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Reviews

Innovation in Lossless Compression: Apple’s LZFSE, Google’s Brotli and Yann Collet’s Zstandard

With Google’s recent open-sourcing of Brotli following on the heels of Apple’s announcement of LZFSE, it’s an exciting time in the lossless compression world, as new compression schemes tuned for specific use cases now appear to offer substantial enough benefits to challenge the venerable ZIP/Deflate as the Internet’s transport compression algorithm of choice.

Of course, Deflate and its most widespread implementation, zlib, aren’t dead yet, not by a long shot. But what these new LZ77 algorithms offer is significant enough performance gains to justify widespread implementation, and adoption by the W3C. And they have the backing of companies such as Google and Apple, which means they’ll ship on tens of millions of devices and browser installs. more …

Firefox 4 for PowerPC Macs: TenFourFox

Mozilla hit me with a double whammy of “your hardware sucks” last week, when they released major new versions of Firefox 4 and mobile Firefox 4 for Android (the first!) … but left me out of both parties.

My Android phone, the LG Optimus S, is only a few months old, but its ARMv6 processor isn’t supported. There’s a faint glimmer of hope there, but with the ARMv6 test builds already pulled, I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, the stock Android browser and Opera Mobile are both great (Opera’s font rendering needs work in the hinting/character spacing department, but that’s it).

Meanwhile, my Powerbook G4 is still running happily along on OS X 10.4 Tiger, so I was happy to find the answer to my Firefox 4 woes in TenFourFox, a Firefox fork with builds optimized for various G5, G4 and G3 processors. Here’s a mini-review of my impressions after a week, and a look at what’s coming up in browser-land for those of us clinging proudly to the last generation of PowerPC Macintosh computers. more …

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