I just had an Epiphany

Yes, I know that title is probably the worst I ever used. Let’s move on.

Everybody’s talking browser wars again. IE8 is out, which doesn’t matter much to Linux users, and Chrome for Linux is getting closer to being usable, which does. Webkit browsers seem to be the next big thing, even though none of them are really available yet, safe for Safari. Everything else is still in alpha/beta. Even though, people are predicting the demise of Firefox already.

While that’s certainly premature, certainly on the Windows size of the OS world, when it comes to Linux things look a little bleaker. There’s no denying that the Linux version of Firefox leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to speed, certainly the first time it’s booted. Still, it has an enormous collection of extensions and themes none of its competitors have. I’ve seen many people claim they stick with Firefox because they can’t live without a certain extension.

But I run Firefox pretty much as-is. When I started using it, it was still called Phoenix 0.3 and IE was at version 6. Everything is better than IE6, and Phoenix at the time certainly was. It was faster. It was prettier. Most importantly, it had tabs. I never used IE6 again, not voluntarily at least.

Things have remained that way for over six years, but lately I’ve become dissatisfied with Firefox’s speed. To put it quite simply, when it comes to speed Firefox is lagging behind. Opera boots faster, and loads webpages faster, although the difference is marginal. Chrome is much faster, in all aspects.That’s why at work (where I’m forced to use Windows) Chrome 2.0 Beta has replaced Firefox as my browser of choice.

On the Linux side, I’ve kept using Firefox up until now. I’ve tried Opera, but since it’s Qt it doesn’t mix well with my GTK system, it isn’t free, and as I said, speedwise there isn’t that much difference. Kazekahase is a bit too sparse to my tastes, and so is Dillo. Midori kept crashing on me.

And then I read this article. I had tried Epiphany before, but dismissed it as another Dillo. Still, I was browsing for a new browser (see what I did there? I’m so funny…), so I thought, what the heck, and installed it. And loved it.

Don’t blink when you start this browser, you’ll miss it popping up. It’s that fast. It zooms. It snaps. It flies, and all that while using the Gecko engine. It should be even faster when it starts using Webkit. I’m browsing the web, and I don’t have to wait. Fantastic.

But wait, there’s more. Since it’s a native Gnome application, it’s GTK-integration is so much better. The style matches the rest of my desktop, so do the icons and the language, and I don’t have to configure anything. It doesn’t have many options, but it has all those I want. All I changed was the startpage (blank), download location and minimum font size.

I already had the flashplugin installed, so sites like Youtube provided no problem, and loaded a good deal faster too.

And it has Adblock! Well, it does if you install epiphany-extensions, and there’s no reason not to. Who doesn’t love Adblock? It’s the best thing that ever happened to a browser since the invention of tabs.

Best thing of all? I’m not even the latest version, because I’m using Arch Linux and GNOME 2.26 (and thus, Epiphany 2.26) is still in testing. The new version comes with its own version of the Awesome bar, which isn’t essential but still quite handy. Honestly, the only things I’m missing are some shortcuts, like ctrl + Enter for url completion, and ctrl + tab for switching between tabs. I’ll just have to get used to ctrl + PageUp/PageDown.

So yeah, if you’re using Firefox with a dozen extensions, stick with it. But if you don’t, and you wish your favourite browser would boot faster, look better, or use less memory…don’t look any further. You’ll love Epiphany.




8 Responses to I just had an Epiphany

  1. Fixel says:

    Hey, I saw that you upgraded arch’s XFCE from 4.4 to 4.6… I seem to be stuck at 4.4…. how do you upgrade? XD

  2. Nikesh says:

    Correct, I had used Epiphany some long long time back and given-up because of Firefox and other browser and today after reading this article I open up Epiphany and it’s really kool and fast.

  3. […] I just had an Epiphany So yeah, if you’re using Firefox with a dozen extensions, stick with it. But if you don’t, and you wish your favourite browser would boot faster, look better, or use less memory…don’t look any further. You’ll love Epiphany. […]

  4. notthinking says:

    Ive had a quick play with epiphany, and I quite like it. I havent found a way to subscribe to feeds easily from it yet thou (to google reader). I really think this browser will be the best option for my mother as well (runs debian that I administor)

  5. BT says:

    Yep, it rocks. It is especially slick on my fixer-upper 1999 Compaq laptop. This laptop has an Ubuntu 8.04 “server” install, with ICEWm front end. ICE natively supports GNOME apps….

    Firefox is going the wrong way. I really liked version 1.5. But it seems to have become so slow, bloated, and gimmicky…..

  6. andy says:

    Another recent convert from FF to epiphany here… if only you could move the address bar up by the menus like in FF… that would be awesome.

  7. […] estate to the websites because of the rather large buttons. I’ve been using it in Openbox for the last two months. Epiphany […]

  8. Rob van Vlietan. says:

    Epiphany is much better on Ubuntu Netbook Remix. The Ubuntu team should consider maning it the default browser, at least for UNR.

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