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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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  • We both like 'knoquers'.
  • telnet (Score:2, Funny)

    by Nastard ( 124180 )
    Telnet in on port 80 and do a manual get.

    Anything else is for wussies.
    • Re:telnet (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'd just noticed that myself. Bizarre.

      % echo "GET / HTTP/1.0" | nc 80 | head | grep '^X-' | grep -v '^X-Powered'

      X-Bender: Oh, so, just 'cause a robot wants to kill humans that makes him a radical?

      X-Bender: OK, but I don't want anyone thinking we're robosexuals.

      X-Fry: Nowadays people aren't interested in art that's not tattooed on fat guys.

      X-Bender: Honey, I wouldn't talk about taste if I was wearing a lime green tank top.

      X-Bender: Bite my shiny, metal ass!

    • Or simply try this header viewer [].
  • by Ford Fulkerson ( 223443 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:14PM (#2194772)
    I prefer knoqueror

    I guess slashcode still doesn't include a spellchecker.

  • 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.
  • Opera Slow? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rura Penthe ( 154319 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:16PM (#2194776)
    From the article: Opera is slick, but it's page rendering is nothing short of horrendous. Galeon performed well in all tests, and, aesthetics aside, it's a good choice.

    I haven't noticed this myself...In my experience Opera has (almost always) been very fast in rendering HTML for viewing. Its only problem is that it waits for images to load before it displays anything past the image tag in question. Perhaps this was why it took so long to load the page in the test.
    • I think that since Galeon's aesthetics match that of the current gtk+ theme, it should be given a more positibe view. I use a graphite Aqua theme and I believe that Galeon is the most pleasing because it matches the rest of my desktop.
      • Looks are subjective, of course, but I too disagree with the author's opinion that Galeon is the worst looking of the lot. If GNOME is your desktop, then Galeon looks and feels native, which is important to me for some reason. This is why I also tend to use IE (gasp!) when I'm using Windows. At any rate, just about all of the current Linux web browsers have come a long way, so whatever you choose is going to be a good choice.

  • 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.

    • 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 danheskett ( 178529 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @08:53PM (#2195503)
        I have started to, but let me share some of my experiences:

        Back in the "day", I routinely test with IE 4.0 and NS 4.08. It was only marginally hard to make them both render more or less the same, so long as you broke a few HTML rules along the way, and kept the HTML basic (I often had to code two sets of tags for a single page element - and usually IE ignore the non-IE one and NS ignored the non-NS one).

        A few years back, at the dawn of the IE5 era, I began noticing a huge decrease in NS usuage in my logs. Over the course of a few months, NS usuage went from about 50% to about 5%. Over the next two or three months, bringing us to about January two years previous, the usuage of NS began to form an vertical asymtope with zero. A coupe visitors a day seemed to be using NS, and even that curbed off to a few visitors every couple of weeks.

        At that point I decided that it would save me between 20%-30% of my time to not any longer test, fix, and check for NS, especially when getting into more complex issues involving java, javascripts, dhtml, css et all. I made an effort to write clean HTML, and IE rendered it all with equal medocrity. If an irate NS emailed me, I fixed the problem they mentioned.

        About 6 months ago I started looking at the Mozilla tree again, mainly because I am BeOS closet-user and wanted to see it run in my VMWare BeOS sessions. I believe the version was right after the last milestone release, something like .7.

        I started testing for .7 Mozilla again, and things were good. About three months ago, or whenever .8 came out, I noticed that Mozilla usuage surpassed NS 4 usage. Thank God/Other Diety/Nothingness.

        Then .9 came out, and a whole bunch of stuff started getting whacky. A custom theme I tediously wrote for my customers stopped working. CSS suddenly was acting funny, and CSS2 seemed to just stop. I noticed a few Bugzilla posts that seemed to fit the description of my problems.

        So then one of my main clients tasks me with writing a cross-platform javascript heavy intranet/extranet site "solution". The app really did require alot of interactivity on the page level, so I began writing it, hoping to deploy customized and branded versions of IE5.5 and Mozilla .9.

        I worked on everything long and hard, and it finished up two days before deadline. Then Mozilla .9.2 was released.

        All of the sudden, a key feature, the ability to upload multiple files through the input type=file tag was taken out. The release notes tell me that it was intentional, and that many other browsers do not implement multiple file uploads. IE5.5 does, and it was central to my design. So what has come from it? Its not scheduled to be fixed, no one really cares about it. My options are to continue using older Mozilla builds until I can scarcely find them anymore. Of course, we all know that .9 is nice but exactly "finished". I mean, I can't very well plan on deploying .9 for the next 3-4 years, can I?

