Rant : Alt OS Browser : Zerro Below

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The issue:

When using really alternative OS's by todays view (not another *n*x system), like RISC OS, Atari TOS, Macintosh System Software, etc, the available browsers and abilities of them is not consistent at all. I notice this as the OS's I use are all now truly alternative OS's.

For RISC OS we have NetSurf, which is a pretty capable browser for those that do not like ECMA Script (as i do not like). On Atari TOS and compatible we have HighWire which is usable, to run NetSurf on Atari TOS like requires yet another *n*x (MiNT). For Macintosh System Software we have absolutely nothing at all, not a single usable browser on the over encrypted modern WWW (HTTP Protocol on the Internet).

Unfortunately most of the Web Browsers available today, that claim to be portable, assume a Unix Like environment. This makes porting them to Alternative Operating Systems rather difficult. Some try to create a Unix like environment inside the alternative OS, this is not porting and to some degree ruins the Alternative OS.

Alternative OS Defined:

An alternative OS is an Operating System that has less than 3% of the current market share, and is not Unix Like in any way, does not have even a subset of POSIX functionality. Also it does not simulate another OS that has a larger share of the market (so not NT clone OS's).

We exclude all Unix alike systems because it is easy to port software from other Unix Alike systems, and thus they are not really alternative (as Unix alike systems are very high on the list of used systems).

Thus as it stands today some of the better known true Alternative Operating Systems include:

  • Macintosh System Software (version 1 through 9.2.2).
  • V2OS.
  • Menuete.
  • RISC OS.
  • DR-DOS, FreeDOS, etc.
  • Atari TOS and Compatibles.
  • Amiga OS.
  • QDOS (for the QL).
  • VisiOpSys.

While some of the entries on this list were at one time quite mainstream (and thus not alternative), this should give a decent concept of what is a true Alternative Operating System.

Solving the issue :

Solving this issue takes multiple parts. The first is to figure out easy methods to port some useful Web Browsers to run native in the Alternative OS (not on some Unix like layer). The second is to create new web browsers that do not assume a given OS environment. Third is to create new Web Browsers that can keep up and each target specifically one of the alternative OS's

These are tasks that require better programmers to work on. As a whole these are tasks too big for a single programmer to pull off.

Call for Coders:

If you enjoy programming, and heavily use an alternative OS that you wish to aid in continuing to be usable, please contribute to helping solve some parts of these issues. This is a task for which the only reword is knowing you have helped the users of the OS you target, though one that will benefit many to come.

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