A point-by-point comparison of various RISC OS web browsers

Which ones are available?
At the time of writing, the following web browsers are available for the RISC OS platform:-

Name Developer Status Notes
ArcWeb Stewart Brodie Freeware No longer developed but nonetheless a good reliable browser, if only lacking some of the more recent internet additions.
Browse Acorn Commercial No longer in development. Future uncertain.
Firefox Peter Naulls Freeware A port of the world standard Mozilla Firefox browser. Potentially the best browser on RISC OS but rather slow at present.
Fresco Ant Commercial Currently the best, but development seems to be on hold.
NetSurf Netsurf Developers Freeware A very fast open source browser with ongoing development but unfortunately no Javascript support.
Oregano 1 Oregano UK Ltd Commercial Looking good so far. Lacks a few features and is no longer developed.
Oregano 2 Oregano UK Ltd Commercial About the best all-round web browser for RISC OS at the moment. Soon to be superseded by Oregano 3
Oregano 3 Oregano UK Ltd Commercial Looks like it will soon be the best RISC OS browser available.
WebsterXL R-Comp CommercialCurrently rather too slow in my personal view.

A brief comparison of features

The following table briefly summarises some of my personal findings. If you would like me to experiment or test a particular feature please contact me and I will see if I can check it for you.

The points are in no particular order of preference, other than the order I thought of them. :-)

Where I have listed Javascript compatibility, a browser passes if it correctly renders the page listed with no rrors. Any JS error will result in a 'no' being awarded. This may allow you to access the site with partial JS support, or with JS turned off. This test is merely Javascript parsing ability and does not indicate actual accessibility of the site in question.

I don't actually have WebsterXL myself, so the values for Webster have been provided by Andrew Pullan of RComp.

23 Jun
Oregano 1
Oregano 2
v2.2.18 rev.3
Oregano 3
v3.1.0 rev.9
PNG rendering ability.
test image
? full ? partial ? partial ? ? Full
Dithering of GIFs in 256 colour modes
test image
yes no ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
Dithering of JPEGs in 256 colour modes
test image
yes yes ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
Dithering of PNGs in 256 colour modes
test image
? yes ? partial ? partial ? ? yes
  ArcWeb Browse Firefox Fresco NetSurf O1 O2 O3 WXL
Ability to export a page as a RISC OS Draw file. yes yes ? yes ? no ? ? yes
Saves in !PrintWeb compatible format to allow you to split them into A4 pages if you wish, although clearly the browser has its own printing functions
Ability to render RISC OS Draw files. no no ? yes ? no ? ? ?
Drag URL bar to paste URL into text editor. yes no ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
Javascript capability. no
? yes
? yes
? ? yes
Yes - - ? yes ? yes ? ? Yes - - ? no ? yes ? ? Yes
Plugin support. no yes ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
Keep History list across sessions. ? yes ? yes ? no ? ? yes
40 bit SSL support as standard. no yes ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
128 bit SSL support as standard. no no ? yes ? yes ? ? free module
Language support yes ? ? no ? ? ? ? ?
  ArcWeb Browse Firefox Fresco NetSurf O1 O2 O3 WXL
Speed to render my RISC OS links page (searching for everything)
(using 56K modem)
? 8 mins 20 secs(stopped at 'Psion') ? 3 min 15 secs ? 3 min 38 secs ? ? ?
Speed to render my RISC OS links page (searching for everything)
(500K broadband)
? - secs ? - secs ? - secs ? ? ?
Support for <font face=> yes no ? no ? yes ? ? yes
Support page saving with images. ? ? ? yes (with WebTool) ? no ? ? yes
Search text on page facility ? yes ? yes ? no ? ? yes
Has disc cache. yes yes ? yes ? no ? ? yes
Ability to OLE hotlink with text editor (!Edit,!Zap and !StrongED) for interactive web design (absolutely indispensable in my view!) no no ? yes ? no ? ? yes
Save page as text ? yes ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
Onscreen text highlight and saving ? no ? no ? no ? ? yes
Search page for text ? yes ? yes ? no ? ? yes
Skins support no no ? no ? yes ? ? yes
Supports Cascading Style Sheets no no ? no ? yes ? ? yes
Can use Bookmaker for hotlist ? ? ? yes ? yes ? ? yes
Supports HTML format hotlists ? ? ? yes ? ? ? ? yes
  ArcWeb Browse Firefox Fresco NetSurf O1 O2 O3 WXL

Various rendering speed tests

The following tests have been timed as accurately as possible using a digital stopwatch. The timer was started as soon as the page was told to fetch, and stopped when downloading and rendering was 100% completed.

All tests were performed using a Demon 500K broadband connection.

Page under test Netsurf Firefox Fresco 2.13 Safari 2.0 Deer Park 1.0 Oregano 2 Oregano 3
All timings in seconds on Castle Iyonix on Kinetic RPC with
wimp$scrap in RAM disc.
on 1.5GHz G4 Powerbook on Castle Iyonix ? ? 6 5 3 3 ?
This page ? ? 6 5 3 3 ? ? ? 7.5 4.5 4.0 6.1 ? ? ? 10.5 5.2 7.6 8.2 ?

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Last edit: 10th Apr 2016 at 1:56pm
(2989 days ago)

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