Classilla: Building a secure web browser for Classic Mac OS
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Classilla 9.0.4: Installation and Release Notes

This version of Classilla is now obsolete and is no longer supported. A more current version of Classilla is now available.


This document discusses basic usage and installation instructions for this version of Classilla. For more tips, suggestions and help, you might also want to read the official Classilla FAQ.

  • Download Classilla 9.0.4 from Google Code (17.6MB, StuffIt self-mounting image).

IMPORTANT: This version of Classilla is alpha-quality software. Although improving, there are known bugs in this version and it is possible you could experience crashes, information leaks or data loss. You use this software at your own risk. Read this page thoroughly before installing Classilla on your computer.

Classilla is provided to you under the Mozilla Public License.


System Requirements

Classilla requires any Power Macintosh with at least 64MB of RAM (virtual or physical), 50MB of free hard disk space and MacOS 8.6 or higher. A G3 with 128MB of physical RAM and OS 9.1 is the recommended minimum. (Although Classilla will run on OS 8.5, due to various bugs in that version we strongly advise updating to OS 8.6.)

Classilla is compatible with Apple Virtual Memory and Connectix RAM Doubler 9, but this may cause unpredictable performance problems and is recommended only for those systems with low physical RAM ceilings (such as the PowerBook 1400). You will observe better performance with adequate physical memory and Virtual Memory off, and better still if you use a RAM disk for your cache. You should also make sure you have adequate disk cache in the Memory control panel, as poor disk caching can also slow Classilla down.

If you are using a system with 128MB of RAM or less, please see the section on Running Classilla With Low Memory below.

Upgrading From a Previous Version of Classilla

If you are upgrading from Classilla 9.0, your old profile, bookmarks, preferences, mailbox and other user information will transfer directly to Classilla 9.0.4. You do not need to create a new profile to use this update, although as with any update, you may wish to backup your profile (which is normally stored in your hard disk's Documents folder, under Mozilla).

If you have any special plugins installed, be sure to copy them to a separate folder, and copy them back to the Plug-ins folder after installation, as this process may overwrite them.

Classilla is provided as an SMI (Self-Mounting Image) file, wrapped in StuffIt. To open it, use StuffIt Expander to decompress the disk image, then double click the .smi file. The image will mount to your Desktop as a virtual disk drive.

To replace your old Classilla, make sure you have quit Classilla, then drag the Classilla folder inside the virtual disk to your Macintosh's Applications directory to replace the old version. Assuming they have the same name, the Finder will replace the old folder with the new one. Then, drag the virtual disk icon on your desktop to the Trash to unmount it. To start Classilla, open the Classilla folder in your Applications folder and double click the Classilla application. Do not delete or move files in the Classilla folder, as they are essential for its operation.

You can keep multiple versions of Classilla on your computer if you prefer the features of earlier versions, although you should make sure that the desired version opens your saved pages and URLs as they will all have the same creator code.

If you experience problems with installation, report it with the Classilla Report-A-Bug system. Please do not file issues on Google Code; a triage reviewer will do that for you if needed.

Upgrading From WaMCom, Mozilla or Netscape 7

It is recommended that you start with a fresh system and delete previous profiles and versions of WaMCom, Mozilla and Netscape 7 from your Macintosh, as they may conflict with Classilla's proper operation. In addition, there are new recommended default settings that previous profiles will not incorporate and incorrect versions of these settings may cause adverse performance. To clean your system, delete and remove the WaMCom, Mozilla or Netscape folder from your hard disk, then the Mozilla (or Netscape) folder in your hard disk's Documents folder, then the Mozilla Registry (or Netscape Registry) file in your System Folder's Preferences folder, and then empty the Trash. You may also wish to restart your Macintosh and/or rebuild your desktop to complete the process.

If you wish to keep your old bookmarks, you can save the HTML bookmarks file from your profile and replace it after Classilla starts for the first time. You may also decide to keep your mailbox files, although you will need to re-enter your login and server information. Do not keep or alter any other files. Replace these files only when Classilla is not running.

Classilla is provided as an SMI (Self-Mounting Image) file, wrapped in StuffIt. To open it, use StuffIt Expander to decompress the disk image, then double click the .smi file. The image will mount to your Desktop as a virtual disk drive. Drag the Classilla folder inside the virtual disk to your Macintosh's Applications directory to copy it, then drag the virtual disk icon on your desktop to the Trash to unmount it. To start Classilla, open the Classilla folder in your Applications folder and double click the Classilla application. Do not delete or move files in the Classilla folder, as they are essential for its operation.

If you have no profiles (which will be the case if you followed the instructions above), a new default one will be created for you with default settings and bookmarks, and Classilla will try to connect to the default Classilla Start Page. If this occurs successfully, your installation is complete.

Otherwise, if you have an existing WaMCom or Mozilla profile and have decided to preserve it anyway, Classilla will attempt to use it. You should make sure that it acts correctly and that your settings were preserved, and read Known Problems below to determine what settings, if any, need to be changed.

If you are attempting to remove a profile (or your old profile), or add a new one for another user, you can access profiles when Classilla has started up by going to Tools > Manage Profiles.

