Mozilla On Older Systems?

Tuesday December 29th, 1998

From Eric Murphy comes a question regarding Mozilla and older systems.

"After some research and e-mailing, I have come to the conclusion that Mozilla is not going to run on either Windows 3.1x or Mac OS on the 040. In my opinion, it would be a big loss to not support these systems, as there are still a lot of user out there who have these systems, and Mozilla might actually run well on them.

As a webmaster, I am dying for a great new browser that will run on even the older machines. As part of a Non-Profit ISP, we would be very excited if we could distribute a brand new browser that would run well on our users' usually antiquated machines.

I hope I am dead wrong, and that there are groups working to support these machines. If I am right, I hope this note will help spur support for these machines."

It would be nice if one of the developers could take a minute to detail what technologies Mozilla is using that preclude porting to these platforms (if that is actually the case).

#1 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by arielb

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 8:55 AM

It would really suck if Mozilla wouldn't be available on Win 3.11. Hey, there are ports for all these extremely obscure operating systems yet it's not for the OS used by most businesses in the US? What's going on here?

#2 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Waldo

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 10:28 AM

68k macs aside, there's a lot of talk on the newsgroups about not even supporting Mac OS 8.1! Although everyone really should upgrade to 8.5, one would hope that Mozilla would be supported on a major OS that came out within the past year.

Oh, and where's that ProDOS port? :)


#3 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Peanut Butter

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 10:41 AM

Mozilla is not doing anything to prevent someone from porting Seamonkey/Raptor to a 68k mac, windows 3.11, or version 7x of MacOS. All it will require is some work.

If the code can be ported to amiga and OS2, it should be trival in comparison to port it to older version of an OS that the code already works on.

#4 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Khalid

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 12:12 PM

Have a look at this Dejanews thread in contains many interesting answers to this question.


#5 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Jim Pick

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 12:21 PM

Ugh, who wants to program for Win3.11. Nobody wants to scratch that itch (unless they are being paid for it).

If you have an older system, why not install Linux? It's a modern OS that can still run on ancient hardware.


- Jim

#6 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Basic

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 1:06 PM

Win311 is not as dead as it seem, if people were willing to upgrade to win95/98 or linux, most would have done so or will do so soon. But lets get real, not everyone is willing to upgrade their machine for a new browser. Why not port mozilla5 to win31? From what I read it needs less resources than mozilla4.

#7 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Glenn Phillips

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 4:11 PM

I wonder, are you considering the possibility that these "older os's" may not even be functional a year from today?

31/12/99 will probably ring the death nell for Win3.11 and many other systems.

#8 Re: Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Nicholas Riley

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 4:57 PM

From what I've read on the mozilla newsgroups, there are several things that have caused them to limit the Mac version to 8.5. First among them is Apple Type Services for Unicode Imaging, which is only on 8.5.x and is going to be what Mozilla uses for drawing text. By sacrificing some of the internationality and swapping WorldScript (or even QuickDraw GX typography) for ATSUI you could make it run on earlier versions of the Mac OS. Same for NavServices versus Standard File, and the "fixed" 8.5 Appearance Manager 1.1 versus having to work around all the bugs in Appearance 1.0.x. And people could continue with backward compatiblity - supporting MacTCP instead of Open Transport, etc. They'd never have it out in time. But with all the great design stuff they're doing, and extreme portability of mozilla, it wouldn't be a serious task to treat pre-8.5 Mac OS, or Windows 3.1 as just another porting target - one for which a lot of code has already been written.

Also, by the time 5.0 is released Mac OS 8.5 will be closer to a year old. And 8.5 still does run on all PowerPC based Macss, back to 1994 - earlier than Win95, even; all it needs is a decent amount of memory.

#9 Speaking of Browser for DOS from DejaNews

by Eric Murphy

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 7:44 PM

Take a look at

It is a Graphical Browser for DOS. Maybe these guys would be interested in turning their Arachne into DOSzilla?

#10 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by leaf

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 8:16 PM

The number of platforms that mozilla runs on is not determined by an edict from anyone.

Platforms that have developers will have mozilla.

Platforms for which there are no champions, with no developers with the drive to (back)port the feature work going on on the modern OS's, will not have mozilla.

The code is there; if there are developers *and* demand for a windows 3.11 version of mozilla, someone can take the code, and backport it. It's as simple as that. Without developers, no amount of demand will suffice. And without sufficient demand, no developer will port (even if the demand is the developer's own itch).

#11 Re: Mozilla On Older Systems?

by A Life in Hell

Wednesday December 30th, 1998 8:47 PM

To the idiot who seems to think that win3.11 will stop functioning on 31/12/99: cash in your cluepons... the date will just be wrong, and most ppl don't really give a fuck about that anyway :) - Jaymz

#12 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by beg

Thursday December 31st, 1998 2:46 AM

hey, A Life in Hell, no name need for that.

He was just trying to help. Anyways, i was given the impression that Windows98 won't even work when the date hits 2000, let alone Win3.1, so...

#13 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Eric Murphy

Thursday December 31st, 1998 9:37 AM

Hey beg, I wonder if anyone got fired at microsoft over that one?

#14 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Fraser

Thursday December 31st, 1998 5:18 PM

Windows 3.1 is a very common desktop operating system in business and not supporting Win3.1 would be a huge mistake. I have been very eagerly awaiting this browser's release. I work for an ISP and being able to tell all our 386/486 customers (there are lots out there) that they can finally upgrade to the latest browser would be fabulous!!!!

#15 The Majick of DOSZilla!

by SuperSamat

Thursday December 31st, 1998 7:50 PM

I've not seen anyone here so far talk of the DOS port of Mozilla. This would be a perfect alternative instead of a native Win3.1 version.

