Software and Programming

Epiphany – is Fast! (well, kinda)

[Updated: I am fool – more below]

I usually have an automatic hostile reaction to allegations that Firefox on Linux is dead slow compared to the Windows version; however, I have to admit that I don’t have any point of reference, since it’s the only browser/OS combo I use.
However, Ovid’s mention of Midori, and Israel’s geekalicious demo of uzbl last night, made me pay attention. Midori is lightning fast, but when I try to visit youtube or facebook, it crashes. However, Epiphany is available in the Ubuntu repositories, just a sudo apt-get install epiphany away, and it’s also based on webkit.
So far, Facebook (with its SSL login, heavy Javascript and Flash videos, I think it makes a fine usability benchmark) and Dokuwiki (where Google Chrome had issues) work fine. The address bar completion isn’t as useful, and typing something that isn’t a url takes you to a google search instead of to an “I feel lucky” result; also, the address bar isn’t focused when you open a new tab, there isn’t spellchecking and firebug. But otherwise… very cool.

Update: so apparently I am an idiot. In the comment thread (below the blog post where I read about Midori, someone mentioned Epiphany. I typed sudo apt-get install epiphany, and something got installed. I typed “epiphany” at the command prompt, and a web browser ran. But the package “epiphany” actually installs something else. To install the epiphany web browser, you actually need to install either the package epiphany-browser or the still not-quite-ready epiphany-webkit. The program I ran is apparently is the current version of the epiphany browser (default part of Ubuntu?), which as Tal notes is still based on Mozilla. No wonder that it works as well as Firefox – is the same browser.

At home I just tried Arora, which is a Qt4 webkit-based browser.Has no Flash and is not that fast, which I guess just shows that a browser is only as fast as your internet connection allows.