        My whole point? Well, I guess its this: Mozilla is a cool project that isn't done yet. Maybe by the time 1.0 rolls around I can use it in standards-compliant environment, but not today, and now two months ago when I really needed.

        So all and all, I guess I am SOL until either I learn enough about the Mozilla source to fix the program myself (not likely, apparently.. have you ever LOOKED at all that source? Just locating the proper section is hard, let alone analyzing it enough to solve the problem) or until IE5.5 gets released/ported into Linux and other OS's.
    • by mz001b ( 122709 )
      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 think this proves that at all. I have been happily using Mozilla since version 0.8, and I like 0.93 much better than anything else I've tried. This of course is my opinion, some people like Konquerer (sp?) but I would say that there are good browsers for Linux.

      Mozilla has been very stable for me. I have not had any crashes. I encourage you to evaluate the browsers for yourself.

      Loading time for a browser is a non-issue for me. I load it once and that's it. I don't have to do that again until I reboot. There are other measures that I would have like to see in this comparison, like adherence to the stardards, implementation of different features. One /. page is not the end all of HTML rendering.

    • by Surak ( 18578 )
      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 dunno. Tend to think that a lot of software sucks, including web browsers and operating systems. The question actually becomes which sucks less?

      Mozilla sucks because it doesn't render some pages (mostly ones designed with IE in mind) correctly, and its load time is slow. IE sucks because of its tendency to crash and its tendency to bring the rest of the operating system (even on Win2k) down with it. Konqueror sucks because it doesn't render pages with Netscape OR IE in mind.

      But everything is a tradeoff. Mozilla is, bar none, the most second most stable browser on Linux, following Netscape 4.x closely. IE loads fast on Windows because, well, the code for IE is always in memory on a system with ActiveDesktop installed and is fairly stable on WinNT or Win2K. Konqueror is pretty stable, but it loads fast on KDE and isn't a memory hog like Mozilla. Opera is cool, but has a tendency to be slow and not render pages correctly. Plus it costs money.

      Mozilla, Konqueror and Galeon are the three most viable open source browsers on Linux.

      Everything in software is a tradeoff in terms of peformance, size, and functionality. Performance, size, functionality: pick any two.

      Given all of this info, I still prefer Konqueror, but I use Mozilla sometimes. To me Konqueror sucks less, but I tend to lean towards software that is higher performance. (That's one main reason I chose Linux over FreeBSD, Windows, or other operating systems available on my hardware)

      You just need to decide which set of tradeoffs is best for you.

      • I would say that Mozilla has since surpassed Netscape as far as stability. There are still certain sites that will hork Mozilla and require you to use something like Netscape, but at least Mozilla will allow for a "softer" crash than Netscape.
  • knoqueror

    You must mean konqueror :P.

    Anyway, I really like Konqueror as well, except for the fact that it seems to like pulling things out of the cache instead of downloading them as it should. Yes, this speeds things up, but on frequently changing sites such as /. [] and Fark [], it gets to be a pain. I've been using Netscape lately, but as everybody knows, it has stability (and bloat) problems.
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:22PM (#2194798)
    The author of this article referes to Galeon as "nasty" and "tacky". I'm looking at a Galeon window right now, and it has only six small icons, a URL bar, the throbber, and standard GNOME menubar. I think it looks very minimal and tastful.

    The author says Opera is clean and simple. In my eyes, Opera is horrible. It's default screen is covered with 500 different widgets. When you load a page, they all start whizzing and moving around. It's very distracting. Opera doesn't look at home on GNOME nor KDE, which just adds to its problems. Opera, with its adverts and grotesque widgets, is a visual insult.

  • hello (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I strictly use only MS Internet Explorer becuase that's the only browser that doens't try to steal my flamberge.
  • loading slashdot?... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gkuchta ( 451185 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:23PM (#2194809)
    Slashdot uses a lot of tables on the pages which can take a while to render, so what better test for a browser. Obviously this is a pretty extreme test as most pages are nowhere near as big.

    Opera: 127 seconds
    Konqueror: 57 seconds
    Mozilla: 71 seconds
    Galeon: 64 seconds
    Skipstone: 57 seconds (Note: Browser crashed on first attempt.)
    Netscape: 34 seconds
    Winner: Netscape Navigator

    These load times are absurd. Is this guy connected to the internet via a 300-baud phone-coupler attached to a telephone line spliced together with paper clips? I'm on a cablemodem, and it takes less than two-seconds to fully load slashdot. I think it took about 9 or 10 when I was on a dialup. Anyone else think these figures look a little inflated?
    • "Anyone else think these figures look a little inflated?"