Windows 3.1's programming system is so... Limited. Having DOSzilla used on that platform, I think, is a much better idea.

Anyone agree?

#16 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Eric Murphy

Thursday December 31st, 1998 8:04 PM

I think a DOSzilla would do the trick for some users, but not for most. It would involve a whole separate Dial-up setup and more.

#17 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by arielb

Thursday December 31st, 1998 10:00 PM

yeah the doszilla site at hasn't been updated in a long time. wonder what happened

#18 Whew! That nightmare is over!

by mozineAdmin

Friday January 1st, 1999 12:09 PM

Now, all URLs posted in our talkback forums will be converted into hyperlinks, designated by "(LINK)". This is to avoid the horizontal scrolling that was affecting the talkback forums when someone posted a long URL. Remember, still no HTML allowed (it will be converted to text).


#19 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by spacecow

Saturday January 2nd, 1999 10:04 PM

I'm working with some developers doing ports to small devices. This is stuff like SetTop Boxes, palm pilot, WinCE, digital watches, calculators, etc. The work on pilot most likely could be pushed straight to DOS, Win3.1, because pilot seems to be restricted even more than DOS (wow!). However. Yes, yes, yes. Any developers who want to develop for DOS Win3.1 might do some luck emailing me ( however, it doesn't seem that anyone is interested in developing this, and the platform did slip my mind, but my grandma does run this slow of a machine (honestly).

Major problems are in the FE (XPFE probably wouldn't go down that low), lack of new up to date tools that do GUI's, little memory, no threads, single tasking, no networking, ugh, lots. This is for dos, Win3.1 has it's own problems, most of which probably couldn't be worked around. It could happen. As always, there is much to gain, and much (time) to lose. And no, DOS will not quit working in 2000. Some of the dos programs that don't convert the date to four-digit might.

#20 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by pdc

Monday January 4th, 1999 8:51 AM

I think that a Win16 port will by much harder than to 32-bit operating systems, because of horrors like differently sized ("near" and "far") pointers, weird function-calling conventions, and the lack of direct support for data structures or arrays over 64K bytes in size. This requires rewrites and twisted code in all the cross-platform modules, as well as in Win16-specific sections.

#21 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by ERICmurphy

Monday January 4th, 1999 12:21 PM

What about Win 3.11 w/ Win32s? Would that make a difference?

Also, the Mac OS 68k would also be a popular platform for Mozilla if it were ported. Are there any Mac people here that would know how hard that would be? I think System 7 should be supported if this were done.

#22 From the lips of Bill...

by thom

Tuesday January 5th, 1999 12:18 AM

Even MS says Windows 3.1 is a legacy product and doesn't support it anymore (IE5 for 3.1? I haven't seen it). This should give loyal microsoft enterprise customers a warm, toasty feeling inside. I thought the reason "nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft" was the fabulous support?

#23 From the lips of Bill...

by ERICmurphy

Tuesday January 5th, 1999 8:27 AM

Well, in my opinion, Mozilla is going to tunr our much better than anything Microsoft can put out, and supporting legecy platforms would make it that much better.

It does not matter what Microsoft considers legecy, they want you to buy their new OS. As long as there is still a large installed base of some software, it is not legecy until all most everyone in that base moves on to something different. It does not matter how technically antiquated it is.

#24 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Mark Scott

Tuesday January 5th, 1999 8:32 AM

MS might say that Win3.x is a legacy product. And say they want nothing more to do with it, but there are still too many people using it for them to stop. IE5 beta for win3.1 has been available for a while, check out

#25 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Mark Scott

Tuesday January 5th, 1999 8:40 AM

MS might say that Win3.x is a legacy product. And say they want nothing more to do with it, but there are still too many people using it for them to stop. IE5 beta for win3.1 has been available for a while, check out

#26 IE 5 for Win 3.1

by ERICmurphy

Tuesday January 5th, 1999 10:32 PM

Thanks Mark! Well, I see MS still seems interested in Win 3.1, we should be too.

What what it take to get a team together?

#27 Re:Mozilla On Older Systems?

by Andrew Arthur

Saturday January 9th, 1999 5:33 PM

I agree with Mozilla supporting a wide variety of Systems. I know a lot of people out there who still use older OS's. Quite a few Mac's still use System 7.x, and have 68030 and 68040 processors. Not everyone has a PowerPC processor or Mac OS 8. Same thing with Windows 3.1. Many people still use Windows 3.1, and will continue using it. Windows 3.1 has seen unmatched populatrity as and OS (and it still is quite populaur), eventhough it is buggy, and is 16-bit. And well DosZilla, is just way to cool sounding, but if they could get it to work it would be great! Just image running netscape on your DOS box.

Supporting machines new and old, will guarentee, the success of Mozilla, and encourage a large amout of programers, There are alot of 'basement' programers that can't afford the lastest, shinest, x86 or PPC processor/system.

PS: If the DosZilla project is successful, it could be a fairly simple ProDOS port. But then again.......

#28 Gecko on win 3.1

by Richard Matthias

Sunday January 10th, 1999 1:39 PM

Gecko would be hard to get working on win16 because it is really only designed to run on architectures that support 'proper' 32-bit pointers.

OTOH win32s gives you most of the win32 environment on win 3.1. NSPR makes the tricky parts of Gecko (threading, sockets and process spawning) easier to get working across platforms.

I for one confidently expect there to be a win 3.1 version of Gecko once the code becomes stable.

#29 There is a free, 32 bit DOS compiler

by Anon

Saturday August 14th, 1999 3:50 PM

It's called DJGPP. It's a DOS port of the GCC compiler and tools. It makes protected-mode DOS binaries. Wouldn't it be the best build environmentfor DOSZilla?