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Amiga Firefox News

Timberwolf (Firefox) Beta For AmigaOS 96

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the what-else-are-you-gonna-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes "News from the world of AmigaOS that the Beta version of Timberwolf (a.k.a. Firefox) was made available last month." Timberwolf is a port of Firefox to the AmigaOS (the name change is for similar reasons to Debian's use of Iceweasel name) and has been under development for quite some time. The AmigaBounty project page has screenshots and even more info for those interested. There's a video of the browser in action, but beware of the cheesy soundtrack.
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Timberwolf (Firefox) Beta For AmigaOS

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  • by Niedi (1335165) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:37PM (#39268213)
    Great, now I'll have that Timberwolf tune stuck in my head for the next couple of days.
    For all who don't know what I'm talking about:
    http://frededison.free.fr/ [frededison.free.fr]
    or Thomas Timberwolf on youtube...
    • Steer him clear of a Karaoke machine but as an actor he wasn't too bad in In Time. :-)

    • by Sipper (462582)

      Great, now I'll have that Timberwolf tune stuck in my head for the next couple of days.

      For all who don't know what I'm talking about:

      http://frededison.free.fr/ [frededison.free.fr]

      or Thomas Timberwolf on youtube...

      Hahah! Now I'm going to have that stuck in my head for the next couple of days. ;-)
      But seriously, thanks -- nice link.

  • Does the Amiga OS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:41PM (#39268265) Homepage Journal

    have any inherent advantage over other modern OS?

    I get people like to do this stuff for fun and nostalgia. That's fine. It's just been so long since I have used an Amiga I can't think of anything today that it does better then Win7/OSX/Linux

    • Re:Does the Amiga OS (Score:5, Informative)

      by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @07:54PM (#39268409)

      No, no advantage.

      It's still a very *efficient* OS, but it lacks about a zillion features that any modern OS has. Protected memory, for one.

      But for day-to-day use? It's pointless and stupid. You can't do anything with AmigaOS that you can't do faster and better (anc cheaper- modern Amiga hardware is ridiculously expensive) on Linux, MacOS, or Windows.

      Still, AmigaOS has a lot of neat features. It's still very well-designed, and it's interesting to think about what it would be like if it had sold well enough to become a viable alternative.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Oh, no argument form me on the design. I though maybe there was a file system property I had forgotten about.

        Thanks

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Last time I checked you couldn't get a PC virus to run on an Amiga.
      • Re:Does the Amiga OS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by toejam13 (958243) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:50PM (#39269695)

        it's interesting to think about what it would be like if it had sold well enough to become a viable alternative.

        There is a good chance that it would look nothing like the OS we used on legacy Amiga hardware.

        The reason the OS was so bloody fast was because it used a flat non-protected memory space. IPC was often done by passing pointers via registers. You could eavesdrop into any other task's memory space, even if its memory was not flagged with MEMF_PUBLIC. The majority of the kernel ran outside of 68K supervisor mode with function calls being made via a jump table as opposed to a software interrupt.

        One of the largest complaints about desktop multitasking operating systems of the 80s and 90s was that they crashed too much. That was a huge complaint with Windows 95 and was also a common complaint with AmigaOS. To continue being a viable OS, AmigaOS would have needed memory protection bolted on at some point.

        Using a fully virtualized protected memory model like UNIX and NT would have been incompatible with the foundation of AmigaOS since it would break IPC. You'd need stick with a flat address space, simply marking some memory sections as R/O. Program code sections could be R/O for everything except the kernel (that'd prohibit self-modifying code, but SMC was already incompatible with the data cache in 68020+ processors). Tasks could then allocate private memory, public memory or even semi-private memory by granting limited R/O or R/W access to other tasks.

        Main problem I see with that route is that you'd bump into the 4GB barrier much faster than fully virtualized memory models, especially since a large chunk of that 4GB would also be allocated to memory mapped hardware and other PCI peripherals. You'd need a processor with a 48-bit or 64-bit memory address space sooner than later.

        • Re:Does the Amiga OS (Score:4, Interesting)

          by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:06AM (#39270931)

          Since 64-bit CPUs are now common (except ARM), I'd think they could leapfrog 32-bit, and go directly from 16-bit to 64 bit and be there on PPC or MIPS. Do something like using the top (or bottom) half of the address space as reserved for the R/O, and leave the other half there for the memory to grow. That would still give the user up to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 bytes to address. In fact, they could even toss in some compatibility features w/ the old 16-bit Amiga DOS.

          But I only see the point if some computer manufacturer bundles it w/ a new computer that can't run Windows, such as a MIPS or PPC based computer. No point in having this to port it to PCs - there are already too many alternatives for PCs, and as others have noted above, there is no reason to prefer it to Windows7/OS-X or any of the Unixes.

          • by toejam13 (958243)

            I'd think they could leapfrog 32-bit, and go directly from 16-bit to 64 bit ... the old 16-bit Amiga DOS.

            The Motorola 68000 was actually a 32-bit processor internally. Data registers were all 32-bits in width and the ALU performed math operations at that size. Address registers, including the stack pointer and program counter, were also 32-bits in width.

            The only part of the 68000 that was 16-bits in width was its external data bus. It could perform 32-bit reads and writes, but had to do so using two fetches, one low and one high. The 68020 was the first processor of the family to have a full 32-bit wide ex

    • It boots very fast.

    • Does the Amiga OS have any inherent advantage over other modern OS?

      This tends- justifiably- to be asked every time there's been a bit of Amiga "news" in the past few years (including that of the final release of Amiga OS 4, delayed for around 15 years).

      If there *is* any major advantage, then no-one came up with one during any of those discussions.

      Really, the Amiga OS nowadays is just a plaything for a few very hardcore hobbyists willing to pay for overpriced, underpowered custom hardware that isn't even directly compatible with the original Amiga anyway. Amiga OS (and

    • Re:Does the Amiga OS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:46PM (#39268931) Homepage Journal

      Speed. AmigaOS is bloody fucking fast and ought to be able to run rings around most OSes.

      That's assuming you have equivalent hardware to your Linux system, which happens to never be the case.

      And it's assuming you don't care that any of hundred tasks can write to any particular piece of memory, an assumption which usually isn't the case, though somehow in the 1990s I managed to get by with that, telling myself "run bugfree software, run bugfree software." Whether or not there's actually such a thing as bugfree software, or if Firefox could possibly be an example of it, I'll leave to Firefox hackers to advocate. (Good luck, guys, you're going to need it.)

      And it's assuming that by "fast" you're not talking about the filesystems. The Amiga had some third-party filesystems that were pretty speedy for the time but somewhere around 2.4 Linux got into a league of its own.

      • Of course it's fast, programs are virtually running on the bare metal with minimal OS features/interference to slow things down.

        Fun to mess around with but these days hardware has caught up with features expected of a modern (complex) OS.

    • I find it more fun to just screw around with than the other computers I've got. I wouldn't suggest anyone else get one unless they're just 'into computers' and like messing around with stuff.

      The one thing it does that I really, really wish Windows or OSX would do is its focus paradigm. Click to focus, but click does not raise window. It gives you the advantages of both click to focus - the focus stays where you want it even if you bump the mouse - and the advantage of focus follows mouse, that you can have

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        If you're running Linux, then there are several window managers which provide the behaviour you desire... I always used to run windowmaker with a focus follows mouse configuration, where only clicking on the titlebar would bring the window to the front.

        The idea of buying an 800mhz (single core?) desktop in 2009 seems pretty insane... Sure there is a place for low power hardware, but only when it's cheap (eg look at raspberry pi)...

        Having hardware that expensive ensures that no new users will ever take up th

        • Is it any more insane than buying any other toy? I mean, toys are generally pretty useless. There are people who spend more than a car costs on bicycles. Is that insane? People regularly spend thousands of dollars on pretty rocks or pretty pictures that don't do anything at all. That seems more insane to me than buying a toy, but they must enjoy having them. At least I can play with the toy. I've had my money's worth of fun out of it, so it doesn't seem like a waste to me.

          Focus follows mouse with clicking t

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            I prefer focus follows mouse, but it can be turned off. Clicking in a window should not bring that window to the front otherwise having the focus follow mouse becomes useless since any interaction with the window would bring it to the foreground...
            The window should only come to the foreground if you click in a particular place, or if use a keyboard shortcut or modifier key in combination with a click... In essence, your requirements are the same as mine minus the focus following mouse.

            As to hobbies... Peopl

  • Wait ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730)

    Do newer Amiga systems even have enough memory to handle the memory leaks in Firefox' add-on system?

    • by Bambi Dee (611786)
      I should think so. [wikipedia.org] Provided you consider AmigaOne "Amiga enough"...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No matter how many articles come out that show Firefox's memory management to be competitive there's always going to be clueless trolls like you that are stuck in an infinite loop. Trolls to say something stupid and trolls to mod it Insightful.

