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Old 13 August 2020, 16:00   #1
ancalimon
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Status of web browsers on retro/alternative computers

What is the status of web browsers for classic Amiga vs other computer such as Atari?

We have some browsers like NetSurf but they either work extremely slowly or hang at some point even on a 060.
IBrowse is being updated currently and supports more recent ssl but it currently fails at rendering modern web pages since that part has not been updated for ages.
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Old 13 August 2020, 16:17   #2
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The reason that IBrowse fails to render most webpages is that its rendering engine doesn't use CSS, whereas almost every modern website uses it extensively. Most websites are very heavy on Javascript too for rendering and functionality too, and this is very out of date on Amiga browsers.

However, even if you did manage to overcome both of these massive obstacles, you'd quickly find that they are simply too complex for the Amiga's resources. Running a moderately heavy webpage these days can easily consume hundreds of MB of RAM and require multicore, multi-GHz performance to have any sort of responsiveness. Like it or not, the modern web is an inefficient behemoth that is simply beyond what is reasonably practical on the classic Amiga.
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Old 13 August 2020, 17:18   #3
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And every other 16/(early)32 bit platform has that exact same problem. I'm not aware of any browsers for any of these system (TOS, DOS, OS/2, Win3, RiscOS etc.) that are actually useful for anything these days. Netsurf is the best option, but that's way to ressource heavy for 68k, and it still has a long way to go to be useful for the modern web.

Text only browsers (or graphical browsers displaying broken versions of existing websites) is the best you can get.
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Old 13 August 2020, 17:31   #4
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It would be cool if there was a Retro Web Proxy on the Cloud that retro systems can use to re-render the target website into a lighter format for retro systems.

Would be cool set the settings to fit.

Convert graphics, video, audio, animated pages, etc... to a target format that the user can set.

I wonder about the interests for such a system since I have a bunch of friends on furlough now...
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Old 13 August 2020, 17:36   #5
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Or we should all create html 3.x (or earlier) complient web sites
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Old 13 August 2020, 17:45   #6
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back in the mobile web days there used to be sites that would turn the web page into an image map with clickable links, don't know if they still exist.


I also wish that rather than follow the standards, we could have a 'looks approximately like' browser that was a bit faster.
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Old 13 August 2020, 18:00   #7
lmimmfn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valken View Post
It would be cool if there was a Retro Web Proxy on the Cloud that retro systems can use to re-render the target website into a lighter format for retro systems.

Would be cool set the settings to fit.

Convert graphics, video, audio, animated pages, etc... to a target format that the user can set.

I wonder about the interests for such a system since I have a bunch of friends on furlough now...
While this has merit, it would be too slow( i. e. video etc.), the Amiga would be too slow to process that, but for other things would be quite simple to implement, just have window on Amiga with xwindows type remote window to pc.
The best approach would be an arm processor on the amiga as a slave and pass clicks to/from it and just have it running a browser with viewport showing on the amiga, the warp card has an arm, that type of solution could be even better if an os could be run on that with a browser along with it acting as a gfx card but probably not enough ram as the gfx could just be shown directly.

Really would like it if one day the modern web could be used on the amiga regardless of how its implemented.
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Old 13 August 2020, 18:10   #8
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Although people do crazy / fun stuff from time to time (like the guy who made a Twitter client for the C64) - if you want a decent web-surfing experience on your Amiga or some other old hardware, your only reasonable option is probably running a virtualization solution that involves external hardware - Meaning you run a client like VNC on you Amiga which in turn gets image data from say a Raspberry Pi running an actual modern web browser on a Linux distro.
VNC on Amiga:
http://dspach.free.fr/amiga/avnc/
Unfortunately development was abandoned a long time ago it seems. But its the right idea. You could probably hide a Raspberry pi inside you Amiga ;-)
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Old 13 August 2020, 21:12   #9
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you run a client like VNC on you Amiga which in turn gets image data from say a Raspberry Pi running an actual modern web browser on a Linux distro.
You could probably hide a Raspberry pi inside you Amiga ;-)
This is exactly what I ended up with.
the PI fits nicely in the expansion slot of the A600. It serves a VNC display on the Amiga. (and some samba shares which in turn are connected to the browsers download folder etc.)

It works quite nicely. You do need a fairly accelerated Amiga to run the VNC viewer with decent speed though. In this case it's a Vampire.
In any case it's much much faster then running Netsurf on the Amiga, at least.


Last edited by Steffest; 13 August 2020 at 21:17.
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Old 13 August 2020, 21:40   #10
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I also wish that rather than follow the standards, we could have a 'looks approximately like' browser that was a bit faster.

I find myself using 'Reader View' in Firefox for precisely that reason - it doesn't work everywhere, sadly, but when available it makes for a much more pleasant browsing experience.


Just throwing an Arm at the problem doesn't seem like much of a solution to me - I find the "modern" web painfully sluggish on Arm-powered mobile devices. Though it's certainly better than trying to interpret bucketfulls of javascript on a 68k!
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Old 13 August 2020, 21:42   #11
lmimmfn
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This is exactly what I ended up with.
the PI fits nicely in the expansion slot of the A600. It serves a VNC display on the Amiga. (and some samba shares which in turn are connected to the browsers download folder etc.)

