Firefox and RISC OS - A message for all RISC OS Users

Firefox and RISC OS - A message for all RISC OS Users

Post by Peter Naul » Sun, 13 Mar 2005 20:48:51

his is a long message, and necessarily so as to present an understandable
picture, and even given the length I've left out information in order to
keep the length down. Please try and read all of it, and all the referenced
URLs before replying publicly or privately.

As many of you know, I have been working on many ports, or conversions of
software from other platforms for the last few years under the guise of the
Unix Porting Project and other related work including the GCCSDK project
(GCC for RISC OS).

If you've been following the project closely - as a subscriber or otherwise
- you may well appreciate the very considerable amount of work involved.
This is a consequence of the desire to bring many new pieces of software to
RISC OS in a reasonable time frame, as well as put in places systems and
compatibility to make this process much easier in future for myself and
others. This is in contrast to the traditional RISC OS porting approach of
just porting a few pieces of software independently of each other and
spending a great deal of time on them.

As you probably also know, chief among the project's aims is to bring a new,
comprehensive open source web browser to RISC OS. If you've read the
document I put together, "The RISC OS Browser Issue"
(<URL:>) you'll appreciate why I
believe that a commercial browser can never provide an entirely satisfactory
solution for RISC OS browsing; largely as a result of the sheer complexity
of developing and maintaining one, but also for other reasons I name. I
strongly encourage you to read this if you haven't already.

The above document was assembled at a time when the browser situation on
RISC OS was already in bad shape - now it has become crucial, especially
since browsing has long since become a ubiquitous part of the internet
experience. I don't think I have to spell out for anyone how important this
need is, or what might to happen RISC OS and RISC OS users if something
isn't done about this situation.

The project's current focus is to bring Firefox to RISC OS: Firefox is the
most recent browser to come out of the Mozilla project, and has already
gained significant support from users on Windows, Linux and other platforms.
And since its heritage includes the Netscape and Mozilla browsers along with
a very active developer base, it can access almost all websites. Firefox is
also the largest ever program converted to RISC OS, and along with other
technologies that are being developed and improved to allow it, and many
other programs to run, you may be able to appreciate the significant effort

I can now report that I am making excellent progress on bringing Firefox to
RISC OS, and although the time frame isn't entirely clear and although it
doesn't actually run just yet, I'm not aware of any large technical problems
in having it do so. As part of the process of browser evaluation, and as a
process of tackling smaller programs first, the project previously ported a
lightweight, and not terribly featureful browser, Dillo, to RISC OS. This
browser is available on the Unix Porting Project website, and may give you a
flavour for how Firefox on RISC OS could look. Sadly, I'm not yet able to
make any screenshots available of Firefox on RISC OS, but will do so as soon
as I'm able.

And although I am very pleased with the foundations the project has been
able to lay in the last few

1. RFD for RISC OS community newsgroup (was: RISC OS Community Ng name?)

2. Potential Wikipedia WikiProject RISC OS (WikiProject Computing - Acorn/RISC OS task force)

Why don't we further coordinate the Wikipedia articles related to RISC
OS? It'd be quite a task but wouldn't require a great deal in the way
of technical skills. There's a lot of knowledge and discussion around
but unfortunately it doesn't all seem to make it onto Wikipedia.

(Please note that I'm *not* suggesting that detailed wiki pages from and the PRMs, etc. be migrated to Wikipedia!)

I know that a good number of people contribute at some length to
Wikipedia, and there are some concerted efforts to coordinate things.
However, I'm sure there's still scope to present a more unified RISC
OS presence. Newcomers (and there may optimistically be one or two of
them) have a reasonable amount of online info to refer to. However,
one of the first places they may look to for (hopefully accurate and
unbiased) background info may be Wikipedia. Other computer platforms
and specialist interest areas run their own projects/task forces so
perhaps we can too.

I've put a few notes on the RISC OS talk page, here: :RISC_OS

You'll hopefully agree that it's more appropriate for discussion to
take place there in preference to here: that way, it'll all be in one
place. You don't need to sign up to Wikipedia to comment... but if you
do, you'll already be part of the way to joining the project ;-)

Note: If you're unfamiliar with wikis, it's probably worth visiting
the Sandbox first! Thanks. :Sandbox

Finally, you may wonder why I've not posted this to c.s.a.announce.
Well, if/when we have a task force, then that'll be something to

3. Chrome OS; any implications for RISC OS users?

4. Wanted: RISC OS 3.7 ROMs for a RISC PC 600

5. Wanted: Acorn/RISC OS Browser & Mail Client Recommendations for RISC PC

6. Wanted: Acorn/RISC OS Browser & Mail Client Recommendations for ?RISC PC

7. FS: Acorn Risc PC (with RISC OS 4.29)

8. Wanted: Acorn/RISC OS Browser & Mail Client Recommendations for RISC PC

9. FA StrongARM RISC PC with RISC OS Adjust in Phoebe Case

10. Adding Acorn/RISC OS/RISC iX Support to disktype.

11. Wanted: Acorn/RISC OS Browser & Mail Client Recommendations for RISC PC

12. RISC OS talking to Mac OS

13. RISC OS printing to OS/X?

14. [News] RISC OS, Google OS, and Former Oracle Executive Chooses the Open Route

15. RISC OS Firefox Release 3