Cameron Kaiser edited this page Jul 15, 2018 · 10 revisions

TenFourFox Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for frequently asked questions about TenFourFox (or, as we abbreviate it, 10.4Fx). Some of these are also answered on the main site and other places in the Github wiki, but are also provided here for convenience.

Questions answered in the FAQ are generally pertinent only to the most current version of 10.4Fx although notes about earlier versions are also included for reference.

What is TenFourFox?

TenFourFox (hereafter 10.4Fx) is a port of Firefox to the Power Macintosh, running either Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5.

Why make 10.4Fx?

Mozilla stopped supporting Power Macintosh and Mac OS X v10.4 with Firefox 4/Mozilla 2.0, both of which remain important and in our humble opinion viable platforms, particularly for people who need to run older software or use Classic. We fall into this category. This is our attempt to rectify the disparity.

Why isn't it called Firefox?

10.4Fx is not called Firefox because technically it isn't, and therefore legally it can't be. Mozilla's trademark conditions require that builds named Firefox be based on unmodified source, and 10.4Fx is modified.

What modifications were made to 10.4Fx?

10.4Fx contains modified widget code to work with OS X Tiger and the 10.4 SDK, modified font code to use Apple Type Services instead of CoreText, disables WebGL (which is incompatible with Tiger), adds its own MP3 audio decoder, and includes AltiVec- and PowerPC-specific code for JavaScript acceleration and decoding of WebM, JPEG and HTML. Here is a more or less complete list of changes in TenFourFox.

Does Mozilla support TenFourFox?

No. TenFourFox is not an official Mozilla build or product. That said, our project lead is a member of the Mozilla security group, and all our contributors routinely upstream patches we believe of benefit to other PowerPC builds of Firefox, which Mozilla accepts. However, we maintain separate support networks, build systems, and distribution infrastructure which Mozilla has no role in operating; no one working on this port is a Mozilla employee; and the project receives no material support from Mozilla. In short, we are no different to Mozilla than any other 3rd-party "Tier 3" port.

Why do you put that funny "FPR" before your version numbers?

Until TenFourFox 45, TenFourFox versions kept pace with Firefox, and corresponded generally with the feature set of the same version of Firefox. Stable releases were based on the current Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) and unstable releases were based on the released mainstream version of Firefox. We called this state "source parity:" we built from a modified version of Firefox's current source code and kept pace with their changes.

Unfortunately, between Firefox 45ESR and 52ESR, Mozilla made several important low-level changes that would have caused substantial problems with older versions of OS X. Additionally, after Firefox 54 Firefox now requires the Rust compiler to build the browser, which has never been supported on PowerPC OS X and has several low-level technical requirements which are not possible prior to OS X Lion. It would have been very difficult to build versions from Firefox 46 to 53, and is now impossible to build versions from Firefox 54 on.

As a result, we parted ways from Firefox's source code with the ESR version of 45.9 and started backporting important features from later versions of Firefox to this reliable platform base. We call this state "feature parity" to demonstrate that we don't use Mozilla's current source code in its entirety, but we do try to support as many of the current features as feasible. These releases are tagged as "FPR" or "Feature Parity Releases" so that they are not confused with later versions of Firefox by users or websites checking the user agent.

Each FPR includes security and bug fixes as well as varying numbers of new features ported sometimes from the very latest version of Firefox. While the FPR series do not implement every single feature due to feasibility or missing system requirements, they are designed to keep the browser as relevant and compatible with most current websites as possible.

Here is more information on how we define "parity".

Are there other PowerPC OS X builds of Firefox?

We are no longer aware of other current builders. For a period of time AuroraFox issued a 10.5-only build, but is no longer supported as of Firefox 20. There are also some older Firefox rebuilds for Power Macs made directly from Mozilla's source code, but none of them are still maintained either. The long-running SeaMonkeyPPC (10.5 only) has also ceased updates, as has the OS X/ppc version of the Tor Browser Bundle (compatible with 10.4/10.5 and based on 10.4Fx code).

For Thunderbird users, there was Tenfourbird which is also based on 10.4Fx code and compatible with 10.4 and 10.5. Tenfourbird has not been updated since 38.9.

