the original 5.0.

    4. By font enumeration, does it mean TFF checks the contents of the fonts folders available in MacOS? (S/L/Fonts, L/Fonts and ~/L/Fonts)
      Would I gain some time reducing them? In that case, which ones should I keep? (I suppose the usual Times and Arial, etc.)

    5. Yes. If a font is available locally, then TenFourFox will use that and not download it. On my G5 with about 800 actual font files on an SSD, initial enumeration takes about 3-4 seconds. This is obviously slower on a spinning disk. Subsequent enumeration takes about one second since much of it remains in the cache.

      If you are on a spinning disk and not an SSD, and you have a lot of fonts, then that could be a noticeable contributor to startup time. You should definitely keep the system fonts (they usually have no extension) and the basic Windows TTF fonts, but others may be optional. Font Book is a good way to see what is installed and what you are likely to use.

      However, if you are on an SSD, or you have less than a hundred font files or so, it may not be a significant factor.

    6. Thanks a lot! I'm on SSD but actually I've found a 10s gain on TFF's launch by emptying L/Fonts totally! And 1s on each page I've tried.
      Probably the 512 Mb RAM is hurting performances (I've ordered a 1 Gb extension on eBay... ;-) )
      I've found some wise advice there:
      So in the end, I've not been as radical as emptying the Fonts folders but followed those advices and kept its recommendations:

      Recommended minimum fonts for 10.4 Tiger in /System/Library/Fonts/:

      Recommended minimum fonts for /Library/Fonts/:
      Arial Black.ttf
      Arial Bold Italic.ttf
      Arial Bold.ttf
      Arial Italic.ttf
      Arial Narrow Bold Italic.ttf
      Arial Narrow Bold.ttf
      Arial Narrow Italic.ttf
      Arial Narrow.ttf
      Comic Sans MS Bold.ttf
      Comic Sans MS.ttf
      Georgia Bold Italic.ttf
      Georgia Bold.ttf
      Georgia Italic.ttf
      Tahoma Bold.ttf
      Times New Roman Bold Italic.ttf
      Times New Roman Bold.ttf
      Times New Roman Italic.ttf
      Times New Roman.ttf
      Trebuchet MS Bold Italic.ttf
      Trebuchet MS Bold.ttf
      Trebuchet MS Italic.ttf
      Trebuchet MS.ttf
      Verdana Bold Italic.ttf
      Verdana Bold.ttf
      Verdana Italic.ttf
      Wingdings 2.ttf
      Wingdings 3.ttf

    7. Yes, that will certainly help getting rid of the useless fonts. The extra memory will also help a great deal ;)

  4. Hurray! The 1 Gb RAM arrived today and though the improvement is not as spectacular as I hoped, it gave me the occasion to re-test my usual test websites with various settings (without any extension, with the integrated basic adblock only, with various combinations of uBlock, uMatrix and Decentraleyes).
    The results are variable depending on the websites: while a few of them will greatly benefit from the 3 extensions, globally the best compromise is with the integrated basic adblock only! ;-) — and with a much faster initial launch time, of course.
    My guess is that the heaviest websites are the ones that benefit most from the RAM upgrade as they now load at the same speed as with "hard filtering" trough uBlock (I was preventing parts of the landing pages/images to display...)
    I suppose there were heavy calculations in virtual memory that now happen in RAM.
    So, here's a new occasion to thank you again for your great work! :-)

    1. Once again more proof that memory makes the biggest difference.

      Basic adblock may not be as aggressive, but it's written in C, so it's native optimized code and has very little overhead compared to formal adblock extensions.

    2. Yes! And considering the "50s for TFF to calm down at launch" I mentioned two weeks ago, it's now 20s thanks to fonts slimming, extensions deactivation and additional RAM! Cheers! :-)


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