what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

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what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Alexander van Loon
I asked this to Matt Zimmerman, he replied to me that I should post this
on this list so that other people know the reason as well.

Part of original e-mail to Matt Zimmerman:

Please read this https://bugzilla.ubuntu.com/show_bug.cgi?id=18786 .
Here you closed this feature request with the explanation that it should
be discussed on the ubuntu-devel, and that it has been discussed before.

So I started searching in the archives of ubuntu-devel of the past 6
months. The only post which discussed this issue was this one:
http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011292.html . Ironnically however another developer, Jeff Waugh, later replied that it should not be discussed on ubuntu-devel - http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011311.html .

But what I still don't know is why the Ubuntu devs don't intend or don't
want to replace Firefox with Epiphany by default. Could you please
explain the reasons to me?


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Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Mario Đanić


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mario Đanić <[hidden email]>
Date: Jan 5, 2006 12:11 AM
Subject: Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?
To: Sander van Loon <[hidden email]>



On 1/4/06, Sander van Loon <[hidden email]> wrote:
I asked this to Matt Zimmerman, he replied to me that I should post this
on this list so that other people know the reason as well.

Part of original e-mail to Matt Zimmerman:

Please read this <a href="https://bugzilla.ubuntu.com/show_bug.cgi?id=18786" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)"> https://bugzilla.ubuntu.com/show_bug.cgi?id=18786 .
Here you closed this feature request with the explanation that it should
be discussed on the ubuntu-devel, and that it has been discussed before.

So I started searching in the archives of ubuntu-devel of the past 6
months. The only post which discussed this issue was this one:
<a href="http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011292.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)"> http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011292.html . Ironnically however another developer, Jeff Waugh, later replied that it should not be discussed on ubuntu-devel - <a href="http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011311.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011311.html .

But what I still don't know is why the Ubuntu devs don't intend or don't
want to replace Firefox with Epiphany by default. Could you please
explain the reasons to me?

Probably because Firefox is much more accepted into community, has greater support and so on, is probably more stable, and so on?

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Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Paul Sladen-2
In reply to this post by Alexander van Loon
On Wed, 4 Jan 2006, Sander van Loon wrote:
> But what I still don't know is why the Ubuntu devs don't intend or don't
> want to replace Firefox with Epiphany by default. Could you please
> explain the reasons to me?

I can vagely remember the last time it came up, which appears to have been
in January 2005:

  http://www.google.com/search?q=ubuntu-devel+mindshare+firefox

..and I think it came up before that even so you may need to dig back a
little further aswell to find more answers.

I find it easier to think about the question by turning it around; so that
you're thinking about why you/me/I/Jane might replace Firefox with Epiphany.

It might be interesting to make a list (for yourself, you don't need to send
it to the mailing list) of humans you know---such as a friend, mother,
sister, aunt---and see which positive reasons you can think of that each
person gains from using Epiphany.

        -Paul
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Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Matt Zimmerman-2
In reply to this post by Alexander van Loon
On Wed, Jan 04, 2006 at 11:53:31PM +0100, Sander van Loon wrote:
> But what I still don't know is why the Ubuntu devs don't intend or don't
> want to replace Firefox with Epiphany by default. Could you please
> explain the reasons to me?

For the same reasons why we provide OpenOffice.org rather than
Abiword/Gnumeric/etc.  Firefox is a cross-platform standard that is
recognizable and familiar to users, and it has the momentum of the community
behind it.  Users can easily get help with it, even from Windows users.

That said, we've been shipping Firefox for three releases now, and received
a positive response to it.  If you're proposing a change, the burden is on
you to justify it, rather than asking "why not?".

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Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

João Pinto
In reply to this post by Alexander van Loon
IMHO being cross-platform is a key advantage for  firefox, even if the
"Preferences" button is placed on a different menu section having the
same functions, layout, themes and features (extensions) is a major
productivity factor for those who are used to other OS or which
frequently need to switch between OS.

I don't know much about Epiphany (I have only tested it a few times),
but judging from the wikki the advantages are mainly about GNOME
integration (and the always funny crash comparison).
I personally don't see a "default" interest or advantage on "session
management" for a browser, unless you want to restore to the previous
state from a crash (which I hope is not an expected event) in general
people don't want to open the exact same set of pages they had when the
browser was closed. Unless you are one of those users which starts the
browsing by simultaneously opening ALL the pages you will be visiting
during the day and and then keep those pages open until the end of the
day (regular browser close), for this (rare???) practice with firefox
you have the extension.