      Depends. He said it was a 360kB page (supposedly a story with comments, not the homepage). So pick a page with a similar size and see what you come up with.

    • For this test, I took a 370kb page from Slashdot page. I saved the page out, rather than use it on the site, since comments could be added on the site which would skew the results.
      It's even worse than that - it took him that long to render pages off his own disk. Apparently he was rendering Shrek in the background.
    • by rho ( 6063 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:39PM (#2194861) Homepage Journal

      He saved the page to local disk -- network time had nothing to do with it.

      However, his hardware did: a Pentium 166. My main machine is a P-133, and I normally see such load times on complicated sites. While I could use a faster computer, a slower one is a good indicator of when your HTML is getting out of hand and that it's time to stop dinking with it.

      Regardless, I still use Netscape 4.7x for these reasons -- it's fast, relatively stable while Mozilla on a P-133 is a complete joke.

    • In my recent experience w/the above browsers (minus Skipstone and Galeon) Netscape is still the overall winner.

      Konq is great and all but it still renders some pages incorrectly, crashes quite a bit (I haven't done much testing on the latest and greatest but I will), and in general causes me a lot of headaches w/all the shit it loads (I don't run KDE)

      Netscape (the latest 6.whatever) works well, it rarely crashes (once since I have dl'd it), it is fast, and it loads the pages that I look at just fine.

      Mozilla has frequent crashes and is ungodly slow for whatever reason.

      Opera. UGH. First of all it is horribly crowded, 100 things going on at once, and it crashes when I try to load just about any page.

      I don't know what the hell the guy is talking about w/the load times. I have DSL and it takes only a few seconds to load everything.

      I wish that there was a "MS HTML" compatible browswer out there that would just bring us up to speed w/the rest of the world.

      Just my worthless .02
      • Opera. UGH. First of all it is horribly crowded, 100 things going on at once, and it crashes when I try to load just about any page.

        Try the Windows version. It's much more stable, and faster. And has the nifty gesture navigation that I can't live without after using it for a few months now...
    • I'm using Opera to read this very article, and there is no way his numbers are correct. I'm on a slower DSL line, on a Celeron 333 RedHat box. The article loaded in about 3 seconds, measured from the time I clicked the link to the time it was fully rendered on screen. It's way faster than Mozilla or Netscape when loading the same pages.
      • I'm using Opera to read this very article, and there is no way his numbers are correct. I'm on a slower DSL line, on a Celeron 333 RedHat box. The article loaded in about 3 seconds, measured from the time I clicked the link to the time it was fully rendered on screen. It's way faster than Mozilla or Netscape when loading the same pages

        Ok, well unless the page you are loading is the same 360k page the author tested on, and you divide the load time the author saw (127 seconds) by 2 (you're about twice his CPU speed in MHz, so all architecural differences aside, we should be able to call it about 50%) your comment is not applicable.

        Remember, the author used a complicated HTML page with multiple nested tables.
    • by gibara ( 165385 )
      On an underpowered machine, it is inevitable that the browsers which are designed to be scalable, and to perform well at larger tasks will be precisely those which perform worst.

      I think this trend is clearly apparent in the given rendering (not loading) times. I am not suprised at these high figures, most of it will be accounted by virtual memory paging.
    • I loaded a recent Slashdot article ( 11) over an ISDN connection with the four Windows browsers I have. Instead of timing how long it took between hitting "reload" and the progress bar stopping, I looked at how much of the page each browser displayed while loading the 50 or so comments that are displayed with my threshold:2 and overflow:3.

      slashdot in light mode

      ie article, no comments
      moz article and the comments loaded so far
      ns4 article, no comments
      opera article, no comments

      slashdot in heavy mode

      ie nothing except stuff above the article
      moz article, no comments
      ns4 nothing except stuff above the article
      opera nothing except stuff above the article

      Conclusion: the fastest way to read Slashdot over a non-broadband connection is to use Mozilla and set Slashdot to light mode.

      I didn't test Konqueror because it isn't available for my platform (!?), and I didn't test Gecko embedders because they should behave similarly to Mozilla when rendering pages.
  • 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.
    • 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.

      True comments, for the browser. However, the mail&news client is still, on my PII-300MHz Linux system, juuust on the barely-acceptable side of unusably slow.

      And still refuses to check ALL imap folders for new messages automatically.


  • 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.
    • Re:Explorer? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 )

      A German magazine did a similar thing a while ago, only they included MSIE.

      They did? I'd love to see the article. Especially the part how they ran IE under Linux. You did notice that the article is about browsers under Linux, right? Suggesting a browser not available for Linux is as silly as a Windows magazine including reviews of MacOS and Linux software.

