Epiphany strategy vs. Firefox

On Apr 2, 2008, at 5:49 AM, Steve Bergman wrote:

On Wed, 2008-04-02 at 23:16 +1300, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:

However, the Epiphany team lacks programmers far more than it lacks ideas. :-)

If this has already been discussed to death on this list, please feel
free to ignore.  But that sounds like a serious problem.  What can be
done about it?  What potential effect, if any, does the WebKit decision
have upon this issue?  Should the project be recruiting PR people?  Or

I think if more people wrote, in more places, about small tasks that new Epiphany contributors could work on, that could help.

Any chance of getting Epiphany included in the default install, or even as default browser, in more Linux distros? (Fedora comes to mind. Especially considering the WebKit move. I wonder if Debian is tired of maintaining IceWeasel?)

Speaking strictly for myself, and not for Canonical or the Ubuntu team:

I think there is a parallel between Firefox vs. Epiphany in Linux-based OSes now, and Internet Explorer vs. Safari on Mac OS X before 2005. In both cases, the operating system's default browser was supplied by a third party that was, understandably, more interested in making a browser for Windows. In both cases, this lack of attention showed in suboptimal performance, and a pretty but not-quite-right interface. But in both cases, the third party's brand name was reassuring for people using the OS.

For Linux-based OSes, that reassurance factor is large: Firefox on Windows is a gateway drug for Free Software, making it easier for people to switch to Firefox on Ubuntu (or Fedora, or Opensuse, etc) later. That's why I think Epiphany needs to be substantially *better* than Firefox, and have decent mindshare of its own, before it can dislodge Firefox as the default browser in any OS. (WebKit may help here, in that it may sometimes let Epiphany do things that Firefox can't.)

Some ways in which Epiphany could become obviously better than Firefox:
*   performance
*   aesthetics (including explanatory animations)
*   bookmark and history handling
*   Deskbar integration
*   NetworkManager integration
*   gnome-keyring integration
*   quick integration with any future platform coolness, such as

What have F-Spot and Tomboy done to gain the position of "The Golden Ones" while Epiphany gets treated like a neglected step child? Can anything be gleaned from other projects which have successfully claimed their fair share of the limelight?

F-Spot is noticably better than gthumb, and Tomboy is (reportedly) noticably better than Sticky Notes. Epiphany is not, yet, noticably better than Firefox.

Epiphany has, of course, lived in the shadow of Firefox for a long time. But I've watched as the cracks have appeared and spread, and today it's fairly obvious that distros are frustrated with mozilla.com's policies and might be interested in making a break for it.

People mutter and scowl about F-Spot and Tomboy using Mono, too -- but features, polish, and branding matter more.

Matthew Paul Thomas

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