List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Forum thread started by agreimann on Fri, 2010-11-19 21:22

For any end users who are interested (maybe I should post this as a document rather than a thread) :), here is a simple list of browsers for Haiku (with a 5-star ranking system based with one star granted per ranking of performance, stability, HTML4+ standards compliance, usability, and extensibility):

- WebPositive (or simply Web+) **** (performance, stability, standards compliance, usability)
- Arora **** (performance, stability, standards compliance, usability)
- Firefox *** (standards compliance, usability, extensibility)
- Net+ **- (stability, usability, some standards compliance)
- Bezilla/Mozilla *- (usability, some standards compliance)

If anyone knows of any more, or thinks this should be made into a document, please let me know! :) Or, for those who want to compare the browsers, feel free to post. :)

Comments

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Netsurf was ported before the decision to create WebPositive was made.

http://www.netsurf-browser.org/downloads/beos/

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Thank you very much for helping to add yet another browser to the list! It is very much appreciated, and it should help those looking for an official browser list. :)

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

The Bezilla builds are better than the Firefox/SeaMonkey builds floating around.

Bezilla uses patches (such as ones for NSPR) that have not been accepted upstream by Mozilla. The Firefox 3.x build on Haikuware is actually built from way before 2008 and was a 3.x beta. To give you an idea of how early that Firefox 3 build is, Cairo had not even become a build dependency at that point. Even though Bezilla uses the 2.x codebase, Mozilla backported numerous (security) fixes from 3.x, which are not in any of the other Firefox/SeaMonkey (for BeOS,Zeta,Haiku) builds.

In short, if you're going to use a mozilla based browser on Haiku, Bezilla is the best option.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Thank you for all who helped!

Here is the *updated* list of browsers for Haiku (with a 5-star ranking system based with one star granted per ranking of performance, stability, HTML4+ standards compliance, usability, and extensibility):

- WebPositive (or simply Web+) **** (performance, stability, standards compliance, usability)
- NetSurf **** (performance, stability, standards compliance, usability)
- Arora **** (performance, stability, standards compliance, usability)
- Firefox *** (standards compliance, usability, extensibility)
- Net+ **- (stability, usability, some standards compliance)
- Bezilla/Mozilla *-- (usability, some standards compliance, some performance with Bezilla)

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

thanks for this list, i think i'll try bezilla when i get the chance.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

The problem with BeZilla is that it is a VERY old version. Hopefully we'll see an up to date version of either Firefox or Chrome (or why not both) in the not so far off future. While webpositive is a great lightweight browser it does lack alot of functionality that I believe is generally expected from a modern browser these days. And this is not due to a lack of effort but rather due to a lack of available manpower. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox have entire development teams working full-time, we would have to clone Stippi many times over for him to have a chance in keeping up.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

What about Arora? I know the Haiku version has had image problems in the past, but it is the only browser that supports Flash out of the box. I use it on my home PC (Windows XP) and it works great.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

i noticed the stars after posting :) i suppose web+ would be better. (i don't ever need flash support.)

Is WebPositive still being maintained?

I can't seem to find a source repo for it or any news about it since around May this year. What's its status and repo?

Re: Is WebPositive still being maintained?

Web+ isn't yet in the Haiku repository. It's still at http://mmlr.dyndns.org/timeline together with the whole WebKit, I think. It's currently not really being worked on. The only changes for the past months were done to keep it working with newer Haiku revisions (think changes of the Locale or Layout API).

Regards,
Humdinger

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Since stippi is very busy these days I will probably get back to developing WebPositive and the Haiku WebKit port so that maybe we can eventually get 5 stars ;)

While it is most definitely true that the other browsers have huge teams developing them, I think (hope?) we can at least catch up to some extent and maybe even exceed them in some ways. Not having to be multiplatform is a big advantage and could allow for much tighter integration between WebPositive and Haiku, much like Microsoft does with IE (except ours won't be as evil, hehe.)

I also think it might be possible to leverage some of the Chrome extensions if we can build in support for part or all of Chrome's extension API.

I am also (reluctantly) learning more about Flash and our options there. While I think HTML5 support is a higher priority at some point we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room that is Flash. While Apple may be giving Adobe the finger they are mostly alone, and not having Flash in Haiku will just be one more of those things that keep people rebooting into other OSes (and maybe never even coming back to Haiku.)

I for example pretty much never use Haiku because I need so many things for my work which Haiku doesn't have. Of course I would like to change that one day and I hope I can. Because Linux still sucks in many ways, Mac OS X has its issues too, and I'll never make Windows my primary OS again.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Without distros, we might just be able to make that alternative to Windows without bothering about distros and with no need to buy a Mac, or upgrade your PC.
Who knows where it will go.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

leavengood wrote:

I think (hope?) we can at least catch up to some extent and maybe even exceed them in some ways. Not having to be multiplatform is a big advantage and could allow for much tighter integration between WebPositive and Haiku

Yes, integration is probably the big benefit of a 'native' browser for Haiku. But still, given the huge amount of competition in this area, development is very fast and I just can't see such a small dev team like the one Haiku has being able to keep up in the long run. Also, given how prominent the webbrowser is in day to day computer usage I believe (based on my own experiences which could very well be totally wrong) that people in general expects alot more of a webbrowser today than what webpositive can offer given how few people have time to work on it.

Also from a personal view I find that having Stippi working on Webpositive while Haiku is trying to reach the maturity of an R1 release likely isn't the best allocation of developer resources.

Of course Stippi should work on what he wants to work on, it's his spare time. But from a whole project perspective I think that given Haiku's current stage of development, developer resources allocated towards a native webbrowser could be better spent on the actual OS, particularly since I think it would take a huge development effort in order to get Webpositive to such a state that is expected of most users these days.

