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Comparing Browsers on Linux
Date: 16 Feb 2010 / Author: SeanParsons / Views: 22965 / Comments: 15
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Recently I decided to make a screencast comparing some of the more popular browsers that are currently available for Linux: Firefox, Epiphany, Konqueror, Opera, and Google-Chrome. Included is the screencast posted with the new HTML 5 video tag, a video download option, and for those that prefer reading, a short synopsis of the scenario.

The video file does have a fairly high resolution and even though it is only 22 minutes long it is over 150 MB in size. If you don't have a high speed connection to use for watching it on line, you may want to download it or just check out the synopsis.


Video Download (156.6 MB)

TEST SYSTEM

HP Pavillion dv5000
Processor: AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology ML-40
Memory: 1 GB
Graphics: ATI Radeon Xpress 200M
Operating System: Ubuntu 9.10
Desktop Environment: GNOME 2.28.1

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

prevbscreenshot1.png

All five browsers started and loaded my homepage (http://thelinuxboxorg) in a reasonable amount of time. Firefox and Epiphany looked paticularly nice as they both used the theme and icon set I was currently using in GNOME. On appearance, Google-Chrome stuck out like a sore thumb as it didn't even use my metacity theme. Edit: Thanks to fireman, I realized Google-Chrome can use my gtk and metacity theme if I set it in the options, but it still doesn't look right with the blue background behind my tabs. I also liked that Firefox and Opera both made it readily apparent when they were on a site with an RSS feed. When I went to full screen mode I disliked that the address bar and controls were still visible in both Epiphany and Konqueror.

BROWSERS AND VERSIONS

I went to Panopticlick to get my browser string.

Firefox

  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.1.7) Gecko/20100106 Ubuntu/9.10 (karmic) Firefox/3.5.7

Epiphany

  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/531.2+

Konqueror

  • Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Konqueror/4.3; Linux) KHTML/4.3.5 (like Gecko)

Opera

  • Opera/9.80 (X11; Linux i686; U; en) Presto/2.2.15 Version/10.10

Google-Chrome

  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US) AppleWebKit/532.5 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/4.0.249.43 Safari/532.5

Now, I know there will be someone that will complain I should have used the alpha-beta-prerelease version of browser xyz. I decided to go with the browsers that were either in my repositories, or if they weren't in my repositories I went with the DEB files that Opera and Google had readily available for me.

JAVASCRIPT BENCHMARKS

prevbscreenshot2.png

I used the ,V8 Benchmark Suite - version 5 to compare the aforementioned browsers on their capabilities with respect to handling javascript. In this test, bigger is better.

Google-Chrome came in first with a score of 1019, Epiphany came in second with a score of 652, and Firefox came in a distant third with a score of 83.8. Opera had a score of 53.6, and Konqueror errored out on part of the benchmark suite.

ACID 3 TEST

prevbscreenshot3.png

The only two browsers that got a perfect score were Epiphany and Opera.

FLASH VIDEO

All of the browsers managed to find my Flash install and play back a You Tube video of Pinky and the Brain. I needed to hit refresh on Epiphany for it to work right, and Opera seemed to momentarily pause before pulling up the video correctly.

HTML 5 VIDEO TAG

Only Firefox and Google-Chrome were able to playback a video for me that was posted using the HTML 5 video tag. Hopefully, this is something that all browsers will correct soon.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

There are many high quality browsers out there for Linux. Personally I prefer Firefox because of its ability to match my desktop themes and its ability to handle HTML 5 video tags. I also really like its extensions. Please feel free to post your own preferences below.

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Comments: 15

1. | 18 Feb 2010 - 12:16

May I use this on my site? I need to convert it to be accessible to newbies. Ogg is great if you are already using Linux, but it doesn't have wide support with IE. You will be given full credit for the video and report.
http://new2linux.com
Please reply by to my email address given.

2. fireman | 18 Feb 2010 - 14:32

I might want to correct you there on google-chrome, it DOES infact have an ability to use your gtk theme...just go to options and under appearance select use gtk+ theme. It works well for me.

3. SeanParsons | 18 Feb 2010 - 14:33

@Doug Glenn

That sounds great. Please give me the video's url whenever you post it on your site. I would also appreciate a link somewhere referring them to my site if they should so choose to check it out.

Thanks,

Sean

4. SeanParsons | 18 Feb 2010 - 14:38

@fireman

That is cool that it can pick up my gtk and metacity theme that waysmile, but it still has that blue background behind the tabs that looks odd.

5. | 18 Feb 2010 - 19:25

Very good job! I am a firefox user and enjoyed the contrast with Google product.

6. gondri | 19 Feb 2010 - 01:28

No iceweasel?

7. B Jones | 19 Feb 2010 - 05:57

Are there any Linux browsers that allow you to look through the cache and dig out any youtube vids that you've just watched? MSIE has hidden folders "content.ie5" where you can find the mp4 or flv files that you've just watched, and copy them for safekeeping. I can't find any way to do that with Firefox, Opera or Seamonkey so far - without some add-on that has to reload the entire vid again.

Thanks

8. SeanParsons | 19 Feb 2010 - 09:50

@B Jones

Different browsers on different versions of Linux may store them in various places. Firefox on Ubuntu temporarily stores them in /tmp.

9. B Jones | 20 Feb 2010 - 08:20

Thanks Sean, next time I watch something I'll do a search and see if I can find anything other than the custom file structure Firefox has appeared (to me) to use so far.

10. Fred (OT) | 21 Feb 2010 - 03:10

Thats a cool wallpaper you have there. Where did you get that?

btw. Opera's the best one ;)

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