Bye Firefox, hello Rekonq

I’ve been following the development of Rekonq since quite some time. With the release of 0.6beta I finally made the switch from Firefox.

While FF is nicely extensible, it got more and more on my nerves with its slow JavaScript execution, bad KDE Workspace integration (even with SUSE’s KDE extension for FF), etc.

Getting FF’s bookmarks into Rekonq took some manual steps, but overall went smooth:

  1. Export FF’s bookmarks with its bookmark manager as HTML file.
  2. Close Rekonq/Konqueror, run keditbookmarks and import the HTML file.
  3. Let keditbookmarks fetch all favicons (select all and then right-click).
  4. Define your FF bookmark bar folder als KDE bookmark bar folder.
  5. Close keditbookmarks and launch Rekonq again.

A few glitches came up pretty soon: All text fields were off, weird crashes on Facebook, and no spell check in text fields.
The first two glitches have already been fixed in Qt. So I added openSUSE’s pre-release Qt 4.7 repo and upgraded all Qt components. So far I don’t see any problems despite its pre-release status (it even fixed the flickering with apps using dbus-menu in the systray).

Spell check is indeed missing but luckily after Qt 4.7 the QtWebKit team will release new QtWebKit versions independently from Qt. So getting spell check after WK Bug 42100 has been fixed, we don’t need to wait all the time for a new Qt release.

Currently Rekonq has no extension support. It’s in development, though, and AdBlock support is built-in anyway (not that I care about a Web Inspector but that one is built-in as well).

A small but irritating quirk is the too high bookmark bar in Rekonq. Favicons are 16βœ•16 pixels but Rekonq stretches them. I circumvented the problem by manually defining higher resolution icons in keditbookmarks. Now my bookmark bar looks very pretty with those high-res icons. πŸ™‚

Yeah, I listed a few quirks but considering the big picture and how much FF sucks (performance-wise) these days, the benefits outweigh the quirks. Maybe if Mozilla Corp. reconsiders and officially releases a Firefox 4 variant built on the Qt port which Nokia has done for MeeGo Handset and follows the KDE HIGs (eg. no "Preferences" in the "Edit" menu), I may switch back. But since that scenario is unlikely, I stay with Rekonq for the foreseeable future.

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56 thoughts on “Bye Firefox, hello Rekonq”

  1. You can compile yourself firefox-pgo with cairo-qt backend if you want. Just put cairo-qt instead of cairo-gtk in the mozconfig.

    The thing that makes me upset is that no packagers *#@#@*$ care about packaging firefox-qt for their distros, and people switch away from firefox. But the problem is even worse. Ask suse why do they continue of making a hybrid kde4 desktop instead of a pure kde/qt one. Last time i tried opensuse with kde i still saw libgnome* and gnome* packages dragged into it. Then people cry that kde is slow. Of course it is. Firefox and chromium are the best (imo) browsers out there and guess what, they both use gtk2. So you end up having gtk2 and some gnome libs in memory while running a kde desktop with kdelibs and qt already in memory. So bye bye 180 megs in ram. That means swap and slowness. Try firefox with gtk2 in a bare minimalist(awesome wm, wmii, *box, whatever..) desktop. It doesn’t feel slow any more.

    My 2c, admiral0

    1. SUSE’s Firefox extension does not work against a Qt build. The extension would still be required to support Plasma notifications, KDE Open/Save windows, etc.

      The problem with Firefox’ Qt built is that almost everyone thinks it’s a dead project. Up until Nokia announced that a special Qt Fennec build will be used in MeeGo Handset, I thought that it’s dead as well.
      Someone (maybe you if you already do it) should provide Qt-based FF builds for Linux – possibly using Build Service to target almost all distos – and blog about it in a way that it appears on Planet KDE and Planet Mozilla.

      1. I use Archlinux, and i use a optimised (pgo & -O3) build of firefox 4.

        I’ll retry to build cairo-qt. (Last time i had some linking trouble with cairo)

  2. I have to say that also gave up firefox, I’m using konqueror with webkit, much faster than with khtml and fully compatible with pages I web access, I believe that as this case we are using the same engine web, problems and issues of velocity are equal, but as konqueror is already a project with a lot more time on the road, I’ll be with himself.

