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New Palm OS Web Browser In Development

Universe 3 is a new web browser in development for Palm OS. The browser is an open source project and is currently undergoing private beta testing. Its main features will include the ability to have up to three browser tabs, HTML/XHTML/WML support and an integrated RSS reader.

Universe Palm OS BrowserThe current Universe 3 feature-set includes:

  • A Tabbed interface (supporting up to 3 tabs)
  • An address bar featuring a url box and navigation buttons
  • An Integrated RSS reader
  • Private browsing (mask the history, cache and cookies)
  • Support for JPEG, GIF, BMP and PNG (with alpha channels) images
  • Support for HTML/XHTML/WML/RSS 1.0/2.0
  • Support for WAP 1.0/2.0
  • Support for Hires and Hires+ screen sizes

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Need the info...

jamesgood72 @ 10/23/2006 2:59:05 PM # Q
I wonder if this is a native Palm app, or a Java app? There isn't much information on the developers website.

It also says it's 'open source', I wonder if the source is available?

It would be great to have a good alternative to Blazer (still my prefered all-round PalmOS browser). I wish the developers all the best with it.

-James.

RE: Need the info...
bcombee @ 10/23/2006 4:29:19 PM # Q
It's a native app. Donald Kirker has been developing this for a few years, originally as WAPUniverse, but now expanded to handle other web content. He's been a regular poster on the Palm OS development boards.

RE: Need the info...
dkirker @ 10/23/2006 4:53:08 PM # Q
Thanks Ben.

The source will be available shortly (as in the next couple of days).

RE: Need the info...
jamesgood72 @ 10/23/2006 8:35:22 PM # Q
Thanks for the replies, Donald and Ben.

This sounds really good. So how will your new browser be better than the current crop of browsers out there, Donald?

-James.

RE: Need the info...
dkirker @ 10/23/2006 9:20:19 PM # Q
That will be up for you to decide ;)

RE: Need the info...
adlib016 @ 12/8/2006 11:13:48 AM # Q
I've found the download site for universe 3: http://fupq.shacknet.nu/universe3.1.zip

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Excellent news

sremick @ 10/23/2006 4:02:28 PM # Q
This is awesome news... I currently have settled on Opera Mini for web browsing on my T3, but it's not ideal. A native (non-Java) application that doesn't run through a proxy has all sorts of advantages.

http://vtbsd.net/winhelp/
Reply to this comment

OK, that's cool and all, but...

moofie @ 10/23/2006 4:37:12 PM # Q
"open source project and is currently undergoing private beta testing"

Seems we've got a bit of an oxymoron on our hands.

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
dkirker @ 10/23/2006 4:41:58 PM # Q
Yes, sadly, anything with the words "commercial" and "open source" involved are perceived as an oxymoron.

Too many people have gotten the idea that "open source" = "free" (binary that is). Well, this is not true (all of the time).

Basically, the reasoning for a closed beta:
1. I am going to be selling the software
-It will be one of the least expensive browsers on the market (think the sub-$20 price range)
-This is (well, will be in the sort future) part of a business
-I am a college student, so I need to make money somehow :)
2. It is much easier on me to do something with a limit to it

Anyway, the chain seen here is that all of the code in the browser is available to anybody to use. This is how I, and open source software, give back. You'd be amazed at how many hours have been poured into the various features.


Once I get all of the emails of the people that signed up for the beta in one list and compile the first beta build, I'll be posting the source.

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
SoS @ 10/23/2006 5:04:52 PM # Q
1. absolutely about the 'edit' problem

2. go for it - there are so very many people crying out for a decent, featured browser for palm and Im sure they (like me) will be happy to stump up a few bucks to support its development, opensource or not..

Thnaks and good luck.

btw, if you really need another beta tester, let me know (pm me) - I have LD....

I'm sure things were easier before they became more simple

Tungsten T, Lexar 256Mb, Mac G4Ti OSX

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
SoS @ 10/23/2006 5:07:40 PM # Q
ignore sig, outdated but couldnt edit original post LOL

I'm sure things were easier before they became more simple

Tungsten T, Lexar 256Mb, Mac G4Ti OSX

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
moofie @ 10/24/2006 1:03:31 AM # Q
I've got no issue whatsoever with paying for good software. I'm trying to understand how "open source" software can be in a "private beta". That's a contradiction in terms. Either it's open, or it's private.

