Re: A change in direction for Epiphany?

Hello Ryan,

On Tue, 21 Jun 2005, Ryan Thiessen wrote:

Let me preface this by saying that I like using Epiphany. It's been my primary browser for at least a year now, so please take the following as an attempt at constructive criticism and not a whiny complaint by an ignorant user.

Don't worry, we won't. In fact, we strive to take user feedback seriously, even if it is an (ignorant) complaint. :-)

The problem is that the browser is not getting much use because since the creation of Epiphany a new powerhouse browser emerged, Firefox.

Undeniably, Firefox has gained a large following. But that Epiphany is "not getting much use" is contradicted by the fact that there is a steady stream of bugreports and people finding their way to this mailinglist.

branding (and probably other reasons), Firefox has managed to become
the default browser on most Linux desktop distributions that use

That is true; so there lies a task to make Epiphany compelling enough on GNOME so that distributions' marketing departments won't be able to put it aside in favour of something else.

Since the users already have a simple browser for Gnome, few

Let's face it, Firefox is as much a simple browser for GNOME as it is for any other desktop. Yes, it makes a halfhearted attempt at imitating the GTK theme, but that's about all integration you get. Oh, and the file chooser widget. Epiphany gives *real* GNOME integration, but I admit it's hard to recognize the value of this until you've worked with GNOME for some time.

have much reason to install Epiphany, and certainly the users most
targeted by Epiphany (the most inexperienced) would never discover it.

True again, this is a concern.

of testers, and probably less potential contributors as well.  So
while the sky is not falling, it's certainly not the best situation
for Epiphany right now, it has seemingly lost much of its purpose.

If Epiphany seems to have lost much of its purpose, then how about Galeon? Yet Galeon too has an active user base. I suspect you are painting things more negative than they really are.

I suggest that the drastic change for Epiphany be the adoption of
Apple's webcore as a replacement for Gecko as the rendering engine for

If Epiphany were to adopt Webcore, it would suddenly have a clear
differentiation from Firefox.  Users seeking an alternative rendering
engine to the one provided by the Gnome distributions would now have a
reason to discover, download, and ultimately enjoy using Epiphany.

Although your analysis is mostly correct, your solution seems wrong. It is centered around the idea that adopting a new rendering engine would cause users to suddenly flock to Epiphany; however there is no reason to assume that Epiphany's primary target group, that you already mentioned, even care about what a rendering engine is.

Don't forget that Epiphany is not a head-to-head competitor to Firefox, rather it benefits from the massive development effort put into the Mozilla project.

Webcore and KHTML have a reputation for being smaller and lighter than
Gecko, though I am admittedly not qualified to comment on this matter
myself, but if true it could add to the already good Epiphany user

At the same time, having a choice (either compile-time or user choice)
between two rendering engines might encourage some healthy competition
to the rendering engine developers.

Webcore may be lighter; but it is an illusion to think that a webcore-based epiphany will not suffer from weird and subtle (embedding) bugs that we have come to know from Mozilla.

I know as an outsider this may even be so difficult as to be
impossible for all intents and purposes.  So, you tell me: is this

As a matter of fact, an epiphany-webcore branch already exists, though it's pretty much in alpha state. If people want to work on it, they're free to do so, but the developers currently working on Epiphany prefer to work on improving Epiphany in its current form.

programming help toward this project, I am willing to put up $200 USD
as a bounty on this -- hopefully others are interested enough to
increase that number to make it more worthwhile for the amount of
effort that would have to be done to accomplish it.

Your gesture is appreciated; and notwithstanding your freedom to spend your money as you see fit, I would rather suggest putting up a bounty for implementing one of the much requested Epiphany features such as integration with gnome-keyring, or a web developers extension.


Reinout van Schouwen	   ***	student of Artifical Intelligence
email: reinout cs vu nl    ***	mobile phone: +31-6-44360778       ***	help mee met GNOME vertalen:

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