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Classilla Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This document tries to answer some of the most common Classilla user questions. It is not routinely added to. Some answers only apply to 9.3.4b, the most recent (and officially final) release.

What is Classilla?

Classilla is an updated open-source Mozilla-based web browser for the classic Macintosh OS (not Mac OS X, although it will run under Classic through 10.4). It is targeted for Mac OS 9, but also runs under 8.6.

The name is, naturally, a portmanteau of Classic (for the classic MacOS) and Mozilla.

Is Classilla still supported?

No. Bug reports and questions are not accepted. There is no user support of any kind. If you choose to use it, you do so at your own risk, knowing that any problems you encounter (and you will) will likely never be repaired.

What do I need to run Classilla?

You need any Power Mac with Mac OS 8.6 or later and at least 64MB of RAM (virtual or physical). A Power Mac G3 with at least 128MB of physical RAM and Mac OS 9.1 or later is the recommended minimum. See the release notes.

What is Mozilla?

Mozilla is the force behind the Gecko layout engine, which powers (among others) Mozilla Firefox.

What is Clecko?

Clecko is the fork of Gecko used in Classilla. Mozilla ended official Mac OS 9 support with 1.2, although versions through 1.3.1 would still generally build if the patches for OS X (the old Fizzilla build) were removed.

Because Mozilla 1.4 and up include so much OS X specific code that won't work with the CarbonLib available for Mac OS 9, the decision was made to split Gecko off at 1.3.1 (using the Gecko that was maintained in the venerable old WaMCom build) and backport later changes to it rather than use the Mozilla code base directly, which won't build. This version of Gecko thus has a significantly different lineage despite having a common ancestor, and while its sources are similar, its provenance and feature set are therefore necessarily different. To avoid confusion with the main Gecko, even though this forked Gecko is still mostly official Mozilla code, Classilla's version of Gecko was renamed Clecko.

What was WaMCom?

WaMCoM was Kai Engert's maintained version of Mozilla 1.3.1; the Mac build of WaMCom is the direct ancestor of Classilla. It is no longer supported or developed either.

Does Mozilla support Classilla or Clecko?

No, and Mozilla has no plans to support Mac OS 9 ever again given the niche user base. For this reason, you should not ask Mozilla for support of Classilla/Clecko, nor should you file Bugzilla entries about bugs in Classilla.

Can I run Classilla on OS X?

Yes. In fact, Classilla may be the best browser option for you if you are running Rhapsody or a very old version of OS X such as 10.0 or 10.1, but you must run it in Classic (or OS X Server/Rhapsody's Blue Box) as it is not Carbonized. Reports from 10.2 users also indicate that it performs better than SeaMonkey 1.1.x in some circumstances, so a combination may be your best best for Jaguar.

If you are looking for a general OS X browser for PowerPC, however, there are better choices in later versions. For 10.3, Camino 1.6.11 (though EOL) still performs relatively well, and 10.4-10.5 have a more recent PowerPC Firefox branch with TenFourFox.

Please note that depending on your version of OS X, the Classic environment may (in some cases noticeably) degrade Classilla's performance. Classilla is naturally always fastest in a native, non-emulated environment.

To run Classilla on an Intel Macintosh or on 10.5 or later, since neither support Classic, you must use an emulator such as SheepShaver. Although it is not officially supported, people have used Classilla on SheepShaver and demonstrated that it runs well. SheepShaver on BeOS is also compatible. Again, its performance under emulation may be significantly impacted. Classilla does not run under Basilisk II, because that is a 68K Mac emulator (see the next question).

Can I run Classilla on a 68K Macintosh?

Not natively. Classilla is currently built with a version of CodeWarrior that only supports PowerPC, and relies on certain specific features of Mac OS 8.5 and later such as Unicode support which is also PowerPC-only. However, if you have a 68K Mac with a PowerPC card such as any of the 601-based PDS cards out there, those Macs can run Classilla as long as you have sufficient memory and can boot 8.6 on them (the Sonnet PPC cards can with their enabler, for example). Please note that their performance will be, at best, pedestrian.

Can I run Classilla on 7.x, 8.0 or 8.1?

No, for the same reasons as above; Classilla's runtime depends on certain features of Mac OS 8.5 and higher.