We do not officially endorse any alternative build (other than our own, of course), although some of these builders have contributed to this project.

Why are there four different versions? Which one do I pick?

10.4Fx comes in processor-tuned variants to give you the best speed on your particular Macintosh. The G4 and G5 versions include AltiVec code, for example, and the G5 JavaScript accelerator is tuned differently for better performance on the PowerPC 970. If you are using a G3 or a G5, you should use the G3 or G5 version, respectively. If you are using a G4, see our instructions on picking the right processor version for whether you should use the 7400 or 7450 build.

Can 10.4Fx run on Panther? (Jaguar, etc.?)

No. OS X 10.3 does not contain the secret CoreText that is necessary for portions of the underlying font code, and because current versions of Firefox depend strongly on Cocoa, the core operating system libraries in general are not advanced enough to support the browser base. There is no easy way to fix this. For Panther, your best bet is probably Camino 1.6.1; you might also consider SeaMonkey 1.1, which will work for Jaguar too. You could also run Classilla in Classic, which is also your best option for 10.0-10.1 if anyone is still running that, and of course the best choice for Rhapsody, OS 8.6 and OS 9 if we do say so ourselves.

Will 10.4Fx receive updates?

Yes. We will update the browser with regular security and bug fix updates, along with selected new features, which your browser will automatically prompt you to download when they become available.

I tried to download TenFourFox from SourceForge and I got a security error.

Current versions of TenFourFox have a chicken and egg problem where it is not possible to download the current version of TenFourFox without using TenFourFox. SourceForge requires TLS 1.1 security or better which TenFourFox supports, but is not supported by any official version of Safari or Firefox compatible with 10.4 or 10.5.

Admittedly, given that you're looking at this FAQ, as Github requires TLS 1.2 this question doesn't apply to the browser you're using right now which can download TenFourFox just fine.

The easiest solution is simply to download the browser on a current Mac or PC (or the computer you're reading this on) and copy the file to the Power Mac. If this is not possible, there are two known alternatives that don't require another computer to assist:

  • If you have Opera 10.63 on your Mac, you can use that to download TenFourFox. This version of Opera was previously the only known browser for Power Macs to support TLS 1.2 and runs on 10.4 and 10.5. Only use Opera to download TenFourFox; it has known security and stability issues with current websites.

  • However, the officially supported solution is to use the TenFourFox Downloader. Visit the TenFourFox page with a browser that does not support TLS 1.2, such as Camino or Firefox 3.6; the site will detect this and offer you a link to the Downloader. The Downloader is available over unencrypted HTTP and can securely download the most current version of TenFourFox for your Mac from SourceForge for you. After that, you can use TenFourFox itself to download future versions. Only use the Downloader for the first time downloading TenFourFox; use TenFourFox itself for future releases as the Downloader itself can become out of date and is periodically upgraded separately. The Downloader runs on 10.4 and 10.5, but only supports Power Macs.

I tried to unzip TenFourFox and I get an error.

There are several causes for this message:

  • The download is corrupt. Verify that it downloaded properly; you can confirm the archive is intact with our list of checksum hashes.
  • The folder you are trying to unzip it in has bad permissions. Try moving the downloaded archive somewhere else on your hard disk and unzipping it there instead.
  • The tool you used to unzip 10.4Fx does not understand the resource fork. Do not use third-party unzipping tools (such as Zipeg and others) to open the .zip file; it may corrupt the application. Use the native OS X archive utility that comes with Tiger and Leopard (it is in /System/Library/CoreServices/, or you can try right-clicking on the .zip file and selecting it from the Open With... list).

I tried to run TenFourFox and it says it's "not supported on this architecture."

There are several causes for this message:

  • You accidentally downloaded Firefox, not TenFourFox. Firefox is an Intel-only application and will not run on a Power Mac.
  • You accidentally downloaded the wrong architecture version. A Power Mac G3 will not run anything but the G3 version; the G4 or G5 versions will either give you this message or not run at all.
  • The download is corrupt. Verify that it downloaded properly; you can confirm the archive is intact with our list of checksum hashes.
  • The tool you used to unzip 10.4Fx corrupted it. Do not use third-party unzipping tools (such as Zipeg and others) to open the .zip file; it may corrupt the application. Use the native OS X archive utility that comes with Tiger and Leopard (it is in /System/Library/CoreServices/, or you can try right-clicking on the .zip file and selecting it from the Open With... list).

