Basilisk and Windows Vista

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Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby dr_st » Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 17:48

Yes, I know very few people use Vista, but the question is - what is the technical limitation, if any, that prevents Basilisk from working on it?

Vista's kernel is very close to Win7, but some user-level APIs are missing; the question is - does Basilisk actually use any of them? Is it a matter of being able to test it to guarantee compatibility?

Pale Moon's official builds still support Vista, even though it's probably not tested on it, because - why not? I wonder what prevents Basilisk from being the same?

P.S. I've read of some unofficial Basilisk builds that manage to support Vista and even XP, but I would of course much rather to see an official solution by the team.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 18:02

The main issue for Vista from us beyond DirectX which as an accelerated application is a key factor is the 3rd party libs dropping Vista support. As you pointed out kernel is also a factor.

If it was just kernel and DX, Vista might not be that big of a problem but it is still a problem and libs just seal it. There are just too many special cases and kinks to keep supporting unsupported operating systems especially ones that were not widely supported in the first place.

There is and remains a huge difference between running and running well. There is also more on the table when it comes to supporting multiple generations of the same platform.

At most we can fully target Windows 7 and try our very best to support whatever latest travisty state Windows 10 is in. Windows Vista is unsupported and has too many special cases and increasingly lacking support from 3rd party code. Windows 8/8.1 can fairly easily covered by Windows 7 and Windows 10's various aspects and cases but most of those are visual (themeing) or bits like shell integration not so much when it comes binary code.

Windows XP is a whole different story. At this point beyond basic win32 api it is almost to the point of being a different operating system platform. One missing half the things we today need to have and would reqire so many different and more primitive ways of doing things to do it properly and do it well. Given this is still an operating system of late 2001 and unsupported by everyone it is now just out of scope for any kind of support for us on a code level.

Of course some would conclude that the same eventual fate would befall Windows 7 and you may be right and it is a matter of consern but it is a somewhat different situaltion as what is happening with windows now is unlike anything before. Microsoft Windows is progressing away from the Windows platform its self and what we eventually call Windows one day in the future will almost have no commonality with what we call windows today and indeed very likely won't even be capable of running software like Pale Moon.. Or anything else for that matter.

So instead of there being different ways between generations one COULD accomplish the same things but just can't be justified in a cost/benefits situation.. One day there may just be a point where all the special cases in the world and strange hacks won't matter because the windows platform simply won't be there in any shape and form useable by binary code. Not unless the majority of the world shifts gears and changes direction from that cliff we have been heading towards since about 2007.
Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 18:41, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonchild » Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 19:27

Another additional point apart from what Tobin mentioned is the simple fact that there is no actual lifetime overlap between Vista and a new product released in 2017/2018.
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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Marcus » Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 20:54

New Tobin Paradigm wrote: Microsoft Windows is progressing away from the Windows platform its self and what we eventually call Windows one day in the future will almost have no commonality with what we call windows today and indeed very likely won't even be capable of running software like Pale Moon.. Or anything else for that matter.
---
Not unless the majority of the world shifts gears and changes direction from that cliff we have been heading towards since about 2007.


Could you evolve a bit on that, you sound Biblical :?

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby helloimustbegoing » Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 20:57

Off-topic:
Marcus wrote:
Could you evolve a bit on that, you sound Biblical :?

And just what's wrong with that?
Last edited by helloimustbegoing on Sun, 04 Feb 2018, 20:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby dr_st » Mon, 05 Feb 2018, 09:03

New Tobin Paradigm wrote:The main issue for Vista from us beyond DirectX which as an accelerated application is a key factor is the 3rd party libs dropping Vista support. As you pointed out kernel is also a factor.
DirectX is not an issue if you support Win7, since the same DirectX (11) version runs on both. I doubt you actually need DirectX 11.1 or higher (which would take you to Win8+ area.

I haven't actually witnessed cases where kernel differences between Vista and Win7 were meaningful to applications (although such cases may exist).

Regarding 3rd party libs (and even Microsoft's libs), yes - this can be a problem with Vista vs 7, since a lot of developers were eager to drop Vista support (if only to avoid testing on it). The question is - is it a real problem, or just some simple compile flag. I guess I will have to check out the source of Basilisk and build it myself to see.