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
tantalic @ 10/24/2006 2:34:43 AM # Q
That's a contradiction in terms. Either it's open, or it's private.

Actually it's not really a contradiction. The Open Source Definition consist of 10 requirements, none of which require you to publicly release binary/source or prevent you from charging for the software. You are only required to provide the source to people whom you distribute the binary program to and allow them certain rights to use that software. Open Source is not the same as no-cost or publicly available. For more info - http://www.opensource.org

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 2:35:57 AM # Q
Look at it this way:

"open" is the adjective that modifies the noun, "source." It is the "final product" (the binary) that is in beta, not the source code (since the end user, if not a developer, generally does not care about the source code). So, with this, the source code is openly available.

I hope that this clears things up a bit.

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 2:53:46 AM # Q
Thanks tantalic! Well said (in both instances).

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
skeezix @ 10/24/2006 10:59:53 AM # Q
Folks folks, rather than jumping on something, sit back and consider for just a moment ;)

Open source means the source will be available (generally; its a vague definition.)

How does that limit private beta? Consider the obvious option -- private beta, and public release; at some point, he chooses to open the source. Open source does not suggest open testing or open development; often they're hand in hand, but just as often not.

Also not that even for GPL projects, private is quite often; with GPL once a release has been made, the receivers must have the option to get the source; many GPL projects keep the testing to a small group (be it mailing list, or people who know a private website, etc) so that development and testing can be coordinated at first, and only those people have the GPL requirement to have source options; then you open it up once it is stable. Really really common practice.

jeff

The Shadow knows!

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
moofie @ 10/24/2006 12:50:40 PM # Q
OK, but until the source is available to mere mortals, it is not "open".

I hope it's a good browser. I look forward to trying it out, but I'm not in the "private beta", so I guess I'll just wait.

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 2:19:41 PM # Q
Source only has to be released to the people that the binary is released to. But no worries, source will be available. I am just trying to decide how I want to work the release in (obviously following the requirements of the GPL).

RE: OK, that's cool and all, but...
skeezix @ 10/24/2006 2:35:05 PM # Q

One worry you might have is .. if its under GPL, then customer X buys a copy and has the right to the source which you provide, and then he compiles and gives it away for free, or sells it on his own.

This is why organizations like MySQL dual-license; ie: If you're an individual with no commercial ties, you can get it under GPL; if you're intend on making a commercial product, you get it under another license entirely.

It depends on what your goal is, but I thought I would confuse you by bringing that up. ie: If you wish to have sole commercial rights, you have to be careful sometimes.

jeff

The Shadow knows!

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Unicode support?

Scud @ 10/23/2006 9:10:35 PM # Q
Donald, any (remote) plans to implement unicode support?

Also, should you need any more testers I'd love to participate. I got an Unlocked GSM Treo 650, email is scudb at yahoo dot com.

Thanks!

RE: Unicode support?
dkirker @ 10/23/2006 9:20:42 PM # Q
Right now I sort of have Unicode support in. It is pretty bad IMO. I am currently looking into another solution. Before I implement it though, I want to gaurentee stability through the rest of the browser.

RE: Unicode support?
dkirker @ 10/23/2006 9:22:25 PM # Q
Edit: So yes, there are plans. I believe the solution I am looking at supports Unicode Latin charsets as well as Cyrillic charsets.

Reply to this comment

How will it install?

gulmatan @ 10/23/2006 11:34:33 PM # Q
Hi there.

Does anyone know if it will install through a Macintosh-friendly installer or (better yet) come in a ZIP archive so the PRC/PDB files can be user-installable?

Sharp Wizard 6500> Palm m500> m515> Tungsten T> Zire 71> T|E> T|X

RE: How will it install?
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 12:40:41 AM # Q
I have a Mac, so it will definitely be Mac compatible installation. I don't believe in using an EXE installer to install a PDA app. Usually I zip up the license, changelog, prc, supporting libraries and a readme in a zip file.

