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

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 12:15:25 GMT 2006

On 1/9/06, Cam <cameron.matheson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1/9/06, Eric Dunbar <eric.dunbar at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > 1. The lack of a Google bar (or, heaven forbid, another search engine)
> > is a show stopper! Nearly every web browser worth its salt now has the
> > search bar smack dab beside the URL bar!
> epiphany is nicer in that you just type the search terms in the url
> bar and it searches for you.  no need for a seperate bar (which my
> mother doesn't know how to use).

I always have found that to be an unsatisfactory solution (and have
never used it). It's not an easily discoverable way of searching (the
search entry box is clear and simple) and requires one to select a

I will often enter a single word (e.g. google) into the URL bar. That
pulls up www.google.com (or .ca if a browser allows me to configure
the default www and TLD).

I will also enter a single word into the search bar. That pulls up a
_search_ from google.com.

No ambiguity. No "hidden" features. No discoverability NEEDED!!!

> > Tabs are a bizarre paradox in Epiphany. They're going for simplicity
> > (purportedly) but they throw in a pretty obscure interface hack that
> > is bound to confuse the issue and make browsing the web a more
> > frustrating experience for someone learning how to use tabs for the
> > very first time (and, every other implementation of tabs in
> > non-browser apps (aside from some bizarre moving MS preferences panes
> > which drove me bonkers because the tabs kept moving around on me) uses
> > _fixed_ tabs).
> What exactly is wrong w/ them?

Their implementation in Epiphany is less than adequate. It's far too
sensitive and will certainly cause novice users or less advanced
long-time users to be frustrated. FF (as James Livingston pointed out)
does have this too, but, at least on the Mac version of FF, it's far
less sensitive and more usable.

> > 4. Toolbar icons are pretty amateurish. Not a major issue but they do
> > look like they were thrown together in a few minutes in GIMP.
> Those are just the standard GNOME icons, that's better desktop
> integration (if you don't like them just switch your icon-theme)

How many people are going to bother changing their icon theme? Start
with something that doesn't look like a five-year-old (or someone
artistically challenged like me) designed them.

> > 5. What WOULD be useful (that FF doesn't have) for Epiphany to have is
> > toolbar icons for zoom in/out (text size up/down). This is something
> > simple users could use without getting confused.
> There is a zoom button for the toolbar (it's actually a drop-down menu
> that lets you choose what text size you want), i use it all the time.

Hmm. Where was it in the configuration panel? Even if it's there, a
drop down menu is unsatisfactory. Buttons are a more useful solution.
Less ambiguity. Fewer contortions needed to access it.

> In short, epiphany basically does everything firefox does
> out-of-the-box.  Of course user-preference does vary (i really miss
> adblock in epiphany (it's coming though!), but epiphany definitely
> integrates better w/ the desktop, and has a cleaner interface for the
> non-geek user.

I'd say it currently is not on-par yet with FF, and, certainly not
good enough to _replace_ FF when FireFox has name recognition.

To be honest, if I were a new user coming to Ubuntu and I found some
no-name browser included rather than FireFox I'd quickly be scouring
the web for a distro that did include FF. I'd make the assumption
(wrongly) that Ubuntu was targetted at a segment of the population
that didn't make real use of the web... "¿Why would they release a
Linux distro for standard desktop use _without_ FireFox?". "Oh, they
must be making a developers' distro! Next."

I do see the argument for integration with GNOME (though, I don't see
a huge difference between FF and GNOME either), and I can see how
Epiphay COULD provide a good browsing experience for a majority of
users, but it's still a touch too amateurish and has too many
(easy-to-fix) rough edges to give pundits an unwarranted opportunity
to slag Ubuntu (and, slag Ubuntu they almost certainly would if
Epiphany shipped in lieu of FireFox). Epiphany needs a PERFECT
interface to replace FF, given that FF has fewer
rough-around-the-edges problems (it ain't exactly perfect either... on
Linux its my preferred browser, but on Mac OS X its outdone by Safari
(#1) (which uses KHTML anyway) and Camino* (Gecko) (#2)).

*Camino predated the first functioning FireFox betas by more than a
year and was better than FF for a long time (it lost its lead when
FireFox 0.9 came out but since then Camino has fought back to make a
better browser than FF 1.5 :-).


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