Note that I am specifically talking about Vista and not XP, because the latter really is different, and I am aware of that.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Mon, 05 Feb 2018, 12:04

If it wasn't a real problem we would not be dealing with it. Trust.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby dr_st » Thu, 08 Mar 2018, 22:09

Hi, sorry for taking over a month to reply, but it took me a while to get around to it.

So far Basilisk appears to be working fine on Vista, out-of-the-box, after merely eliminating some hard-coded limitations in old-configure.in and installer configuration files (basically changing $(AtLeastWin7) to $(AtLeastWinVista) in a few places), and rebuilding. I am posting it from Basilisk on my Vista machine. I will keep testing it more rigorously, but hopefully the problems are not as big as one might fear. I did notice from a brief glance at others patches (most notably, roytam1's) that there was other Vista-aware code eliminated in a bunch of places that checked and returned Windows versions, basically converting enums to other enums. It is prudent to check if that has any actual relevance, so I will do it.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 05:16

Why are you here any of you vista/xp freaks still here? As a project we are not going to support you. UXP does not support your obsolete operating systems and Pale Moon 27 and Tycho isn't long for this world. By the end of the year if not end of the summer no product we produce will support anything lower than Windows 7.

So why not take your half-assed hacks, reverted patches, insufficient research, incorrect notions, and your poorly produced builds to your own dedicated community and development infrastructure and leave us out of it.

I'm sick to death of reading the utter tripe you guys spit out all over this forum every other day. Build your own community and project but do it elsewhere.
Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 05:22, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonchild » Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 07:50

To be perfectly frank, Tobin does have a point.
It gets really annoying after a while seeing basically the following progression over and over:

Us: "We don't support X"
You: "But we got it to work with patches A and B"
Us: "That's cool, you should fork it if you're serious about supporting X based on our project"
You: "But it works perfectly, you should continue to support X!"
Us: "We do not support X, we've dropped it for good reasons."
You: "But it works with our patches!"
Us: "Our development no longer takes X into account. You should fork it; it may break at any time"
You: "But if it works now, you should still cater to it."
Us: "We don't support X"
etc. ad infinitum
Last edited by Moonchild on Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 07:57, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 08:31

Allow me to soften the blow a little because reasons. You XP and to a lesser extent, Vista people and those who want to target other obsolete or ancient systems and hardware... We all don't want to make things hard for you but you have to realize that the larger the surface of support the larger the amount of work that has to be done. There are also obstacles that I won't rehash here other than, there is a lot of third party code that makes up the codebase that MUST be updated wholesale for the latest advancements and capabilities. This is code we LARGELY don't control and besides some minor glue or compiler patches we may apply on top of those libs they two are following the whole drop support for older versions of Windows and such for the SAME reasons we are.

I do implore you guys to band together and start your own proper project targeting these old operating systems and hardware using us as simply an upstream and create your own facilities as we have. We did it, so can you.. I also wish you the best of luck and even hope you "Show us in the end" regardless of my personal skeptical stance. Go, do it.. Prove me wrong.. PLEASE DO.. I want to be wrong because everything I am right about is almost always negative.. Make me pleasantly surprised for once rather than disgustedly shocked.

I am more than willing to offer suggestions and and advice. Hell, if you catch me on a good day, maybe even lend a hand. However, that is totally contingent on your collective effort to do something other than piss around for months.

So basically, step up or back up. I really don't have time for whatever this has been thus far.
Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 08:33, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Fedor2 » Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 15:15

I try to explain why such people are attracted, they older and usually has low end hardware, firefox refugees is anther topic though. Palemoon perfectly suits there, i do not know any other browser being developed and runs so good on ancient machines. Would be a person with high-med or topnotch machine care about browser?

I remain here willing to be helpful if i can, and searching help for me, because article i do using PM code at all. I not asking help with winxp or restore it official whatever.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonraker » Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 16:07

New Tobin Paradigm wrote:Why are you here any of you vista/xp freaks still here? As a project we are not going to support you. UXP does not support your obsolete operating systems and Pale Moon 27 and Tycho isn't long for this world. By the end of the year if not end of the summer no product we produce will support anything lower than Windows 7.

So why not take your half-assed hacks, reverted patches, insufficient research, incorrect notions, and your poorly produced builds to your own dedicated community and development infrastructure and leave us out of it.

