Timberwolf: Progress on an important project

Note: Since this blog is a channel for OS4 developers to tell about their projects, I think it’s a good idea to post something about Timberwolf here, even though it’s not related to Hyperion Entertainment or a specific AmigaOS development.

I think it’s safe to say that Timberwolf (i.e. the port of Firefox to AmigaOS) is an important project for AmigaOS 4, since today, a system that wants to be taken seriously will have to have Firefox in its software repertoire. A lot of people argue that OWB fills in the gap of a modern web browser and think that we should rather concentrate on that and ditch Firefox. However, the Mozilla software is more than a web browser. It’s technology. It offers a platform independent way of writing applications, and AmigaOS can very much profit from all the developments going on in the Mozilla community.

As a web browser, Firefox is cutting edge technology, offering things like html5 and WebGL, In fact, Firefox has become part of the definition of the World Wide Web, driving it’s development. Its importance in that respect matches or surpasses any other browser. It is also still actively developed by a large group of individuals.

As a technology, Mozilla allows the creation of applications that run on a variety of platforms. One such application is, for example, Thunderbird, an email client that also became the de-facto standard on most systems.


So, what about Timberwolf ? After the release of the early alpha preview last year, we’ve been working on getting the source code updated to the new version of Firefox, 4.0. Early versions (up to beta 6) produced rendering errors within the box layout on Windows (I didn’t test the Linux version at that time). Therefore, we decided to wait until a version came out that would at least render correctly (since that is basically what we would have to implement ourselves). When beta 7 came out, the layout seemed correct,  so we started with the Firefox 4.0b7 source code and applied our code changes to it.

This weekend, I got 4.0b7 to fully compile, although the implementation of the rendering code is still a stub. Since the final release version of Firefox 4.0 came out just recently, we decided to try to update from 4.0b7 to 4.0 final. The update worked quite well, although a few kinks need to be ironed out.

This means we now have all the code that will make up the final release of Timberwolf. In the coming days (time permitting) we will start the implementation of the actual rendering engine. We’re not able to give time estimates, but I would guess that we will be able to come up with the next preview version sometime in early summer.

For more information about Project Timberwolf (including screenshots and updates on the progress), visit the page on AmigaBounty.

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