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Flash your cash for Firefox port

By Chris Williams. Published: 11th Mar 2005, 18:51:43 | Permalink | Printable

UPP needs to see pledges before beta release

Firefox logoPeter Naulls has announced that he is "making excellent progress" on his Firefox port, and despite it not actually running yet, is asking users to contribute financially to the development work.

Firefox is a very popular open source and powerful web browser, available on various mainstream platforms. The browser, sprung from the Mozilla project, has received praise from the media for bring fun and ease of use back to web surfing. Peter hopes to port Firefox to RISC OS, and use the development work to help pave the way for further larger software ports - such as Gnumeric and Kaffe. He also believes that userbase favourite Netsurf is better as a fast lightweight browser, compared to the feature rich Firefox.

Very much like the approach MW Software took in the funding Gimp-Print, Peter's now asking for users to pledge cash up front and pay when a beta version of the Firefox port is available. He's asking for 25 or 50 quid per person, which includes a subscription to the Unix Porting Project. Peter argues that the size of the RISC OS platform means that developers such as himself must approach users for money before work can begin: as evidenced by MW Software and RISCOS Ltd.

"The time I have put in has been significant, and although I don't regret the decisions I made, it has certainly also considerably compromised me financially by not being able to take up more fiscally rewarding work," said Peter in his statement.

"The contributions to the UPP have been helpful and in many cases very generous, but ultimately, given the small number, sadly rather modest. The bottom line is that very shortly, it will become untenable for me to continue to spend significant time on this project because I simply will not be able to afford to do so."

This is, of course, not the first time Peter has asked for money from the platform. Around September 2002, he first kicked up a fuss and announced his intentions to port Konqueror or some other open source browser to RISC OS. Since then, he has ported simple but graphical web browser Dillo to the platform.


riscos.info website - see Firefox pledge announcement for more details, payment, etc. Screenshots promised soon Peter Naulls is a drobe.co.uk writer.

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Having recently downloaded and played with some of Chocky's development tools and libraries, I'm saddened to hear that Peter may have to cut back on his RISC OS work.

Does Peter intend to pursue development of Konqueror (which in my opinion, does have some advantages over Mozilla), or has this been abandoned in favour of Fireysocks?

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 11/3/05 7:52PM
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Konqueror was never really attempted, but it was seriously considered and did look like a good choice at time from competing options.

I imagine it's still possible, but there would be additional libraires to be converted, and an unknown amount of other work to be done. IMO, Firefox is likely to offer a more comprehensive experience, plus it's better known and has more effort behind it.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 11/3/05 7:57PM
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Okay everyone, all those who want a modern browsing experience and Java, without turning on your windows/apple box. It's not a lot of money to pledge. 25 - part cost of a night out, part cost of pub meal for 2. It's only 25. Could be the ebst 25 you ever spent. YOUR PLATFORM NEEDS YOU.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 11/3/05 8:50PM
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25 is also much less than I paid for Oregano 1.04 "just before" its "major upgrade" would be made available - just to find out I had to pay for O2 (and never did as I found the demo to be crude).

Firefox is excellent. I think I will get my cheque in the post...

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 11/3/05 9:17PM
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Still it is an open source browser which can only be accessed by the community by payment. Then again Naulls has put alot of unpaid work into it, this is still where RISC OS has problems. Too expensive.

I could pay for Firefox on RISC OS, or I could use it for free on any of my Windows or Linux boxes.

 is a RISC OS UserTrapper on 11/3/05 9:17PM
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Trapper: I don't think Peter's said anywhere that you'd only be able to get the finished port if you paid him. It looks to me like he's just asking for donations such that he can afford to spend the time doing it.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 11/3/05 9:29PM
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Trapper, I suppose at the end of the day, all us who have multiple boxes with multip operating systems have to make a choice as to which on they prefer to use. If you prefer to use RISC OS and expect to reap the benefits of having Firefox and possible Kaffe and other apps ported, then I advise you to support the UPP and send you 25. Like I said, 25 is not a lot of money. I think Peter is asking for a very modest contribution from everyone to enable himself to comit more time to the project. I suppose the more people who subscribe, the quicker we will get our port or Firefox, Kaffe and other apps.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 11/3/05 9:32PM
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As great as Firefox is, perhaps this port could see a 'native' RISC OS browser based on the Gecko engine? Who knows - I think it might be a little more econmical (for system resources) than running the whole of Firefox on RISC OS (for older machines at least).

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 11/3/05 10:01PM
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Is there any info on how fast Firefox will run on RISC OS? In particular, when compared to other browsers such as Oregano?

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 11/3/05 10:15PM
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Smiler, what are you classing as an older machine? If the platform is to move forward, there must come a point when supporing the older machines, is just a hinderance to new hardware being developed.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 11/3/05 10:16PM
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Walks, if the port of Dillo works very quickly. Whilst it is a basic browser, it does appear to be much quicker than Netsurf.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 11/3/05 10:18PM
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Smiler> the first step is probably to get a sensible port of Firefox working. If people then wish to build a browser around the Gecko engine specifically for RISC OS then they will be able to do so confident in the knowledge that they can compile the Gecko codebase thanks to efforts by the GCCSDK team and Peter with his UPP work.

I have helped the UPP in the past and I intend to help again. Even if Firefox isn't specifically your cup of tea, you should bear in mind that any work done to bring Firefox to the platform may well benefit other future ports.

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 12/3/05 12:56AM
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Fast or not compared to other browsers, I don't feel that is the important issue in the first instance.

I agree with jonix to have it first just working on RISC OS, and the big bonus I see is that we have Peter and his team at the forefront of RISC OS to support it's future.