I'm sick to death of reading the utter tripe you guys spit out all over this forum every other day. Build your own community and project but do it elsewhere.

There is a way of saying things and your response is clearly not it.So very sad to see diplomacy on all levels has died.People are at least trying but when faced with such monumental rudeness and outright hostility like this i pity those who are thinking of such endeavours.Potential coders and programmers could be perusing this forum and to come across posts like this is quite concerning and downright off-putting.
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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonchild » Fri, 09 Mar 2018, 22:08

Moonraker wrote:If you were a member of my squad you would be paraded out the square pronto.

He's not a member of your squad, so nobody gets paraded out the square, especially not if the next post clarifies that you chose to ignore.

Sometimes things just have to be said. Diplomacy apparently doesn't work because despite previous explanations ad nauseam it'll just end up with the same rhetoric anyway. If you can't handle getting a proverbial slap in the face because more gentle persuasions don't have an effect, then that is entirely your own problem. If you don't like it, then remember that you're here out of your own free will and can leave anytime you want, too. Preferably before you bring it to a point where you're the one being paraded out the square.
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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby dr_st » Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 18:44

Moonchild wrote:To be perfectly frank, Tobin does have a point.
It gets really annoying after a while seeing basically the following progression over and over:

Us: "We don't support X"
You: "But we got it to work with patches A and B"
Us: "That's cool, you should fork it if you're serious about supporting X based on our project"
You: "But it works perfectly, you should continue to support X!"
Us: "We do not support X, we've dropped it for good reasons."
You: "But it works with our patches!"
Us: "Our development no longer takes X into account. You should fork it; it may break at any time"
You: "But if it works now, you should still cater to it."
Us: "We don't support X"
etc. ad infinitum


Moonchild,

I understand the frustration of ad nauseam and ad infinitum arguments, but since I have neither personally discussed this with you, nor have seen anyone else raise exactly the same point, I hope you will forgive me for one more lengthy post.

As a software engineer, you understand that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There is always a tradeoff between the effort required to support X, the potential risks, and the benefit.

Patches that add back bulks of removed code, or add new code to work around changes, and that touch multiple components, are one thing. Patches that basically undo a hard-coded block in a configuration file without changing a single line of code are altogether different. There is no risk to the project whatsoever.

Note, once again, that I am specifically separating XP and Vista here. Supporting XP requires different code in a number of places, whereas supporting Vista at this point requires nothing besides, well, not artificially excluding it. There is no "catering to it". You seemed to understand this perfectly, when you were explaining to folks a while back why you dropped XP support from Pale Moon, but not Vista support.

Your claim "we no longer take X into account; it may break any time" is valid. However, in this case, where the extra effort to allow Basilisk to run on Vista is exactly zero (not close to zero, but exactly zero), I just don't find the approach of "let's forcefully break it now so that it does not unexpectedly break later" a good one. Because there is no risk; you are not representing a corporation bound by support contracts and SLA agreements. You can just say "I don't support it, but if it works for you, enjoy". Even commercial software sometimes takes this approach - see for example - Syncplicity - which says openly We do not support Vista, but it probably still works, and indeed it does work. I prefer this approach when possible; it keeps the users happier, and contributes to an open user-developer relationship, which will make users want to contribute more.

I perfectly understand why Mozilla dropped Vista support out of Firefox, since they were going for Servo/Rust; from my understanding of your goals with UXP - you are not going down this path, so my feeling was that Vista support was dropped for purely technical reasons, because you took a snapshot of Mozilla's code base where they already took it out. So far this seems consistent with my findings. Since you are not planning to take UXP into Servo/Rust (please correct me if I'm wrong), my belief is that compatibility of Basilisk with Vista can be extended, almost indefinitely, with this minimal patch, and without any support costs.

You may wonder why I care so much, and why do I continue to use something as old as Vista. Without diving into long discussions about the downsides of using "obsolete" out-of-support software, let's just say that I'm a PC geek, with multiple PCs, running every version of Windows from XP to 10. One of them happens to be a much-loved and still useful Vista box. I've been using Pale Moon for browsing there and enjoyed it, but it does break more and more with modern web (as you surely know). I figured that Basilisk could be a good answer, especially since the big guns - Microsoft and Google - have long dropped Vista support - and Mozilla is going to do so pretty soon. I chose Basilisk because I support your work, have a lot of respect for it, and view you as a developer that cares more about the users, and will not just give me the standard corporate answer "We don't support it because we don't support it" (if any answer at all).

