Old Browser Support (Moved from welcome post)

https://discuss.pixls.us/ just stopped working a couple of days ago on Seamonkey V browser, which is the latest. It also stopped working on older browsers like Seamonkey 2.49.5 and Firefox 52.9.0 etc. The browser error console shows a number of problems with discuss.pixls.us. It would be great if you could fix these problems and restore wider web browser compatibility. Thanks.

:thinking: A few reports on this already. I wonder how many users and guests this is affecting.

Discourse only guarentees compatibility with the latest version of the major browsers. You can subscribe by email, but other than that we don’t have the man power to maintain anything else.

Which firefox version does that seamonkey version map to? Firefox 88 works fine.

Answered the question myself:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0 SeaMonkey/

According to the releasenotes this is basically a firefox from 2018-05-09.

I’m one of them, normally using Pale Moon and falling back to Brave to add my two cents here.

Not a good attitude IMHO, so perhaps a poor choice for an open source oriented discussion platform. The web is meant to be a standard, not a means of bludgeoning everyone into updating to the latest hardware/OS/browser. (Of course commercial entities love this aspect!) Deep backwards compatibility builds resilient systems, while not being bothered with testing and fixing regressions builds brittleness and unreliability.

It does take a some effort of course (and I say that as the sole maintainer of a complex application that maintains deep backwards compatibility), but in my experience it is only a little effort, and is well worth it as it builds a reputation of reliability for your project.

Bottom line, if the range of browsers that pixls.us works with narrows, so does your user base. I’m not sure that I’m prepared to switch or use a particular browser just to view this site, and others might well feel the same way…

Newest browser is only what they guarantee, not what actually works. You can also participate as this were an email list, if you’re interested in deep backward compatibility.

Is there even another forum software that is FOSS and usable?

FYI, I don’t want to bludgeon you, but your browser isn’t even the current extended support release. Probably not terribly safe to be browsing using something that old.

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I’ve made my point - it would be great if you would take that on board and understand the perspective.

I understand your point.

What do you do when your users suggest something that is so complicated that it would literally be a second job for you?

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I understand the hesitancy to switch - change is disruptive and pulls us out of a comfort zone.

This does seem like an odd problem to have on a desktop where browser choice is available for modern browsers that are (hopefully) kept up to date and available. It seems odd that anyone would refuse to keep their browser to the most current iterations, particularly in light of security issues that crop up (and are fixed by browser vendors in new releases).

Why would someone not want to keep their browsers current with security fixes and patches?

For closed hardware I can understand the problem a little better. I have no options for upgrading (or installing at all) any different browser/engine on iOS than the shipped Safari. Which really sucks when a model goes out of support.

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Unfortunately, compatibility issues due to old mobile hardware is a reality faced by much of the population. Most people can’t afford the latest and greatest because of regional, budgetary and other societal reasons.

This is probably my biggest issue with Discourse.

On past Android phones it used to be dreadfully slow before their CPUs caught up with iPhones.

And the way they speak of building “for the future” and not for the past is just arrogance, leaving older systems unserved.

Without Javascript it doesn’t display anything even remotely useful, not even paginating static content.

I don’t understand the relevance of your question. Maintaining compatibility is mostly about doing less, not more. Use the subset of browser API’s and parameter ranges that are implemented in compatible ways by all browsers. Build your UI implementation idioms using that set. Don’t incorporate new API’s or usages unless they have become standard and compatibly implemented in older browsers. Don’t make changes that break compatibility.

Very sound advice if we were the ones developing discourse, but we are not, so the suggestion of “make it compatible with older browsers” would mean a lot of time and effort from us. So this is not feasible.

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@paperdigits is not the one who develops Discourse. By asking to preserve backwards compatibility, you’re asking for someone to maintain a fork.

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You are making a lot of assumptions about the resources available to people. A lot of people are not on the hardware and software upgrade treadmill, and simply can’t afford to be. You can’t update to the latest browser on (say) MSWindows unless you are running at least 64 bit Win8 or later, and that and Win10 aren’t supported on old HW. Personally I have been stuck on WinXP due to lack of $$ to upgrade HW (and as an OS there is actually no technical reason to want to upgrade - pressure to upgrade is all artificial - lack of bug fixes from MS, lack of driver and application backwards compatibility because vendors target markets are people who can afford to upgrade, etc.). Even Linux is talking about dropping support for 32 bit systems. With new HW, switching to a new machine is non-trivial for me personally, and will take some weeks or months, simply because of the number of applications and development environments that need to be ported or upgraded or replaced (several hundred such items.) If all you run is a web browser, a word processor and a spread sheet, upgrade to new HW and OS may be easy, but not everyone uses their computers for so little.

Yes, I am making some assumptions of resources available to people.

Are you not able to install a Free OS to replace a software that has been EOL for quite a long time? As an OS there is quite a few reasons to upgrade if you’re connected to the internet at all. I would think - security?

Unfortunately some cases will end up at the very edge of obsolete hardware and software.

I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect support for these cases. (Now where that line gets drawn can be debated, but it’s a different discussion).

I did just check and the non-JS version of the site (a basic HTML view) seems to work ok?
Contrary to what @CarVac mentioned I did at least notice pagination working as well.

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Note: I’ve moved this discussion into it’s own topic to separate it from the welcome post.