January 11, 2012
The good point is that yes!, it is possible to compile firefox 8.0 or 9.0 on linux-ppc.
General point of view
The mozilla foundation has stopped supporting the PPC platform for firefox starting with version 4.0. Gentoo ebuilds, quite understandably, followed upstream by removing ppc keywords for all firefox ebuilds >=4.0.
Though… I still have this nice ibook overthere. I’m not sure what it is (ibook G3 something ?) but what is for sure is that the processor is a 32-bit PPC. I use a very convenient lightweight desktop on this, based on razor-qt and such. My main usecase for this computer is … browsing. I don’t update it very often and I still had firefox 3.x on it. I thought it was time to get something more recent.
It happens that a friend of mine had similar problems updating firefox on several Mac mini, those old ones with ppc processors too (hello Olivier :-).
The one thing to know is that some google-related stuff in the crashreporter will NOT compile under recent gcc (we tested 4.3 and 4.6 I believe). So you have to disable the crashrepoter in order to get firefox compiling. Despite this, it should be ok, even though unsupported.
Howto for Gentoo users
First thing you need to do is to force the ppc (or ~ppc) keyword for firefox. Add this line
into /etc/portage/package.keywords (record this path can either be a file or a directory whose files will be concatenated).
Fortunately, there’s a gentoo USE flag for the crashreporter, so you just need to disable it, by adding “-crashreporter”, either to the USE variable in /etc/make.conf, or in /etc/portage/package.use
Then be patient. Of course, on such old beasts, it will need several hours of compiling.