    • IE 5/WINE howto (Score:5, Informative)

      by rinkjustice ( 24156 ) <rinkjustice@NO_S ... ODcom minus punc> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @09:16PM (#2195559) Homepage Journal
      There's an IE 5/WINE howto at:

      which shows you how to run IE 5 in Linux. Someone wrote me recently stating v5.5 doesn't work w/ the command-line parameters i used, but I know personally circa 5.0 does. It works decently too, rendering pages nearly as well as the Windows counterpart.
    • by mosch ( 204 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:07PM (#2195867) Homepage
      Everybody knows that actions speak louder than words. A few weeks ago I posted a link to a page that I mirrored, as the original site got slashbanged. Looking at the logs, I have:
      • 1440 people using IE 5.5
      • 1163 people using IE 5.0/5.01
      • 954 people using Mozilla
      • 748 people using Netscape 4.7x
      • 309 people using IE 6.0 preview
      • 227 people using Opera
      • 178 people using Konqueror
      • 215 people using Netscape 4.6x
      • 102 people using Galeon
      • 22 people using iCab
      • 1 person using SkipStone
  • Galeon Problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Verloc ( 119412 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:25PM (#2194815)
    I'm using Galeon to read this right now 0.11.0, and while it's a really nice, clean interface, it does have some problems. htm []

    This is one of them. One of the two pop ups on this page crash it EVERY time. Without fail. I warn you, do not visit this in Galeon (unless there is some way of turning pop-ups off, which is entirely possible, I've never really delved too deep into it's guts.

    But I like it MUCH better than Mozilla and Netscape. It just seems cleaner to me.

    And for those of you visiting that web site in non Galeon browers, I did eventually figure out how to roll a joint without its help :)

    • Re:Galeon Problems (Score:3, Informative)

      by msaavedra ( 29918 )

      I tried this in Galeon-0.12pre3 and the link loads fine. Maybe the problem you are experiencing has been fixed. I imagine 0.12 will be out fairly soon, since pre3 seems pretty solid.

      And by the way, yes, you can turn off pop-ups.

    • I'm running Galeon 0.12pre1. I tried your link twice and each time got a different popup, and it loaded with no problem. Maybe you should try updating Galleon and Mozilla on your system.

  • Gimme a break... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quartz ( 64169 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:30PM (#2194833) Homepage
    From the article: Konqueror: Clean, simple and boring. Perfectly functional, with the bare minimum of fuss. The spinning KDE logo in the corner looks very nice, but of course adds nothing to your browsing experience.

    Konqueror, boring? Gimme a break. It's completely themable and it doesn't even need its own themes like Mozilla, you can use general KDE themes. And it works wonderfully as a file manager (and network browser and PDF and manpage viewer), with smooth icon previews of HTML, ps, pdf, images and text files. You can split the view in however many sub-windows you want, you can even have a shell prompt as a subwindow. It has a full screen mode. Right now, I'm browsing with KDE and Konqueror in "Aqua" theme and it looks, well, let's just say you have to buy an Apple if you want something to look cooler than that.

    And what's up with testing on a ridiculously outdated machine? P166, no MMX, 32 MB RAM? You've gotta be kidding me. If I wanted a browser that worked fast on this configuration, I'd have stuck with Netscape 3.0...
    • 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.

  • No one is going to take this review seriously. Not only does the author not give version numbers he also refers to Netscape Navigator as "Netscape". Was he testing the corporation itself?

    Personally, I'd be more interested if Navigator 6.1 were compared along side 4.7x and Mozilla.
    • Netscape 6.1 isn't called "Navigator" anywhere. It's just called "Netscape", showing that in this wonderful language of ours a name can have two different referents with no problem at all.

      You lose.
  • 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

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

      No, just a few million terrabytes of pr0n!
  • 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?

    • not really (Score:2, Informative)