Attending the general acceptance of firefox as one of the most succeeded
open source projects in my opinion Epiphany needs some better arguments.

Best regards,

João Luís Marques Pinto
PTlink IRC Network
http://www.pt-link.net
PTlink IRC Software
http://software.pt-link.net



Sander van Loon wrote:

>I asked this to Matt Zimmerman, he replied to me that I should post this
>on this list so that other people know the reason as well.
>
>Part of original e-mail to Matt Zimmerman:
>
>Please read this https://bugzilla.ubuntu.com/show_bug.cgi?id=18786 .
>Here you closed this feature request with the explanation that it should
>be discussed on the ubuntu-devel, and that it has been discussed before.
>
>So I started searching in the archives of ubuntu-devel of the past 6
>months. The only post which discussed this issue was this one:
>http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011292.html . Ironnically however another developer, Jeff Waugh, later replied that it should not be discussed on ubuntu-devel - http://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel/2005-September/011311.html .
>
>But what I still don't know is why the Ubuntu devs don't intend or don't
>want to replace Firefox with Epiphany by default. Could you please
>explain the reasons to me?
>
>
>  
>

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

John Nilsson
In reply to this post by Mario Đanić
On Thu, 2006-01-05 at 00:12 +0100, Mario Đanić wrote:

> Probably because Firefox is much more accepted into community, has
> greater support and so on, is probably more stable, and so on?
>

In my experience, Epiphany is much more stable than firefox. Allthough
the situation is somewhat better in Deer Park, but not much.

Epiphany is also much better integrated with the rest of the system.

Deer Park and Epiphany seems to be roughly on par when it comes to start
up time. Epiphany is much faster than older firefox though.

Regards,
John


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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Sam Morris
John Nilsson wrote:
> In my experience, Epiphany is much more stable than firefox. Allthough
> the situation is somewhat better in Deer Park, but not much.
>
> Epiphany is also much better integrated with the rest of the system.

Check. Plus the option to restore the last used set of windows and tabs
is a life saver.

> Deer Park and Epiphany seems to be roughly on par when it comes to start
> up time. Epiphany is much faster than older firefox though.

I thought this when I first switched to Epiphany from Firefox. Months
later, the time it takes to open a new window has increased to ~5
seconds, and when I run Firefox I notice that it seems to be quicker.

The source of the difference is the browsing history. Both browsers are
much quicker when they don't have a few weeks of history stored up and,
apparently, accessed every time a window or tab is opened or closed.

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Quim Gil-2
Since Ubuntu is strongly betting on GNOME it would be good to offer
GNOME applications that integrate well with the desktop like Epiphany or
Abiword, Gnumeric... Even when they are less popular, they are lighter
than Mozilla or OpenOffice.org and they may fulfill perfectly the needs
of a good percentage of users.

Popularity is something subjective, you know. Many users will be
skipping from MS Explorer and MS Office to Ubuntu, why not Epiphany and
the GNOME Office family can't make them happier. The user wanting more
(more extensions, more office complexity) they will be able to switch
easily to the bigger applications. Those being guided by popularity
rates can switch either easily, no problem.

It would be good at least to offer these tools in the default Ubuntu
installation. Maybe a factor is the limitation of disk space. A
possibility could be to have a CD devoted for desktop only, assuming
that server distro users are statistically a minority and generally very
keen on downloading an own iso that builds a great server - only.

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Package rating by users Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Lea Gris
In reply to this post by Matt Zimmerman-2
Matt Zimmerman a écrit :

> That said, we've been shipping Firefox for three releases now, and received
> a positive response to it.  If you're proposing a change, the burden is on
> you to justify it, rather than asking "why not?".

We could have endless debates about what application is better than what
other application. If we stay at one person needs at a time, there is
certainly many different or conflicting answers.

Sure, there should be priorities, since, distro size and time to
maintain packages matter. So, if the goal is to satisfy a majority of
users, one man could rely on user rated packages to weight priorities
and choices.

Some time ago, I proposed having packages/applications rating à la
Mandriva where users can rate packages. The rating let show what
packages are beying introduced, prioritized or dropped for the next release.

While this was discussed via IRC #ubuntu, This proposition got quite
positive reactions there.

Where should that be discussed or redirected, so our wiki or the ubuntu
web sites could have package rating added and ubuntu maintainers agree
to account these ratings ?

