what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Sander van Loon svloon at xs4all.nl
Fri Jan 6 11:44:49 GMT 2006

On Wed, 2006-01-04 at 15:48 -0800, Matt Zimmerman wrote: 
> For the same reasons why we provide OpenOffice.org rather than
> Abiword/Gnumeric/etc.  Firefox is a cross-platform standard that is
> recognizable and familiar to users, and it has the momentum of the
> community
> behind it.  Users can easily get help with it, even from Windows
> users.
> That said, we've been shipping Firefox for three releases now, and
> received
> a positive response to it.  If you're proposing a change, the burden
> is on
> you to justify it, rather than asking "why not?".
> -- 
>  - mdz

I realize that the burden of proof is on me, but I thought that it would
be obvious that Epiphany is a better default, that's why I asked "why
not?". But apparently this isn't obvious, so let me explain.

I think that the previous replies on this thread and the wiki page -
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EpiphanyDefaultBrowser - put it well. Epiphany
has the following advantages for the user:

- GNOME integration
- Epi conforms to the GNOME HIG -> better usability and easier to use.
- it is consistent with the rest of GNOME, Firefox feels out of place.

Besides the advantages for the user, there are also advantages for the
Ubuntu developers:

- easier translation-wise.
- will probably save disk space, if I'm correct the Firefox package
takes more space.
- release cycle is the same as GNOME's release cycle.

Because of these advantages, I think that Epi is a better default than
Firefox (a better default, not neccessarily a better browser). Sure,
Firefox might be more popular, but it is only more popular with the
"geeks". As said the average user doesn't need Firefox so badly (or
doesn't even know Firefox exists). The average user just wants a simple
browser that does it's job good. So they would like Epi probably more
because of integration and HIG. And since Ubuntu aims to be for human
beings and not for geeks only, the average user matters.

Have you already taken a look at the Epiphany road map -
http://live.gnome.org/Epiphany_2fRoadMap110 - here? I think the
advantages should be obvious now. I can read there that they want to
increase the integration even further. Read the part about
NetworkManager? Integration with NetworkManager seems importatnt to me.
My guess is that Firefox will either have no integration with NW at all,
and if it does have it that Epi will probably do it better.

Ubuntu is GNOME-centric, if you say A you've also got to say B in my

And if people really need Firefox for the power user extensions, they
can always apt-get it.

Only thing which needs to be done to make Epi as default a succes is
making a separate Gecko package so that Epiphany doesn't depend on
Firefox but on Gecko.

By the way I think you can't compare OpenOffice vs. GNOME-Office with
Firefox vs. Epiphany. While apps like Abiword certainly are better than
OO Writer, OpenOffice is a complete office suite, and GNOME-Office is
not, GNOME-Office lacks an essential component, a presentation program
as another reply mentioned. So I can understand why you want to keep
OpenOffice because there are good reasons for that. However, I have not
seen good reasons for staying with Firefox.

You mention that:

1. Firefox is a cross-platform standard.
2. More recognizable and familiar to users and has momentum (what is
meant with that?).
3. Users can easily get help with it.
4. Ubuntu received a positive response for shipping Firefox. 

I contest all those arguments. Sure Firefox might be cross-platform,
maybe you can consider it a standard, but I don't think that's a good
reason. Internet Explorer is the de facto standard on Windows market
share-wise, but that doesn't make it good. I don't think that it is more
recognizable and familiar either. The thing is that at a basic level
Epi, Firefox and Internet Explorer aren't much different. This counts
for the functionality the average user uses, such as Back, Forward,
Refresh, the location bar. Even though they are quite different
browsers, all the browsers have that functionality in the taskbar and
are familiar recognizable in that way. And if Epiphany would become the
default, i think the same thing would happen if Firefox were the
default; users will be able to easily get help with it and you will
receive a positive response from the pro-Epi and pro-GNOME camp, but
most importantly you will receive a positive response for the average
user. The pro-Firefox club might be annoyed because they have to apt-get
Firefox then, but that's not a disaster. Epiphany is the best default.

In short, the pro-Epiphany arguments are a lot more convincing to me
than the pro-Firefox arguments.

I hope the Ubuntu development team will discuss/consider this request.

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