Gnome Web Browser

Gnome “Web” browser f/k/a “Epiphany” is going to be the supplied default browser on the Librem 5 Linux smartphone. Because of that and because I’m lined up to get a Librem 5, I decided to check it out.

I’ve tried Web on the desktop years ago and always found it to be too minimalist, too light weight for my needs on a desktop. But looking at it again I did find some really Good Things.

Good Things:

  1. Rendering Engine: Web uses the same open source fork of WebKit that Apple’s Safari uses, or darn close to it. This is good because Safari renders very well on a smartphone screen. It’s tried and true and well supported with Apple, Gnome and others contributing improvements and refinements to the upstream. Plus it is NOT based on Chrome/Chromium so we help avoid a mono-culture.

  2. Leanness: Web only uses 2MB of memory running on most Debian based Linux distros. While that leanness might be a liability on a full desktop computer (subjectively), it becomes a strength on a smartphone with a 6” touchscreen.

  3. Firefox Sync: If you are a Firefox user, Web will sync with Firefox. This means your FF bookmarks, history and passwords will sync back and forth between Web and FF.

These three things do a lot to put my mind at ease about being restricted (at least at first) to Web as a browser on the Librem 5.

Even Linux users on the desktop might find Web to be just what they are looking for, so you might want to try it out.

Brad Enslen @bradenslen



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