I tried to run TenFourFox and it says it's a Classic application and is not supported.

A few users have reported this occurs on Leopard systems for reasons that are not entirely clear. Deleting the defective TenFourFox file and unzipping the package a second time seems to fix it.

I tried to run TenFourFox and it immediately crashes. Don't you even test your software?

Please give us the benefit of the doubt here: we do dogfood our own browser. In fact, the FAQ you're reading was written on a G5 using TenFourFox. Serious crippling issues like this are usually due to something local; failure to do basic browsing tasks, let alone even start up, would be rapidly apparent to our testing audience. To diagnose the problem will need a little detective work.

  • First, verify you are running the correct processor build. The G5 build will crash on a system that does not have a G5 processor; the G4 build will crash on a G3 processor. If you're trying to run the browser on an Intel Mac, we don't support that (but read on through the next couple of questions).
  • Next, try to start in safe mode -- hold down the Option key as you start 10.4Fx. This will disable any problematic extensions and themes and certain other browser features. If this fixes the problem, you should attempt to find which add-on or feature is the problem. Some older add-ons may cause serious issues with the browser. You can see what add-ons are installed and disable or remove them as appropriate by going to Tools, Add-ons.
  • If that doesn't fix it, you should try starting with a blank profile instead of your earlier Firefox profile. Profiles created by old versions of Firefox or TenFourFox may corrupt or be unreadable to later versions. The instructions will explain how to preserve as much of your profile as possible, such as bookmarks.
  • If even that doesn't fix it, certain third-party operating system components may cause conflicts, particularly haxies, system extensions and monitoring software. Consider disabling these temporarily to see if they're the culprits.

Mozilla's Firefox OS X support pages also have other suggestions for fixing startup problems.

10.4Fx is very slow when it starts up.

Since Firefox 5, Mozilla has required that most of the components of the browser be combined into a large "superlibrary" called XUL; it is no longer possible to run with the pieces separated anymore. XUL contains the bulk of the browser's code, over 70MB in size in current versions, and when the browser starts up this entire library needs to be scanned and components loaded from it. Part of this process happens on startup, but some happens on demand, so the first few pages you load might be slower than they should be. On a fast G5 this might be only a matter of a few seconds, but obviously it takes longer on computers with slower CPUs or slower hard disks.

There is a silver lining, though: once XUL is mostly/fully loaded, much of it remains in memory, and the browser becomes considerably faster. Plus, because the components are kept all in one place, certain types of glue code can be dispensed with, allowing the browser to have even less overhead once it's fully loaded. As long as you keep the browser open and don't quit it (you can sleep your Mac with 10.4Fx running), you won't have to pay this startup penalty again unless you have to restart the browser.

Can 10.4Fx run on an Intel Mac with 10.4, 10.5 or 10.6?

Yes, but: Intel Macintoshes are not supported. Please do not ask for support on Tenderapp. Because Intel is a better-known architecture to attackers than PowerPC, both Intel 10.4 and 10.5 are much more likely to be successfully attacked than PowerPC, even though both technically have the same or similar security holes.

That having been said, if you are absolutely unable or unwilling to upgrade your Intel Mac, it is possible to run TenFourFox on it under the Rosetta PowerPC translator that comes with 10.4-10.6. However, because TenFourFox uses advanced custom code specific to the PowerPC architecture, Rosetta may have compatibility problems running the browser. Follow the steps below:

  • First, make sure you have upgraded to Snow Leopard if at all possible, which will still run PowerPC software, and has many bug and security fixes. Apple still sells Snow Leopard on CD, and all Intel Macs available prior to 10.7 are compatible, including 32-bit systems.
  • Second, ensure you are using the G3 version; the others, particularly the G5 version, will not work with Rosetta under any circumstances.
  • If the browser crashes when you try to start it (just double-click it like any other app), try to restart it in safe mode (hold down the Option key as you start the browser). If this allows the browser to start, you will need to disable the JavaScript compiler permanently. Go to about:config by typing it in your address bar. Find all the preferences starting with javascript.options.baselinejit and javascript.options.ion and make sure they are set to false by double-clicking the value. If they are already false, leave them alone. Do not change any other options. Restart 10.4Fx and see if this fixes the problem. You can also try this if you experience inexplicable crashes with 10.4Fx on your Intel Mac, even if it appears to start normally.

