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Tips, Tricks and real performance boosters (no "disable the dashboard" tips)

PowerPC Web Browsers For Your Mac (By Tanner)

By Brian 1899 days ago Comments (1)

With all the PowerPC and Universal software quickly fading away it's hard not to get discouraged about the fate of the PowerPC Mac. The biggest thought is, what will happen to web browsing? Well here is a small list of some web browsers I know of that still happen to work on PPC and many are still new enough to render webpages perfectly. In order of which one I prefer to the least (After #10 of Mac OS X the order doesn't matter I'm just listing them):

Mac OS X

1.   SeaMonkey 2.11 - Since the browser had dropped PowerPC support a while ago, another developer has picked up the project and is now bringing the browser back to the Mac. Features include: Hardware acceleration, Firefox addons, Cocoa GUI, Mail, Address Book, IRC chat. I personally prefer this as it loads pages with the speed of Safari but with the added hardware acceleration many things online run better. Requires Leopard.

SeaMonkey browser for PowerPC


2.   TenFourFox 10.0.x - Another browser based around FireFox and brought back to PowerPC Mac's by way of a third party developer. It is essentially just a renamed FireFox recompiled on PowerPC (it's not universal so Intel Mac's can't run it, mwahaha.). You also get the hardware acceleration and addons (I've found most work), but to me it's kind of ugly. It doesn't use the native GUI and to make it more "cross-platform" between Tiger and Leopard it has a fairly ugly default interface. There are four builds of this, each optimized to a specific PowerPC processor. There's one for the G3, two for the G4 (old G4 and the G4+ which basically means any Mac newer than 2000) and one for the G5. Choosing the right one is somewhat important as each build is optimized for each specific PPC cpu. For instance, the G4+ has the AltiVec Velocity Engine which when used by the browser, means you get much better Flash performance overall.

TenFourFox browser for PowerPC


3.   AuroraFox 16 - Yes I realize this is ANOTHER FireFox browser but I want you guys to have the ability to make decisions about your PPC Mac software (haven't had that feeling in a while have you?). It's the FireFox beta build and it was released at random for PPC. Features include.... look it up, it's FireFox.

AuroraFox 16 browser for PowerPC


4.   WebKit - This may sound odd but you can download a nightly build of just plain ol' WebKit. This is what you need if you absolutely prefer Safari to any other browser as WebKit uses the Safari browser. This means you will have the latest in web rendering but can also use Apple's own software.

Safari Webkit browser for PowerPC


5.   Camino - Yet another rebuilding of FireFox, this one introduces a native Cocoa GUI, no FireFox addon support or hardware acceleration but has AdBlock built-in. Nothing very special about this browser honestly.

Camino browser for PowerPC


6.   OmniWeb - WebKit runs under the hood of this browser with native Ad Blocking and an interesting layout. One of the first web browsers I've found that has the tabs located in an OS X Drawer rather than being in a bar. Not to mention it opens and quits with the same speed as Safari. Definitely worth checking out if not just for the novelty. This is universal and has been updated to work on Mountain Lion.

OmniWeb browser for PowerPC


7.   Opera - I used to love Opera on my phone, on Linux, on Windows and even on Mac... until I realized how unreliable it is. If you love Opera and don't do anything too important on the web (like typing documents online), then download the last PowerPC version of Opera. Sadly it will crash at random after any length of time. Oh and that whole "click to activate flash" thing is annoying. It's not like Click-To-Flash, it means that Opera loads Flash objects like YouTube videos, but you can't interact with them until you click on them. So if your video starts playing and you don't want it to, you have to click, wait a second (because double clicking would go full screen), and click again. This browser does support addons but I haven't been able to find any that work with this build anymore as you need Opera 11 or higher which is Intel only.

