nano and web apps

Jon Phillips jon at
Sun Sep 4 23:34:32 EDT 2011

Ideally we could take something like or netsurf, and then set up some basic
tests to get the simplest html5+css+js working, and then figure out its
weaknesses, and then automate these tests and go from there.

Yes, I think this is a great approach.

Gecko and Chrome are too bloated for resource constraints and we can get
going make html5 as an app platform now and then know what we need to do to
get it going.

This is much better strategy IMO than hacking parts of gecko and chrome
off...better to build up. I've never seen hacking parts off as working.

Anyone interested?


On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 11:22 AM, Wolfgang Spraul <wolfgang at>wrote:

> > My friend Penk says that netsurf works because of lack of features,
> > but a better starting point would be:
> > * uclibc/mipsel port of libwebkit from Debian
> I don't know what "works because of lack of features" means.
> First - I agree about html5/css/js as the right way to do apps. As
> of right now we have quite a few browsers on the NanoNote, which is
> good. Most of them text based, but interesting stuff. So this is
> something that over time we have to get really good at!
> I need to find out more about webkit/gecko to really compare it with
> netsurf, and undoubtedly netsurf is a much leaner, smaller codebase
> with a lot less features.
> Why don't you just install netsurf to try yourself? :-)
> apt-get install netsurf
> netsurf seems a bottom-up project, and full javascript support may be
> years out. But... it's in active development, tries to use system
> libraries when possible, has super lean resource requirements.
> If I would look for a project to play with hardware accelerated browsing,
> i.e. moving parts of the browser into an IC design, maybe trying with
> netsurf is better than with a big codebase like webkit/gecko?
> The homepage says it can run on a 30 Mhz ARM chip with 16 MB memory :-)
> I'm not saying netsurf is perfect, but it's a very different engine
> and approach from webkit/gecko, so I think it should be on our radar.
> I wouldn't use it for regular browsing on my notebook because it sucks :-)
> Cheers,
> Wolfgang
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Jon Phillips
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