Classilla says I don't have the Contextual Menu Extension and won't start.

That's because you don't. The Contextual Menu Extension is a standard part of Mac OS 8.6 and 9, and should have come with your operating system. However, it is possible that it may have been inadvertently disabled (check the Extensions (Disabled) folder) or deleted. If so, consider reinstalling your OS, or copying the extension from another computer. Classilla requires this extension to run and cannot start without it.

Is Classilla localized or available in other languages?

Yes. Classilla comes with Japanese (日本語) and German (Deutsch) translations. You can select the translation for your profile by going to Preferences > Language/Content, and selecting your desired language and/or region. Remember, restart immediately after changing the language, or the interface may behave incorrectly.

When I use Classilla, I get mobile sites, not full sites.

Starting in 9.3.0, Classilla pretends to be a mobile browser to sites by default (a whitelist internally keeps exceptions). This gives pages that are smaller, simpler to render and faster to process, and surprisingly give you nearly all the functionality you got on the full desktop site. Try it. You'll like it.

But, if you don't, you have two options. Many sites will let you set a cookie to disable the mobile site such as Wikipedia; the mobile page will have a link to let you turn it off. To go back to the mobile version, delete that cookie or select the mobile option again.

For sites where even that doesn't work, you can choose a desktop user agent from Preferences > Navigator > User Agent. This setting persists even if you navigate to a different site or quit the browser, but because this is non-standard, you will get a warning when you boot the browser with a non-standard user agent selected because Classilla may not support all the features the site may think it does.

Does Classilla support TLS or SSL?

Classilla supports TLSv1, SSLv2 and SSLv3. All of these encryption methods are deprecated and SSLv2 and SSLv3 are disabled by default due to unfixable security concerns.

Classilla 9.3.4b has support for bolt-on cryptography using Crypto Ancienne with support for TLS 1.2. Crypto Ancienne currently does not run natively on MacOS, so you need either another system, or to run Classilla under OS X or Rhapsody, or to run Classilla at the same time with Power MachTen. See separate documentation for how.

Some secure websites say they have no encryption methods in common with Classilla.

The site likely requires TLS 1.1 or higher. Classilla does not support this natively (but see the previous question for an alternative).

Some secure websites give me an error -8182.

These sites use SHA-256 certificates for TLS. This support was added in Classilla 9.3.3.

Some secure websites give me a dialogue box saying the site could not be verified.

Classilla allows you to override certain checks on certificate identity when you know or trust that the network and site you're connecting to have not been compromised. For example, if the domain name is slightly different, or the certificate is recently expired, you may receive this box but the certificate may still be perfectly safe to accept temporarily. You receive this box if the certificate name differs, the certificate is expired, it is signed by a certificate authority you don't currently accept, or, starting in 9.3.3, if the certificate is signed with an algorithm that Classilla does not understand.

With the added support in 9.3.3 and later versions, this situation should be much less common. If it occurs, you should examine the certificate carefully and decide what to do and how long you want the exception to last. There is no good rule of thumb on when this is safe to do, although a site that used to work and suddenly fails to work, especially on a different network, should be considered an indication your connection is not safe. Remember: if you override a certificate check, you are telling Classilla that verification is not required or possible, which may cause you to send information to an unauthorized third party which is masquerading as the trusted site. Be cautious when approving these requests.

Does Classilla support HTML5?

Certain portions are already supported, but many components are not. Classilla supported primarily HTML 4.01 and many parts of CSS 2.

Some pages render really slowly.

There are several layout glitches that can cause Classilla to slow down dramatically on sites with complex or pathologic layouts. You can all-stop the browser by holding Cmd-Period down until you get control back. Note that when you do this, everything in layout stops and the current executing script (if any) stops as well, so the page might not appear correctly. However, this is safer than Force Quit, so try using all-stop first if Classilla seems to have stopped responding for awhile.

Often rendering problems are due to CSS features Classilla doesn't support properly. You can de-style a page immediately by pressing Command-Shift-Z (9.3.4b only), or going to View > Page Style > None. Pressing those keys toggles default styles back on (9.3.4b only), or select View > Page Style > Default Style. This setting is sticky and persists until you change it.

For problematic sites you must use often, you may be able to write a Byblos stele to fix the issue automatically. Read on.

