Nov 13, 2016

How to run Epiphany (Web) Browser in Windows 10 with WSL

Epiphany (Web) is a lightweight Linux-only web browser based on the modern WebKit engine, and it is the default web browser in GNOME desktop environment. However, now you can run it natively in Windows 10, thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and the Xming X server for Windows.

Here is how to install Epiphany 3.12 in Windows 10:
  1. Install Windows Subsystem for Linux and reboot the computer
  2. Install Xming X server for Windows
  3. Open Windows Command Prompt and run: bash
  4. Run these commands in bash:
    sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser gnome-keyring gnome-themes-standard
    sudo sed -i 's/<listen>.*<\/listen>/<listen>tcp:host=localhost,port=0<\/listen>/' /etc/dbus-1/session.conf
    sudo sed -i 's/Ambiance/Adwaita/' /etc/gtk-3.0/settings.ini
  5. Right-click on your desktop and create a new shortcut for the following item:
    bash -c "DISPLAY=:0 NO_AT_BRIDGE=1 epiphany-browser"
    with the following icon (click it to download the ico file):
    Epiphany web browser icon
  6. Check if Xming is running in the system tray and double-click the newly created shortcut. Epiphany window should appear:
Epiphany 3.12 web browser on Windows 10

Epiphany (Web) browser 3.12 on Windows 10 is using WebKitGTK+ 2.4, which scores 318 points in HTML5 Test.

UPDATE: By upgrading the WSL from Ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04, you can have the latest Epiphany 3.20 using WebKitGTK+ 2.14 on Windows 10, which scores 386 points in HTML5 Test:

Epiphany 3.20 web browser on Windows 10

Mar 23, 2016

K-Meleon vs QupZilla vs Otter Browser vs Midori - comparison of lightweight web browsers

Apart from the most popular web browsers for Windows - Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, IE and Edge - there are also more lightweight open source web browsers, which deserve more recognition. This time I am testing the latest versions of four of them: K-Meleon 76.0 beta 3 (based on Gecko), Otter Browser 0.9.10 (based both on QtWebKit and on QtWebEngine), QupZilla 1.8.9 (based on QtWebKit) and Midori 0.5.11 (based on WebKitGTK+), on a PC with Windows 8 and 2 GB RAM. In the comparison test I am focusing on HTML5 features, performance and RAM usage at startup and after loading four big websites in tabs.

Here are the results:

K-Meleon Otter QtWebKit Otter QtWebEngine QupZilla Midori
HTML5 Test 467 pts 399 pts 525 pts 400 pts 341 pts
Octane Benchmark 5915 pts 1222 pts 6653 pts 1285 pts 806 pts
BrowserMark 1590 pts 1165 pts 1926 pts 1052 pts 149 pts
RAM at startup 35 MB 12 MB 54 MB 40 MB 40 MB
RAM at 4 tabs 151 MB 335 MB 236 MB 395 MB 271 MB

The best alternative web browser is Otter Browser with QtWebEngine (based on Chromium), made by a Polish developer Emdek. This is the only multi-process web browser out of them and has a really good performance. The second place goes to K-Meleon. That said, QtWebEngine is still in the works, so it may be buggy, and it uses more memory than Gecko engine used in K-Meleon.

Mar 3, 2016

Ziproxy vs Janus vs PageSpeed Module - comparison of compression proxies

Only 27% of the global population has access to a fast internet (over 10 Mbps) and hundreds of millions of people around the world have a limited Internet connection. This is where a data compression proxy (a.k.a. web accelerator) comes to the rescue. It optimizes loading of web pages by minimizing HTML/CSS/JS, enabling gzip compression, re-encoding images, etc.

Some time ago I was comparing proxies in the cloud: Mozilla Janus, Opera Turbo and Google Compression Proxy. Now I am testing open source HTTP forwarding proxies: Ziproxy, Mozilla Janus and Google PageSpeed Module (mod_pagespeed) for Apache with mod_proxy, all installed on my premise. This time the primary factor is not loading time, but total size of various web pages.

Ziproxy Janus PageSpeed Direct
ZDNet 1026 KB 1117 KB 802 KB 1225 KB
TheNextWeb 3768 KB 3638 KB 3672 KB 4156 KB
New Yorker 4528 KB 4872 KB 4782 KB 5357 KB
AntyWeb 1258 KB 2750 KB 1928 KB 3493 KB
iStockPhoto 2905 KB 3699 KB 3444 KB 3756 KB
Total 13485 KB
(25% saved)
16076 KB
(11% saved)
14628 KB
(19% saved)
17987 KB
The best compressing HTTP proxy is Ziproxy with 25% of data savings. The second place goes to Google PageSpeed with 19%. Mozilla Janus was the worst with only 11% saved.

All the proxies were tested with equal image quality settings (60%).

Jan 18, 2016

Phoenix OS - Android for x86 Desktop PC with Stardust Browser

While everybody is talking about Remix OS, there is another free Chinese Android distribution for a desktop PC based on Android-x86 called Phoenix OS. It is still in the beta stage, although it should run on most of 64-bit x86-compatible machines. Just write the downloaded ZIP file to a USB drive using USBMaker and boot a PC from it. There is also an ARM version of Phoenix OS and a 32-bit version should be available soon.

Phoenix OS is based on Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and Linux kernel 4.0.9 with support for OpenGL ES 3.0. It runs Android packages (APK) and it has a few of them pre-installed, like Stardust Browser based on Chromium 45 and WPS Office. The rest you can download from Google Play Store, F-Droid, Mobogenie or Aptoide.

Here are some screenshots from Phoenix OS 1.0 Beta:



Main Menu 
Stardust Browser scores 495 points in HTML5 Test

Stardust Browser scores 18035 points in Octane Benchmark

My Computer

Notifications Center

WPS Office

Terminal Emulator
Keep in mind that Phoenix OS is made in China, so be careful with providing your sensitive data. The support forum is in Chinese, but there is a dedicated subreddit in English.

Download Phoenix OS 1.0 beta from EU server