IceCat with Flash

If you’re going to install some fancy graphical web browser, chances are the first plugin you’re going to install with be the Flash plugin so you can view porn videos at youtube.

Unless your fancy graphical web browser is IceCat:

GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons.

Lets be specific here: IceCat isn’t a home-brew Firefox lookalike. It is forked from the Firefox source code.

And the reason for diluting the Firefox marketshare? So that you won’t be offered plugins you can’t obtain source code for (their use of “free” relates to source-code availability, not cost).


I’m currently running IE 8.0, Safari and Chrome. Definitely a mixed bag of pros and cons. I’m still an Explorer fan, but Chrome has done a good job of taking the best of each, mixed with lots of the good stuff from Firefox, and shows you how nice browsing really could be. But Chrome feels far more like Alpha than Beta.

Async Ajax streaming

Well, fnar.


I got my web-based Mac client builder working after wrestling with Roxen and Apache to convince one of them to send raw output without waiting for the CGI script to finish (Apache needed my CGI script to explicitly output a “Content-Encoding: chunked” header of it’s own). I’ve got my little status <div> updating on the fly by using setInterval to periodically check for new lines of text added to ajax.responseText. And it works under Safari and Firefox.

Apparently, though, IE doesn’t populate responseText until readyState == 4 and status == 200; if you try to access it before then you get a javascript error saying “The data necessary to complete this operation is not yet available”. Oh, well, networking remains one of Microsoft’s weakest areas. Maybe they’ll get compatible in a future version of XMLHttpRequest / XMLHTTP.