If you were using JavaScript on this page, see "JavaScript makes my computer freeze" for an important consideration.

JavaScript doesn't work in Classilla.

Classilla uses Script-B-Gone, its own special front end to NoScript, to help reduce possible security and stability problems.

By default, Script-B-Gone is configured to block all JavaScript except on certain pages where it must be enabled. Script-B-Gone appears in your Classilla window as a little "S" at the lower right (the NoScript logo) which you can click to change its settings: either add the current website to the white list, or, if you are adventurous or reckless, allow it on all pages by clicking Options for advanced settings.

There are two possible reasons:

javascript:__doPostBack('something', 'something else')

JavaScript makes my computer freeze.

Certain scripts take a very long time to execute on slower Macs, and some may inadvertently trip bugs in layout or DOM. These bugs may make Classilla appear to have stopped responding or render very, very slowly.

You can cancel a script the same way you cancel layout by using the all-stop command (Command-Period "."). However, this may prevent the page from completing its initialization, and may leave event handlers on the page in an indeterminate state. If you all-stop a page with JavaScript on, you should close that page's window or tab when you get control of the browser, and reload it with JavaScript disabled.

Note that touching certain elements of the page or moving your mouse may also cause scripts to resume execution. Classilla cannot control this individually.

For those sites that are still difficult to get working, you can use Byblos -- see the next question.

What is Byblos? How can I write my own Byblos site translators?

Byblos is (in Classilla 9.3.0 and up) Classilla's own HTML rewriting engine. Similar to Firefox Greasemonkey, but at a much lower level, Byblos allows you to write JavaScript snippets called stelae that can take the HTML for a page and dynamically insert, change or even cut out portions of it dynamically. Byblos stelae can get many sites that can't render at all to function, and you can write them yourself with just a text editor. See the separate documentation for how.

Does Classilla support plugins?

Classilla runs most NPAPI plugins, but most OS 9 compatible plugins are no longer updated and many have security issues (see the question on Flash below). That said, they may still be useful if you require their capabilities, but using these old versions is at your own risk.

Does Classilla support Flash?

Yes, but OS 9 support was dropped after Flash 7. There are known security problems in that version of Adobe Flash Player and its use is strongly discouraged. Still, this is enough to surf many sites and even view many videos, although people have reported synchronization issues with certain codecs. Your humble author, however, does not use it.

Flash (and other plugins) make Classilla flicker really badly sometimes.

This is a known and unfortunately unfixable bug due to the way plugins in general work in Mac OS 9. If this really bugs you, you can disable plugins completely by going to Preferences > Advanced > Performance and checking Disable plugins.

Does Classilla support Java?

Yes, but only the version of Macintosh Runtime for Java that Apple provides with your version of Mac OS. There are known security problems in all classic Mac OS versions of the MRJ and its use is strongly discouraged. By default, Java is forced off in new profiles. You can turn it on from the preferences panel, but you should only use it on trusted sites. You will need to have plugins enabled and ensure that the MRJ Plugin is in your plugins folder (it comes with Classilla 9.2.1 and later).

Does Classilla support theming?

Yes, but due to its roots in Mozilla 1.3, it only supports Mozilla 1.3-compatible themes. That said, there are a lot of these still around which work just great with Classilla, and several Classilla-specific themes. Themes require at least Classilla 9.2 due to installation bugs that were fixed in that version.

Classilla disables Sherlock 2 on my non-English Mac.

If you are using a non-English keyboard and running Sherlock 2 and Classilla at the same time, your keyboard will not work in Sherlock 2 (it will work fine elsewhere). This can be solved by temporarily switching to an English keyboard layout. It is debated whether this is a Mozilla or Mac OS/Sherlock bug.

Non-Roman character sets don't appear right under Mac OS 9.2.

The Unicode converter built into Mac OS 9.2 is not fully compatible with Classilla. It works correctly with OS 9.1.

Why doesn't Classilla support Chatzilla?

Chatzilla's final release under Classilla was with 9.0.4. It no longer appears in 9.1 and versions thereafter due to multiple known security flaws and difficulty integrating later versions with Classilla's older code base. There are many better IRC clients for Mac OS 9; you should use one of those instead. If you must use Chatzilla, you are limited to 9.0 and 9.0.4 (or WaMCom, etc.).