Firefox ported to webOS, PDK to blame for this madness | webOS Nation
 
 

Firefox ported to webOS, PDK to blame for this madness 60

by Derek Kessler Mon, 12 Apr 2010 10:56 pm EDT

Firefox running on a Palm Pre

Yup, that’s Firefox of the Linux variety, running on a Palm Pre. It’s the work of Dave Townsend, a developer for Mozilla that works on Firefox (among other open source projects). We don’t have much other info on it, but given the interface, we and Palm Developer Relations Team chief Dion Almaer came to a pretty easy conclusion about it: this is the kind of stuff you can do with the PDK. To quote Kool-Aid Man, OH YEAH!

UPDATE: Dave has posted a "how I did it" article on his blog. Instructions are absent, which is understandable given the hobby project not-even-in-alpha status of this project. All-in-all, it was about two days of work porting the Android project version of Firefox onto webOS, and it's still buggy and the cramming of the Firefox UI onto the Pre's screen isn't exactly a great system. But it's potential, and potential is something we're rather fond of here.

Thanks to Bo for the tip!

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60 Comments

AWESOME!

Can't wait for this!

when will be avalible to use it ?????

OHH YEAH!

Rollercoaster news!
ups and downs with Palm!

You may be hurting Palm,but you device still churns out innovation and possibilities likes it's no one's business.

I want this!! Go Palm Go!!

anyone have a video of this working? Does it support pinch to zoom and scrolling like the internal browser. While it proves a point that the PDK is powerful, I can't imagine this being better than Palm's browser.

The power of the webOS always amazes!

now port firefox mobile please.

delay of PDK release has been a major misstep.

what delay do you speak of?

it should be planned and released when pre was first out.

I disagree.

For Palm's webOS strategy to work, the web-based Mojo SDK had to come out first and alone. If native code was available from the very beginning, then that's all anyone would have used. But because Devs had no real expectation of deeper access, then they learned how to make the best of what they had. AND, I must say they they did a fairly good job. That webOS is SO easy to mod to mod is a direct result of this.

I think Palm should have had the general SDK beta ready and released it on launch day, with the same exact lines about gaming limitations. They should have also started uo the Dev programs up sooner, as well. If this had happened then the Homebrew community may never had gotten started, which, would have been a loss. Still, it would have been a better strategy by Palm.

Then, after everyone, had gotten used to Mojo, unleash the general PDK Beta the same day they announced it at this years's CES. Then, there would have been bountiful news to keep Palm bouyant through through the down months of February and March. One last tweak to history would be to have 100 apps available on launch day.

My impression of what actually happened tells me that none of my timetable changes were possible. I think webOS came together at the last possible moment and the behind the scenes tales may make for a good comedy someday. Regardless, webOS is pulling together nicely, just not as swiftly as most would want.

I want this to! I always enjoyed using firefox over IE

Firefox is so much better and Opera aswell.
How sweet it would be to have the choice between Firefox & Opera OR both?!
.....anybody know if there's a video of it being used?

Awesome! I can't wait! Except that the Pre's browser already works quite well, is optimized for a mobile device, and probably uses fewer resources.

(Sorry, just wanted to go the other way with it. Good stuff, Dave!)

webkit is not famous for small memory usage. Pre browser can't save passwords, has no addons, dont do fast cache calling. etc, Its a good basic browser, but mobile firefox will bring much more.

Are you serious? Firefox is a notorious memory hog. I agree that Firefox has a lot of features, but it's much, much, much worse at managing memory than Webkit.

im series, firefox is using smallest memory than any other browser since version 3.0, when they drastically improved memory management system. The webkit memory is the worst, worse than IE, opera, firefox. especially when it runs for a while.

I have no idea why anybody would think webkit is memory efficient, even the biggest liar apple itself didn't dare to mention its memory usage in its self made comparison chart, for good reason, its ugly.

http://www.iveris.puslapiai.lt/paveiksleliai/web_browsers_memory_usage.jpg

Hmm, not saying I don't believe it, but that's the complete opposite of my experience, whether in FF 3, 3.5, 3.6alphas, 3.7alphas, etc. Firefox consistently reached 1GB of RAM usage after only an hour or two of being used.

I've never seen anything more than 150MB of RAM used in Chrome, even when I have 20 or 30 tabs open.

And I've also read a ton of people complaining similarly, though obviously I can't vouch for that myself.

maybe you should just establish a new firefox profile and give it a clean start to see it. I read numerous reviews and many user posted memory usage screen captures, firefox is always at least 2x better then safari, even on Mac OSX.

and there is no way chrome only use 150MB with 30 tabs. Maybe because 30 tabs in chrome actually will generate 30 processes(plus processes for any plugins in the webpages), you might want to add them up to see the total number.

Yeah, I tried deleting the profile whenever I downloaded a different version (aka when I reinstalled 3.5, and then when I switched to the 3.6 nightlies, then the 3.7 ones).

Okay, you're right, it seems I exaggerated slightly because I never actually had the need to check like I did with Firefox when it got dreadfully slow:

http://i41.tinypic.com/2mp0jkp.jpg

27 tabs open, and ~250MB RAM usage.

That's not the main issue for me though, it's that Firefox never released the RAM it used, and so as I said, leaving it open for an hour or two would push it in the GB range. And it is just overall slower in general as well, in my experience at least.

Anyway, I'm pushing this way off topic. Even though I wouldn't use it, a port of Firefox is awesome.

im sorry I still have issues with what you said:

first, everybody can leave their firefox on for a day and see how far it goes, I never saw it reach remotely close to the number you mentioned (GB range). Obviously firefox releases memory when it finish using, however, people love their fast backward/forward functions, so where do browsers store those information? have to be in memory, right?

second, the speed have little to do with memory usage. and they should not be presented as if they are directly related.

third, mobile firefox is available on Nokia N900, and all reviews (engadget, etc) said its fastest, best mobile browser they ever came across.

lastly, open same simple page 30 times isn't exactly the realistic way of testing a browser.

Not the same simple page, just a folder of links from an extension. I only did that for convenience of doing a quick test. It's every link in the Slickdeals RSS feed. Obviously no, it's not as complicated as opening up 30 Youtube feeds or whatever, but I was just doing a quick test.

I haven't used Mobile Firefox per se, but I've used the Mozilla Microb-based browser on my n800 Internet Tablet, and it was much slower than the Opera browser it replaced. Again, much more features, but it was slower.

And the fast backward/forward functions needing to use memory thing ... there's also such a thing as a disk cache that it could use. And besides that, on my laptop the pages get rendered fast enough that that's a pretty useless feature anyway.

As for the speed having to do with memory usage, not generally, no. But when it was using 1GB of RAM, everything got slower than it was. Scrolling up and down on pages was delayed, switching tabs was delayed. These were issues that didn't happen when I first opened Firefox, but became more and more apparent as the memory being used grew and grew.

Also, closing the program took a minute or longer. That's not so much an issue in general, but when you remember something you wanted to check and keep getting the "Firefox is already open" message, it's a little annoying.

And it's not like I'm happy about the switch. I'm not, there's a bunch of things Chrome does that I just can't stand. But the memory going up to 1GB consistently happened in all of the various versions of Firefox I've used, whether I ran a blank profile or not, just after an hour or two of keeping the browser open, and that lead to performance issues. I just couldn't deal with it anymore, and turned to the only other alternative, Chrome, which doesn't do anything of the sort.

I actually prefer Firefox, but it's a memory hog for me, and it's got a reputation for being a memory hog in general. Whether or not that's true for everyone is definitely debatable, but my experience matches up with the reputation.

But as I said, regardless of my personal issues with Firefox, the more big-name software that comes to the Pre, the better.

microB was slow, yes, N900 is a different beast, and firefox mobile is a different beast as well, you should definitely try it when you get chance.

http://www.guiadohardware.net/imagens/img-2cb04295.jpg

Here is a screenshot of my system monitor after I opened my firefox with 12 tabs and kept them open for the whole night.

http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu282/clevin/Untitled-1.png

as I said. I just do not see it ever go up to GB range.

caching pages for back/forward is very important for general purpose, of course some people will have high speed internet that its not a problem, but for the mobile phone like Pre? It would be a dream not to see those reload operation all the time when you hit back/forward.

closing app issue, yeah, i saw that too, normally just because firefox needs 5 second to quit from system completely. It can be improved. I agree, and I expect so when Jaegermonkey landed, however, chrome is practically cheating in this department, because it never really close off completely. There is chrome service session running all the time.

Like clevin I'm wondering how you can get consistent ~ 1GB RAM use for Firefox.

It's normal for me to have 20 tabs open and for many hours - often days - both on Windows and Linux.

I remember FF having RAM issues in early version - but that's been fixed a while ago.

