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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Wed, 13 Jan 2016

Revisiting GNOME's Web (aka Epiphany) browser

The Unix/Linux desktop environment GNOME's many components include a full web browser that used to be called Epiphany and now goes by the very non-Googlable name Web. Yes. it's a Web browser called Web.

Back in the GNOME 2 days, I used it a lot. That wasn't just the GNOME 2 days but the Gecko days, when Epiphany was based on Mozilla's Gecko engine rather than Apple/Google's WebKit.

In the early WebKit days, I think Epiphany/Web went downhill a bit.

Now I use Google Chrome much of the time, though I know in my heart that I shouldn't. I'm usually logged into Google Services for my job, and Google is getting into everything I do.

These days Firefox is just frustrating. Once I get 10 tabs open, it tends to hang when Chrome doesn't.

Maybe a basic browser like Epiphany/Web can help me. Maybe not.

I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

Update: Epiphany/Web works very well. I can't say for sure that it's "lighter" than Google Chrome, especially since it uses the same Webkit engine.

What I can say is that for general-purpose web-browsing, it is very fast and stable. And I bet Google is tracking me a whole lot less.

Epiphany is a simple browser. Like Firefox was in its early days.

It's well-integrated as a GTK3 application, so it'll look good either in GNOME 3, or (in my case) among all the other GTK3 apps I'm using in the Xfce desktop environment.

For search, Epiphany defaults to Duck Duck Go which bills itself as "the search engine that doesn't track you," and so far I'm happy with it. It's nice to have an alternative to Google, even in a Web browser using the same engine as a browser that is most definitely tracking you.

I'm not saying I will give up on Google Chrome, especially for my , but when it comes to personal browsing, I can see myself in Epiphany much of that time.

Wed, 04 Jul 2012

Epiphany, aka 'Web,' is fast and light in GNOME 3

Despite not being able to render Flash content without excessive (too much so for me) tweaking, the Epiphany browser (which the GNOME people are half-heartedly trying to brand not as Epiphany but as Web) has gained some speed in execution (or "feel") but remains light on the CPU.

It's a nice way to skitter around the web a bit more simply. It starts quickly, responds quickly, and seems to work as well as Chrome (or Chromium). Since both (or all three, if you want to separate Chrome and Chromium, though I do not) use Webkit as the rendering engine, this isn't surprising.

While still unsure overall about GNOME 3/Shell, I endorse Epiphany/Web as a light, alternative browser when you're tired of Firefox and Chrome, or just don't need all that full-featured firepower.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012

I had an Epiphany ... about the Epiphany Web browser

You know what I'm doing? Using the Epiphany Web browser that ships with GNOME. In my case, that's GNOME 2.30.2 in Debian Squeeze.

Why? I've been having trouble with one of my most-used web-delivered apps in Firefox and Google Chrome.

So I decided to try Epiphany.

Sure it's slower than Chrome. But it compares well with Firefox. And I've solved a few lazy-developer issues (i.e. things that work well in some browsers but not so well in others).

I'll continue testing this over-the-web app with Epiphany. I hope it does more things well. If not, I'll go back to Firefox and Chrome. But if it does, I'll have some nice time ahead of me running Epiphany until GNOME 2.x bites the dust (which could be a very long time in my Debian installation).

One thing I'll be looking at is how Epiphany performs over time. Most browsers bog down in terms of memory usage and processes as the session continues. Both Chrome and Firefox can try one's patience in this regard.

I can't imagine that the Epiphany browser, known by some as the generic app name Web, will be anywhere near the same in GNOME 3. I could be wrong. It could be a whole lot better.