There’s a new browser in town

Well, it’s new but has a long history behind. Tomorrow, July 1, 2009, Classilla will be released. Classilla is a modern browser that should run on Mac OS 8.6-9.2.2. A brief FAQ is available here.

For more information, I decided to go to the source and write to Cameron Kaiser, the mind behind the project. He graciously replied and provided some clarifications:

Essentially, Classilla is an update to Mac WaMCom (but you can’t download it from there anymore — see the googlecode site to get it if you want to play with it). It updates the layout engine and fixes several core bugs, and for the next version it will have JavaScript updates as well (right now the JS is at best basic, though much quicker than InScript in iCab).

Mac WaMCom was based on Mozilla 1.3.1, after which OS 9 support ended. Because Classilla no longer corresponds to a particular Mozilla release despite being based almost completely on Mozilla code, it uses its own layout track named Clecko (instead of Gecko). If you forced me to say, I would call Classilla 9.0 roughly equivalent to Mozilla 1.6 (Firefox 1.0), but there are some bugs in Classilla that Firefox 1 does not have, and conversely some patches from as late as Moz 1.8 (FF 1.5) are also landed, so it is really a distinct engine despite its origins.

This version is deliberately unfinished because there is no source for WaMCom anymore, so I assigned an arbitrary deadline of July 1st to myself to get an update out. It should be considered in that light. I think people will find the improvements noticeable, but no miracles should be expected from Classilla for awhile, and it still has a number of bugs.

The version numbers, by the way, are based on OS 9 releases. So the next one will be 9.0.4, and then 9.1, etc.

I’m looking forward to try Classilla on my original blueberry iBook G3 clamshell (with Mac OS 9.2.2) and PowerMac 9500 (with Mac OS 9.1). If I’m not completely drowned by work, expect a brief review in the following days. I’m really glad something is still moving in pre-Mac OS X land.

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5 thoughts on “There’s a new browser in town

  1. This is great. I’ve been rocking the Mozilla browser on OS 9.2, and it seems to be the steadiest one I’ve tried so far. Classilla, however, seems like a no-brainer.

  2. Early this week I some contacts with an half dozen pre OS X Macs and was shocked (and then remembered) to find Internet Explorer as the default browser …

    Is this a good alternative or should I suggest them something different?

  3. Good news.
    Is there any hope to port new code in Classic MacOs enviroment? I’m talking about actual opensource projects, of course.

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