Web browser offerings comparedBy Chris Williams. Published: 17th Mar 2005, 14:02:27 | Permalink | Printable
Not at all like pick'n'mixIn order to get an overview of the recent web browser news, we've compiled a list of the main advantages and disadvantages for each of the touted applications. The comparisons were drawn up from unofficial features lists and discussions with the developers involved, and should hopefully offer a balanced view and answer a few frequently asked questions. We'll welcome any corrections or updates, but please be aware that what might not be an advantage or disadvantage to you, may very well be an important advantage or grave disadvantage for others.
Announced by Drobe.co.uk writer Peter Naulls, the Firefox port will be a RISC OS version of the popular Mozilla spin-off. Peter has also today published an FAQ (that's frequently anticipated questions) on his website.
- Supports HTML4, XHTML1, CSS1, CSS2 and some of CSS3, DOM1, DOM2 and some of DOM3, SSL, cookies, various XML technologies and more, allowing the browser into over 90% of the Internet's websites
- Tabbed browsing, although Peter commented that, "I don't really consider tabbed browsing an advantage on RISC OS - the right click mechanism is much more flexible."
- Pop-up ad and image blocking
- Themes and extensions
- Search as you type
- Open source software, in that any one can help contribute to the application. This also makes the Firefox port completely free for download, although you're asked to pledge cash
- Changes to the mainstream Firefox client, which being extremely popular is tested and updated by its large userbase, can be made available to RISC OS users
- Developing the port will also open up further ports of other X11 based software, such as spreadsheets and other productivity applications
- Firefox, being an offspring of the hefty Mozilla client, will likely require a fast computer for reasonable use, ideally requiring an XScale processor and at least 64M of free RAM - although the exact system requirements aren't known yet, and Peter has declined to comment further until he's confirmed how fast the browser runs on various set ups
- User interface will not be style guide compliant, that is, it won't look like a RISC OS application, until further work is done on the RISC OS port of the GTK2 library
- Will not initially support RISC OS web browser plugins, which rules out Flash and Java support from RISC OS plugins for the time being
Proposed by OreganoUK, Oregano 3 would be a RISC OS version of Oregan's Media Browser, as employed by Sony in their Playstation 2 consoles. OreganoUK is currently gauging interest in such a product, although details are sketchy. Some recent screenshots can be found here.
- Supports most of HTML4, DOM2 and some of DOM3, CSS1 and CSS2 plus TV browser CSS extensions, DHTML, cookies and SSL, allowing it into the majority of the Internet's
- Macromedia Flash 5 compatible player
- Pop-up ad blocking
- Playback support for MP3s and other audio formats
- Bugs found in Oregano 2 by RISC OS users and users of Oregan's embedded client should be fixed for Oregano 3
- User interface is reasonably integrated with the RISC OS desktop
- Does not support RISC OS plugins, and instead relies on built-in media viewers
- RISC OS platform would be competing for Oregan's time against corporate giants, which could affect support and product updates
- Oregano 2 was found to be a processor intensive application, and Oregano 3 could require an XScale processor to provide a reasonably fast web surfing experience, although reportedly Oregano 3 is a lot faster than Oregano 2
Considered by some to be the darling of the platform, the NetSurf browser continues to be developed and updated by a team of enthusiasts. We've included it here to add some context to the debate.
- Supports most or some of HTML4, CSS1 and CSS2, cookies and SSL
- Supports RISC OS plugins, so that for example, the open source Flash 3 plugin is supported
- Native RISC OS application that integrates well with the desktop
- Lightweight browser that runs at an acceptable speed, even on a StrongARM processor
- Open source software, so that any one can contribute to the project and the application therefore enjoys continuous updates and freely available releases
- Supports image and pop-up ad blocking
- It's still in active development with no stable version released yet, meaning that users often end up playing Russian Roulette when they download and try out a new version
Published by R-Comp, this commercial web browser has been around since the mid-1990s, and included here for completeness.
- Supports HTML3.2 (with control over how individual tags are treated), SSL and cookies
- Group websites in terms of security priviledges granted
- Can act as a HTML rendering plugin for other software and supports RISC OS web browser plugins
- Customisable user interface than can be 'skinned'
- Supports WAV audo files
- Free upgrades, released as problems with popular websites are fixed
- Arguably, very little is known about it
Updated at 14:26 25/03/05
Added WebsterXL information.
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