New Build Of Mozilla For Mac OS X (Fizzilla) Released

Mozilla Organization (Netscape) has announced a new build of Fizzilla. Built to be Carbon compliant, Fizzilla is the name of Netscapeis Mozilla browser for Mac OS X. Mozilla is the open source version browser project that has been in the works since 1998. This is a new build of the browser, and details on the new release are vague. We have included all the basic information from the Fizzilla page (including a nice crack about in support of Mac OS X). According to Mozilla Organization:

Note: [Fizzilla] requires CarbonLib 1.2 if youire going to run this on Mac OS 9 (though not sure why you would...)

What is it?

Carbon takes the nearly 9000 Mac OS APIs, trims the dead weight, adds some new stuff, and offers the remaining 6000 APIs for use on top of MacOS X. All developers need to do is tweak their existing MacOS code to fit the new Carbon API and their apps will run in a separate process, taking full advantage of MacOS Xis memory protection and pre-emptiveness.

Around May, 1999 (Mozilla milestone 5, or M5) we made those modifcations to Mozilla and created a single binary that ran on both MacOS 8.5 and MacOS X. The resulting app, code named Fizzilla, made its public debut onstage at the MacOS X Session at Appleis WWDC i99.

A New Direction?

Instead of relying fully on Carbon for the entire app, Apple suggested a hybrid approach. For the front-end and drawing code, we would use the same Mac OS code on top of Carbon that the MacOS 8/9 product uses. However, on the backend, we could leverage the fact that Mac OS X is BSD Unix under the hood and use our Unix codebase for threading and networking.

Since weire building the Unix code in addition to Carbon code, we would also have to modify our build system. On Mac OS X, this would require using gmake, just like our Linux client. While it pains us to give up the IDE, sharing as much as we can with the Unix build system will reduce the likelihood that Fizzilla will bitrot and not be able to build anymore.

Where Are We Now?

We now have two paths to Fizzilla:

  • FizzillaCFM -- fully Carbon, Mac back-end, CFM based
  • FizzillaMach -- Mac Carbon front-end, unix backend, Mach-o based

Each path has its own build instructions and its own set of flaws and foibles and hence deserves its own page. The wonderful thing about open source is that both can get the attention they deserve.

The big question, however, is "what is Netscape going to do with Netscape 6?" Even though we like the idea of FizzillaMach for the future, the tools just arenit there yet. The benefits of being able to leverage the existing OS9 build system and tools for development are too great given the small amount of time we have to work on this on the side. Remember, Netscapeis primary mission right now is to ship Netscape6 for Mac OS 9 and we cannot do anything to jeopardize that plan. So where you will probably see the majority of the work is with FizzillaCFM.

We are not abandoning FizzillaMach by any stretch of the imagination. Now is just not the time for it to shine.

You can download the latest build and find more information about Fizzilla at Mozillais site.