Nostalgia Break: Oracle PowerBrowser

I’ve been thinking about this off and on for a while, and yesterday, while geeking out with VMWare Fusion, I decided to get it done.

Oracle PowerBrowser 1.5, w00t!

I’ll back up a bit. I’ve been working to install VMWare to get an Oracle image up and running; I’ve used Virtual Box predominantly in the past because it’s free and really easy. However, this image is VMWare, leaving me no choice.

No problem, I love geeking out with software, especially when it can’t hose up my primary O/S. Once I finally get this Oracle image squared away, I’m off to find a Windows 7 beta image for giggles. I first tried VMWare Player (free) on my Dell, but it just didn’t have the muscles to run it effectively.

Oddly, increasing the memory allocation beyond the “recommended” amount of 256 MB made the image run more slowly. That’s not very intuitive to me.

Anyway, Rich recommended VMWare Fusion for the Mac, and I decided to go that route instead. Not free, but it’s performing way better. Now, if only I had a bigger hard drive. I have a problem with storage; I never think ahead and inevitably, I don’t buy enough. It’s a chronic problem. So, sometime in January, I’ll probably have to buy and install the 250 GB drive for my Macbook.

It’s early for New Year’s resolutions, but there you go. I resolve to buy the maximum storage offered for devices in 2009 and beyond.

So, while I was checking my Virtual Box images for stuff I need before deleting them to make space for the VMWare image, I decided to find the install package for Oracle PowerBrowser and install it for fun.

Yes, Oracle made a browser back in 1996, and yes, we used it internally alongside Netscape. I’ve often wondered if this brief foray into browsers was related to this gem of a story (by way of Savio Rodrigues) told in Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle, recounting the reasons why Oracle did not buy Netscape in the mid-90s.

I found the install package here by way of an old post from 2004 by Mark Rittman. Like any 32-bit application it installs easily on XP. Some sites won’t open (e.g. Twitter), some sites throw errors, but most sites load, minus images and CSS stylings.

Here’s this blog as an example.

It's in Oracle PowerBrowser, pretty

Anyway, it’s a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who have spent time with Oracle over the last decade and change. I think I had a PowerBrowser launch t-shirt long ago. Enjoy.




  1. Wow. And I thought that I was going down memory lane when I surf on my cell phone (which uses a browser equivalent to Internet Explorer 4). It just goes to show you that when a developer writes an application, he/she has no way how the application will work (or won't work) a mere ten years later.

    Just out of curiosity, does Oracle PowerBrowser 1.5 run faster (albeit in limited form) than today's browsers? Or are there too many variables that affect browser speed?

  2. It's way faster because it skips over stuff like CSS and images. So, for reading content, it's awesome, but the broken images kind of get in the way.

    You can try it out if you like 🙂

  3. Now you need to bring back the Corporate Repository, the NC (huge t-shirt crowd at OOW for this one back in the day, and Oracle Office and Interoffice 🙂

  4. Ha, the good old Corporate Repository; I thought that was still around; doesn't WebIV source from there?

    I also had an InterOffice launch t-shirt, and an Oracle 8 one too, which I still have somewhere. I remember supporting 16-bit Office on Win 95, so much fun.

    You've given me an idea 🙂

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