An up to date port of Firefox and/or Chrome would make Haiku alot more attractive for day-to-day use in my opinion. By leveraging extensions you would for instance be able to open Youtube (and many other video sites) videos directly in Haiku's native media player or vlc which would decrease the need for Flash support.

I would also say that in general I am in favour of porting as much software as possible in this stage of Haiku's existance since it will be quite some time if ever that Haiku will have native software lineup the size and quality of what is currently available to port over.

And perhaps most importantly I think it's the OS that should sell people on Haiku rather than native apps. People may love using Firefox or Chrome and not be interested in switching to a native but with-much-less-features browser, but there's a good chance they will enjoy using Firefox/Chrome (and other of their favourite ported apps) more in a great desktop OS environment like Haiku than in their current setup.

I hope this is not seen as any criticism, it's just my own very subjective thoughts on the matter. And I am extremely grateful for all the incredible work you guys put into Haiku and it's surrounding software.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Rox wrote:

Also from a personal view I find that having Stippi working on Webpositive while Haiku is trying to reach the maturity of an R1 release likely isn't the best allocation of developer resources.

Stippi didn't start from scratch. WebPositive is "just" a wrapper around the WebKit. Thus, his work was very effective and his time well employed.

Rox wrote:

Of course Stippi should work on what he wants to work on, it's his spare time.

And sometimes it's his (paied) job.

Rox wrote:

Yes, integration is probably the big benefit of a 'native' browser for Haiku. But still, given the huge amount of competition in this area, development is very fast and I just can't see such a small dev team like the one Haiku has being able to keep up in the long run.

Webpositive is not only a browser. It aims to be incorporated in the "Application Kit" to implement the BHTMLView. This will provide formatted-content display support in many applications (instant messaging, development tools...)

Rox wrote:

An up to date port of Firefox and/or Chrome would make Haiku alot more attractive for day-to-day use in my opinion.

Porting firefox is a "even more huge work", since it relies on Cairo. Cairo is responsible for firefox port(i.e. Bezilla) not being updated since FF3Beta.
what about porting chrome ? Do you know that Chrome, Safary, Arora and Webpositive already share most of their code ? (i.e. the Webkit, and therefore benefits of the same advances)

Rox wrote:

Yes, integration is probably the big benefit of a 'native' browser for Haiku. But still, given the huge amount of competition in this area, development is very fast and I just can't see such a small dev team like the one Haiku has being able to keep up in the long run.

Because it's based on Webkit, Webpositive already has a lot of contributers : Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and many people (see the Webkit commit log http://cia.vc/stats/project/webkit/ ) and then webpositive should be keep up to date without a huge amount of work...

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

starsseed wrote:

Webpositive is not only a browser. It aims to be incorporated in the "Application Kit" to implement the BHTMLView. This will provide formatted-content display support in many applications (instant messaging, development tools...)

Yes, this is certainly a great use of webkit, having it added to the Haiku kits as a way of accessing/displaying html. Just like it's great to see the media kit leverage ffmpeg rather than trying to maintain a ton of separate codecs. I just don't see the point of spending time on a native webbrowser given Haiku's current strive for a R1 release. Stippi is the guru of Haiku's gui and it's internals and I'd personally much rather have him working on improving that for a R1 release. BUT again, it's just an opinion, the decision is always up to those who are actually doing the work.

starsseed wrote:

Porting firefox is a "even more huge work", since it relies on Cairo. Cairo is responsible for firefox port(i.e. Bezilla) not being updated since FF3Beta.
what about porting chrome ? Do you know that Chrome, Safary, Arora and Webpositive already share most of their code ? (i.e. the Webkit, and therefore benefits of the same advances)

Yes I am very well aware of that, but again Webkit 'only' renders webpages. While being able to correctly display webpages is a must for any webbrowser, it's something taken for granted these days. Judging by the popularity of extensions, userscripts and the webbrowsers that support such, I believe few users will be content with a browser that will 'just' show webpages. I think that for webpositive to be a substitute for Firefox/Chrome it would have to incorporate some way to tap into the extensions offered by either chrome or firefox. And that's just now, WebM support and who knows what else will likely need to be supported aswell in the future, making for a huge workload.

As for Cairo I believe it couldn't be ported back then due to it requiring a newer version of GCC than 2.95, which is something Haiku has now. But Chrome is most likely much easier to port given that Webkit has successfully been ported (is someone maintaining it?) and I still think that a port of Chrome for example would give Haiku a much bigger boost in using the OS productively than a native client which will perpetually lag behind browsers like Chrome/Firefox in terms of what it can offer end users.

I may very well be wrong but that is what I believe.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

I couldn't get Arora to work. I downloaded it offHaikuware, stuck it on USB drive, stuck that into Haiku and when I extract it to /boot/, nothing happens. Anyone know why?

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Cairo could be built with gcc2.95. The big problem was that it never was ported to a completly working state. I didn't want to work on Cairo because IMO it sucks and the code is a mess, but I did write a guide for anyone else interested: http://wiki.bebits.com/page/BuildingCairo

For some reason people think gcc4 is required by everything, but it's not true. You just need a bit more time to fix incompabilities for gcc2.95. We did it for Firefox up until the point where we didn't care anymore and Cairo was forced in.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

tqh wrote:

Cairo could be built with gcc2.95. The big problem was that it never was ported to a completly working state.

Thanks for the info, for some reason I was under the impression that good old 2.95 was the culprit.

Re: List of Haiku web browsers & comparisons

Thanks, all. (If I forgot any browsers, let me know.) :)