I gave my pledge today and intend to help again. I don't think for one minute of my personal gains if I were to contribute, instead I realize the benefit for RISC OS and it's users.

To save time everyone, it may be a very good idea to "Pledge first, and ask questions later"?

Thanks Peter.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 12/3/05 5:24AM
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sa110: By older machines, I mean not Iyonix and Omega. Those less able to keep up with Unix code developed on systems where resources aren't so much of a problem (not to say that Firefox is bloated in any way). I agree with jonix too. It was only an idea.

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 12/3/05 7:59AM
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Firefox is the only alternative browser to IE that has gained sufficent momentum - if you metion to commercial sites thats it broken in Firefox it tends to get fixed now, where as other browsers are still given the brush off. Having Firefox on RISC OS would really be a huge advantage, and would greatly increase the platforms leverage in gaining web accessibility.

We should all be supporting this effort.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 12/3/05 12:33PM
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Just in case there was any doubt about whether I could make it work, I've just had it display my home page (under RiscX). It's really not that exciting to see, but it does indeed function.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 12/3/05 1:18PM
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I've generally used Firefox as my browser of choice (when on the PC), so if it can be made happen on RISC OS all the better.

People should remember that having a well known browser (like Firefox) on RISC OS is not only beneficial in its own right - but also is a nice "bullet point" feature for the platform. People outside RISC OSland have *heard* of Firefox, and having it on RISC OS would (IMHO) do a great deal of good.

Well done and continued success Peter (and yep I'll be in touch recarding the mechanics of donating !)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 12/3/05 1:37PM
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Peter: When this beta version is released, will it require things like RiscX or will it run natively? Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 12/3/05 11:56PM
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If the port is going to be ANYTHING like the windows port, then i'd say its worth it, I have managed to make firefox my Company's primary browser!

i suppose the Extensions wont work ;@) but if the skins do... :@)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 14/3/05 5:17PM
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If we have Firefox on RISC OS it will be great publicity for our platform.

Take your current RISC OS browser - be it Fresco, WebsterXL, Oregano, Netsurf. Imagine it was much more capable, bang up-to-date and could get you into virtually any site you wanted. People that use other platforms have never heard of the RISC OS browsers, but the name and popularity of Firefox is spreading daily, and that will continue as the developers have made it easy to make the switch from using IE.

For once, we have the chance to have available software that people have heard of, and use as one of their key day-to-day applications. We may never have Word and Microsoft Office (although OpenOffice/AbiWord etc. someday) and will always have to settle for 'my computer can read most word files/some excel spreadsheets' but we will be able to hold our heads up high and say 'Yes, I have Firefox on my computer too'.

If it reaches the stage where the RISC OS port of Firefox is listed on getfirefox.com that in itself will advertise RISC OS to a wider audience. A good thing for the future of our platform.

 is a RISC OS Usergovind on 14/3/05 11:39PM
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We must not forget, that even if javascript is ported, i seriously doubt that Java would!......lots of expense

or have you found an open source Java implimentation? ;@)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 15/3/05 9:45AM
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em2ac> Kaffe has been mentioned several times. www.kaffe.org

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 15/3/05 10:41AM
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It depends if you want to just run Java or to develop it. Kaffe isn't really geared for the development angle.

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 15/3/05 1:29PM
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Some people mention that Firefox will work on *most* sites. Out of curiosity what sites won't it work on?

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 15/3/05 1:30PM
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Col1: Well I've been using Firefox on a daily basis for sometime now and haven't had any issues with one exception. I did manage to find a site that tested for IE and if it wasn't found would only point you to an "upgrade to IE" page. But aside from that my browsing experience has been excellent.

 is a RISC OS UserJohnB on 15/3/05 1:51PM
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Walks: I'm not sure I understand your point. Kaffe, like Sun's JRE is just for running Java. If you want to develop code, you'll need the JDK or one of the various Java compilers like Jikes or gcj.

In any case, I think the majority of RISC OS users are far more interested in being able to just run in.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 15/3/05 1:59PM
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In reply to fwibbler:

I would imagine the whole point of the port is not to use RiscX, which is extremely slow.

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 15/3/05 2:13PM
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Well I actually think that a lot of people will want to be able to develop Java applications, in addition to running them. Certainly I would - but then I am a Java developer.

This is especially true, given that it is likely to be the case that some of the more complex java based applications will need to be tweaked to run on a RISC OS based machine.

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 15/3/05 4:17PM
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Walks: What makes you believe that? Do you have to tweak them to run under kaffe on any other OS? If not, why would RISC OS be any different?

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 15/3/05 4:28PM
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I might be true that a lot of people want to develop Java applications under RISC OS (In reality, I think it will be quite few, since there are so few RO developers). In fact, they already can, with Jikes and guavac. Still, they will be in a minority compared to the number of people who just want to run it.

It's plausible that _some_ applications might have to be modified. Mostly those will be ones using native methods. But in most other cases that would imply a fault with the port of the JVM.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 15/3/05 4:41PM
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There are still areas in Java that are not completely 100% platform independent - although if the program has been properly written, or the interpreter fully covers all eventualities, then it should be less of a problem.

Certainly I have had many experiences where a Java program written for a PC has behaved unexpectedly when run on unix or a mac. Admittedly this happens less than it use to, but it still does, and more often than not is caused by interface issues.

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 15/3/05 4:42PM
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with the java code that I have written in the past, the old RISC OS Java is not too far behind...but there again I was starting to learn it at uni ;@)

Compiling would be good, and as already been stated its out there....but I Agree with Peter, 99% will want to run it..I know I do!

Still am very impressed Whoot!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 15/03/05 5:16PM
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