Opera browser for PowerPC

8.    Shiira 2.3 - Another browser brought to you from Japan that uses KHTML (also known  as Apple's WebKit) and has been written in Cocoa so it fits your Mac's GUI nicely. I didn't get much time to play around with this browser as Safari always ran better for me, but it's worth looking at for it's relatively small size. It opens and quits on a dime but seems to render pages like an old browser would. It also has like OmniWeb, and interesting tab bar which you can see on the bottom.

Shiira browser for PowerPC

9.   iCab 5.0.1 - Another web browser to use WebKit, iCab is a browser developed by a single man for the Macintosh. It features a GUI similar to Mac's own but has an interesting look to it. I don't recommend iCab at all though as it has many CSS rendering problems and most importantly it's shareware and will nag you to register it every time you open the application. The list of errors you see in the photo are all just from loading Google.com once.

iCab browser for PowerPC OSX

10.   iCab 4.9 - Essentially the same thing, this version of iCab is simply on this list because for some reason everyone's forgotten about the poor Mac's running 10.3.9 who have been left in the dark by projects such as Classilla and TenFourFox. This browser seems to be your only choice aside from Apple's Safari and the Mozilla Suite which are pretty long in the tooth on this OS.

iCab browser for PowerPC OS X

11.   DeskBrowse 1.0 - An interesting web browser with two innovative features (especially for 2005 which was when this browser was developed). First you'll notice that it's only on the left hand side of the display. The idea is that the browser would hide off of your screen when you didn't need it but could be called into action very quickly. It never seemed to make it out of development fully so it's more of a novelty than anything and performs relatively okay.

Deskbrowse browser for PowerPC

12.   Flock 2.6.2 - A somewhat known cross-platform web browser centered around social networking such as Facebook and Twitter. The GUI of these older versions can be a shock to anyone who has used OS X Leopard or newer for a while since it just doesn't fit in. It looks completely wrong and dated in todays world. The app itself is pretty fast and the GUI is snappy and responsive however web pages tend to load longer than you'd hope. Rendering is quick, it's the part where it's "Connecting..." that can take much longer than needed. Not to mention a pretty big problem: Web pages tend to load incorrectly as you can see in the screenshot. It's not up to date.

Flock browser for PowerPC

13.   Roccat 2.9 - What can I say about this odd piece of software. Probably that it's one of the most up to date apps on PPC with support for OS X Leopard all the way up to OS X Mountain Lion (they even fixed how low res graphics appear while using a retina display recently!). It's a webkit based browser with VisiTabs (Visible Tabs*) and well, it's interesting. It's fast to open. Fast to load. Has some hiccups like Safari but nothing horrible. Take a look for yourself! (The tab bar can be moved just FYI and you can change to a standard one if you don't like VisiTabs.)

Roccat browser for PowerPC

14.   Scourge 1.1.5 - I honestly have got very little to say about this web browser as I've barely used it. It renders web pages decently enough but there's nothing special about it. It's from 2006. It has an OS X GUI. Cool. It's out there, go look for yourself.

Scourge browser for PowerPC

15.   surfDude 0.5 - This little app has a special place in my heart for absolutely no explainable reason whatsoever. It's very lightweight and has a pretty little interface that integrates perfectly into OS X. Probably the best thing about it is that even if I've never opened it once on a machine it will be loaded and ready in one bounce of the dock icon. One and only one and it's done and ready for fun in the mother-fudging sun. It loads web pages quick and decently as well. This is another gem from 2005 during the Intel transition (ugh).

surfDude browser for PowerPC

16.   Stainless 0.8 - You know I thought I already included this cool browser but apparently I didn't. Sad. Well it's the browser with the odd name but hey, who cares when it's the closest you're going to get to having Google Chrome on your PPC machine? The interface is pretty beautiful with smooth lines and curves but let's forget about that and focus on one thing: It's chrome basically. It's a webkit browser that opens on a dime and has one AWESOME feature that's NOT in ANYTHING ELSE which is called parallel sessions. This feature allows you to have each tab be a different "session" which means you can be logged into a site such as Facebook with multiple accounts from within the same web browser/window. It also means that if a site becomes unresponsive and crashes the browser, only that tab will go down. The rest is safe. Neat huh? Did I mention it's a fast browser? Loads quick, renders quick and whatnot. It's no longer developed (dang it all) since it was more of a proof of concept (the whole parallel sessions part) but it's also fairly recent so it's up to date enough and should be for a another couple of years.

