My main desktop computer at home is a PowerPC based Mac Mini. I have been running it as a debian Linux system since I bought the machine in 2006. One of my reasons for going with PowerPC was to be different. Choice in CPU architecture is important just like choice in software.
Debian Squeeze includes Firefox (iceweasel) 3.6. The Mozilla rapid release schedule means that in the past year firefox 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 have all come and gone. Newer versions of firefox are rumored to be faster and more memory efficient. Speed and memory efficiency are important if your running a 6+ old mac mini.
I don’t want to upgrade my debian installation to something unstable. Nor could I find packaged powerpc binaries at the Debian Mozilla Team Site. This left me with compiling my own.
I am pleased to report that all I had to do was
- Download a source tar for Mozilla 9.0.1
- Manually apply the fix for Bug 703534 which involved editing one line in js/src/jscompartment.cpp to fix a compile error
- run ./configure
- run make
- run make install
I have heard rumors that the Mozilla team isn’t officially supporting PowerPC anymore. I am glad that firefox still builds and hope people continue to submit patches and take the time to keep Mozilla running on as many platforms as possible including Linux PowerPC.