Friday, 17 July 2009

And thus the browser war hath started

Behold heathens, new web-browser hath descended upon the land of Fedora. Witness the few steps needed to deploy at FergyTech. The ultimate battle for superiority may begin. Who shall be the winner?

Well, that somehow summarizes my exitement. I wonder which browser I'll end-up with in Fedora 12 :-D For now, I am using simultaneously Midori (webkitgtk)

Epiphany (xulrunner)

and Chromium (webkit/chromium)

now ;-)

Btw. I just recently used firefox once again because of some download which worked only via firefox (I don't really know why though) and the page had an enormous amount of adds... well... to be fair... I got used again to displayed adds with midori (it's not possible yet to block adds in webkitgtk), but the experience with firefox was about five times worse... The amount of windows that popped up was just terrible... Well, I'd say that using firefox without AdBlock is in a sense equivalent to taking a stroll into underworld >_<

Maybe, I'll write a short review about those three above mentioned browses (plus epiphany 2.27 snapshot which uses webkitgtk instead of xulrunner) when I gain more experience with Chromium (so for now I'll keep the awesomeness of midori's location bar only hinted in the screenshot above ;-).


J5 said...

I'll entitle this comment - "Everyone Hates the Front Runner" or "The Grass is Always Greener"

Though I respect the need for alternatives I just want to point out some other than technical reason to support Firefox/Mozilla - namely, they are the only popular force supporting open web standards and open software.

I say popular because people other than our small technical community actually uses it. Not only do they support open standards, they put their money where their mouth is by including things like Ogg Theora in their browser. Apple's WebKit does not and in fact Apple came out against Theora. Sure open source builds of WebKit support Theora but that is only reaching people who have already exerted their impact on the future of the web.

Chrome and Chromium will ship with Theora but Google is pushing the patent encumbered h.264 format and refuses to convert YouTube to Theora with weak arguments of quality (it has been proven that Theora is better than YouTube's low bitrate content and on par with their h.264 content).

Mozilla on the other hand has been sponsoring events like the Open Video conference (which had more content producers then tech people). They fought for Theora in the HTML5 standard meetings but failed because of Apple and Nokia pressure on the standards body. They encourage the use of Open Standards and support sites like Daily Motion which provides HTML 5 hosting of Theora content.

The free web needs a powerful ally to keep it free. Mozilla is that ally. The technical issues can be fixed with a bug report. That isn't to say we are sacrificing functionality here. Mozilla's browsers are all technically up to snuff. What they lack now is being added.

The competition between the different browsers will create a cat and mouse game where each will leapfrog the other making them all better. However when choosing a browser it is prudent to ask what type of web you would like to be viewing in the future.

nicu said...

From those 3 I am quite sure I will NOT use Chrome, I can't stand its user interface with look alien and not fit the rest of the desktop.

However, with F12 I am open to give a try to WebKit based browsers (even if I expect to stay with something Gecko powered as a default).

Martin said...

@J5: It's not that I hate the "front runner" (meaning firefox), it's more like I got fed up with it's UI back in the days when it wasn't following GTK styles and switched over to epiphany. The updates in firefox since then haven't convinced me to switch back (rather convinced me to not put my hands on it) and in the meantime new fast and standards compliant FLOSS engine has emerged (WebKit). Also, when you don't use something, you have tendency to highlight the things it does bad rather than those in which it excels ;-)

As long as codecs support in video and audio tags go, I was myself against the firefox decision to bundle ogg, theora and vorbis with it. While I understand the need to having some base set of codecs which would be granted to be supported by most browsers (although, about 70% people still uses IE, which does not seem to have any plans at supporting video/audio tags) limiting it solely to those is IMHO a bad step. I like the webkitgtk approach where the support is through gstreamer, which means you have those three above mentioned granted (as these are part of practically any gstreamer installation) plus you have additional support for others as long as you install them. It also uses system wide library instead of a bundled one, which is the right thing to do (TM) in *nix land.

When choosing a browser, I choose based on it's usability, speed, features and stability, not on what kind of promotion it's engine authors try to do.

Martin said...

@nicu: I am myself torn in this case... The Chromium UI is definitely very well done, is very simplistic, very effective to use and has nice graphical effects. On the other hand in the grayish effect-less GTK land it totally feels alien... You can actually switch to GTK widgets in Chromium, but it creates some kind of cat-dog... Me hopes they implement this properly for official Chrome release...

Anonymous said...

I couldn't tolerate using a browser without "Web Developer Toolbar" and "NoScript" or equivalent. Safari has reasonable developer tools but there seems to be no equivalent to NoScript in browsers other than FF.