you touch a delicate subject. You touch both endianness and SPARC cpu in
On 11/6/21 5:05 PM, Connor McLaughlan wrote:
i would be very interested in getting Firefox and Thunderbird (and
possibly Seamonkey, but this isn't available at all with debian it
seam) running, if possible at all for the newer versions.
yes, SeaMonkey is for me a missed package for both Debian/Devuan and
FreeBSD. I just love it. I like the classic interface and can't stand
the chrome-like of Firefox.
SeaMonkey up to 2.49 was FF 52 based, so very portable and no rust. It
should be a decent candidate to get it running on SPARC, since a
specific Mac PPC G5 version was maintained for a long time. Current SM
is FF 60 based and so has rust
Rust seems not to be an issue any more for sparc64/linux, but the
general upstream neglect of sparc64 seems to be the major problem.
Rust is evil... however as you write it does not to be the biggest
The major issue is endianness - current FireFox runs on PPC64 but is
totally unusable. Everything in the UI has mangled colors, endianness is
broken at about every level. E.g. FF relies now a lot on skia and
officially it will never support BE. And so a lot of other issues,
Add to endianness issues that SPARCs are sensitive to memory alignment
and issues and you get the crashes.
I follow the Big Endian issues closely, since I am interested in getting
a usable browser on PPC, but it is an uphill road. I have been in
contact for a long time with Cameron Kaiser who maintained TenFourFox
(winding down activity right this year) and which as an excellent
browser on MacOS PPC. Some of his patches were accepted upstream, but
several not. His browser fork however is heavily MacOS 10.4 optimized
(hence the name).
I am working since a long time on ArcticFox and intend to keep it as
much as possible cross-platform, close to Firefox, but incorporating as
many fixes done for TenFourFox as I can. Currently, it is quite usable
on PPC, although there are endianness issues with image composition
operations. I can browser Wikipedia and even watch a youtube video with
audio. That is already impossible with standard Firefox.
I would like to hear opinions on how to proceed or if you think this
is a lost cause?
It is not a lost cause, but it is a hard cause, not well supported by
upstream. I intend to generalize a lot of TenFourFox patches in
ArcticFox, but it requires work.
NetBSD should have a working FF (I think FF 52) on SPARC.
I was finally able to compile ArcticFox on NetBSD/SPARC64 and
Linux/SPARC64. It will start, show a window but crash very soon. That's
already an improvement compared to crashing immediately as it did one
For this cause, I need help - I am working alone and I have no real
Gecko knowledge. I need to port patches from Gecko to improve certain
parts, so I need somebody how knows Firefox code more than me to help me
understand why certain give issues. Not specific SPARC, but I work
mostly on amd64 and arm64 and then "test" on PPC and SPARC (my netra T1
takes 20 hours to compile ArcticFox....) So if you know somebody who can
help me with some specific issues please ping me. I have some blocking
issues I need to solve so that ArcticFox doesn't die out and can evolve,
I have the hardware, I can test and often GDB stacktraces are quite
meaningless if a debug is not used. I need real "code" help, if you know
somebody, please point him.