AmiZilla Update 31/8/06

Date 31-Aug-2006 7:49:39
Topic: Software News

Sorry for the long time since the last update- I wrote one several months ago, but never released it, as the students were coming to the end of their projects, and needed a lot of help with them. Also, I had time free to try and get AmiZilla compiling- so wanted to go hard on that first, to try and have something more concrete to announce- see below for my endeavours, such as they are!

The students have finished their projects, but they didn't end up with much concrete work. For the most part, it wasn't really their fault, as the projects were quite hard for their level of experience, and I was expecting the AmiZilla team to be able to provide more help than they did in the end. You also have to remember, the students had a huge amount of things to get familiar with first- from learning to use Bash and it's commands, then GCC, and setting up a cross-compiling environment, before they could even start with Configure and Make for AmiZilla (which can be scary for the first time!).

What was achieved though, was some documentation, and they sorted out a lot of little problems compiling the NSPR! Captain Moo-Moo and one of his students, tracked down lots of missing non-standard Amiga GCC libs, and commented out a2ixlibrary calls (as we're going back to creating one static exe first, to simplify things)- this has helped with compiling the NSPR.

And because of all the research done for and by them, we now have a reasonable idea of how everything is structured, and what needs doing. Most of the code is platform independent- we really only have to worry about the areas that contact the underlying OS. The three main areas where this happens, is the NSPR, XPCOM and XUL.

So far the NSPR is basically complete- it may need some extra work tweaking or adding to it. XPCOM needs platform specific code done in assembler, mainly specifying how an OS passes it's parameters to functions- I have some assembler experience, so with a little help it shouldn't be too hard. The other major hurdle is the GUI- oli's GTK-MUI project would require a lot of extra work to provide all the GTK and GDK functions AmiZilla needs (as it requires hundreds!). But what we'll try first, is to compile AmiZilla with the GTK GUI option, use an X-Server and create GTK/GDK libs from the Linux code, and see if that works. A developer has used some basic GTK programs to test the X11/GTK on OS4, and reports that the system runs well, and at a good speed. We could later look at doing a native XUL layer using MUI/Reaction; but as V3 of Firefox will dump the XUL GUI layer in favor of using Cairo, and having inbuilt gadgets/widgets, we may just work towards getting our code into the V3 code base instead.

We'll be using oli's port of GLib to AROS within AmiZilla- a couple of other devs have ported it to OS4 and MorphOS- they're in the process of restructuring the headers, so it will fit into one source tree- but we'll still need to port it to OS3.

Currently, we have one experienced developer (George Livingston), playing around with the source code, trying to get bits to compile under OS4. He's got the NSPR compiling, but the tests aren't working yet- so some debugging will be involved, but it's great to get it to this stage! I'm currently attempting to compile a Linux exe of Firefox, just to get familiar with the process, before trying to cross-compile it for OS3. So far I've managed to compile the NSPR and test it- I haven't been able to fully compile a Linux version of Firefox yet, as I suspect the version of GCC I'm using has a bug in it (the C++ code it doesn't like, is a quite complex combination of a Template, Namespace and an Iterator!). Soon, I intend to work on the AmiZilla website, with a new design, and lots of developer documentation.

If we can get the NSPR passing the tests, then it shouldn't take long to get it running with a GTK GUI, using an native X11 server. But as it could take awhile to get it running properly (along with XPCom), I can't give you any definite time frames on a Beta just yet (it may take 1-3 months, possibly more).

Any developers are welcome to join the project- to join the AmiZilla list, either send an email to, or go to the Yahoo AmiZilla website (but you need to create a Yahoo account, to do it this way).

Also, donations to help encourage more developers, are most welcome too! :)
- DiscreetFX's AmiZilla donation page.

- AmiZilla home page


Amizilla Team

This article comes from AmigaWorld - Amiga Community Portal

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