I think people are realizing the benefits of having Firefox as the default browser by the apparent loss in market share that IE is experiencing. I do like Firefox, but Im not one for addons or plugins so my Firefox package is as small as it can be. I dont even use Adblocker! Whilst I am very happy with Firefox, I am always on the lookout for viable alternatives and it is for this reason I chose to take a look at two lightwieght browsers that you may not have heard of before, and give them a test run. Will Goblin be removing Firefox? Read on to find out!
Coming in at a 303k download Midori wont tax even the slowest of connections. After installation on a Ubuntu 8.10 rig, I fired up the software.
Midori looks pretty much the same as Firefox, except with a lack of buttons. Everything is in the place you would expect it (address bar, refresh etc) So I went to enter my address to check to see exactly how quick it was. It was here I found my first isssue. On Firefox one of my favorite features is that a double click on the address bar will highlight the entire current address string. This is great as I can simply go about typing in my new location. Sadly missing from Midori Im affraid, but hopefully will be considered in later versions. IMO a simple but must have feature!
So for the first test, I thought it only fitting to visit the Openbytes site, as per previous reports I read Midori was fast, but not so much faster than Firefox to make me gasp. The page was rendered with no errors, and so far I was impressed. I decided to move on to testing a new post. If I was going to replace Firefox with Midori then this is one of the essential features to me. All went well, the wordpress dashboard appeared and I was ready to create a new article on the site.
Then Midori closed. No warning, no error, it simply closed and due (at the time) to be fiddling on with another package, I failed to notice.
What I thought might be a unique bug (and quite understandable since Midori in still in a very early version) turned out to be a relatively common occurrance, as I found out when I visited Microsoft-Watch.com, again, the page was rendered perfectly, and then without warning (as seemingly at random intervals after repeat testing) Midori would close. This even occurred with Google.com, which suggests to me its not encountering a problem rendering the page, but it more of a general stability bug (and that would certainly explain the random closing of webpages during multiple visits)
So that ended my Midori testing. Im certainly impressed with the work on it so far, but as a viable alternative to Firefox, IMO no, not yet its nowhere near stable enough to be considered. I will be following Midori with great interest, as it has the potential and the “right feel” to be a future replacement for Firefox.
You can visit the Midori homepage and download the latest version HERE.
Another lightweight browser, which comes in a 759k (ish) .deb. Installation was again simple and I fired up the software, heading to Google as my first port of call. Very fast rendering, but wait, HTML code creeping into the page, and the whole thing not alligned properly? Not put off by this I proceeded to Microsoftwatch, and found again, pages were not rendered properly, in addition posts in the threads had no dividers and it was all a little difficult to read. I then went to the Openbytes site and found whilst all the articles were displayed, the page I saw in no way resembled the way it should be.
Using Dillo put me in mind of surfing a site that has detected you are using a Mobile phone and cut down the images and spacing so that its a better experience on your mobile. That being said, Dillo was very stable and if the rendering issues could be improved upon, possibly a better alternative than Midori. Although the double click “select all” feature from the address bar was missing from DILLO and so was a right click copy and paste feature. Basics IMO, which should have already be in place.
As I said for Midori, I will say for Dillo. At this current stage in its development, I find it hard to see it being considered as an alternative to Firefox, whilst alot of effort and love has gone into Dillo, presently the pages are simply not rendered well enough to enable a proper web experience.
A nice feature of Dillo is that it has a bug meter when sites are not complying to webstandards, however this is of little comfort when your favorite site is not properly displayed with it.
You can download the latest version of Dillo from the offical homepage located HERE.
Whilst both browsers feature tabbed browsing, they both go to show how well Firefox has done. I am sure both these projects dont have the help and volunteers that Firefox does, so I feel a little harsh in saying what I have. That being said, no matter how much work someone puts into a project, I dont think theres many people who would use something simply out of gratitiude to the coders. Users want functional, reliable and versatile software, and in the early stages that these two projects are in, that is not the case.
I look forward to future versions, and they will be covered here.
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org