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.

Software and Programming

Flash Player 10 on 64bit Linux

Adobe Labs has released a 64 bit Linux version of Flash Player 10. Before releasing 64 bit versions for Windows or Mac. Via Tal, whose review can be summarized with the Bo-ism*: Is Fast!

No more zombie 32 bit plugin wrapper processes thrashing in gasps of mad memory consumption?

Software and Programming

Going Dark

The latest release of Kubuntu (the Ubuntu distribution variant I use on my home computer) included KDE 4.13, the fancy new Desktop Environment for people who don’t care why there’s a K in the name. As you know, Jim, there are two major “Desktop Environments” on Linux: Gnome, which tries to be more “usable” (or “minimalist but accessible”) as defined by Linux geeks, and KDE, which tries to be “Prettier” (or more “polished”), as defined by 14 year old Windows users. If earlier versions of KDE tried to be prettier than Windows XP, then KDE 4 finally gets around to ripping off Vista, or the Mac OS, or whatever (I wouldn’t know – I never used Vista, and just clicked a few buttons on a Mac once).

Resources Software and Programming

Nokia, Linux – talk amongst yourselves

I got a new phone a month ago, a Nokia 6120 or something like that, with internet and shit. This involved finally crossing the line between having an electronic device and having a portable, under-powered computer. An UI that’s fancier but less ergonomic, a power-hungry screen and a laptop’s male-sterility-inducing level of heating-up (one of the first links I found about my specific model was a petition to have it recalled because of overheating issues). Also, this whole “internet” connectivity thing, while pretty impressive and fast (yo! I’m on the street, looking at my blog! Hey! I’m sitting in Dixie, browsing Google reader!), is actually a money-grubbing scheme to charge you exhorbitantly for bandwidth. The phone feels like a platform for Orange to spam me with pointless ads and downloads.

Also, there’s the issue of transfering stuff between the phone and my computer. There’s a USB cable, but the phone doesn’t simply mount as another drive, like any USB drive should. There’s actually some ornate synchronization protocol and some remarkably user-unfriendly tools for using it, which I haven’t managed to get to work. Also, many tools expect you to use a Bluetooth-enabled computer.

I found a good step-by-step tutorial on setting something up here: Nokia PC Suite for Linux with ObexTool on Ubuntu Gutsy. It’s actually not equivalent to the PC Suite thing, because it doesn’t synchronize calenders and contacts, which are hidden away on the phone in some arcane corner. But it works for transfering files (MP3s, photos). So, whatever.