Saturday, 10 October 2020

Wayfarer 1.1 Web browser using MorphOS 3.14 on X5000

It is good to be back talking about NextGen Amiga updates again in 2020. Today I am taking a look at  a very exciting new web browser for MorphOS called Wayfarer version 1.1, promising modern web browser functionality using the latest Webkit version. It needs the recently released MorphOS 3.14 installed on my AmigaOne X5000 first, so let's dive in!


To start with, I downloaded the latest MorphOS 3.14 ISO from the morphos-team.net website and burned to CD-R. You can also use a USB stick based image install method, but old habits die hard and I already started burning it when I realised that. Heh.


Now that my AmigaOne X5000 is a dedicated MorphOS computer after a number of attempts in the past, it is great to see regular OS updates for MorphOS, with this latest one released just this week. It is great to see development of NextGen Amiga operating systems continuing in 2020.


I booted off the CDROM by hitting escape on the boot screen above, then selecting to boot MorphOS, which then detects the CDROM is a MorphOS bootCD and boots off it:


MorphOS 3.14 then boots off the live CD:


With the selection of US keyboard, I then get the Ambient desktop, with the First Flight window open and ready for me to start the installation process:





I checked the About MorphOS in the titlebar menu of Ambient desktop to confirm I am indeed running MorphOS 3.14 booted from the live CD.



I then reviewed the Readme for the installation instructions. The process is basically unchanged from previous versions of MorphOS I have installed.

I then started the installation process:


Since I already have MorphOS 3.13 installed on my X5000, I am doing the Upgrade Installation option here.

It checks and confirms 3.13 is installed and ready to upgrade it:



I then grab a coffee as it installs the files on the system hard disk. Eventually the installation process completes, and ready for rebooting:

I then successfully boot into MorphOS 3.14 on my X5000. As this release is a bug fix release rather than having new features, I don't plan to spend any time on the changes as they are in the background rather than any new features to explore. 

I covered MorphOS in more detail in previous blog entries here and here if you want to see more details about the system itself.



I next set about downloading and installing Wayfarer v1.1 web browser, which as mentioned requires MorphOS 3.14 to work. You can get Wayfarer from https://wayfarer.icu/

This is genuinely big news for the Amiga community as it has been a while since we have seen any genuine improvements in the website compatibility of our web browsers. This release is definitely a big step forward, although there is more work to be done. 


Once extracted to a drawer on the system drive, there is an Import OWB Data icon to allow you to import Bookmarks and Sessions from your OWB (Odyssey) Web browser under MorphOS into Wayfarer, which is quite handy - make sure you launch Wayfarer first and exit to create the initial setting file to then allow the import process to update it:



Here is the new Wayfarer v1.1 web browser on first launch:

Wayfarer Version info, v1.1 released October 9th 2020:


Keen to dive in, I logged into Microsoft Office portal to try out Office online, something that has never worked at all on any Amiga web browser in the past in my testing. Wayfarer supported the dual factor authentication login and (although slow to load up) does display the Office online applications:


Here is Excel Online, working well under Wayfarer 1.1 - I created this sheet in the web browser itself and it automatically saved to OneDrive:


Enjoying some music on MorphOS 3.14 while playing around in Excel on my X5000. Great to be able to do this finally!



I found that Word and Powerpoint online were a little more prone to lock ups when playing with image manipulation in my limited testing - they work, slowly, but not 100% usable yet.

Here is Powerpoint online working under Wayfarer v1.1 - I did a very quick presentation in the browser just to try it out, using a reconfigured theme as I was lazy:




I also looked at Outlook online, which runs in basic mode rather than the full normal web version, but works fine like this:


I sent a test email in Outlook online and attached a file from the X5000 and it works fine:


Lastly I checked accessing Microsoft Azure portal, which doesn't work correctly yet unfortunately, the extension fail to load.


I then switched attention to Google Online web stuff next - Google Drive, Google Docs, which work ok, with plenty of warnings about the browser not being supported any more:


Google Docs documents open ok though:


Viewing images stored in Google Drive also works ok:


It works, but limited. The online presence drops out and Gmail only operates in legacy compatibility mode on this browser.

The big disappointment of my testing was YouTube, which flat out won't play any videos and gives errors about the browser not being able to play the videos. 

 
In Wayfarer, there are settings you can set to spoof the browser version (like in Odyssey), but now you can tailor it to each website specifically, which is a great addition:


Spoofing as Chrome or Safari made no impact though on YouTube - videos would not play at all.

I subsequently found out from the author of Wayfarer on the forums that video/audio support is not added yet. Also FTP is not planned to be implemented, so we will still need OWB or another FTP application on MorphOS for that.

With the video/audio limitation now in mind, I tried a few other modern websites to see how they render using Wayfarer 1.1 under MorphOS 3.14. 

Facebook loads and display in Dark mode theme I selected for my profile, which doesn't render well on the browser with black text on black background and is very slow to load, but looks ok-ish. It did lock the application a few times trying to navigate between pages.


Using the mobile version of Facebook website works much better in Wayfarer and loads quickly, obviously looks a lot less pretty though.


I know I can't watch videos yet using Wayfarer, but I loaded in my Twitch live stream website next, which renders the page quite well, but it ignored the dark mode theme I selected in my profile:


Loading Twitter in the browser results in messages about the browser no longer being supported, but apart from not playing videos, it displays well in Wayfarer:



Instagram also displays well in Wayfarer, as long as you don't play any videos.


I fired up two news websites next in Australia - ABC News and The Advertiser. Both display ok in Wayfarer:



Discord website renders well in Wayfarer too - below I am catching up on news in the official Apollo Team channel (Classic Amiga Vampire accelerators) and reviewing some tips for Animal Crossing New Horizons (I play it with my wife):



I should mention that when downloading files using Wayfarer, it now uses a downloads tab in the browser rather than a separate window that Odyssey uses. I like this, it is much tidier:


As you would expect, Amiga websites render perfectly:


I also downloaded the recently released music streaming software RNORadio for MorphOS and enjoyed some internet streamed Nectarine demoscene music while checking out these websites for this blog entry:
 

eBay displays well, as does F1.com:



My blog works ok as well. I didn't try editing my blog in Wayfarer yet though.


In general, web page rendering speed in Wayfarer is slow, but I expect it will improve. 

Wayfarer web browser is a big step forward for Next Gen Amiga OS systems. I look forward to seeing the updates that improve it even further, the all important video and audio support, and more. I hope to see it on AmigaOS 4.1 in the future too!


1 comment:

  1. It's quite a nice setup, and great to see that MorphOS has matured into quite a modern, alternative Amiga platform. The new Wayfarer browser looks very interesting, and I hope to see it ported to AmigaOS4 platform as well. That means AmigaOS4 would need to catch up the development. Great blog as always! Keep it coming!

    ReplyDelete