I have just updated to newest Ubuntu. Here are some points of interest:
- Thes removed the shutdown option from system menu. You now HAVE to use the stupid applet. IS this a GNOME or an Ubuntu decision. Personally i dont like this applet for shutting down. I always used the system menu. The applet looks so similar to the pidgin icon. Argh how stupid can programmers be? That would be a reason to dump GNOME. You should not remove essential stuff
- Flash does not work in Firefox and Epiphany
- I cant installe epiphany-webkit
- the volume ruler now is horicontal. Is this better? and he did crash
- The messaging (if you change volume, network is connected, etc.) now has a black background
- totem does not play videos and crashes
- monitor settings look much better. need to test it with my beamer.
- btw. the gnome 2.26 news again sound silly at least in german like:
- “GNOME’s web browser, Epiphany, gains an exciting new feature of an improved location bar, similar to the Awesome Bar popularized by Firefox 3.0.” – well Epiphany had this address bar BEFORE Firefox – it might have added searching the titles also – but what kind of GNOME marketing is that?
I am sure there is more to say. Why dont I file bug reports. Because I have lots of outstanding bugs that are undecided ot disputed so I know it does not make sense to submit new bugs. Its more likely that somebody reads this review and acts uppon that as that anybody really cares about new Ubuntu bugs from my experience. Thats sad but its true. That does not mean people do not work on bugs in Ubuntu – but they tend to either fix clear bugs or dismiss anything they dont get. Like the Evolution guys who still have crappy spam marking options. I did file a bug in GNOME bugzilla years ago but they still think spam handing is not important. That was the single reason for me to switch to Thunderbird.
As I wanted to (for the first time) convert an MP4 video to a patent free version with OGG Theora I found that the solutions is simple. There is a command line tool “ffmpeg2theora” for Unix systems. This is part of “OggConvert” and sure is available for many Unix based operating systems.
I started “GNU Screen” from command line which enables me to close the terminal at every point without ending the conversion process. This is often smarter than using some GUI tools which might break more easily. With this process you can even reset your session without stopping the conversion. I then just typed “ffmpeg2theora filename.mp4” and it will produce a file named “filename.ogv”.
What I just describes is no magic at all, but plain and simple.
Again Why Theora?
Because Theora is patent free. So nobody who is watching the file will ever need a license to play it. You should consider using Theora. Firefox 3.5 will support playing it without any plugins! Its the new free video standard of the internet.
I have read the comic about Googles new chrome browser and I must day I am impressed. It targets some points I like to see in browsers:
- They call it “omnibar” – others say Opera was the first – personally I know it from Epiphany for ages – and Epi still is ahead in the implementation because it includes search engines also.
- Google Chrome also has tab completion for search engines. Personally I think this is smarter than Epiphanys solution – also Chrome fetches the search engines automatically if you visit a site. That may be difficult if there is more than one search box, isnt it?
- Starting with last visited pages is not nice. I dont want anybody tht I show my browser to see exactly which pages I visit most often and so give him an insight about my preferences. This is a privacy issue in my view. I think organizing that in some kind of menu or my recalling adresses also in respect of how often they are visited would be smarter.
- The ‘incognito window’ allows me that everything I browse in that window not being saved (no history, etc.). Good idea!
- Popups banned to the tabs they come from – yeah. nice.
- The security model is smarter than what we had before
- A crashing plugin not being able to crash the whole browser would be a great accomplishment. As this is one reason i cant use Epiphany nowadays – because Adobes closed source flash player constantly crashes it. You know that flash nowadays really is on nearly every page – so that happens quite often – how I would love open source flash plugins to become a perfect alternative. Then bugs would be fixed finally.
- Chrome downloads malware sites. So this is kind like the adblock lists available? If so, thank you and this can be incorporated into other browsers, too
All in all I think this is a nice thing. There are some other important points, too such as a focus on stability and a fast javscript engine – but thats not really my focus. Why does Google do that? I think that Google has hoped that other browsers would become more capable and that this did not happen fast enough and so they decided o take WebKit and make it even better, just like Apple did with Safari. Again a lesson in Free Software. Where this will end up is that these browsers will gain something:
- Konqueror uses KHTML, WebKit comes from KHTML. I guess it will use webkit as default in the future, also.