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Re: Package rating by users Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

HC Brugmans
Lea Gris wrote:

> Matt Zimmerman a écrit :
>
>
>>That said, we've been shipping Firefox for three releases now, and received
>>a positive response to it.  If you're proposing a change, the burden is on
>>you to justify it, rather than asking "why not?".
>
>
> We could have endless debates about what application is better than what
> other application. If we stay at one person needs at a time, there is
> certainly many different or conflicting answers.
>
> Sure, there should be priorities, since, distro size and time to
> maintain packages matter. So, if the goal is to satisfy a majority of
> users, one man could rely on user rated packages to weight priorities
> and choices.
>
> Some time ago, I proposed having packages/applications rating à la
> Mandriva where users can rate packages. The rating let show what
> packages are beying introduced, prioritized or dropped for the next release.
>
> While this was discussed via IRC #ubuntu, This proposition got quite
> positive reactions there.
>
> Where should that be discussed or redirected, so our wiki or the ubuntu
> web sites could have package rating added and ubuntu maintainers agree
> to account these ratings ?
>

There is the popularity contest package, popcon. Perhaps this could be
used for such a vote, but it would _never_ show a win for epiphany
whatever you do.
Firefox is the default, and it is perfectly adequate as such for most
people. It is what they are most familiar with and what they would vote
for if we'd let it hang on popcon votes.
This not because firefox is better, or because I like firefox better,
but simply by virtue of being the default.

-Hidde

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Re: Package rating by users Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Stephan Hermann
In reply to this post by Lea Gris
Hi Lea,

On Thursday 05 January 2006 15:49, Lea Gris wrote:
> [...]
> Where should that be discussed or redirected, so our wiki or the ubuntu
> web sites could have package rating added and ubuntu maintainers agree
> to account these ratings ?

Write a specification about your proposal and create it on launchpad (affected
distro ubuntu)

Regards,

\sh

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Corey Burger
In reply to this post by Quim Gil-2
On 1/5/06, Quim Gil <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Since Ubuntu is strongly betting on GNOME it would be good to offer
> GNOME applications that integrate well with the desktop like Epiphany or
> Abiword, Gnumeric... Even when they are less popular, they are lighter
> than Mozilla or OpenOffice.org and they may fulfill perfectly the needs
> of a good percentage of users.
>
> Popularity is something subjective, you know. Many users will be
> skipping from MS Explorer and MS Office to Ubuntu, why not Epiphany and
> the GNOME Office family can't make them happier. The user wanting more
> (more extensions, more office complexity) they will be able to switch
> easily to the bigger applications. Those being guided by popularity
> rates can switch either easily, no problem.
>
> It would be good at least to offer these tools in the default Ubuntu
> installation. Maybe a factor is the limitation of disk space. A
> possibility could be to have a CD devoted for desktop only, assuming
> that server distro users are statistically a minority and generally very
> keen on downloading an own iso that builds a great server - only.
>
> --
> Quim Gil - http://desdeamericaconamor.org

(Putting my Userful hat on)

For a quick perspective, we at Userful ship Epiphany and not Firefox.
I should note for those who don't know, 95% of the users who use our
stuff don't even know they are using Linux, let alone Fedora Core,
GNOME or Epiphany.

What does this mean for Ubuntu? I think a webbrowser is a webbrowser
to most users. Your average grandma is never going to install any of
the 9 million plugins for Firefox that are out there and thus doesn't
need that capability. But they do want a consistent print/open dialog,
etc.

Also, there is a wiki page on this:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EpiphanyDefaultBrowser

Corey

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Robin Sonefors
tor 2006-01-05 klockan 09:22 -0800 skrev Corey Burger:

>
> (Putting my Userful hat on)
>
> For a quick perspective, we at Userful ship Epiphany and not Firefox.
> I should note for those who don't know, 95% of the users who use our
> stuff don't even know they are using Linux, let alone Fedora Core,
> GNOME or Epiphany.
>
> What does this mean for Ubuntu? I think a webbrowser is a webbrowser
> to most users. Your average grandma is never going to install any of
> the 9 million plugins for Firefox that are out there and thus doesn't
> need that capability. But they do want a consistent print/open dialog,
> etc.
I agree completely with the previous speaker. Consistency is one of the
most important aspects of Gnome (the way I see it). Epiphany uses the
same browser engine, and can thus do it's job as well as Firefox: that
is, show webpages. That is really all the browser-features you use. On
top of that, it also does it the Right Way with respect to Gnome.