In general, using Rosetta to run TenFourFox will be noticeably slower on an Intel Mac, even if you are successful in starting it up. The reason is that Rosetta must convert all the PowerPC code in it into Intel machine language on the fly and there is no AltiVec or other acceleration support. As a result, it will appear to be much slower than the last version of Firefox compatible with Snow Leopard (48), the last version of Firefox compatible with Leopard (16) or the last version of Firefox compatible with Tiger (3.6), all of which have native Intel code. However, TenFourFox is more up-to-date with web features and security patches, so you may prefer it if your Intel Mac is sufficiently fast enough.

At one time a TenFourFox 17.0.2 was available for Intel, donated by a contributor, but is no longer being maintained. You should not use this version anymore due to known security vulnerabilities. If you can help with building and maintaining a newer release, please post to the development blog.

Finally, let us say it again: Intel Macintoshes are not supported under any circumstances, period. Power Macs remain the primary focus of support and development; any indulgence of Intel Macs is on a best-effort basis only.

Can 10.4Fx run on an Intel Mac with 10.7 or 10.8?

No, because these versions of OS X lack Rosetta, the translation layer for running PowerPC applications on Intel Macs. Sorry. Blame Apple for being cheap about QuickTransit license seats.

The good news is, all Intel Macs that can run 10.8 can run 10.9 through 10.11, and even some older systems limited to Lion can be coerced to boot at least 10.9 using unsupported tools like MacPostFactor.

Will 10.4Fx use all my Firefox settings?

Yes, because as far as your Mac is concerned TenFourFox is Firefox, so it will use your previous profile seamlessly including all of your old bookmarks, all compatible add-ons and all settings. However, you may wish to install versions in between and upgrade through them so that your profile is correctly updated, such as from 2 to 3 to 3.5 to 3.6.

Similarly, if you are updating from a Firefox version prior to 10.0 (such as Firefox 3.6), download and install TenFourFox 10.0.11, run it once, then download and install 17.0.11, run that once, then download and install 24.7.0, run that once, then download and install 31.8.0, run that once, then download and install 38.10.0, run that once, and finally download and install the current version of TenFourFox. If you are unable to do so, consider removing the Library/Application Support/Firefox folder in your home directory to make sure settings are clean and correct, but this will destroy your bookmarks, saved settings, cookies and add-ons. If your Mac has never run Firefox (even if it ran Camino), you don't need to do this.

Again, in some cases, you may have corrupted or buggy settings from older versions that will actually cause problems with 10.4Fx. In that case, you may need to reset your profile; there is usually no way to fix this otherwise.

As a corollary in general, old versions of Firefox that are no longer supported will typically not be able to use profiles from later versions of Firefox, and may even corrupt them. Once you have started using TenFourFox, you cannot go back to Firefox 3.6; you may lose data. Even if you get away with it for awhile, we won't support this, and you will run into trouble sooner or later.

Okay, then, I want to keep my Firefox and 10.4Fx settings separate.

If you must use the old Firefox, or use different add-ons or keep different settings, you will need separate profiles. Mozilla explains how to start the Firefox Profile Manager. These steps will also work for TenFourFox; just substitute the correct application.

Be careful: profile management, if done incorrectly, can cause you to lose your current settings and bookmarks. Follow the directions exactly. This is not recommended if you can avoid it.

I tried to run the Profile Manager like you said on Tiger, and it gives me a weird error message.

Run firefox -P instead of firefox-bin -P.

In future, once you've created a new profile -- let's say you called it newprofile -- you can just type firefox -p newprofile to use that profile and avoid using the GUI Profile Manager altogether if you like.