It works quite nicely. You do need a fairly accelerated Amiga to run the VNC viewer with decent speed though. In this case it's a Vampire.
In any case it's much much faster then running Netsurf on the Amiga, at least.

That looks like a functional solution, what is the page refresh time on the Amiga? I presume its several seconds?
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Old 13 August 2020, 22:07   #12
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what is the page refresh time on the Amiga? I presume its several seconds?
Depends on the speed of the Amiga, but on a Vampire it's very usable. about 10 frames a second I would guess.
Haven't tested it actually on a non-RTG Amiga, but I presume that won't work that well. (or at all) - will do some tests this weekend.
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Old 14 August 2020, 00:36   #13
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Depends on the speed of the Amiga, but on a Vampire it's very usable. about 10 frames a second I would guess.
Haven't tested it actually on a non-RTG Amiga, but I presume that won't work that well. (or at all) - will do some tests this weekend.
Very nice, thats quite good even on a vampire as sounds very useable and wouldnt expect youtube 60fps
Ill have to check this out whenever i get my V1200 working.
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Old 19 August 2020, 23:39   #14
OldAmigan
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Originally Posted by Valken View Post
It would be cool if there was a Retro Web Proxy on the Cloud that retro systems can use to re-render the target website into a lighter format for retro systems.

Would be cool set the settings to fit.

Convert graphics, video, audio, animated pages, etc... to a target format that the user can set.

I wonder about the interests for such a system since I have a bunch of friends on furlough now...

I started a similar thread on Amiga.org (see https://forum.amiga.org/index.php?topic=74431.0)


Kolla had pointed me to Web Rendering Proxy or wrp, (https://github.com/tenox7/wrp) which does this sort of thing, very successfully from some of the video's on youtube - the first two vids on this page - https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...endering+proxy
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Old 20 August 2020, 04:44   #15
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Yep that kind of approach makes sense and is the only way you will be able to get a modern web browser experience on classic hardware.

The cloud hosted proxy server could run your session remotely (parse CSS and execute JavaScript etc) and then just output 'dumb' HTML+images to your Amiga's browser to render. This would mean that the Amiga's 'browser' would only be rendering the HTML output and all of the input commands would need to routed to the remote session.

I think this would work pretty well, an interesting project for someone to do.

If it was done properly then you wouldn't even be able to tell that your local Amiga browser wasn't doing the work.

Last edited by NovaCoder; 20 August 2020 at 05:37.
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Old 20 August 2020, 09:11   #16
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Yep that kind of approach makes sense and is the only way you will be able to get a modern web browser experience on classic hardware.

The cloud hosted proxy server could run your session remotely (parse CSS and execute JavaScript etc) and then just output 'dumb' HTML+images to your Amiga's browser to render. This would mean that the Amiga's 'browser' would only be rendering the HTML output and all of the input commands would need to routed to the remote session.

I think this would work pretty well, an interesting project for someone to do.

If it was done properly then you wouldn't even be able to tell that your local Amiga browser wasn't doing the work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldAmigan View Post
I started a similar thread on Amiga.org (see https://forum.amiga.org/index.php?topic=74431.0)


Kolla had pointed me to Web Rendering Proxy or wrp, (https://github.com/tenox7/wrp) which does this sort of thing, very successfully from some of the video's on youtube - the first two vids on this page - https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...endering+proxy
Exactly my thoughts as I did mentioned CLOUD BASED specifically.

Cloud Based can also mean private server or datacenter based so long as there is enough hardware in the background to do all the grunt work.

Besides mining bitcoins, those servers probably have a TON of compute or OpenCL power to just do a ton of fast yet simple math translations, such as taking snap shots of a CSS website and creating a FLAT HTML for older gen computers.

We can enough donate enough older HW to get it going. Someone just needs a basement, room or kitchen with enough bandwidth to host it.

Imagine having a PRESET to render in classic 8 or 16 styles and testing that on a high powered PC running a ton of emulators on todays 8/16/32 or 64 core cpus!

I suggest someone located in the Arctic or Antarctic so they can benefit from the heat generated.

Last edited by Valken; 20 August 2020 at 09:19.
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Old 20 August 2020, 09:15   #17
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Cloud based would be very dangerous as you would essentially be splitting a TLS session in 2.That server would have everything decrypted.
Much better to run your own on a Pi or similar for security reasons.
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Old 20 August 2020, 09:21   #18
Valken
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Cloud based would be very dangerous as you would essentially be splitting a TLS session in 2.That server would have everything decrypted.
Much better to run your own on a Pi or similar for security reasons.
Can we put it into the DARK WEB and just TOR to it? Ultimate Proxy!
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Old 20 August 2020, 10:28   #19
lmimmfn
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Can we put it into the DARK WEB and just TOR to it? Ultimate Proxy!
No, would still have the same problem, to present the data the TLS session needs to be decrypted thus all your session data( passwords etc.) is exposed at the proxy.
It would be fine of course for browsing sites not requiring a login
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Old 20 August 2020, 16:17   #20
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