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Linux: Browser Wars 352

Anderson Silva writes "LinuxToday has an article doing a pretty basic comparison on some of the major linux browsers. Although a nice article, and with a fair result, I still think Opera is the best browser available for Linux." I prefer knoqueror, although recent builds seem to have random hangs on
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Linux: Browser Wars

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  • by metalhed77 ( 250273 ) <andrewvc@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:14PM (#2194773) Homepage
    since the site is slashdotted and i have no hope of reading the article i'll just post my opinion. I think i have to go with mozilla as the best linux browser, or more exactly, the gecko engine. The reason being that webdesigners will ONLY design for IE and Netscape since running IE is out of the question (yes i'm aware it runs on wine) netscape is the only logical choice. Unless you only read slashdot in which case even lynx is fine.

    I admire the work the konqueror people have done, if they can get it to emulate IE exactly then they'll have a browser that's on par. Kinda like what opera did (trying to emulate IE) it just has to be more accurate, opera screws up on many pages, as does konqueror. Mozilla will render 99.99% of pages rightn (those that don't render right were made with netscape 4.x in mind), the others screw up much more often.
  • by Dreven ( 207178 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:16PM (#2194780) Homepage
    This proves once again, that there still isn't a good browser for Linux. So we have to decide on which one is less crappy, and not which one is better.

    I don't understand why this is so. It sickens me that browsing on windows with IE is more stable then anything on the linux platform. Its just not right.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:17PM (#2194781)
    Wow, that's a useful test setup.
  • by CaseyB ( 1105 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:21PM (#2194797)
    No kidding. You might include a low end machine for an extra data point, but having it as the only machine is just plain idiotic. The tests are useless if they're not run on typical hardware. Especially with the price of RAM where it is -- testing apps on memory-contrained machines is pointless.
  • by randombit ( 87792 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:23PM (#2194810) Homepage
    The Mozilla version shipping with Mandrake 8.0 is 0.8.7. While stability is pretty much unchanged since then, Mozilla has gotten noticably faster during the 0.9.x cycle. 0.9.1 is usable on a 350 Mhz Pentium II... sort of. 0.9.3, while still being slower than Navigator 4.77, isn't bad at all. It's finally fast enough that I can use it as my normal, day-to-day browser (I was using Nav 4.77, because while it was unstable as hell, at least I didn't have to wait 20 seconds for a page to load).

    I imagine that simliar situations are true for at least one or two of the other browsers compared. Development on Mozilla, especially, is happening very fast and comparing something current 6 months ago is not, IMHO particularly meaningful.
  • Explorer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yooden ( 115278 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:24PM (#2194811) Homepage
    A German magazine did a similar thing a while ago, only they included MSIE. It won hands on in every discipline from speed to adherence to standards.
    A pity that it wasn't at least mentioned.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:24PM (#2194813)
    Well, when Windows and Internet Explorer are around 85% of the marketshare for web browsing, small wonder why most web designers usually test against IE and Netscape Communicator 4.7x versions for rendering accuracy.

    Hopefully, web designers will add Mozilla 1.0 to the list by late this year. (crossing fingers)
  • by quartz ( 64169 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:37PM (#2194855) Homepage
    I wouldn't trust this particular article very much. They don't even mention the versions of the browsers tested. They say there's no direct way (w/o resorting to the "Settings" menu) in Konqueror to disable javascript and images, but sure enough, in my Konqueror (2.2) they're right in front of me (Tools -> HTML options). I dunno, I guess the article is a bit of a troll. And what better place for a troll than the Slashdot front page? :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:39PM (#2194860)
    If IE 5.5 is crashing on you everyday, you have obviously fucked your workstation up. Don't blame MS for your own stupidity.
  • Versions? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icqqm ( 132707 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:39PM (#2194866) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry, but aren't the versions of the browsers used somehow important to the story? Was it Mozilla 0.9, or 0.9.2? Netscape 4.08 or Netscape 4.7, or Netscape 6? Hard to tell what these tests mean, especially if not the latest versions of each browser are being used.
  • by johnjones ( 14274 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:41PM (#2194868) Homepage Journal
    why oh why where text only browsers not included ?

