Roadmap to a better FreeDesktop: ridding us of the Firefox filth

Lately, I've been pondering how to solve one annoying aspect of the FreeDesktop, namely how to eject the piece of bloat called Firefox from the picture and get myself a fast web browser that I can rely on and that yet offers a similar UI experience based upon native GTK2 widgets rather than XUL components.

Just to investigate possible options, I tested Epiphany, Galeon and Konqueror. My conclusions were than a Gecko-based Epiphany or Gaelon is incredibly fast and that Konqueror offers a similarily efficient experience albeit using QT, rather than GTK2 widgets.

Why is Firefox so bloody bloated then, if it uses the same Gecko engine as Epiphany and Galeon? The only possible conclusion I could come up with is that its crappy XUL implementation, rather than leverage existing native GTK2 or QT widgets, tries to reinvent the wheel with its own UI toolkit running as a gigantic RAM blackhole.

One option that I wanted to investigate but found too deficient was a Webkit-based port of Epiphany. Unfortunately, at its current stage, the GTK2 port of Webkit simply isn't mature enough to consider, although the fact that Webkit has been succesfully ported to a number of platforms and constitutes the basis for Safari on Mac OS suggests that the potential is significant.

That only leaves one single aspect on which Firefox wins hands-down: its UI concept; it just works well, whereas Epiphany simply has a UI concept that is utterly inadequate, because it is too crude, lacking basic necessities such as a session saving feature that also works when purposely unloading the application, rather than only as a crash recovery measure. Simply put, Epiphany's premise that a browser should never be closed and thus ought to always remain open in the background of a desktop session is utterly flawed; it doesn't work like that in real life and Firefox acknowledges this, while Epiphany stubbornly doesn't because someone wreaked Havoc in our desktop paradigm.

Anyhow, to me the solution is clear: regardless of which rendering engine it uses, Epiphany's UI concept needs to become more like Firefox, before it can truly gain acceptance as the default browser among Linux distributions.


Here's hoping for the best...

Life sometimes has extreme ways of waking people up and making them realize what matters for them. I'm going through such a phase right now in my romantic life. I won't discuss what happened here, but suffice it to say that I haven't felt so depressed in a long, long, long, long time.

The good news is that life has proven to me once again how having good friends who truly care for me makes a whole world of difference. The big slap in the face that life gave me over these last few days was a harsh lesson, but I think that it was worth it. Of course, it helps that people like Gilles, Jaana, Henni, Pia, Linda, Arno and Sailesh beleived in me enough to support me through this rough spot in my life. Although their advices were vastly different, they all pointed in a very positive direction and gave me the strenght to carry on.

I also must thank my beloved Anastassija; what she did was cruel beyond beleif and yet, if her few SMS from the last 24 hours are any indication, there's still hope after the storm. I'll be seeing her tonight again, after a few days of separation and I prepared her a truly romantic evening. It ain't much, but I hope that it truly succeeds in bringing the point accross that Love is stronger than everything and that even the unforgivable can be forgiven, over time, if everyone involved has enough faith in each other's future as a couple.

Tonight, I truly could use the prayers of a million voices to support me and Anastassija in this difficult time. Life slapped me hard and I got the message... I think... and whatever happens after tonight, I need to know that I gave it my best shot and that, whatever her and I decide, Life can only take a turn for the better from now on.