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:http://www.riscos.info/unix/browser.html>) 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