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PowerMac G4 Modern Browser Options

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 | Author:

MDDWhen 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.”

  • TenFourFoxTenFourFox: 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.


  • toggler-auroraAuroraFox: 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.



  • iCab4LogoiCab: 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.


OWC has no affiliation with these software offerings and receives no benefit related to this support (other than a benefit we all share in the continued support of these applications). If you appreciate the function or functionality this software offers, we encourage you to support the authors.

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    1. C. Emery says:

      Wonderful to hear that I’m not the only one in the world still using G-4′s. Anybody like to compare PPC 6500′s? Still using “Managing Your Money” for my finances, too. MYM runs fine on my Quicksilver, but I fire up the 6500 to print due to lack of printer driver incompatibilities..
      Troglodytes Forever !!!

    2. Erica Stolte says:

      Glad to be referred here. I am using an original mac mini model with Mac OS 10.4 and incompatible software has become a problem.

    3. C. Emery says:

      Fascinating reading, but although I have Firefox on my Quicksilver, running OSX 10.4.11, I never try to use it because it “pesters” me constantly to “upgrade” my add-ons. Attempts to do so result in downloading unuseable code due to version conflicts. So.. maybe someday, but for now good old Safari works fine.

    4. re says:

      Another easy to use web browser on a PowerMac G4 is OmniWeb which is now free. There was a version upgrade in about 2012 and it runs fine although it does not have the built in protection of than TenFourFox.

    5. Jim Hodel says:

      Thank you for this. I still use my PowerBook G4 for mail and web browsing. Some sites have almost become useless under my old versions of Safari and Firefox. Ten Four Fox is a real help!

    6. Tim H. says:

      Currently using Ten Four Fox on a 700 mhz G3 iMac, works well. iCAB has been built on webkit for the last few years, but it is the conceptual descendant of Crystal Atari Browser, and I don’t think Alexander Clauss has raised the price in all those years.

    7. Thomas Carlson says:

      Another option, of course, would be for him to run PowerPC Linux on his machine. I am writing this comment on my Power Mac G4 Quicksilver running Debian. Iceweasel (Firefox) is a very capable browser that is secure and up-to-date. Just a thought.

    8. RB says:

      Leopard Webkit installed over Safari 5.0.6 is by far the best experience to me personally. It should definitely get a mention here because its like having Apple Safari 6 on G5/G4.

      I recommend the complete install option over using the included app that ‘hijacks’ Safari and changes it for each time its run. I found the Webkit app to be slower and I never have had a single issue with the permanent install option, with advanced features enabled (2 scripts you run and enter admin password).

      Thereafter, when you launch Safari it works like Safari 6.0.x or whatever they have webkit updated to on the powerpc side. It’s very good, not just a little good. Then get old flash player, but 11.5 hack version. Google that. A kind soul has updated it twice to be high enough version to work most places (just spoofs the version, not actual 11.5 flash, but it works). It does not work on WatchESPN though which sucks, but that’s just me.

      TenFourFox is great with few add ons also.

      For the record, I can’t believe the evolution of this website the past 15ish years (or however long I have been coming here, off and on.) For once, I can tell you something. I have overclocked several things going back to your old forums.


    9. MacRat says:

      The issue isn’t the software.

      Web pages have become bloated with javascript, flash, etc.

      There is just too much load for older computers.

      The best solution would be to pick up a used 2007 Mac mini which can better the load of the browser processes.

      • MD says:

        Even better, don’t run Flash — or only turn it on for backwards compatibility, when you need to access a historic website. Flash is obsolete. The vast majority of mobile and tablet web browsing is done using iOS, but can you think of a single i-device that has ever natively supported Flash? You can’t, because there hasn’t ever been one. Even if I have to have Flash installed on a workstation or browser, I normally turn it off, and/or use a Flash-blocking extension. Of course, for most private individuals today, Java shouldn’t even be installed, unless they specifically know why they need it.

        Personally, I also turn off Javascript most of the time. Not even Yahoo Mail or Gmail need it today.

        But the most valuable thing is to re-consider using Facebook, for goodness sake. All those real-world friends I have who used to try to talk me into joining Zuckerberg’s aberrant little power trip? They’ve been increasingly coming back to me, and admitting I was right. People are reducing their dependence or involvement with it, or abandoning it entirely.

        I’m currently running OS X on a quad-core i7, but as this article demonstrates, a G4 can still be really quite sufficient for general work and web browsing today. It’s a fine piece of hardware, and still has sufficient support to remain practical.

        I’m really looking forward to OS X 10.9 Maverick, though, when pointless background processes will finally be relegated to their proper place: minimal demand on system resources. A software solution, to a software issue.

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