Well, one of the very best browsers you can get for the Classic Amigas is NetSurf.
The good developer(s) over at AmiSoft have been slowly updating this great browser and have gotten us to version 3.4. The AGA-only version was released back in March of 2015, and there is a new version that does not require the cumbersome ixemul library file that was released near the end of June 2015.
I decided to test these and see how they compared to the ixemul-dependent 3.2 I’d been using. This is a quick glance test, not comprehensive.
I also noticed that there was a No-TTF version, so this indicates that the browser was using native Fonts.
The first thing I noticed was the RAM usage. Using my WinUAE OS3.9 environment, I saw differences in the RAM usage of each version:
|No Browser Loaded||903,195,400 bytes||Memory Used:|
|NetSurf 3.2 (ixemul)||885,319,312||Used: 17,876,088|
|NetSurf 3.4 (ttf, no ixemul)||892,322,336||Used: 10,873,064|
|NetSurf 3.4 (nottf, no ixemul)||892,851,760||Used: 10,343,640|
The AGA-only version didn’t seem to render anything. It opened a custom screen, full-sized, probably 640×480 resolution and no matter the URL, it ended with the status bar at the bottom left saying CSSBase, so I have left out any testing of that browser. I’m guessing it was either my WinUAE environment or something else. Maybe a later version will work better.
Next step was startup testing. No real numbers here, just that the ixemul version of 3.2 loaded a bit slower than the newer 3.4 no-ixemul and no-ttf versions. It wasn’t tremendous but definitely noticeable.
I did notice that when testing with the mobile version of twitter, when logging in, the 3.2 ixemul version seemed to come back faster.
I did notice that all versions seemed to peg cpu usage at 100% sometimes when processing URLs.
I was happily surprised to follow on link on twitter that opened a page on steampowered.com for a game and it loaded fairly quickly and the animated gif started playing right off, full speed, no slow build up of the animation frames.
Here are some clips of the windows for each version. Click each to get a full-window view:
3.2 Ixemul version (Google main and news pages)
3.4 No Ixemul version (same pages)
3.4 No Ixemul, no TTF version (same pages)
All in all, the ability to use this without ixemul and even ttf libraries if you don’t mind the Topaz fonts everywhere, makes this a great update for the lower-end Amigas that lack RAM and a faster startup.