      by metalhed77 ( 250273 )
      well many people rarely use those environments, a FAIR test would have been 2 benchmarks one without kdeinit running one with. THen again it doesn't really matter becasue this review has so many probs with it it's not usefull at all.
    • by Junta ( 36770 )
      Maybe if comparing to I.E. in windows, but in Linux, it is important to note this. Maybe it would be fairer to include in-environment numbers, but that stacks the deck in favor of Konq too much. One of the huge objections I have to most KDE apps is that they require so many support processes to be running for even the most simple tasks, while Gnome apps could care less whether or not the "Gnome environment" is running. Konq and KDE are very good things, but the way the environment dependencies work is just insane..
  • by Skynet ( 37427 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @05:56PM (#2194915) Homepage
    *CmdrTaco loads*
    *CmdrTaco types in "tux the penguin nude"*
    *Penguin loads up in goatse position*
    CmdrTaco: hmmmm....
    *CmdrTaco types in "RMS nude"*
    *Google locks...*
    CmdrTaco: ^$%$#@!
  • I use galeon and konqueror mostly and the occasional skipstone (which is by the same guy that does gkrellm and pronto) mozilla, navigator and opera just seem to be the EMACS of web browsers. it always seems funny to me that in the Unix (one tool per job) world we have so many kitchen sink utils. vi, galeon or konq, enlightenment. I like to keep things simple looking if not simple.
  • 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... :-(
  • 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 imevil ( 260579 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:59PM (#2195125)
    I had to do a Browser comparison with an application which needed hiding and displaying parts of a web page: depending on what you clicked some different stuff appeared.

    This application uses a lot of features a browser can handle: stylesheets (and the nasty "display" attribute), JavaScript, tables, forms and XML.

    I tried the following browsers (under Windows, since the people who will use it mainly have Windows):

    Netscape 4.x
    Netscape 6.1
    Internet Explorer 5.x
    Opera 5.12
    Amaya 5.1
    Mozilla 0.9.3

    Here are the results:
    - IE kicked ass in everything, and even displayed the XML stuff right.
    - NS 6.1 kicked ass too, but 6 or 7 times slower. Prettier display, but hideously slow (and no XML, but we didn't care). Same thing for Mozilla (duh).
    - NS 4.x sucked. Couldn't handle the "display: none" property properly. No XML.
    - Opera faked kicking ass, but in fact had JavaScript problems... just wouldn't show anything whatever you clicked. No XML.
    -Amaya didn't even fake. I guess it was a JavaScript problem because the display of the object was weird. But it faked some XML. displayed the source as plain text (ohh it's displaying something!! no, it's the source)

    Conclusion: best results on Win: (sniff) IE. Followed by NS6.1 and Mozilla. Then comes Opera.

    Gotta try some browsers under Mac and Linux now too, maybe.

  • Being chained to the horrible outlook at work, i have to say that i think that mozilla's mail tool is really nice. It does everything i want in email cleanly and with out any hassel. I really think that an email tool should be separate from the browser so that you can mix and match, but in this case the mail tool makes mozilla the only choice for me.
  • measuring stability (Score:3, Informative)

    by jesser ( 77961 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:59PM (#2195349) Homepage Journal
    a site that will crash a browser one day will work fine the next in my experience

    No kidding. IE crashes on me multiple times daily, but I very rarely find a reproducible set of steps I can take to make it crash. Mozilla crashes on me occasionally, but I can almost always figure out what I need to do to reproduce the crash so I can file a bug.

    That doesn't mean it's impossible to measure stability. It just means that being able to find reproducible crashes isn't the same thing as having a stable product. If you wanted to compare the stability of various browsers, you would have to get a group of users to try different browsers for their daily browsing while running your own crash reporting tool, but that's far from impossible to do.

    Mozilla comes with a third-party program called Talkback that reports crashes to the developers. uses this data not only to find the most common crash bugs (by comparing the tops of the stack traces), but also to calculate theh "mean time between failure" to determine whether any given milestone (and maybe even nightly builds) is particularly stable. Internet Explorer 6.0 comes with a similar feature. (Both Mozilla and IE6 prompt the user before sending the crash report.)
  • My experience, on a much faster more modern machine with lots of memory, is that Netscape is substantially slower, especially on complex pages, than either Opera or Konqi. I suspect that the test machine was running out of memory and was paging; Netscape being relatively small may have appeared better under those conditions.

    Frankly, if you care, rerun these tests yourself; I don't think the figures quoted are representative.

  • I've been using Mozilla more or less exclusively lately and it's to the point where it does just about everything I want. A bit of poking around on the Mozilla pages turns up some handy Javascript you can put in your user.js. I've set it up to disable all animations and to not allow Javascript to pop up any popups. The web is a lot less obnoxious using this setup.

    My biggest gripe with it now is that when you launch it, it takes 2-3 times longer to come up that Netscape 4.7. I think that load time is due to their having implemented yet another graphics library. While that means that it will look pretty much the same across every platform, it also means that it will not really fit in on any platform. It also means I have to apply yet another theme to get it pretty close to the same look and feel as the rest of my desktop (It's still a damnsight closer than Navagator ever was, though.)

    I noticed that this seems to take place at the lowest level, so it seems to me that Gaelon also takes the hit from having to load those extra libraries. I haven't tested galeon lately though, so maybe it's become faster with the recent Mozilla rendering speed improvements.

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