PowerPC fork of Firefox that lasted for over a decade has reached the top of the street


It has been nicely over a decade since PowerPC Macs roamed the earth—so lengthy that the Intel Macs that changed them are themselves being changed by one thing else. However to at the present time, there is a small group of individuals nonetheless growing software program for PowerPC Macs and Mac OS 9.

A type of initiatives was TenFourFox, a fork of the Firefox browser for G3, G4, and G5-based PowerPC Macs operating Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5. Maintained primarily by Cameron Kaiser, the TenFourFox mission sprang up in late 2010 after Mozilla pulled PowerPC help from Firefox 4 throughout its improvement. And amazingly, the browser has continued to trundle on ever since.

However persevering with to backport Firefox options to growing old, stuck-in-time PowerPC processors solely acquired tougher as time went on. And in March of this yr, Kaiser introduced that TenFourFox updates can be ending after over a decade of improvement. The ultimate deliberate launch of TenFourFox was earlier this month.

Kaiser’s full submit is lengthy, but it surely’s price a learn for vintage-computer fans or anybody who works on software program—Kaiser expresses frustration with the realities of growing and supporting a distinct segment app, however he additionally highlights TenFourFox’s spectacular technical achievements and ruminates on the character of the fashionable Web and open supply software program improvement, saying:

Kaiser does not intend to completely halt work on the browser, however he’s downshifting it into what he calls “passion mode.” He’ll proceed to backport safety patches from newer ESR releases of Firefox and submit them to the TenFourFox Github web page, however anybody who desires to make use of these might want to construct the app themselves. Kaiser additionally will not decide to offering help for these additions or offering them on any form of schedule. Different builders are additionally welcome to proceed to launch TenFourFox builds on their very own.

There are a lot of explanation why you would not need to browse 2021’s Web on a PowerPC Mac, even with a totally supported browser. G4 and G5 processors are an order of magnitude slower than trendy Intel, AMD, or Apple Silicon processors, and attempting to load a bloated trendy web site on a machine with only a gigabyte or two of RAM is an train in frustration.

On prime of that, it has been years since Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 have obtained safety updates, and most third-party app builders have lengthy since moved on. Outdated computer systems can nonetheless run previous software program, as I realized once I tried to run Mac OS 9 in 2014, however going surfing or attempting to work together with different computer systems is trickier. TenFourFox and its improvement weblog are testaments to simply how arduous it may be to swim in opposition to that tide.


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