Can I run 10.4Fx together with Camino, SeaMonkey, Safari or other browsers?

Yes. In fact, you can even run them at the same time. Even Gecko-based browsers like Camino and SeaMonkey coexist peacefully with TenFourFox. (We recommend OmniWeb over Safari if you want your WebKit fix, btw.)

Again, the exception is Firefox itself. Firefox 3.6 cannot be run simultaneously with TenFourFox, because as we mentioned above, to the Mac TenFourFox is Firefox. Also, do again remember that older versions of Firefox may cease to work after upgrading to TenFourFox due to incompatible profiles. You may wish to use specific profiles for these older Firefox or even old TenFourFox versions if you must run them (but it is strongly advised you do not, as these versions of Firefox likely have security issues).

We do not support alternating between Firefox 3.6 and TenFourFox, as Firefox 3.6 will corrupt TenFourFox profiles and you will lose data!

The browser keeps saying I'm out of date!

You will get automatic prompts to update if the browser detects your version is not in sync with the version available. Sometimes this may occur even if you appear to be using the same version (we do not bump the version number between official releases to avoid getting out of sync with Mozilla, but the browser has a different build ID). If you are ever in doubt about the version you have, the TenFourFox Start Page will tell you if you are using the most current release.

Web pages keep saying they don't support TenFourFox any more.

Web pages say my browser is too old.

TenFourFox is detected by many sites as Firefox 45, which technically has not been supported by Mozilla since 2017. This is on purpose to prevent sites from incorrectly enabling features that TenFourFox may not support, but some sites that would otherwise work perfectly fine with TenFourFox will then complain the browser is too old.

For these sites that mistakenly use the browser's "user agent string" to determine its feature set, you can change it from within TenFourFox by going to Preferences and selecting the TenFourFox tab. From the User Agent dropdown, select an alternative. Select the earliest browser version that is compatible with the site you need; selecting an overly current version may cause the site to enable features TenFourFox might not ever support. Reload the page to see if the change fixed the issue. You may need to experiment with this setting to get some recalcitrant sites to "stick."

The current user agent setting is applied to all sites you visit, but you can change it at any time. If a site doesn't seem to be working properly, make sure your user agent is set to the default before you report a bug.

Does 10.4Fx support TLS 1.2?

Yes, as well as TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 for legacy sites. TLS 1.3 support is being considered for a future version.

Does 10.4Fx support language packs?

Yes (see the main page for a list of languages). More are coming soon!

Is your language not listed? You can help! 10.4Fx has slightly different strings and technical requirements than Firefox, so regular language packs need modification. However, fortunately it's very easy to do. If you'd like to contribute, post to issue 328.

10.4Fx does not display some fonts (Tamil, Arabic, ...) correctly.

10.4Fx does not support CoreText, which is needed to use the typographic information in certain AAT-encoded fonts that come with later versions of Mac OS X. Without this information, certain ligatures and glyph reordering rules cannot be utilized, and the font will appear but not quite correctly. The font renderer in 10.4Fx does support Arabic and other international scripts, but requires OpenType or Graphite fonts for the special language-specific features; see our tech notes. Fortunately, many websites now provide these fonts as downloadable webfonts and TenFourFox can generally use them, so this problem is less common than it used to be.

10.4Fx sometimes pops up a window saying "bad font detected."

10.4Fx sometimes shows weird little boxes instead of letters or symbols.

Font rendering in TenFourFox is accomplished with an older library called ATSUI instead of the CoreText library used in current versions of Mac OS X. CoreText is not fully implemented in 10.4 and has stability issues in 10.5, so we use ATSUI instead, which supports nearly all the same features. Unfortunately, due to bugs in ATSUI which Apple never corrected, some downloadable webfonts are incompatible and display characters as weird little "boxes" (with a character resembling an "A," or sometimes a series of tiny hexadecimal digits). On 10.4 systems, an error window may also appear; on 10.5, the browser may even crash under certain circumstances.

We cannot automatically detect these fonts due to limitations in the system libraries we require to remain compatible with 10.4, so we keep a "blacklist" of webfonts and webfont URLs that are known to cause problems. When the browser is requested to use a font on the blacklist, it quietly drops it and switches to a fallback font which will hopefully display correctly.

