When my neighbor asked me what he could do to fix his problems with browsing the internet on his G4 Mirrored Drive Door, my immediate response was to upgrade that machine to a Mac mini. He informed me that was the down the road plan, but it just isn’t in the budget quite yet. In the meantime he’s been using his daughter’s old PC laptop to get by, but he really misses having one machine for everything – web browsing on one and working on the other is getting a bit tedious.
OK, time to be neighborly and delve a bit into the details of what exactly the browsing problems were. He told me that browsing has pretty much slowed down to a snail’s pace and he kept getting the getting the spinning beachball of death when visiting some sites – Facebook in particular. None of the browsers he used could be updated to current because his computer was incompatible. I let him know I’d look into it and get back to him.
I asked a few others around the office here if anyone was still actively using a PowerPC machine. Interestingly enough, while several of us had the machines in question for tinkering, nostalgia, or stand-alone tasks (ie. as a media server, file server, print server, etc.), none of the co-workers I asked were actively using their machines for web browsing. But a few suggestions for some alternative browsers were made. After doing a little research on each, I settled on three to try.
So, when I got home I installed the following PowerMac G4 browser options on his machine and after trying them all, he said that TenFourFox “felt” the fastest of the three with Facebook, but that all of them solved the problems he had been having. He’s back to one machine and is extremely happy that his web browsing “feels like new again.”
- TenFourFox: This browser uses the code from FireFox and is tuned for 10.4 (and compatible with 10.5). It adds PowerPC-specific improvements and restores the glue necessary to get most of modern Firefox’s advanced features working on older computers (going back to PowerMac G3 even). When downloading, make sure you get the right version optimized for the operating system and processor your computer is using.
- AuroraFox: AuroraFox is another Mozilla Firefox-based browser for Power Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Browsing looks and feels much like TenFourFox, but has a more limited OS compatibility. However, as it matched the OS and processor my neighbor was running, it made the list.
- iCab: iCab is a bit more feature-rich and derived from Crystal Atari Browser as opposed to the Mozilla-based browsers above. This one piqued my interest as iCab has features for web developers, including Web Inspector, HTML validity checker, automatic page refresh, and Console among others. It also has multiple versions for earlier OS revisions and processors going back to Mac OS 7.5 and 68K processors.
So if you’re using a PowerPC Mac and running into issues with web browsing, it is nice to know that there are still options out there. Are you still using a PowerPC? Have any additional browser options? Let us know in the comments.
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