Reply to this comment

New open source browser.

VampireLestat @ 10/24/2006 2:18:09 AM # Q
Very good news.
I will add it to my new site, www.palmgratis.com soon.

Now we need a new open source project going to replace CorePlayer.



RE: New open source browser.
VampireLestat @ 10/24/2006 2:21:39 AM # Q
Just saw this from creator:

"Basically, the reasoning for a closed beta:
1. I am going to be selling the software"

Forget it, its staying off my site. I will only put true open source programs, those with no direct or indirect commercial motivation.

NEXT!!

RE: New open source browser.
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 2:39:02 AM # Q
???

I can see how gratis = free, but open source does not in the least sense mean freeware. This is one of the BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS. The distribution method is up to the developer/company.

If you are going to truely support open source software (note, as I described above, open modifies source and NOT binary, that is where the term freeware comes in), then you should support ALL open source software.

To emphasize it again (sorry, this misconceptions is one of my biggest pet peeves), you can have a commercial open source app, a non-commercial free binary open source app and a freeware app. They are all very different from each other (the only similarities being between commercial/non-commercial open source).

If I made a free binary version, I'd have to get rid of some of the features that popularized the software (or heavily limit them).

What makes open source big is that I give back all of the work that I have done, in the form of source code, for free (that is where the free plays a big role). I turn around and sell the binary for compensation (you don't want to see how many hours I have poured into the software, and all of that code has gone back to the community that can save others that amount of time, as a hint, you couldn't count the number of hours that I have spent ten times on your fingers and toes).

BTW, BetaPlayer will be the open source form of CorePlayer, minus many key selling features.

Anyway, I apologize if this sounded like a rant, I just hate it when people confuse the true meaning of open source for the false lye (yes, even the GNU GPL Introduction states that you can sell open source software, mostly as a form of compensation, here being time and support).


Well, good night all (or good day or morning for others).

RE: New open source browser.
tantalic @ 10/24/2006 2:45:04 AM # Q
"I will only put true open source programs, those with no direct or indirect commercial motivation."

What does commercial motivation have to do with a program being Open Source or not. There is no requirement in OS for programs to be no-cost. Open Source is about guaranteeing that a user of a program has access to the source code used to generate that program and certain rights to modify and redistribute that software. I would much rather pay for software that provided me with such rights then use freeware where I am reliant on the developer to provide updates, enhancements, etc. If you're going to claim your site is for "Open source / freeware for Palm OS" then you should include any OS programs regardless of their price.

RE: New open source browser.
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 2:50:34 AM # Q
And yes, Universe, BetaPlayer, etc., etc. (things such as Funambol, MySQL, etc.) are TRUE open source programs.

RE: New open source browser.
skeezix @ 10/24/2006 11:04:43 AM # Q
Well, BetaPlayer is more complex.. I've not looked.

BetaPlayer begat TCPMP begat CorePlayer or whatevber its called now.

Somewhere along the line it has become non-free (not sure if its non-free or non-Free.. the beer versus freedom question that is so famous).

What makes me wonder is if it was open source at one point, did anyone contribute from the random ether, and now find their code tied up into a closed or costware project? Did they not leverage existing codecs? Or for CorePlayer (whatever its called) did they go back and rewrite out any foreign code (fit ehere was any?)

(Either way, we all thank them for the app.. TCPMP is a staple for both Palm OS and Pocket PC :)

jeff

The Shadow knows!

RE: New open source browser.
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 2:32:34 PM # Q
I think CorePlayer is completely different from TCPMP. All new core. The new BetaPlayer is just the core and a few features from CorePlayer, open sourced.

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Some Pricing Details

dkirker @ 10/24/2006 3:02:28 AM # Q
Ok, kind of to go with the "open source discussions."

Also, no. I won't be asking for your first born or your arm in return.

You'll find that at release, Universe will be generously priced (I have even been told that the price I will be offering at is to inexpensive for the magnitude of the software).

As a hint:
CorePlayer: Well, I think that is a bit pricey. I'd pay it, but $24.95, I'd only charge for a suite of apps.
iPanel Wireless: $25 Remember this? I bought it at that price. I'd never ask that much standalone.
The new VoIP apps: Wow $30+ Way to pricey. Even if they aren't selling a service (web browser falls in similar category).
WAPUniverse: $20 My other software. Actually, the foundation of Universe. I think I scared customers off with the $20 price tag (and too many people had an ill conceived definition of open source). Also, WAPUniverse will remain out (at a very low price), to provide legacy WAP support for OS4 devices.

So, Looking at the hints, price at less than $20 (I may sell else where besides PalmGear since they take 50% in "fees").

As always, I believe in free updates. Does PalmGear allow you to download updated software, since I have the option checked)?


Feature request
freakout @ 10/24/2006 6:06:33 AM # Q
I realise it's probably a pipe dream given the storage and RAM limitations on a Palm, but any chance of Flash support? (or do Macromedia have to be the ones to do that?)

Tabbed browsing will be excellent. Can't wait to see how this turns out.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650

RE: Some Pricing Details
deucalion @ 10/24/2006 6:27:29 AM # Q
I'll gladly pay 20 USD for it, as long as the momory requirements and the speed are better than Blazer and/or Netfront...
(I use UDMH, and even with this app Blazer is really slow... something hardly ever happening with any other app on my TX.)

Do you have any ideas/specifics concerning your distribution model? Will you sell the binaries + support, or will there be any additional features/plugins/services included if you buy it... ?

RE: Some Pricing Details
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 10:23:26 AM # Q
freakot, that is one of my future plans :) I intend on creating a plug-in system. Officially Macromedia (Adobe now) would have to make the Flash plugin, but there are a few open sourced ones that are not complete in features that could possibly be ported.

Universe takes about 1/50th the time of Blazer to start and stop. Blazer goes a bit crazy attempting o clear memory for itself. I believe if UDMH is used in conjunction with Universe you'll get really good results.

deucalion, distribution is binaries + support. Once I roll out plugin support (this is more or less a 4.0 feature), some plugins will probably also come in a package (they'd be proprietary plugs that require a license fee). But, the plugin stuff is in the future and is just a concept at the moment. If you'd like to see anything ele/any other methods, let me know. I am always open to what works the best.

Reply to this comment

https support

deucalion @ 10/24/2006 6:31:00 AM # Q
Are there any plans to include https support? Or any specific plans for the future what kind of algorithms you will support in future releases?

Or does any kind of encryption use too much cputime and memory for a common palm app?

RE: https support
dkirker @ 10/24/2006 10:20:00 AM # Q
Yup, https support is next on my list (after a few recent bugs that I have discovered).

PalmOS 5.2+ (maybe starting at 5.1) has a built in SSL library by RSA Security. Blazer uses this and I too will be using this. Basically that means any device with PalmOS 5.0 (Tungsten T and a few Sony Clies I think), will not support https, but any device with an OS greater than 5.0 (every other model) will.

I believe the library supports up to 128bit encryption. Also, the library does not have a user editable certificate store, so I will try to implement my own (as a later feature).

RE: https support
deucalion @ 10/25/2006 7:30:27 PM # Q
Sounds great, thank you for you quick reply!

Any chances that things like AES-256 will get implemented?
Or will you only include things included in already-implemented-by-Palm*?

Thank you!

--
deucalion

T|E -> TX -> ?

RE: https support
dkirker @ 10/25/2006 11:36:56 PM # Q
For now it will be what Palm has. I am not sure that I would feel to comfortable by implementing something myself and calling it secure. I would feel more comfortable doing so if I used an already secure library, like the one in the PalmOS.

Reply to this comment

Which license will be used?

feranick @ 10/24/2006 2:18:02 PM # Q
Maybe I missed... What license is the browser going to be using? GPL, MPL, Apache, BSD? Open source can be really a vague definition.

Also: if you use GPL, nothing will prevent someone to actually release a slightly modified (rebadged) version of the browser with source for free. Think for example CentOS being basically a free (and identical) version of the paid-version of Red-Hat Enterprise Linux, but with no support.

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