Unfortunately, maintaining the "blacklist" is a manual process. Periodically as URLs change or new fonts are used, the blacklist must be updated. If a site you use is causing this problem, you can submit font URLs for investigation. While you can just open a ticket on Tenderapp with the offending website and wait for us to figure it out, a better way to get the problem fixed is to follow the steps in this support ticket, which will greatly expedite the process.

Does 10.4Fx support IonMonkey JavaScript JIT acceleration?

Yes. Starting with version 38, TenFourFox has a nearly complete implementation of the IonMonkey JavaScript compiler with special enhancements for PowerPC. We call it IonPower.

IonPower automatically accelerates both the browser, add-ons and website JavaScript by transparently compiling JavaScript into native PowerPC machine language; see our tech notes. It runs as much as 40 times faster than the interpreter.

On some sites, I keep getting "Unresponsive script" errors.

As sites become larger and use more complex JavaScript, even with the special acceleration in 10.4Fx, execution will be slow particularly on G3 and early G4 systems. When script runtime exceeds a certain threshold, this error appears. The error is otherwise harmless and you can continue to wait if you know the operation will complete.

If you get this window frequently, there are a few ways you can improve the browser's script performance. Try some or all:

  • Remove unnecessary browser add-ons. These sometimes will interfere with some sites.
  • Consider enabling basic adblock (next question), which can improve browser performance overall.
  • Use the NoScript add-on and allow JavaScript only to run on certain necessary sites.
  • Disable the unresponsive script warning entirely.

How do I use the built-in adblocker?

TenFourFox adds support for basic adblock, which blocks certain nuisance scripts that implement ads, trackers, cryptominers and other kinds of browser-based malware. As a nice side effect, this interferes with many ads and adblocker-blockers and improves the overall performance of the browser by reducing the amount of JavaScript that must be executed.

Basic adblock is just that: basic. It does not, nor is it designed to, completely block all advertising content and some sites can still track you with non-JavaScript means such as cookies and beacon images. If the script is part of the basic functionality of the website, even if it also serves ads or does user tracking, by policy we don't block those.

You can use basic adblock in combination with other adblock add-ons, though basic adblock can be substantially faster if used by itself. Basic adblock also functions in Private Browsing windows, which implement additional tracker blocking.

To enable basic adblock, go to Preferences, click TenFourFox, and check "Enable basic adblock." You can suggest other sites to block on Tenderapp.

Does 10.4Fx support Firefox add-ons?

Yes, if they are compatible with Firefox 45 and do not require an Intel Macintosh. While many current versions of add-ons require later versions of Firefox, older versions will generally function, and you can still find these older versions from Mozilla Add-ons. We offer an archive of these add-ons, though we do not support them.

Note that adding large numbers of add-ons will make your browser slower, and a badly-coded add-on may cause your browser to act in unexpected ways. If the browser starts acting incorrectly, consider temporarily disabling or removing add-ons to isolate the problem. You can view the addons that are installed and disable or uninstall them as necessary by going to Tools, Add-ons.

Remember: add-ons and plugins are not the same; we don't support plugins and here's why. That said, even though we permit add-ons, add-on support is best effort only. If an add-on trips a bug in the browser, we may or may not fix such bugs at our sole discretion, even if the bug is critical. You use add-ons at your own risk.

Tiger users should note that even if an extension works with PowerPC, some may require Leopard.

1Password does not work with 10.4Fx.

Users have asked AgileBits to support TenFourFox in 1Password and Agile has refused to support any non-Intel build of Firefox after 3.6, including TenFourFox. If you are unhappy about this policy, please tell them so (especially if you are a paid user -- though ignorant comments like this from their staff, who clearly don't know what TenFourFox is and don't care, make it very unlikely they will be of assistance and you should keep that in mind if you're not using the latest and greatest and choose to buy anything in the future from AgileBits). In the meantime, if you absolutely require 1Password support, you are stuck with Firefox 3.6. There is no way, unfortunately, to force 1Password to work with TenFourFox from our end.

Gopher sites no longer work in 10.4Fx.