- Safari as it uses Webkit from beginning or better Apple forked KHTML to do WebKit.
- Epiphany as it will switch to WebKit
- Some mobile browsers like for Google Android and Nokia stuff (Nokia bought Trolltech who build Qt. And Qt is used to make WebKit)
Mozilla has lost the support of many projects who were using the Gecko engine or where evaluating it. As far as I understand those projects felt that Mozilla cared more about Firefox and Thunderbird and so they had some bugs open in the rendering engine which they then handled in the interfaces rather in the engine itself – and that Gecko was more complex to use.
I have seen that myself – when you try to build Epiphany and have a constant problem with the XULRunner component (compatibility issues).
So I am seldom critical to what Google does, because I always thought what they did had a good quality. I now have tested Yahoo search for a while because it is default for firefox search in address bar – but the results are essentially worse. And I dont know of any other viable alternative. And this has been going on for years. Google also has made some smart moves in business like Gmail, etc. where they essentiall daid that disk space should not be an issue and invested some time to make the interface smarter than general web based mailers. In the end Google often wins because their results or products are better.
I agree that they are too dominent now and I would love to see more competitors – but those now are just too greedy and too silly. Google can be beaten for sure – they are also humans (at least I think so, LOL) . There is a lot potential in the web – Some years ago, before Google hit the search engin scene there were actually different search engines you could select from. Today i still only use Google, because I like to get the best result of what I intend for my search. if other search engines would try to do that they would become better, also. But essentially most others try harder in selling ads first and funnily thats why Google earns more money than those others. I think that only Open Source can stop Google -and I even think that Google would not see this as competition. Google already has moved into different fields and soon the search technology will not be the heart of their business. It was just the one thing they were the best in the world and what everybody needed and wanted. So I see the point where Google might even open up the code of their search engines – not soon though. I dont have an overview of where they earn the most but think that still the search engine is too essential for them to share much of the knowledge?
As Epiphany on Ubuntu constantly crashes with Flash I needed to go back to usage of Firefox. Its so complicated t use, although it partly has added some Epiphany features like when you type it searches in your bookmarks – what Epi providied since ages. I still dont have illigent search like on Epi where I type a word and then could select a search engine to use. Is there a way to get such search in Firefox, also.
I recently had huge problems after the adblock-plus package got updated – some weird installation error and adblock plus got deactivated – I guess this one problem you get if the core plugins (anybody out there who can live without adblock plus?) are not distributed and manage by the core team. I have deleted these files in my firefox directory: “extensions/*, pluginreg.dat”. That allowed me to install the newest Adblock Plus 0.7.5.5. again. Weird but ok. Problem is that no general user may ever come to this solution. Those who cant handle might be better off when the save all bookmarks to desktop or so – exit FF – then remove .mozilla/firefox directory and recreate a Firefox profile by start it again – the reimport bookmarks.
I use this post to just list some hints how insecure Firefox can get:
Some other things I like to critisize:
- This is a good thing: Actually FF now uses Epiphanys model of accessing (via “Smart Location bar” ) bookmarks – bookmarks, tags and history are searched while you type. Also bookmarks now get tags instead that they are stored in folders. Whats funny about that is that this was one of the major reasons to use Epiphany – so now FF uses that, too – Whats bad about that? Nothing much, just want to mention that Epiphany had that since MANY years
- “Organic software”? WTF? One essence of open source software is not think your users are stupid. Firefox thinks people think organic food is nice and so they do want organic food for their computers. Well… its just nonsense, this kind of “microsoftic” “aollike” marketing. If you dont want smart people to use your browser tell us in clear words!
I must say maybe Epiphany was not able to continue its road of inventions and rather made solid new releasesm while some problems were still in place. But I still prefere Epiphany as it seems to me lightyears ahead in simplicity. And now that Mozilla does this promotional shit I have lost my last hope that Firefox might once be either unified with Epiphany or better than Epiphany.
I think one problem FF faces is FeatureCreep. I personally dont think fewer features are always good. But if software is build to get more features in it always gets messy.
Also read another criticism with another view: “What have I got against Firefox 3?” from Nanci Barthelmess