The bottom line is - you and only you will decide what you want to have in the official Basilisk - and I thank you for being open about it. As it stands - it seems that I have a working, simple, no-hack, solution, of getting Basilisk to work on Vista. I expect this solution to stay working for exactly as long as Basilisk stays technically compatible with Vista, so I am pretty satisfied with it.

I will happily offer this trivial patch for the Basilisk upstream, so that the other four and a half people in the world that still want to run it on Vista would benefit from it, but if you don't want to take it - it is, of course, your call. As for forking the project entirely - following releases, managing updates, keeping my own branding, etc. - that's not something I'm willing to do at the moment, and it's stupid to do for something so trivial. Besides, roytam1 is already taking care of that, apparently.

Thank you, and sorry once again, for the lengthy reply. To borrow from your previous post - sometimes things just have to be said, and there isn't always a short way to say them. ;)

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonchild » Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 18:57

Unfortunately UXP's code base is already at this point very likely to be technically incompatible with Vista. This may yet be 1 or 2things at the moment, but that number will only go up. Is it smart in that case to allow installation on an OS that we know is incompatible?
This also has little to do with Servo and Rust, if anything at all. There are plenty of components in our tree that are calling into operating system hooks. Even more so, to make things compatible with Vista you'd also have to send subsystem 6.0 signals to the windows SDK in use -- which inherently means that 6.1+ specific structures and features will not be used.
There is no way to do that without incurring a cost for supported operating systems there. As such if you want to do this, then yes, forking is the ONLY proper solution. The key points are that this "We don't support X" is not because of any arbitrary decision not to do so that would otherwise not have a cost -- there is always a specific reason beyond "it's EoL because the vendors said so".
Last edited by Moonchild on Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 19:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby dr_st » Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 20:05

Moonchild wrote:Even more so, to make things compatible with Vista you'd also have to send subsystem 6.0 signals to the windows SDK in use -- which inherently means that 6.1+ specific structures and features will not be used.
There is no way to do that without incurring a cost for supported operating systems there. As such if you want to do this, then yes, forking is the ONLY proper solution.
This is a good answer, and one that is easy to accept, even without actually benchmarking.

Interestingly, if we assume that every new Windows version brings some optimizations, this would mean that Win8 users may benefit from a build that uses subsystem 6.2 signals (and thus would not run on Win7), and Win10 users from a build that's Win10-exclusive. However, making the tradeoff between minuscule performance optimizations and maintaining separate builds for every OS, it's not hard to understand why the cutoff between Vista and Win7 is sensible, given their relative age and market shares.

So, we can leave it at that. Anyone who does want a minimal rebuild of Basilisk which runs on Vista, feel free to contact me. :)
Last edited by dr_st on Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 20:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonraker » Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 20:17

Moonchild wrote:
Moonraker wrote:If you were a member of my squad you would be paraded out the square pronto.

He's not a member of your squad, so nobody gets paraded out the square, especially not if the next post clarifies that you chose to ignore.

Sometimes things just have to be said. Diplomacy apparently doesn't work because despite previous explanations ad nauseam it'll just end up with the same rhetoric anyway. If you can't handle getting a proverbial slap in the face because more gentle persuasions don't have an effect, then that is entirely your own problem. If you don't like it, then remember that you're here out of your own free will and can leave anytime you want, too. Preferably before you bring it to a point where you're the one being paraded out the square.

an intelligent and dignified response and i thank you for that.Pity mr tobin is not quite as eloquent in his prose as you are.
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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 20:31

We all bring different elements to the table which makes us collectively more than the sum of our parts. For better or worse. That's life.
Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 20:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Basilisk and Windows Vista

Unread postby Moonraker » Sat, 10 Mar 2018, 20:36

New Tobin Paradigm wrote:We all bring different elements to the table which makes us collectively more than the sum of our parts. For better or worse. That's life.

agreed.
Please do not take what i have said personally mr tobin.I am middle aged and we get stranger as we get older lol.
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