You can enable the Gopher protocol with the OverbiteFF addon.

Does 10.4Fx support plugins or Flash?

No. Plugins no longer operate in TenFourFox. 10.4Fx uses older compositing code to remain compatible with OS X Tiger which is incompatible with later versions of Firefox. More to the point, few if any PowerPC-compatible plugins remain updated, and Adobe no longer supports Flash on Power Macintosh.

When you visit a site with plugin content, an informational box may appear on the page where the plugin would normally appear. Sites may also tell you that you have no plugins installed. This is intentional, so that the site can try to present alternate content that does not require a plugin.

Some users have had success with SandboxSafari, which is a way to run the Safari WebKit engine with reduced privileges. This can then run plugins like Flash with reduced privileges, making them less likely to be exploited successfully. However, this method is only a safer way to use them and is not completely safe, and although it includes TenFourFox integration, officially we don't offer any support for people who use this tool. You use it at your own risk.

Between 6.0 and 17.0.11 an undocumented, unsupported plugin enable setting existed. This option is now completely gone because Mozilla completely removed the older compatibility code. If you turned it on in a previous version of TenFourFox, it will not work in version 19.0 and higher.

We explain this policy in more detail and ways you can access content without plugins.

How can I play H.264 video?

If a site offers HTML5 H.264 video as an option, you can play many such videos outside of the browser using the optional QuickTime Enabler. Please read that wiki page carefully as some sites cannot be supported yet. You may be able to use one of the Firefox video downloader add-ons for those sites.

How can I play WebM video?

WebM video support is built into TenFourFox, including for YouTube. No special software is necessary.

YouTube video is too slow on my Mac.

WebM video is too slow on my Mac.

TenFourFox uses the YouTube HTML5 player, which streams video to the browser using WebM. WebM video is generally slower than H.264 video because no Power Mac has hardware acceleration for WebM. 10.4Fx does have AltiVec acceleration for WebM, however, which improves performance on G4 and G5 systems. For this reason, most G5 Power Macs can play standard definition WebM without issue but practically no G3 Macs can, due to the CPU power needed to decode, scale and composite the video in the browser.

Here are some general tips for improving performance:

  • Systems slower than 1.25GHz are likely to perform badly. Although video may play on these computers, we don't support them, and we strongly recommend a G5 for HTML5 video.
  • Make sure you have sufficient RAM installed. If you have less than 1GB of RAM, your computer is likely to swap other programs out (especially on 10.5), which will slow video playback further. We recommend at least 1.5GB.
  • Don't let the video autoplay. This will cause the browser to dramatically slow while it tries to load the page and play the video at the same time. Click once anywhere on the video to pause it and let the rest of the page load, and then click once on the video to start it again. Or, you can use any of the Firefox autoplay disabler extensions which will do this automatically.
  • Close unnecessary tabs and windows. If you have many tabs or windows open and loaded, the browser must service them too, which can steal CPU time from playing the video.
  • Don't make the window too big. On a wide screen you may be tempted to make the browser window fill it, but YouTube will then faithfully try to make the video bigger also.

Full-screen and theatre mode are only of acceptable performance on high-spec G5 systems, and only in standard definition. You should leave the video windowed on lower-end G5 systems and all G4 systems.

Should I turn MediaSource Extensions (MSE) on?

How can I play YouTube video at a lower resolution?

There are two supported types of WebM video: VP8, the older technology, which is less computationally intense but provides poorer bitrates (comparable to H.264), and VP9, a newer technology that can offer better resolution in less space but requires more work to decode it (comparable to H.265/HEVC).

VP9 YouTube video requires Media Source Extensions (MSE) and has been officially supported since TenFourFox 45.5. VP8 video has been supported since TenFourFox 4. TenFourFox offers custom AltiVec acceleration for both VP8 and VP9 on all G4 and G5 systems. VP8 YouTube video is usually offered only at 360p resolution, while VP9 YouTube video with MSE allows you to choose from several resolutions, usually 144p, 240p, 360p and 480p (as well as HD resolutions, which we do not recommend). Note that if you use MSE/VP9, YouTube will select 360p resolution by default. This bitrate is too high for the majority of our older machines which is why we warn it may be slower.

