Switching from Firefox to Epiphany

July 18th, 2006 by lucas

More and more, I have problems dealing with Firefox’s bloat. I gave epiphany a try as a replacement for a week, to see if it’s actually a valid replacement.

Part 0: installing

On Debian/Ubuntu, don’t forget to install epiphany-extensions as well.

Part 1: making the switch

  • System -> Preferences -> Preferred Applications : select epiphany instead.
  • That’s all for now. (What about update-alternatives ? Is it necessary ? Seems it isn’t.)

Part 2: Configuring

I just added my language preferences. Why doesn’t it follow my session’s defaults ? (It seems that this waits for a localization configuration applet inside Gnome)

Part 3: Importing Bookmarks

Bookmarks -> Edit bookmarks -> File -> Import bookmarks -> Firefox

Bookmarks toolbar handling in epiphany is a bit strange. It seems that you have to add Quick bookmark buttons for each bookmark you want in it. (related bugs: 116726, 112660)

After one week of use …

  • Epiphany isn’t faster than Firefox. It might slightly faster to start up, but switching between tabs feels slower. (I reported bug 347225 about this, but it’s non-conclusive ATM.)
  • Tabs are fixed-size in epiphany, not variable size like it firefox. It makes it difficult to have a large number of tabs open (in 1280×1024, you can only have 7 open tabs before small arrows appear to let you move the tab bar left/right). It’s actually not an epiphany problem, but a gtk+ one (330676).

Looks like I’m going back to Firefox…

Update :

Frederic Peters posted a comment mentionning unofficial Epiphany extensions which solve the fixed-size tabs problem. Thanks a lot :-)

8 Responses to “Switching from Firefox to Epiphany”

  1. Frederic Peters wrote on 07/18/06 at 12:15 pm :

    Il y a des extensions, pas encore officielles, à Epiphany pour modifier le comportement des onglets, notamment supprimer le bouton ‘fermer’ et rendre leurs largeurs variables, http://www.sstuhr.dk/epiphany-extensions/

  2. Thomas wrote on 07/18/06 at 2:50 pm :

    As I switched from Thunderbird to a more free and less bloated mail client, I also thought about switching to a different web browser. I installed Galeon, but I never really tried to use it seriously. I read that one of Galeon or Epiphany was dead, which one is it ?

    Anyway, Galeon and Epiphany are both Gecko-based, and maybe most of the bloat-attitude of Firefox comes from Gecko, no ? It would probably be nice to have a Gtk-browser based on KHTML, the Konqueror engine.

  3. lucas wrote on 07/18/06 at 3:04 pm :

    I think that Epiphany was originally a Galeon fork, and that they merged back together for Epiphany 2.X. Not sure of the details though.

    Regarding KHTML, I’m not so sure : is it really better than Gecko ?

  4. marc wrote on 07/18/06 at 3:33 pm :

    You can find some gtk-based KHTML browser using the GtkWebcore (port of apple’s webcore, based on KHTML). I know there is some effort for embedded device (see GPE mini-browser) but also on desktop (GtkWebcore links Atlantis: http://www.akcaagac.com/index_atlantis.html ). As GtkWebcore is still in alpha state, I’m not sure you can find something for everyday use :)

  5. Reinout van Schouwen wrote on 07/18/06 at 9:24 pm :


    Those are strange bug numbers you mention for the “Quick bookmark” issue. Both are very old, both are resolved, and neither one reflects the current state of bookmark/toolbar handling in Epiphany 2.14.

    In Epiphany 2.14 and up, bookmarks can be put on _any_ toolbar you like, either by drag and drop from the bookmarks editor, by dragging a Quick bookmark from the toolbar editor, or by using the “Show on toolbar” checkbox in the bookmark editor’s File menu and the bookmarks’ context menu.

    With regard to the tab size issue, this is a matter of preference, scaling tabs have their problems as well. As you say, the problem should be fixed at GTK level.

    Anyhow, despite the criticism, I hope you’ll continue to enjoy Epiphany!

  6. lucas wrote on 07/18/06 at 9:39 pm :

    Regarding the “bookmark on toolbar” issue, it’s probably just that it’s too different from the Firefox way for me :-) The epiphany way of doing it is logical if you don’t try to mimic the firefox way.

    Regarding the tab size issue, I agree that it’s a matter of preference, but it would be nice to actually have a preference about it, instead of an unofficial extension. The “onlyoneclosebutton” extension that makes tab width scale is very simple, it would really be a good idea to include it in ephy.

    Posting this blog entry with my “going back to firefox” conclusion actually allowed me to discover the “onlyoneclosebutton” extension thanks to Frederic Peters, so yes, I’m going to continue to use Epiphany ;)

  7. Wagga wrote on 08/11/06 at 3:42 pm :

    “Regarding KHTML, I’m not so sure : is it really better than Gecko ?” -> Pour l’instant KHTML (et son adaptation Apple, WebKit) passe l’Acid2 test, ce qui n’est pas le cas de Gecko.

  8. Lucas Nussbaum’s Blog » Blog Archive » Debian, Ubuntu, Mozilla® Firefox®, wearing hats, and Epiphany wrote on 10/27/06 at 2:22 pm :

    [...] I have been a very happy user of Epiphany since I made the switch from Firefox 3 months ago. I would recommend it to anyone still using Firefox who is tired of its slow startup times, and its lack of integration in the Gnome desktop. [...]