MicroB ships as the official browser for IT OS 2008

Some people may have noticed, but I'm confirming it for everyone else: MicroB has shipped as the only (and hence default...) browser with IT OS 2008.

I'd like to say this is a win for open source. MicroB is the engine used by /usr/bin/browser on IT OS and it is based on Mozilla Gecko.

There are some high points and some low points for this release.

Thanks, -from the Browser Team

Good news

  1. The default start page is now useful. Many thanks to Kevin Zhang, Tuukka Tolvanen, disq, and TPC for helping with the page. Thanks to Alicia Patterson, John Lilly, and others at mozilla.org for the art work. Thanks to Erkko Anttila and again to Jorma Virkkunen for letting us fix up the page.
  2. The Browser default plug-in has been renamed to Default plug-in, RealPlayer, Windows Media and the description has been changed to Default plug-in. Supports RealPlayer and Windows Media. Because of this, you can now load BBC News Video, Radio, and French TV stations, e.g., France2. Thanks to Marc-Andre Lureau for complaining about this. Thanks also to Jens Wilke who has been helping us investigate web compatibility and get fixes to Nokia properties for MicroB.
  3. There is a project to help enhance MicroB, called browser-extras which is busy porting and packaging content and extensions to improve your browsing experience as well as reduce the pressure on our in house developers. Thanks to their contributors there for settings it up and working on it.

Bad news

  1. If you like Yahoo! Music (which includes Music Videos), or many Internet Radio stations (e.g., ABC Radio affiliate WMAL630 in Washington, D.C.), you will unfortunately get an error from Media player when you try to use it. Yahoo's content supports at last Windows Media and Flash plug-ins. Yahoo's content also properly favors Windows Media. Unfortunately the Media player does not properly support ASF playlist files unless their file extension is .asf. In order to listen to Yahoo content, you will have to disable the Default Plug-in. To do that:
    1. Open the application menu > View > Show toolbar. Make sure the toolbar is visible for the mode you're in (Full screen / Normal screen). -- Yes, I just noticed that "Normal screen" appears in the user interface. This is the least of my language worries, I am quite embarrassed by the quality of the text.
    2. Click the bottom right button in the toolbar (it looks like a magnifying glass, but it's really an overloaded kitchen sink button) > Components > Default plug-in, RealPlayer, Windows Media.
    3. Try loading your Yahoo media property again. You should now get Flash-based media delivery.
  2. We're now using Nokia-sponsored text for all languages, including English US and English GB. In the betas we shipped Mozilla's text for English. This is a very mixed bag. Unfortunately it meant that we didn't get very good testing coverage of the text we're shipping. And it really shows in a number of places. I take the blame for this. It meant that our beta testers could test the engine as the localizations we were given were generally so broken that you, e.g. got a famous yellow/red error indicating Gecko couldn't render the error page when you could not reach your proxy. Unfortunately the localizers are not familiar with localizing XML text and consistently generated text which was invalid, and until the very end we didn't have any tools to help them recognize this problem. Next time, they'll hopefully do better. There are two main places where you will notice this, again, I'm sorry. We will try to ship a beta release which fixes the text shortly. I haven't decided if we'll release back ports for the other platforms in sync with this fix or before we fix this.
    1. The HTTPS authentication dialogs repeat the server and message in both the server and message fields (oops). This was not present in any of our betas, so I didn't notice it while I was traveling with my devices last month.
    2. The netError messages don't fit Nokia style, specifically the line below the title should really show just the site/path, and not text.

What's coming?

We have a number of long term projects;


This is a list of changes since 4, to the best of my ability. Please remember that there have been occasional updates since that announcement, and as I have not had time to review or publish the announcements, there is no specific changelog for them, which means you may not remember some of these bugs. Note that I'm only reviewing changelogs for browser related packages, it's possible that bugs affecting browser have been fixed in packages upon which the browser depends. There's no easy way for me to learn about such things.

I'm assuming that changes happened after August 9, 2007.

User reported bugs



User interface

Hardware Keys

Fit width to view


Packaging and Building


Known Issues


For people wondering about User Interface style, the general rule is:

For people curious about general rules for writing localizable code, here are a a couple of basic rules: