Sunday, December 24, 2006

Testing Web Browsers

In my adventures in networking I was testing a couple of things, and discovered that firefox 2 has a bad memory leak on my system. On the 19th Dec there was a new release which had many security fixes: release notes. I have decided instead of updating to that I would try out a couple of other browsers.

Opera 9.10
First I decided to try Opera, recently there was a new release and I have heard many great things about it. Eager to try it for myself I went to the Opera Download site and selected the Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft Package and downloaded it. Once it was downloaded I clicked on the .deb file and gdebi package installer opened, I clicked 'install package' and the next thing you know I had Opera 9.10 on my system.
It took a bit of fiddling around to configure it, there are many more settings and things to play with in this browser. I have to admit that I thought that some of the settings where a little over the top, and were unneeded. I loved the fact that I could change the style view so much. This is something that I have always loved about Opera. It is often handy to view a page without images and other distractions, especially when reading information.New features in Opera 9 are:

  • Add your favourite search engines
  • Bit-Torrent
  • Content blocker
  • Fraud protection
  • Improved rich text editing
  • Site preferences
  • Thumbnail preview
  • Widgets
More detail and info on other Features can be found here: Opera Browser Features
My Impressions: Overall although I like many of the features in Opera I still am not happy with the performance or user experience of Opera. Granted it is very different from Firefox and Mozilla, and therefore will take a bit of getting use to. Yet I still do not feel that I could use it all of the time. The text is often hard to read, and jagged. Loading times are slow, and it feels heavy (I know this sounds strange yet I am sure that most of you know what I mean.) To be honest; at the end of the day I would prefer to use an Open Source browser.

Epiphany, the GNOME Web Browser
Next I tried Epiphany, I really like this little browser. It is very simple and easy to use, it's speed amazes me. There are not many settings, and no where near the extensions and other tools as in other browsers. Yet this browser is no more than what it says it is. It is a browser, and it does this really well. Epiphany is powered by the Gecko engine, which also powers Firefox. Epiphany is very uncomplicated and really gives you the web experience without all the mess. I am sure that I will continue to use this browser, even if it is only for fast searching, and a pure http experience.

So far these are the only two browsers I have tried. I am unsure what browsers to try next, if anyone has any suggests please let me know.