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On KDE's default web browser

User avatar acidrums4
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On KDE's default web browser

Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:45 pm
First of all, I still think I have a terrible english, so please excuse me for the eventual typos or horrible grammar.

So a couple of months ago I've managed to update everything to Plasma 5 and KDE Frameworks 5 since my KDE 4 installation on my Gentoo box.

But I noticed the web browser I was using, rekonq (or reKonq, however it was supposed to be written) had not any update. Even worse, after all the fanfare about its future and promise of plugin ability and such, seems it's dead. And because of that promises about its future I kept using it, despite it's tremendously buggy. You can't upload a picture to facebook without the file selection dialog freezing and hanging all the application. You can't see if you have any update or new message on facebook without refreshing the page, not even mentioning that you couldn't see your messages. Since a month ago, you can't view your feedly feed stream. You can't view your saved web pages on raindrop.io, because you see a blank web page. Sometimes, out of nothing, and even just showing one website, it just freezes so you can't even close a tab. Sometimes it just crashes without notice, and kdebugdialog doesn't appear so you can know it crashed. You can't open a website that has more than one flash animation, because it will crash. But very fortunately, flash on the web seems as dead as rekonq is.

I managed to "surf" the web with rekonq despite all of this, because of the promise of a future good and lightweight web browser fully integrated with KDE, and because its URL input bar. Although I seem to recall there's something a bit similar on Chrome/Chromium, on rekonq you could set that up easily. Like typing "g dogs" and voilà, it opened a google search about dogs. or "i dogs" and it could to the same, but with google images. Or almost the same with almost any website you can search something in. It just needed the "Ctrl + Enter" to add the "http://www." and ".com/" on a string, "Shift + Enter" to do the same but with ".net", and such, like on Firefox.

And speaking of it, I feel everyday I'm replacing rekonq with Firefox a bit more. But we all know the Firefox integration with KDE sucks. You need to install some extensions and do some weird stuff to get an acceptable integration with KDE, and it still feels rubbish. And with Chrome/Chromium, things get worse.

But even worse than that, is that now at this very moment KDE everyday users are relying mostly on one of these two web browsers - web browsers that aren't even part of KDE! And this is my point about this very long post. Today web browsing it's as basic as a file browser for any desktop computer user. And KDE has no dedicated web browser for that!

Yeah, there's Konqueror, the legendary web and file browser that was the badass of all KDE apps - but let's get real. Now you just can't pretend you'll use just an application for web browsing AND file browsing, being now web technologies and websites so resource-hungry. Konqueror got updated to KF5, though, but it's still, after some KF5' updates, using an old web framework, the very same rekonq is using: mostly all the bugs on rekonq are on Konqueror, too. And as far as I know, seems like it's not going far more than that - I really hope to be wrong. But at this very moment, be rekonq or Konqueror, you'd get frustrated using either of them for web browsing. You'd get irritated and would end using something else.

There's some other browsers, too, like Qupzilla, or the 'new' Otter browser. But Qupzilla is not intended for KDE, and you feel out of place using it. Otter is the same thing, and it's very buggy.

And there's the promise (again, another promise) about a new KDE web browser, "Fiber". But all points to be an effort of just one person, that is very busy doing many other things for KDE. There's no news about it since september, 2015 and, worse of all, he's not released any code so people can help him out. So seems like it will remain as what it is, a promise.

So here is, an awesome desktop environment without a even decent web browser. I just hope this situation changes very soon.
User avatar acidrums4
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Re: On KDE's default web browser

Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:26 pm
Just in case, I just happen to find out that someone on Reddit started a thread about this (Not mine, I don't have a Reddit account).

https://www.reddit.com/r/kde/comments/4gyogp/is_qupzilla_the_top_qtkde_webbrowser_outthere/
jandrews
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Re: On KDE's default web browser

Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:00 am
KDE doesn't really have a default browser anymore. Even Kubuntu started shipping Firefox by default. Konqueror and Rekonq are both more or less dead.

The best Qt-based Web Browsers right now are QupZilla and Otter-Browser. You'll need at least Qt 5.6, which is bleeding edge, to use QupZilla 2.0.0 with QtWebEngine. Older versions use QtWebKit, which is deprecated but stable. If you have to build it from source, note the following:

1. Make sure you have Qt updated to 5.6 or later. This is so new that most distributions won't have it, so you may have to build Qt itself. Ensure nothing defaults to Qt4 or builds against an older version.
2. Make sure to build QtWebKit against GStreamer (not QtMultimedia), and to have as many GStreamer plugins as possible installed, particularly the x264 and VP9 codecs that YouTube uses.
3. If you use QtWebEngine, don't use the Nouveau drivers. They will cause X to lock up. This is Nouveau's fault. Get NVidia's binary drivers instead.

I have a version of Otter-Browser built against QtWebKit, and a version of QupZilla built against QtWebEngine. I use QupZilla most of the time because it supports more modern web features properly, but sometimes fallback to Otter-Browser if I encounter a website that makes QupZilla crash. Usually, one of them works well enough that I can use it. You don't really have the choice of a stable and modern browser with Qt. You have a deprecated and stable engine, and a bleeding-edge unstable engine. With nothing in-between.

I pretty much only tolerate this because I swore off GTK and thus Chromium and Firefox are not options for me. It sucks that all the mainstream browsers use GTK.

 
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