The FF on my office computer (windows) has been running for days, has 10 Tabs open at the moment and currently using 202 MB.

I assume you memory problem is not FF itself but some Extension that eats up your RAM. You could test that by installing another instance in parallel and not install any extensions.

Final explanation might be particular sites you regularly go to and keep open. Perhaps one of the the sites you frequent pulls in insane amounts of data or waste space on crazy internal structures.

i have 4g of ram and usually have 1.5 left when using firefox, weatherbug, windows media and outlook. dont have a freeze problem but thought i did but turned out to be a bad bios that needed an update

right now running 11 tabs, and still have 1.8 left for play with of course all the goodies

thanks for sharing the information.

Cool stuff! Would like to try this out, but would really like to see a Mobile port, as someone has already said.

Some good news to help with the uncertainty of Palm's future.

Fennec would be really nice.

uhmm. so the word 'yes' comes to mind >:3

So with PDK apps coming for the Pixi, does that mean I can get excited about this as well?

But how do I get it?

WHOO. Now this is exciting news!!!

I hope this comes true. None of the WebKit mobile browsers work with an enterprise web apps I need to use(I think it's a steam powered Microsoft product). iPhone Safari and Journey emulator work at dialup speeds. I've been hanging on to a Treo 650 with an side order of Nokia N800 to get things done. I've had great luck with all websites on the N800 using Mini Mozilla and Fennec. If the Pre gets a Firefox Beta, I'll buy one.

Could this potentially run flash?

Yes yes... But where Fennec at!!!

LINUX AND webOS should get together! a Linux Phone! like Windows and mac phones!

webOS runs on Linux already.

linux community will probably be more attracted to android, unfortunately. many people there now are practically google's worshipers.

Could this potentially run flash?

depends on webos

yes, potential is something we are quite fond of around here.

a welcomed break from all the palm sale talk.

Do you realize what this means? That means that it is possible to compile a working version of "mono moonlight." This means the next step is Microsoft Silverlight support on the Palm Pre!

i sure hope so

if this happens, I'm sure even apple will have an orgasm and try to get mozilla even though they just approved opera mini and is now in the app store. But still, firefox kicks every web browsers ass! Imo.

Stellarium on the Pre would be cooler.

That's just sick!!! Good job...

Firefox : the biggest resource hog known to man (since iTunes anyway) on a mobile device? No thanks. The stock browser rocks!

read some reviews of recent desktop firefox and mobile firefox please, and leave your last century impression outside the door.

Very cool to see this. Also cool to see webOSdev team show support and offer help.

I'm sure the Dev knows that all the chrome has to go, but I hope he finds a way to keep the scroll bar. That's one "feature" I sorely miss in webOS's browser.

Folks, this is great, I really mean that, but..... "it was about two days of work porting the >Android

Finally, someone recognized the problem with this. Another port is not good news for Palm; it is symptomatic of the problem. No one is writing interesting apps for the Pre. They are writing apps for iPhone and Android. The PDK is just a system for hijacking apps meant for another platform. This is not a Pre app. It is an Android app. This would have been legitimate news if it was a Pre app. Instead, it just underscores the fact that all the interesting things are happening some place else and what Palm gets is an afterthought and a bad port. No amount of PDK apps can save Palm.

no, its not an android app, its a dekstop app. there is no andorid firefox available to run right now. they are still working on it.

and guess what's the first screenshot of firefox running on android? exactly same desktop version.

It takes time and it goes step by step.


Vlad's blog can take you through the process:
http://blog.vlad1.com/

Now, lets hope this process pan out for webOS, rather than dying in the preliminary process.

We must be reading different articles. This bit is from the Precentral article above:

"...it was about two days of work porting the Android project version of Firefox onto webOS..."

i guess its an update information I didn't see yesterday.

Still, it was preliminary work done by Vlad for android, and if android firefox needs to go through the "porting" and "ugly looking" process, I don't complaint about pre firefox.

They are all "porting", just wrap firefox libraries with android or pre's native SDK. If android experience and code helps pre, im not the one to feel bad about it.

and lets comment on his blog to encourage the development. I would donate if that helps

So Webkit launchs a plugin with firefox in it. So its a browser in a browser. Hmm....

Well done for porting Firefox! Let's hope a beta and a stable version rapidly follow, and if we're really lucky, a port of Opera too!

Glad to hear this news, actually it's a good bonus for Pre owners. Porting Firefox makes surfing on the internet much easier. HYIP monitor