Epiphany vs. Firefox (Duck!)

Jeff Waugh jeff.waugh at canonical.com
Tue Sep 21 19:59:30 CDT 2004

On Tue, 2004-09-21 at 16:25 -0400, Britt Selvitelle wrote:
> Again let me emphasize that I think Firefox is an amazing browser, and
> is a good choice for some people who want to utilize some of the
> extensions available. I use Firefox quite a bit, but I feel at this
> point, Epiphany integrates better with the Desktop, and therefore makes
> a better candidate for the default that most people will experience when
> they first boot Ubuntu.

Hi Britt,

So, this was a difficult choice to make as we were developing Ubuntu,
before we went public with the Preview release.

Initially, I strongly supported putting Epiphany in by default, as it
more thoroughly supported GNOME tech such as GConf (so admins could lock
it down) and all the nice integration bits such as desktop-wide proxy
configuration and so on. We discussed this a bit, and I managed to put a
case that Epiphany was the way to go instead of Firefox (even though
Epiphany was already starting to look like the underdog).

But as I saw Firefox integration with GNOME improve (and yes, it still
has far to go), and watched its popularity and brand awareness rise, I
had to wonder how users would see Ubuntu - "Oh, it has Firefox, I know
that!" or "It has a different web browser"... and the way my Mum says
the word "different", it sounds like zombies are going to attack at any
moment. ;-)

I ended up queasily suggesting that we ship with Firefox by default. I
don't want to go through a whole pros/cons list, because it really comes
down to two things: brand and familiarity. With the world, not just with
GNOME. ;-)

We *can* change our minds in the future. In fact, as Epiphany improves
to compete with Firefox on features, familiarity, depth of community and
so on, it may make sense to suffer the brand challenge, and ship a
browser that is wholly GTK+-based, integrates with GNOME in ways that
Firefox might not be able to, etc., etc.

But for WartyWarthog, we're committed to Firefox (if only because we're
post-Preview and very well on our way to release).


- Jeff

Ooh, ooh, ooh!             http://www.ubuntulinux.org/           Ubuntu!

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list