    is this because their user base is small ?
    I personally use it but I find that alot of people dont

    because I find lynx the fall back GOD the page doent render in netscape or some fool has FSCK the HTML I just use lynx and away I go

    really how much information (I am intrested in )is presented in pictures on the web
    not much I am sure

    lynx is my fallback king (-;
    I use it when I telnet into places to check they can see stuff plus all I need is a telnet app which I can obtain for most OS's

    what do you relie on to ALWAYS give you the web ?
    (me its a telnet client and lynx)


    john jones

  • Bah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enahs ( 1606 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:53PM (#2194904) Journal
    Startup test, from blackbox, showed konqueror to be the clear loser. Well, duh, kdeinit wasn't running yet! A fairer test would have been in in konqueror's "native environment."

    Hey, at least I didn't post a lame joke about the obvious misspelling. Get a life, people, willya?

  • Re:What is so hard (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:05PM (#2194937)
    A web browser is about as difficult piece of software as there is too write: it must be standards compliant, speak and understand 20 protocols, be resiliant to poor protocol implementations (otherwise the browser is blamed), stable and fast as hell. That's why it's so hard.
  • by jonabbey ( 2498 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:18PM (#2194977) Homepage

    Sorry, the amount of memory used by XFree86 isn't really all that much. What you're seeing when you see huge memory usage for X in top is because the X process has memory mapped your video card's graphics RAM into its memory space, several times over.

    On my 32 meg GeForce2MX card, top shows X taking up 135megs of RAM. On a friend's system with an old school 2 meg VRAM card, X is only shown taking up 4-5 megs of RAM.

    X is actually pretty damn memory efficient. Remember it was originally created when a workstation might have had one megabyte of memory, total. If you have a lot of windows open at high color depth, there will be some real RAM taken up to store those bitmaps, depending on whether you have 'save unders' enabled, but that's a function of all of the programs you have running, more than of X's inefficiency, even if the memory is counted against the X server process and not the X programs themselves.


    I still think that the browser tests covered here are rather meaningless on a 32 meg machine. These days, browsers will take up close to a full 32 megs of RAM on a UNIX system, especially with the 'cache in RAM' option of Mozilla and Netscape. These days, when you can get 512 megs of PC133 RAM for less than fifty bucks, it just doesn't make sense to worry about 32 megs here or there, anymore.

  • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:35PM (#2195036) Homepage Journal

    And what's up with testing on a ridiculously outdated machine? P166, no MMX, 32 MB RAM?

    Sure, it's a bit old, but machines like that are still pervasive. School labs and libraries are full of computers like this. I'd rather not have my local library make a decision between providing usable web access and purchasing more books. It should be perfectly reasonable to browse the web on these old computers, saving money for other uses.

  • Grey is not bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:47PM (#2195079) Homepage Journal

    The Winner [for "The Look"]: Mozilla, hands down. It's terrific that someone decided to take the route away from the greys.

    Oh goody. I was tired of all my applications looking the same and behaving the same. I love guessing which color means disabled for each different application. I like having my system wide colors that I've carefully chosen to minimize eye strain thrown out the window.

    System wide colors and looks are feature. If you're sick of living in grey land, change it globally. Gnome supports this. KDE supports this. Windows supports this.

    Mozilla is a great browser, but their decision to roll their own user interface was a mistake. Fortunately Mozilla is modular, and as the core engine stabilizes I plan on moving to a more system friendly browser using that engine. Probably Galeon or Skipstone.

  • by EMN13 ( 11493 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:48PM (#2195083) Homepage
    Unfortunately this outdated-browser analysis is worthless, for several reasons - all of which boil down to the small amout of actual testing done. A faster, more representative machine would have been useful as well. And I don't need an analysis of browsers way back when on a machine from way back when and then some :-).

    But should you doubt me:

    First off, I think the one most deciding factor in the choice of a browser if how well it displays pages - whether corrupt, IE5.5 optimized, javascript enabled, CSS2.0 or ancient, my browser first and foremost needs to WORK. This isn't even touched upon here! The stability of the browser, in my opinion a part of usability, needs to be tested.