If you wish to keep your old browser, you should still make a separate profile in Classilla so that you still get the benefit of the updated settings. You can still transfer your bookmarks and mailbox files to this new profile once Classilla has started for the first time. Replace these files only when Classilla is not running. To start Classilla in the profile manager, double click Mozilla Profile Wizard, not Classilla. Make sure that the expected application starts, as Classilla uses the same creator code.

If you experience problems with installation, report it with the Classilla Report-A-Bug system. Please do not file issues on Google Code; a triage reviewer will do that for you if needed.

Running Classilla With Low Memory

If you have more than 128MB of RAM installed in your Macintosh, you do not need to read this section except if you are trying to optimize your Mac's memory usage.

For optimum utilization of your Mac's RAM, Classilla uses two forms of memory: preferentially its fixed allocation, assigned in the Finder, for the majority of windows and tabs that are open, but also temporary memory, primarily for images, if it runs out of regular memory. You can access the application's memory settings from the Finder by finding and selecting the Classilla application in the Classilla folder, then pressing Command-I for its Get Info box.

Classilla requires approximately 40MB of RAM to start in a functional state using a single window. You should not set its memory allocation lower than this minimum, or you may make it impossible for Classilla to start up. This minimum is intended for systems that just barely reach the 64MB RAM mark. You should avoid opening multiple windows or large numbers of tabs on these systems, as this may cause the browser to run out of memory and quit unexpectedly.

Classilla prefers at least 60-80MB of RAM in order to keep multiple windows open. The preferred allocation is intended to grab this amount of memory for systems with 128MB of RAM or more, although on systems just at 128MB of RAM it may prevent other applications from getting sufficient memory. In that case, you may reduce it down towards the minimum, but be advised that opening large numbers of simultaneous windows and tabs may cause Classilla to become progressively more unstable as you reduce its fixed memory allocation.

If it is not possible to install more physical RAM in your computer, such as with systems like the PowerBook 1400 which are limited to 64MB, you can dramatically increase stability at the cost of performance by using a virtual memory manager. While this will make your Mac slower, you will be able to give Classilla more "memory" to use, and this will allow the application to be more stable. You can use Apple's Virtual Memory under the Memory control panel, or a third-party system such as Connectix RAM Doubler, both of which are compatible with Classilla. You should try to create as much virtual space as your hard drive is able to accommodate; it is recommended that you create a total of 128MB of memory or more (combined between your physical and virtual memory), and allow Classilla as close to its maximum preferred allocation as you can.

Known Problems (Major) "What To Do If Sites Don't Work"

Although Classilla continues to eliminate known bugs, there are still multiple known issues in this release of Classilla. This bug cleanup effort still continues. Read this section carefully before you use Classilla.

The most important issues in this version of Classilla are listed below. If you experience problems, report it with the Classilla Report-A-Bug system. Please do not file issues on Google Code; a triage reviewer will do that for you if needed.

  • Some sites such as banks and certain ASP-based systems do not properly handle browsers they don't recognize. If a site does not work on Classilla but does work on WaMCom, or the site complains it does not recognize your browser, this may be the problem. You can change the user agent that Classilla sends to servers by going to Preferences and changing the setting in the User Agent panel. However, this may enable features Classilla may not fully support yet. This setting is sticky and persists until you change it, even if you navigate to a different site or quit the browser. If you start the browser with a custom user agent still selected, you will receive a warning.

  • There are several low-level system bugs in Classilla's JavaScript support, the most serious of which may cause sites to appear wrong, leak data, allow pages to escalate privilege, or cause the browser to crash or quit unexpectedly. Although this version of Classilla repairs many more of these bugs, many others remain.

    Classilla uses a simplified version of NoScript to help prevent these bugs from triggering with casual browsing, but just the same, you should only place sites in your white-list (described below) that you trust and appear to function correctly. If Classilla crashes, please note the URL for our bug report site, then save all documents, close all applications and restart your Macintosh. Report the bug when you resume your browsing session. Please note that some sites will not function fully with JavaScript disabled.

    NoScript, by default, disables JavaScript completely for all sites except those you white-list. You can access the white-list by clicking the S icon at the bottom right of the window, and enter hostnames for sites you trust. If you choose to disable NoScript and use JavaScript on all sites, you may check the global JavaScript option but because of the known security issues is at your own risk. You may need to reload the current page if you have just enabled JavaScript on it to make sure it can load all of its resources.

    Some sites may prevent you from clicking links or viewing content while JavaScript is enabled due to these bugs. If the page you are browsing does not seem to respond to your activities or clicks, or does not show content that you expect, make sure that JavaScript is disabled and reload the page.

  • There are several low-level layout bugs in Classilla; although this version repairs many more of these bugs, many others remain.

    Some of these bugs may make it difficult to navigate certain sites with complex styles or layouts. If you are unable to view content on a page regardless of whether JavaScript is enabled or not, Classilla currently offers two ways you can still see the page's content.

    If you are noticing that portions of the page are missing, you can try looking at the page using the experimental renderer. This layout mode enables "fix-ups" for deficiencies in Classilla's layout engine and may make "invisible" sites visible again at the cost of non-standard rendering. To try viewing the page with fix-ups, go to View and select Use Experimental Renderer, or press Command-Shift-X. The page will reload with fixups enabled. This setting is sticky and persists until you turn it off (the same way), even if you navigate to a different site or quit the browser. If you start the browser with the experimental renderer still on, you will receive a warning as many sites may not render properly with it enabled. The renderer currently in use appears in the status bar after the page has finished loading.

    Some pages cannot even be viewed by the experimental renderer. For those few very intractable sites, Classilla includes a de-styling option which may allow the site to be sufficiently navigable even though its design will be significantly altered. To de-style a troublesome page, go to View > Use Style and select None, and the page will reload with CSS styles disabled. Use Style > None will persist until you re-enable style sheets, even if you navigate to a different site, or until you restart the browser.

  • Installing extensions is not supported in this version of Classilla. This is by design due to multiple compatibility issues.

  • Type-ahead-find does not respond on all pages. The Find dialogue (Command-F) works more reliably.

  • HTTP/1.1 Keep-Alive offers higher network performance but does not work on all sites and some will respond with Bad Request errors. This is a point of ongoing investigation. For this reason, Keep-Alive is set to off by default in this version of Classilla. If you wish to use the higher performance setting, which works on the majority of servers, you may enable it under Preferences, Advanced. If you experience inexplicable server errors, make sure that Keep-Alive is turned off. Some proxies may also require it to be disabled.

  • Scroll arrows do not become enabled on combo boxes that are longer than the box is tall. To work around this problem, click once in the box and use the arrow keys to scroll, using Shift-click to highlight multiple options. You can also scroll the box using the scroll wheel with a compatible mouse driver or USB Overdrive.

  • Support for mice with scroll wheels is incomplete.

  • Java-based applications may not behave correctly or start properly on classic Mac OS systems due to the obsolete Java Runtime Environments available for these operating systems. There is no known alternative. It is strongly advised that you not run Java applets or applications on the classic Mac OS due to multiple known security and stability problems. Classilla now defaults Java to off, and provides a warning in the preferences dialogue.

New Features

The following new features are introduced in this release of Classilla. Cxx numbers in boldface correspond to the issue number that tracked this issue or feature.

  • Improved layout engine. This repairs many minor glitches that were still present in 9.0. Another large-scale layout update is slated for a future version.
  • Improved JavaScript parser (C2). Please note that the recommended default is still to disable JavaScript except where absolutely necessary for security and stability reasons, as this update may allow unsafe code that could not previously execute to now be interpreted. However, the parser update does allow more sites to execute code and be functional that previously could not. A full replacement of the JavaScript engine is slated for the near future.
  • Updated DOM Level 2 and partial DOM Level 3 support (C40 C54 C58). Please note that the recommended default is still to disable JavaScript except where absolutely necessary for security and stability reasons. However, this will also greatly expand the number of sites requiring AJAX and JavaScript functionality that will now work more correctly in Classilla.
  • Support for changing the user-agent (C32). This allows Classilla to masquerade as Firefox, an iPhone, or Internet Explorer, but may cause features to be enabled Classilla does not yet support. This setting is sticky and persists until you change it; you will receive a warning on starting the browser if you are still using a cloaked user-agent.
  • Support for layout fixups as a layout kludge using the experimental renderer (see What To Do If Sites Don't Work).
  • Further optimizations for performance (C4 and others).
  • Further improvements to mousewheel scrolling (C16).

Issues Repaired (Major)

The following major issues were repaired in this release of Classilla. Cxx numbers in boldface correspond to the issue number that tracked this issue or feature.

  • Animated images now run at the proper speed (C42).
  • The HTML editor now works on more sites, including Blogspot (C67).
  • SSL connections no longer fail with error -8155 on certain sites (C45).
  • Download estimated and elapsed times are now corrected and should not show spurious information or characters (C36).
  • The NoScript window has been rebuilt, allowing it to be properly resized and fixing problems with remembering settings on some systems (C18).
  • Changing your NoScript settings during certain operations will no longer crash the browser (C57).
  • Default memory allocations tuned up, optimizing for stability and average OS overhead (C31).
  • NoScript is now properly clued about the default whitelist (C30).
  • JavaScript-set cookies should now work in all situations (C30).
  • JavaScript URLs should function more reliably when clicked (C34).

Complete Change List

The following Classilla and/or Mozilla patches were applied or modified for application to this release of Classilla. Cxx numbers in boldface correspond to the issue number that tracked this issue or feature; Mxx numbers correspond to the relevant Bugzilla number where applicable (/m, /mm = modified for Classilla; /p = partial application). Due to technical differences between Clecko and Gecko, the scope of these changes may be different from that originally intended, and some patches required extensive modification for Classilla/Clecko.

Previous Versions

You can still download older versions of Classilla "while they last." Because of security and stability improvements in subsequent versions, you should only download the most current version for general use. These older versions are offered only for comparison purposes or for users who require or prefer the functionality of earlier versions. They are no longer supported or updated.

Prior to this version, you can still download:

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