I read something on the breezy devel forum about this a while back:
        What sounds better: "Ubuntu includes the Firefox browser, that
        is popular on Windows", or "Ubuntu includes a highly integrated
        web browser called Epiphany. It also makes it simple to install
        the popular Firefox"?
Something like that. If we base our decisions on popularity, what are we
doing with Linux?

The tools I use the most are browser, IM app, IRC app, mail app, and
document editor, in that order. Firefox, X-chat and OpenOffice - more
than half of my personal top five - isn't properly integrated with the
rest of the system. That does not give a very good impression.

But why start with Epiphany? I'd say Abiword is a far better program
than OpenOffice in every aspect I've seen, and what I've heard of
Gnumeric (don't use it) is that it is better than OpenOffice too -
Epiphany is not much more than equal to firefox (IMHO, of course - it
has a very annoying tab handling)
>
> Also, there is a wiki page on this:
> https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EpiphanyDefaultBrowser
>
> Corey
>

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Matt Zimmerman-2
In reply to this post by Quim Gil-2
On Thu, Jan 05, 2006 at 12:21:59PM +0100, Quim Gil wrote:
> It would be good at least to offer these tools in the default Ubuntu
> installation. Maybe a factor is the limitation of disk space. A
> possibility could be to have a CD devoted for desktop only, assuming
> that server distro users are statistically a minority and generally very
> keen on downloading an own iso that builds a great server - only.

We've made a conscious choice not to offer multiple solutions to the same
need in the default desktop install.  This is advantageous for support and
usability as well as size.

The existing Ubuntu CDs are desktop-oriented in their contents already.
They contain only a small handful of additional packages beyond what is
included in the desktop install (some network tools, kernel headers,
ssh/apache/samba/postfix).

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

MadMan2k
In reply to this post by Robin Sonefors
Robin Sonefors wrote:
> I read something on the breezy devel forum about this a while back:
>         What sounds better: "Ubuntu includes the Firefox browser, that
>         is popular on Windows", or "Ubuntu includes a highly integrated
>         web browser called Epiphany. It also makes it simple to install
>         the popular Firefox"?
to pick this up:
we should also consider, that users who need the functionality of
firefox  most probably know how to install it through synaptic but I
doubt that the same applies to users who would have been better of with
epiphany...

M2k

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Re: Fwd: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Sandis Neilands
In reply to this post by Robin Sonefors
On Thursday 05 January 2006 21:20, Robin Sonefors wrote:
> But why start with Epiphany? I'd say Abiword is a far better program
> than OpenOffice in every aspect I've seen, and what I've heard of
> Gnumeric (don't use it) is that it is better than OpenOffice too -
> Epiphany is not much more than equal to firefox (IMHO, of course - it
> has a very annoying tab handling)

The only thing that keeps me from removing open office is Impress. Does
anybody know if there is any progress in agnubis project (since their
homepage is slightly outdated) or is it abandoned?

And sorry for the little sidestep in this epiphany vs. firefox thread.
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Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Julien Olivier
In reply to this post by Alexander van Loon
Le mercredi 04 janvier 2006 à 23:53 +0100, Sander van Loon a écrit :
> I asked this to Matt Zimmerman, he replied to me that I should post this
> on this list so that other people know the reason as well.
>

IMHO, one if the big reasons why Firefox is a better default than
Epiphany is that you can have Firefox installed alone, but if you
install Epiphany, you need to have Firefox installed too. Consequently,
if Epiphany is installed by default, users will have 2 browsers by
default, which would be bad for many reasons.

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Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Sebastien Bacher
Le jeudi 05 janvier 2006 à 23:22 +0100, Julien Olivier a écrit :

> IMHO, one if the big reasons why Firefox is a better default than
> Epiphany

... for now, let's wait on xulrunner :)


Cheers,

Sebastien Bacher



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Re: Package rating by users Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Abel Cheung-2
In reply to this post by Lea Gris
On 1/5/06, Lea Gris <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Some time ago, I proposed having packages/applications rating à la
> Mandriva where users can rate packages. The rating let show what
> packages are beying introduced, prioritized or dropped for the next release.
>
> While this was discussed via IRC #ubuntu, This proposition got quite
> positive reactions there.
>
> Where should that be discussed or redirected, so our wiki or the ubuntu
> web sites could have package rating added and ubuntu maintainers agree
> to account these ratings ?
In the proposal, please stress the last sentence: "ubuntu maintainers _agree_
to account these ratings", and make sure voting is not just for sewing
users' mouths. Things in Mandriva is not as straight forward as you have
thought of.

