This is a summary of Peter Naulls' presentation about UPP at Wakefield, but I have focused on the Firefox element of his talk. I think most of his points are covered in here, but I may have missed some when trying to make notes at the speed he was presenting.
Peter started his presentation with a summary of current and past RISC OS browsers:
Problems with earlier ones such as Arcweb, Webite and Webster is that they are written in BASIC which is slow. Although Webster is still developed it is slow because of only having one developer, and there are reported Java Script problems that some users have experienced.
Browse (Phoenix) is slightly better because it is style guide compliant since it was made by Acorn. Problems are that it as no Java Script support in publicly released versions, but the un-released Phoenix does apparently. The source is closed, but most people consider it is a "nice browser to use"
Fresco is a more complete browser and very fast, but it is dated and has not been developed for RISC OS since 2000. Annoying "Type 5" errors often occur, and there is very low JS support. Fresco is still developed as successful Web TV browser.
Oregano1 - "a very Stylish browser, but it doesn't always work" according to one audience member. There are major table issues such as the speed as well as other rendering problems. It is also not a 32bit browser so can't be used on the IYONIX or A9Home.
Oregano2 - This has better support for Java Script and CSS etc., but is let down by it being not "RISC OSy" [Ed: I wrote that in my notes, and then Peter said it... Great minds, they say...], and the speed of the GUI.
NetSurf which was started on iconbar.com forums is open source, very RISC OSy and free. There are regular new versions, although it is often hit and miss to how stable these are. Great CSS support. Thumbnailed history list. Generally a very comprehensive browser, but lacks Java Script support.
Peter looked at other browsers a year or so ago such as Mozilla which there have been a few efforts to convert to RISC OS in the past. He also looked at Konquerer.
He first converted Links and Lynx and W3M which are text based browsers, and then looked at Dillo which is small, fast, and runs as RISC OS program, but there are some style guide issues. a lack of features, and he generally regarded this as a proof of concept.
Dillo was the worst browser for memory so far with a 4.5 MB wimpslot, followed by Oregano 2.
Peter first Looked at Firefox at middle of 2004. [at this point peter loaded FireFox]
Firefox took 40seconds to load, so Peter talked a bit about various things. It didn't have a Icon Bar icon, and had a massive18MB wimp slot, and can use more than 64 MB in a typical session.
Currently it is not RISC OSy, but renders and displays similar to in Windows/Linux. Peter mentioned the benefits of open source, and demonstrated that drop-down Menus don't quite function correctly yet.
At this point Peter asked for questions:
What is the difference between Mozilla and Firefox?
Peter explained that Mozilla refers to project which develops various programs such as Thunderbird, FireFox, and a Calender etc. etc... They originally released a browser called Mozilla, and later Firefox was derived as smaller browser.
Is Firefox more popular than Mozilla?
peter explained that FireFox is getting more popular, and will probably become the biggest browser. Firefox is the main product of the Mozilla foundation.
How do you cope with RISC OS fonts?
FireFox only uses RISC OS fonts and only does 7bit ASCII at the moment, but Peter praised the NetSurf developers and plans to use some of their libraries to improve fonts.
What is the Plug-in interface that Firefox uses?
Uses NetScape plugin interface, there will be no RISC OS one for a while.
Do the extensions for firefox work?
Peter expects they will, but hasn't tried. They are written in XUL which mozilla should interpret. Peter said it is his fault if they don't, and he would fix it.
When firefox is done will libraries be able to be used for Thunderbird email client?
Peter said that they would use the same libraries, so it should be fairly easy.
When will FireFox be released?
Peter avoided the question, but confirmed it would not be on the same day as Oregano3 by saying maybe before O3 or after O3 but sometime this year. He has a time period in mind, but won't say.
Overall it was a good informative presentation.
Update: The first beta of Firefox for RISC OS was released on 20th June 2005. [More details...]