Re: [Fwd: Epiphany, I love it!]

On Tue, 2005-01-04 at 12:33 -0600, Jens Knutson wrote:
> On Tue, 2005-01-04 at 10:28 +0100, Philippe Alain wrote:
> > > What's the most effective way for Fedora end users to express an opinion
> > > on this?
> But that's just it - I wanted to find out if speaking up on fedora-
> devel and fedora-test makes any more difference than whining on a blog
> or bitching on a web forum, or even just not bothering to speak.
> There's so much "me too!" noise on those lists, I just wonder if
> anyone is really heard, thus the reason I asked Bryan, an "insider",
> what the most effective way is for one person to voice their opinion
> on the subject.

I'm not out to start another war here.  I'll explain a little history
from my point of view because I don't want anyone to think that this
happened without a long decision process.

First, fedora-desktop [1] is probably the place to request this kind of
change.  However since there has already been long flamewars about the
subject messages may be met with "That's already been discussed, see

A lot of discussion about the default browser had taken place on fedora-
devel starting on an idle Saturday in October [2].  By this time there
had already been a red hat internal mailing list flamewar that
innocently started in mid-late September and was still continuing.  

The short of this (from my POV) was the forming of three camps.  Camp
one was the developers who felt "thousands of features/plugins" and
"worldwide acceptance" made firefox the best thing since sliced bread.
This is the camp who cares nothing about a unified desktop experience,
but feels that a long feature list and a recognized name really
determines value.  Camp two was most of the desktop team who wanted a
consistent and quality user experience.  And the last camp was people
who didn't seem to care, many of which are epiphany users as they just
want _any_ web browser that works.  The flamewar marched on to trench
warfare where people were just slinging insults at each other and
nothing was getting done.  I and many others met with a lot of people in
red hat about "the browser issue".

After much discussions it was decided that Firefox would be the default
browser.  I was (and still am) not completely happy about the decision,
I felt that we caved to marketing and customer pressures instead of
offering the best solution.  Many customers want firefox because they
know the name, also many want to develop cross-platform plugins to
enhance their intranet sites.  Epiphany can't offer that kind of
functionality, but it doesn't mean that firefox needs to be default.
Also our main point was that of an integrated desktop experience and yet
there just weren't enough really powerful integration points to argue
over.  After the switch of course we got lots of complaints over
translation problems, how firefox wasn't aware of desktop locale and how
it handles the MIME/Download/Open problems much worse.  Many other
things were discussed, but those are what I felt were most important.

So I took everything that was discussed and made up a list [3] of items
that I saw needed the most improvement.  Basically Epiphany has the
burden of matching every firefox feature, in a better way, plus
integrating so tightly with the desktop that it makes it firefox look
like some strange 3rd party app.  There's more than on that list of what
needs to be done, but we at least need to start there if we plan on
going anywhere.

Now, back to the future.  Emails to mailing lists saying "me too" are
completely useless, especially now that the original thread had died.
What we need is for Epiphany to be (and a much of this is my opinion) to
match everything firefox has, but better and to pretty much invisible.
What I mean by invisible is that we want to be such a part of GNOME that
you don't even know you're using a separate app.  Once Epiphany is at a
much cleaner and more integrated state I think the start of a campaign
to bring it back to default in distros like Fedora and others is a good
idea.  User testing, usability tests and lots of documentation would all
help the cause.

Anyway that's that,
~ Bryan


For the lawyers and pundits:  This is most definitely my opinion and may
or may not be the opinion of my excellent employer.  Any and all
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