    A browser doesn't need to be all that fast either just "fast enough". And, not only is "fast enough" a subjective measure, it includes things such as responsiveness while loading, total page loading time, time to create a new window, time to "scetch" a first outline onscreen and more. Many pages can be very usable with only 10% loaded. By the time you're done reading the first paragraph the rest can be loaded. In addition, speed will vary depending on processor speed and type, memory availability, and network bandwidth. A fast browser which gains speed with bad incremental display could be worse than a slower version in which you can start reading immediately. Furthermore, the internet extends beyond slashdot... some HTML elements may render in varying speed depending on the browser used.

    Speed is a hard thing to measure. This analysis isn't nearly complete enough to be at all useful.

    Startup time is effected by things such as program size (if too much else is loaded, a 32meg machine might well be swapping skewing the image drastically), speed ratio between hard drive and processor, and VERY importantly, dependance on shared libraries. Konqueror for instance might seem much faster when running KDE already... and the same goes for the other browsers too though I don't immediately know which libraries they use. Notice how fast those "second instances" pop up...

    Finally, this is a pretty lame attempt to harvest slashdot links by using a slashdot page in a linux browser test... :-(
  • by randombit ( 87792 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:52PM (#2195099) Homepage
    0.8.7? There was 0.8, 0.8.1 and then straight to 0.9.

    My bad. I read 0.8-7 (the RPM version) as 0.8.7.
  • Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cluening ( 6626 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:53PM (#2195104) Homepage
    It is great to see that he used a fairly low end system to do his tests. There are so many Pentium 75 - 200 systems around that are still perfectly useful if people would just think a little harder while programming, and it is nice that somebody is realistically putting one to the test with more "modern" software...
  • by VFVTHUNTER ( 66253 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:00PM (#2195662) Homepage
    "Microsoft has optimized IE with Windows, using closed source binaries and tweaks only they could ever do being as they wrote the bloody operating system. Mozilla, Netscape, Opera haven't had that wonderful advantage..."

    This comment would be true if we were compiling mozilla on Windows. But since we are all talking about open-source browsers (mostly) running on an open-source OS, this BS hardly applies. Everyone who has ever written an app has had the same access to the same source code.

    Given all the bitching on this site about the bloated nature of M$ products, I would submit to you that given the same hardware, a browser running on Linux should (had better be) faster than whatever browser running on M$. Otherwise, we'd all better shut the f**k up.

    This comment submitted from Galeon.
  • by Bridog ( 410044 ) <blb8 @ p o . c w r u .edu> on Monday August 20, 2001 @10:29AM (#2197217)
    Maybe I'm a bit extreme, but these tests are in no way representative of my browsing environment. Clearly, if the browser can't render a table or include an image, then it pretty much fails the HTML compliancy test. With regards to a browser being useable, however, it's going to take many more tests.

    For example, I rarely, if ever, have only one browser window open; I have seven right now. In this measure, Opera fails instantly. The last time I checked, you could have multiple pages loaded in Opera, but they couldn't be outside the main Opera window. With Mozilla and Netscape, I frequently have multiple pages spanning multiple screen pages and multiple desks. In this regard, Netscape wins above Mozilla, though only slightly, because it can launch a new window onto a different desk. If you try to launch a new Mozilla window, which is a little bit slow to begin with, and try to skip to a new desk before it loads, it will pop you back to a different desk, meaning you have to then move the new window to the desk you want. Of course, let's not get into multi-heading, because Opera would fail even more miserably.

    If you measure stability, though, Netscape is going to lose. I think Mozilla has crashed one time, ever. Given that I launch a browser, and then run it for weeks without closing it, and given that it goes through many new windows and many removed windows, Netscape loses. It just leaks too much memory. Every 14 days it would crash (rather, it would fill up ALL of the swap space). Mozilla went down for a really bad URL (poor content design). I don't recall it ever going down for a memory leak.

    What am I saying? Netscape, while fast, just can't handle what I do to it; it leaks too much. Opera was fast (in my experience), perhaps the fastest browser I've seen (faster than IE), but if I can't browse 55 different pages in 25 to 55 different places on my desktop, forget it. Mozilla wins for now, because the 0.9.x optimizations have made it fast enough to use, and it doesn't die every week like Netscape. The others I have no experience with.

    The tests, while interesting information about `old' machines' capabilities, may not be very representative of today's user base, or of today's optimized code.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling