I had problems with my comments set-up, so people were unable to
comment on the epiphany
rocks article except by email: I apologize to everyone who tried.
I have since fixed the comments (been away during the weekend so
couldn't do it earlier), and I am including here all the comments I
received by email.
Epiphany uses Gecko, but then elects to change the web font sizes and
default background colours, breaking a lot of sites that expect size
10pt/96dpi and white (the former of which is actually specified
somewhere in a w3c spec, I think?) - sites such as the new official GTK
site, for example.
It would be nice if these 'features' could be turned off - as nice as it
is for web pages to match the desktop theme (to a very small extent), it
doesn't work very well in a lot (the majority?) of cases.
Also, some of Firefox's extensions are quite nice - when epiphany has a
nice delicious extension (no, epilicious isn't quite enough) and the
annoying jump-to-focused element bug in gtkmozembed is fixed... and
maybe the re-parenting breaking pop-ups bug too... Then, maybe I'll move
back to Epiphany.
Perhaps WebKit will nullify the latter two of those complaints; I live
in hope :)
My take on this is: I am short-sighted and I use generally high
resolution screens (120dpi). I still prefer to be able to read the
text on my screen comfortably, regardless of what a web designer
thinks would suit me better (and I couldn't find any reference to
default font size for HTML 4.01, and I can't imagine there should be
one: 10pt/96dpi is basically a size in pixels, so if some web
designers want to force a font size of 13px, they should do that
without pretending to be a11y friendly). And no, I don't feel like
downgrading my screen dpi (I also like it to match real world sizes).
As far as extensions are concerned, they are really easy to write for
Epiphany, and if it was default in more distros, I am sure we'd see
Also, if someone is fine with this, why not set their entire GNOME
like that, and Epiphany will follow. Also, one can use a separate
.gtkrc for Epiphany as well, if they want to change theme colours.
I think you should include a link to
in your post about replacing Firefox with Ephy, so that people can vote on it.
Indeed. So everyone, here's the link above: go and
make Epiphany default. :)
On my Gutsy machine at work, I started using Epiphany a few weeks ago
because I got tired of how painfully slow FF2 was when I had a large number
faster, not just in this case, but in browsing in general.
However, I can't use it for a large portion of my browsing because the only
flash plugins that I could easily get to work in it are far from feature
complete. Also, the big "pause button" thing it does when a flash item first
loads is annoying.
Regardless of whether or not it technically uses the same engine, some sites
render incorrectly in it. The biggest example I saw while using it
semi-regularly was Lenovo's Thinkpad configuration page. The column of
options would render in a too-narrow fixed-width column, whereas with all
other browsers I used it in (including FF2) the column would flow to fit the
window width. Clearly, the Gecko engine used in Ephy has diverged from the
one used in FF2.
Do these behaviors change in newer versions? I don't know. I, like so many
other people out there, don't have time to diverge from what is available in
I think the flash issues are probably something regarding
proprietary software (i.e. it's not trivial to use Flash 32-bit
plug-in inside 64-bit environment, but it is as possible as inside
firefox, afaik). And I only know of "pause" button in two free
software implementations that are indeed feature-incomplete, but are
quickly "getting there":
gnash. I even prefer this kind
of behaviour, but it still doesn't have anything to do Epiphany afaik:
they'd work the same in Firefox.
Again, here are some problems with rendering of pages in Epiphany,
and it could only be due to font size and colours display
(oh yes, I am using a "dark" theme, and hit a lot of those). However,
these sorts of problems happen only when web designers pretend to be
designing for usability, but combine absolute and relative measures
(and 10pt is a relative measure in terms of screen pixels). It's
simple to demonstrate the same problem with font sizes in Firefox: just
+ to enlarge the font size. Or with a
theme: just set your default colours to dark background and light
foreground, and many web sites will be messed up (yes, even
ubuntu.com, which is otherwise
wonderfully designed web site).
Ok, we can admit to living in a non-perfect world where many web
sites are broken usability-wise, but most of this would not affect a
default Epiphany installation: default colour theme is black-on-white,
and default "document" font size is 12pt, with default desktop screen
resolutions being around ~100dpi (and you get to customize fonts
in the same way you can for Firefox, just the starting default size is
But, when will those who really need better usability get it if web
browsers work around some problems in web sites to make them 'look
better' instead of 'behave better'? How are high contrast
white-on-black themes actually working in Firefox and other