Abel

>
> --
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>
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Re: what is the reason for not making epiphany the default browser?

Alexander van Loon
In reply to this post by Alexander van Loon
On Wed, 2006-01-04 at 15:48 -0800, Matt Zimmerman wrote:

> For the same reasons why we provide OpenOffice.org rather than
> Abiword/Gnumeric/etc.  Firefox is a cross-platform standard that is
> recognizable and familiar to users, and it has the momentum of the
> community
> behind it.  Users can easily get help with it, even from Windows
> users.
>
> That said, we've been shipping Firefox for three releases now, and
> received
> a positive response to it.  If you're proposing a change, the burden
> is on
> you to justify it, rather than asking "why not?".
>
> --
>  - mdz

I realize that the burden of proof is on me, but I thought that it would
be obvious that Epiphany is a better default, that's why I asked "why
not?". But apparently this isn't obvious, so let me explain.

I think that the previous replies on this thread and the wiki page -
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/EpiphanyDefaultBrowser - put it well. Epiphany
has the following advantages for the user:

- GNOME integration
- Epi conforms to the GNOME HIG -> better usability and easier to use.
- it is consistent with the rest of GNOME, Firefox feels out of place.

Besides the advantages for the user, there are also advantages for the
Ubuntu developers:

- easier translation-wise.
- will probably save disk space, if I'm correct the Firefox package
takes more space.
- release cycle is the same as GNOME's release cycle.

Because of these advantages, I think that Epi is a better default than
Firefox (a better default, not neccessarily a better browser). Sure,
Firefox might be more popular, but it is only more popular with the
"geeks". As said the average user doesn't need Firefox so badly (or
doesn't even know Firefox exists). The average user just wants a simple
browser that does it's job good. So they would like Epi probably more
because of integration and HIG. And since Ubuntu aims to be for human
beings and not for geeks only, the average user matters.

Have you already taken a look at the Epiphany road map -
http://live.gnome.org/Epiphany_2fRoadMap110 - here? I think the
advantages should be obvious now. I can read there that they want to
increase the integration even further. Read the part about
NetworkManager? Integration with NetworkManager seems importatnt to me.
My guess is that Firefox will either have no integration with NW at all,
and if it does have it that Epi will probably do it better.

Ubuntu is GNOME-centric, if you say A you've also got to say B in my
opinion.

And if people really need Firefox for the power user extensions, they
can always apt-get it.

Only thing which needs to be done to make Epi as default a succes is
making a separate Gecko package so that Epiphany doesn't depend on
Firefox but on Gecko.

By the way I think you can't compare OpenOffice vs. GNOME-Office with
Firefox vs. Epiphany. While apps like Abiword certainly are better than
OO Writer, OpenOffice is a complete office suite, and GNOME-Office is
not, GNOME-Office lacks an essential component, a presentation program
as another reply mentioned. So I can understand why you want to keep
OpenOffice because there are good reasons for that. However, I have not
seen good reasons for staying with Firefox.

You mention that:

1. Firefox is a cross-platform standard.
2. More recognizable and familiar to users and has momentum (what is
meant with that?).
3. Users can easily get help with it.
4. Ubuntu received a positive response for shipping Firefox.

I contest all those arguments. Sure Firefox might be cross-platform,
maybe you can consider it a standard, but I don't think that's a good
reason. Internet Explorer is the de facto standard on Windows market
share-wise, but that doesn't make it good. I don't think that it is more
recognizable and familiar either. The thing is that at a basic level
Epi, Firefox and Internet Explorer aren't much different. This counts
for the functionality the average user uses, such as Back, Forward,
Refresh, the location bar. Even though they are quite different
browsers, all the browsers have that functionality in the taskbar and
are familiar recognizable in that way. And if Epiphany would become the
default, i think the same thing would happen if Firefox were the
default; users will be able to easily get help with it and you will
receive a positive response from the pro-Epi and pro-GNOME camp, but
most importantly you will receive a positive response for the average
user. The pro-Firefox club might be annoyed because they have to apt-get
Firefox then, but that's not a disaster. Epiphany is the best default.

In short, the pro-Epiphany arguments are a lot more convincing to me
than the pro-Firefox arguments.

I hope the Ubuntu development team will discuss/consider this request.


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