TenFourFox on PPC 10.6 (!) and also 10.6 PPC on Talos (!!)

Lars Baumstark's Avatar

Lars Baumstark

28 Apr, 2020 01:20 PM

Hi Cameron,

as we are making good progress over there at MR to get 10.6 on PPC (yes, finally!) up and running (done!) and optimized (working on that),
I thought that it might be of at least a curious interest to you:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/snow-leopard-on-unsupported-ppc-machines.2232031/post-28389245

Two paths would hop into my mind as possibilities.
TenFourFox already runs quite ok* on PPC with 10.6 (Kernel 10.0.0d1) but is obviously not "aware" of this, even as tests like html5test.com detect it as running on Snow Leopard. Would be nice to at least keeping this up (with no blocking in future releases of TFF).
Secondly, would it be feasible to run that setup on the Talos Power9 machines, instead of the 10.5.8 Leopard OS?

If you can spare a bit of time for that, I´d be more than happy to get your thoughts on that.

Regards,
Lars

*some library or framework doing the JPEG decompression seems faulty in our current 10.6 setup. Huge artefacts appear in TFF but also in the preview app. Arcticfox PPC renders correctly, as I suspect has a routine of its own to decompress images.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 28 Apr, 2020 03:09 PM

    Cameron Kaiser's Avatar

    An interesting find. I look forward to hearing how later kernels could be coerced to run. Hopefully the source can be discovered and the PPC-specific sections forward ported.

    I try not to break Snow Leopard intentionally in TenFourFox because I know of people who run it under Rosetta and this use case amuses me, so I try to keep it working. However, it is certainly possible that some things don't work or aren't tested and officially it will remain unsupported, even if SL can be made to run on PPC, simply because there are probably other bugs yet to be discovered. That said, I can promise I won't do anything on purpose to mess it up.

    The JPEG issue is probably due to TenFourFox using the operating system's built-in AltiVec JPEG decoder and Preview is probably relying on it too. ArcticFox uses the Mozilla in-tree unaccelerated libjpeg, which is my guess why it works. An easy test to prove this is running a G3 or debug build of TenFourFox, which use libjpeg as well. If these display images correctly, then this is the explanation. The solution here may be a custom build. If you want to build a TenFourFox that is properly optimized for a processor but doesn't use the OS image decoder, then just remove --with-system-jpeg from the .mozconfig you're using. Please note I would not officially make or support such builds.

    You could run this on a Talos II with KVM and it's probably how I'd mess with it myself rather than on an actual machine, but the main problem is that QEMU doesn't do 64-bit KVM for G5 properly yet (it panics the kernel). It will work as a G4 but run abnormally slow.

  2. 2 Posted by Ken Gold on 30 Apr, 2020 01:42 PM

    Ken Gold's Avatar

    This comment was split into a new discussion: slow TenFourFox

    Hello there, just updated TenFourFox to Release 21 on my Power Mac PC G5 with OS 10.5.8
    I'm finding it's running quite slow compared to the browser from you previously
    and slow to load photos on websites.
    Is there anything I can to do help this out on my aging Power Mac?
    Much Appreciated.

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