The correct choice depends on your individual computer. Some systems can only play lower resolution video well, and should have MSE turned on so you can choose a low-resolution VP9 stream. On the other hand, many G4 systems play VP8 video rather better than VP9, while late-model G5 systems and the Quad G5 perform better in VP9 and can use the higher 480p resolution.

Currently, TenFourFox ships with MSE disabled, which will use VP8 video.

To use VP8 video, go to Preferences and select the TenFourFox preference pane, and make sure the MSE option is not checked (which is the default). Reload any open video pages.

To use VP9 video and select a resolution:

  • Go to Preferences and select the TenFourFox preference pane, and make sure the MSE option is checked. Reload any open video pages.
  • To select a lower resolution instead of 360p:
    • If the video autoplays, click it once to pause it (or use one of the Firefox autoplay disabler extensions).
    • Click the gear icon on the video.
    • Choose the desired resolution.
    • Resume the video. There may be a pause while the new resolution buffers.

Here are our recommendations for various configurations which should give you a basic idea of what to expect from your own system. Good means audio rarely, if ever, skips, and the video infrequently pauses. Max still has good audio, but video pauses may be somewhat longer, and is the limit of what we would consider reasonable to watch. Your mileage may vary. Performance refers to the CPU Performance setting in Energy Saver (if the machine does not allow setting this, we just say "n/a").

System Performance VP8 144p 240p 360p 480p Advise
1.0GHz iMac G4* n/a poor max MSE on, 144p
1.33GHz iBook G4 Reduced poor max MSE on, 144p
// Highest acceptable good max MSE off (use VP8)
1.67GHz DLSD PowerBook G4 n/a acceptable good max MSE off (use VP8)
2.5GHz Quad G5 Reduced good good good max MSE on, 360p
// Highest good good good good max MSE on, 360p

*This machine is not supported for video playback, but is included for comparison purposes.

High definition video really sucks!

Unfortunately, no Power Mac, not even the Quad G5, can currently play high definition WebM in the browser at any reasonable frame rate.

Improving video performance is an active area of TenFourFox development.

Does 10.4Fx support MP3 audio?

Yes. TenFourFox supports playing back MP3 files and streaming MP3 audio (such as many Internet radio sites), as well as HTML5 audio encoded in MP3. For example, Shoutcast and Soundcloud are compatible. This support is built-in to TenFourFox and no special software is necessary.

Does 10.4Fx support asm.js?

Yes, but without special acceleration; the regular JavaScript JIT is used instead. Additionally, some scripts assume the computer is little-endian (all Power Macs are big-endian). While there is code in TenFourFox to compensate for this under limited circumstances, some scripts will still not run or will malfunction. Fixing this problem would (in some cases severely) impact the performance of other types of JavaScript, so this is not likely to change.

Does 10.4Fx support WebAssembly or wasm?

No. Besides the sizable amount of work required, WebAssembly applications also often make certain assumptions about memory layout which are fundamentally incompatible with big-endian systems like Power Macs. WebAssembly-based applications will not start on TenFourFox; however, the site may be able to select a JavaScript or asm.js fallback.

Does 10.4Fx support Java?

No. Java applet support is completely disabled. Java on 10.4 requires the Java Embedding Plugin, and as mentioned, plugins are no longer supported either. More to the point, neither 10.4 nor 10.5 receive security updates to the JVM any more, and trojans such as Flashback have been able to escalate their privileges even on Power Macs using flaws in these older Java environments. For these reasons Java is no longer supported by TenFourFox, and we strongly recommend you only run signed Java applets from trusted sources on Power Macintoshes.

Does 10.4Fx support WebGL?

No. WebGL requires OpenGL 2, which is not supported on Tiger, and Mozilla does not support WebGL on 10.5 either.

However, 10.4Fx does use native CoreGraphics for many portions of the browser, which may be hardware accelerated by the operating system.

This document didn't answer my question.

Please open a support ticket on our TenFourFox Tenderapp and one of our friendly support volunteers will try to help you.

If you wish to talk directly to the developers, feel free to drop by and comment on our TenFourFox Development blog.

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