      Why don't you tell Adam he doesn't know WTF he's doing: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/chrome-17-firefox-10-ubuntu,3129-14.html [tomshardware.com]

      • by makomk (752139)

        Sounds about right too - Chrome is incredibly memory-hungry in my experience.

        • by lennier1 (264730)

          I yet have to see a Chrome install that manages inflate to 2.5+ GB.

          • by makomk (752139)

            2.5+ GB? Chrome will hit 25+ GB quite easily if you let it and have enough RAM installed - it's just that each individual process generally uses less than a gigabyte of RAM, so it's very difficult to see how much it's using in a standard task manager or Chrome's integrated task manager. (Chrome does track its total memory usage but that figure is tucked away in the "Stats for nerds" section.)

  • I do hope its the D variant with all the SRM's on it.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Does the output bounce around like the display that earned the MadCat its name?

      • by AarghVark (772183)
        Actually, it was the fact that it combined the armaments of both the Marauder (PPC's) and Catapault (LRM's) which caused it to be dubbed MadCat.
        • by lennier1 (264730)

          According to the story, the first time they encountered one, the recognition system couldn't decide between MAD (Marauder) and CAT (Catapult). Reports of this event later lead to the new name.

          • If I remember Lethal Heritage correctly, Mad Cat was designated by Precentor Martial that way exactly because it has got arms like a Marauder but shoulder missile launchers like the Catapult, so AarghVark might be correct.

  • source code license (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "The source code of the port will be made available only as far as the MPL requires it, i.e. all modified source code files will be available for interested parties, but new files will not. This is in accordance with the requirements of the Mozilla Public License. "

    that's the true amiga spirit when it comes to source releases. Release as little as possible. Got to make sure no-one else running any machines "similar" to the AmigaOS could possibly benefit from their work.

  • which requires a power pc accelerator, so if I take my 3000, spend a pile of money for a obsolete power pc card, and a pile of money for obsolete ram, I can run firefox on something I already know it sucks balls on?

    I have a powermac 9600/300 with a pile of ram in it, a much better motherboard and chipset, faster video and disk I/O and guess what? Iceweasel is painfully slow in debian, classzilla is painfully slow in mac OS9, and if you want anywhere reasonable speed you have to drop down to a very basic gek

    • by raddude99 (710064)

      which requires a power pc accelerator, so if I take my 3000, spend a pile of money for a obsolete power pc card, and a pile of money for obsolete ram, I can run firefox on something I already know it sucks balls on?

      Obsolete ram is actually quite cheap if you check ebay. And if you're so worried about price you probably missed this story: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/10/23/2312219/hyperion-promises-an-amigaos-netbook [slashdot.org] where Hyoperion is working on a low-cost PPC Amiga Netbook to run AmigaOS 4.x on

      I have a powermac 9600/300 with a pile of ram in it, a much better motherboard and chipset, faster video and disk I/O and guess what? Iceweasel is painfully slow in debian, classzilla is painfully slow in mac OS9, and if you want anywhere reasonable speed you have to drop down to a very basic geko engine browser, and then its like 45 seconds to load slashdot with no javabloat ... or just use a text browser, maybe one with image support like links2.

      You're kinda missing the point,just because OS9 is so slow doesn't mean that AmigaOS will be. I've used PPC Amiga machines (expanded old 68k machines not the newer pure PPC machines) to load slashdot, and they did it w

  • AmigaOS today is for people that are obsessed with it. Either you are, and enjoy it, or you are not, and don't care. It can be a useful platform, though yes it does have some limitations today. I don't know why people post Amiga stuff to the non-caring Slashdot etc. sites. Move along and let us enjoy our hobby, we obsessors don't need your counseling and it won't bring us to our senses anyway.

    • Re:leave us be (Score:4, Informative)

      by styrotech (136124) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:04AM (#39270919)

      No way! I haven't used an Amiga for 15-20 yrs and probably never will again, but I still have a soft spot for it and like to occasionally hear about what's happening with its latest incarnations.

      After all it is very nerdy news, and that's what we're here for right?

  • I ROFL'd when watching the video. Totally reminds me of playing Outrun on the classic Amiga. Thumbs up!!

  • Timberwolf on the X1000 can't compare (yet) with Firefox on Wintel, but it's fun (and other browsers are available on the Amiga, including those running under AmiCygnix [YouTube [youtube.com]]). And this is a work in development. The more alternatives there are to the mainstream OSes, the better!

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory

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