IBrowse 2.5.3 Released
IBrowse 2.5.3 has been released and can now be downloaded to update your existing IBrowse 2.5 installation (OS4 users can also upgrade using AmiUpdate). This is a free update for registered owners of IBrowse 2.5. IBrowse 2.4 and 1.x users can upgrade to IBrowse 2.5.3 via our store at discounted rates. We hope you are all well in these strange times – stay safe!
The main target for this new version was to improve performance on HTTPS connections, given that SSL is relatively slow on 68k processors. Despite the performance enhancements that came in AmiSSL 4.4 (4.6 is available now, by the way), there is not much more that can be done in AmiSSL unless someone is able to write 68k assembly optimised versions of some of the modules (as is the case for PowerPC). Therefore, some other options have been exploited to enhance performance, which have been in beta testing over the past 3 months, due to the major changes required to the HTTP engine…
SSL Session Caching
IBrowse 2.5.3 now implements a SSL session cache for all HTTPS connections, supporting all the differing session/ticket methods use from TLSv1.0 to TLSv1.3. This allows the slow initial handshaking to be bypassed on subsequent connections to the same host, thus increasing performance noticably on OS3, and even on OS4 too. Most websites support this feature universally.
This is an older HTTP feature that was never implemented in IBrowse until now, partly because IBrowse has always relied on opening multiple connections to websites, which didn’t really make this feature worthwhile. However, it can be useful for HTTPS connections as it allows them to be left open and reused, without having spend CPU time renegotiating the SSL connection at all. HTTP(S) persistent connections support is now available in IBrowse 2.5.3 (can be disabled in the settings). Not all websites support persistent connections and, some of those that do, do not keep connections open long enough (e.g. 1 second) to make a difference.
We advise that 68k users pay additional attention to the Max. number of connections and Max. number of secure connections settings in the network preferences. These settings may need retuning because of the two new features described above. Probably, you should not set the number of secure connections to above 4, otherwise multiple connections can battle for CPU time and may well end up timing out. Fewer connections can turn out to be faster, but we suggest that you experiment with these settings to see what feels the best on your particular system.
A number of other improvements and fixes have also been made and are listed in the history log and newly updated changes summary. We would also love to hear your experience of the new features on our mailing list which is still working and hosted by Yahoo! Groups.