Stainless browser for PowerPC


Classic Mac (OS 9 and Earlier)

1.   Classilla 9.3.0 - A web browser that is a fork of the original Mozilla project (before the Mozilla Suite was replaced by FireFox and ThunderBird) this piece of software promises to breath some life back into your Classic Mac. This browser is still under active development and is also fairly stable with few crashes. To get the most however you should enable Java. Click the icon in the lower right corner of the window, and check off "JavaScript Globally Allowed". It doesn't recommend you do this though, as old Mac's have old Java. The old Java has security vulnerabilities that can be exploited but without Java enabled the web is a desolate and cold place. Much like your morning without your cup of java. You should also go to Edit > Preferences > Navigator > User Agent and choose something like Mozilla FireFox 3.6 or Internet Explorer 9. This tells websites you visit that you're on a newer browser and so the servers send you more complete web pages. The reason the Classilla project doesn't use a user agent like these by default is that they're trying to make Classilla load mobile websites, since the hardware in many old Mac's is similar in power to that of phones and low-end smartphones (sorry but your iPhone out-powers your once great PowerMac G3). Features include tabbed browsing and the ability to remember usernames and passwords.

Classilla browser for PowerPC

2.   iCab 3.0.5 - Unlike it's newer cousin this iCab does not use WebKit but some older rendering engine. It does feature tabbed browsing like Classilla. It loads web pages somewhat slowly compared to Classilla but it seems to render pages decently enough to be useful day to day however if you go to load a large website the browser seems to freeze while loading, meaning that if the computer is taking a long time to load, you either have to wait it out or attempt to force quit the application/force a shutdown.

Note: This browser is the only browser I've ever found that also runs on Mac OS X 10.1 all the way through to 10.5. There will be a second download link below for the OS X version.

iCab browser for PowerPC


And there you have a list of 17 browsers for your PowerPC Mac. Isn't it great to have a choice in your software? I know there's more out there, I just have to remember them so I can add them to this list. Most are really just odd-ones-out which aren't that great or special but should be added here for the sake of being a complete writing.


So which should you choose? (This only applies to the OS X browsers)

All of the browsers I've shown feature ad blocking in some form. Browsers such as Opera, TenFourFox, Aurora, SeaMonkey and WebKit all have the ability to download addons at whim from their respective sites although Opera is too out of date at this point. For TenFourFox, Aurora and SeaMonkey visit the Mozilla Addons site and for WebKit visit the Safari Extensions site.

If you are someone who tends to have many tabs open then avoid browsers such as WebKit and Opera. These two seem to get bogged down by having more than 4 tabs open and will beach ball frequently. The other browsers don't seem to suffer this problem as much and the FireFox based ones seem to run fine with 10+ tabs.

If you frequently visit websites with a lot of content such as MyAppleSpace, YouTube or Facebook then your best bet is a FireFox based browser with hardware acceleration. These browers take advantage of your Mac's resources more efficiently and can handle Flash objects and heavy content sites with more ease.


So where can you download these?

Right from here: 

This is not a finished page. I will continue to update this with more information and better formatting. I'll also be adding web browsers for Mac OS 9 and older for anyone interested!

check out the photo gallery here


  • Brian 1899 days ago

    This is really great work Tanner. It also took a long time to transfer it I can tell you ha ha. Moving each photo from the old article to a photo library here and then inserting them into this copied article.

    Please copy paste this article into your own blog post and I'll delete this one.