Iyonix-only Firefox 2 port released onlinePublished: 2nd Dec 2006, 10:15:09 | Permalink | Printable
Christmas day present hintedThe Iyonix-only version 2 of the RISC OS Firefox port was released this weekend. Developer Peter Naulls made the open source web browser available for free download after generous punters donated a grand in cash to the project in little over a fortnight. A second release could be posted online in time for Christmas day if Peter secures more funding.
Version 2 has no RISC OS-style menus, the iconbar icon has been removed, and the while browser does support secure 'https' websites, users will have to manually verify the identity of certain sites. Peter also hopes to use the NetSurf Unicode engine in a future release to display non-Latin characters, and he said version 2 is faster than the previous version 1.5 port although more can be done to speed up the software.
On the Firefox 2 port website, Peter wrote: "This version was released after reaching £1000 in donations. Thanks to all who contributed.
"In order to be able to justify further development - in particular, full RISC OS integration and other issues mentioned in the documentation - I am after a further £4000. I am still some way from this, but I expect to make the next release on Christmas day if it is reached."
Last month when Peter announced his intention to release an Iyonix-only RISC OS Firefox 2, it was speculated that the software will be Iyonix-only because the executable would be too large to fit inside the RISC OS 4 28MB wimpslot. The binary released this weekend is 19.1MB in size, dispelling that theory.
However, following discussions on the GCCSDK list, we believe Peter has configured GCC to produce code that uses ARMv5 instructions when building the Firefox 2 port. This machine code can be executed by the Iyonix's Intel XScale IOP321 processor, but not the RiscPC's StrongARM and the A9home's Samsung ARM9 chips. The ARMv5 instructions could squeeze extra performance out of the mammoth web browser.
Peter has so far refused to comment on the mandatory requirement of an Iyonix.
An A9home release is on the cards if there is sufficient "financial interest", although it's understood no version for RiscPC-class machines will be released. AdvantageSix and CJE Micros, who produce and sell the A9home, APDL, who sells RiscPC upgrades, and VirtualAcorn, who produce and sell VirtualRiscPC, sponsored the Firefox 1.5 project.
Update at 17:35 2/12/2006
The Firefox 2 port binary does include CLZ instructions which are ARMv5; the XScale in the Castle Iyonix can execute these, unlike RiscPC StrongARMs and Samsung ARM920Ts in A9homes.
Firefox 2 website
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