  3. I switched to XFCE desktop’s webkit based Midori web browser, really nice, fast, and even java runtime works with it. too bad none kde/qt based webkit browsers are anywhere near midori… feature wise !

    http://www.twotoasts.de

    Really, rekonq, arora, kwebkit part seems ‘immature’ compared to midori web browser!

    1. can you please be more precise? Where exactly do you see immaturity? By knowing our weaknesses we may be able to fix them πŸ˜›
      Thanks! πŸ™‚

      1. 1. chess.com’s game won’t load in qtwebkit (qt 4.6.3, rekonq 0.5.0) with 4.7beta2+0.5.80, it works. (perhaps javascript bug in qt 4.6.3)

        2. favorites behavior is strange in rekonq, add a favorite, then open a webite, and then add this page to favorite… when added it closes the opened page! rekonq in file association, but there’s no option.
        8. let user choose download manager, why only kget, midori allows other download managers…

        9. java is not dead! many banks, stock analysis sites, (nseindia.com, bseindia.com) uses Java applets to display information. A good browser should not dump old technologies which are required by users, just because jre is becoming passe.

        anyways, rekonq is superb, please just add netscape plugins, and add favorite behavior, that will make it the best! good luck πŸ™‚

  4. There is really just one feature missing that is preventing me from using rekonq: open links from external sites in a new tab. I am just too dependent on this from firefox.

    1. What do you mean by “external sites”? Did you mean other applications? Rekonq does that.

      1. No, I mean that when you are on a website, and you click a link for a different website (different domain), it opens that in a new tab instead of the current tab.

      2. Middle clicking isn’t the same. I really like this behavior in firefox and I can’t switch over to rekonq until it is implemented.

    2. dude, don’t be lazy, if you don’t want to middle-click on the link, then right-click on the link and choose open in new tab πŸ™‚

      anyways, your wish is really nice. a smart webbrowser would know whehter to open a link in new tab or in the current tab based on domain name. same domain = same tab; different domain name = new tab. nice!

      it is a firefox extension, no!? perhaps chromium extension have this feature also!?

  5. Β« and follows the KDE HIGs (eg. no “Preferences” in the “Edit” menu), Β»

    So, you blame firefox for that and you switch to a browser that doesn’t even offer a menubar ? πŸ™‚

    1. My gripe is less about the menu bar and more about where the menu is located.
      In Firefox the entry is located on the left side of the window (“Edit” is the second after “File”).
      In Rekonq 0.6 I can move the menu button wherever I want. In my case it’s in the right side of the address bar while the bookmarks menu button is left of the address bar – much closer to the KDE HIG compared to FF.
      Upcoming Rekonq version will probably have an optional menu bar again because that will be the requirement to integrate well with Plasma Netbook’s global (Mac-like) menu bar.

      1. I don’t really notice any difference. Maybe Qt 4.6’s WebKit is slower on your site. To me both engines seem even.

  6. Any idea why keditbookmarks, launched throught Rekonq, doesn’t allow import/export bookmarks ?

  7. Yes, Rekonq is shaping up nicely. It does have its quirks, though. And the one that’s holding me back is its inability to behave properly on systems with 2 or more virtual desktops. When I hit a URL from an external app, I want it to be processed in the Rekonq window open on that very desktop, or to open a new one if none exists – just like Konqueror does. Rekonq, instead, is just a mess at that, and opens pages on desktops that have nothing to do with the desktop hosting that link. I’ll adopt it immediately when this is fixed.

    1. Please report this issue at our bugtracker (bugs.kde.org) and/or our mailinglist (rekonq@kde.org)

  8. The big pro of FF was and still are the extensions, but now Chrome and more recently Safari are supporting extensions too.
    I wish that rekonq would support the JS Chrome extensions or /and the new Firefox JetPack extensions.
    And keditbookmarks should have support for tags for the bookmarks.

    FF with a new profile is not so slow after all, but with the time it gets slower. In Windows it is Fast! Of course they give more priority to Window version.

    I don’t like to use a marginal browser, but sometimes I has to be used, the same with our marginal OS based on a UNIX-like OS.

    In October the RC of FF 4 will be released, and in Nov. the Final Version.

    Opera 10.6x I also not so bad.

    If Chromium would support tags in bookmarks, and the bug #39496 would be fixed…

    1. Support for Chrome extensions in Rekonq is already in development. Hopefully it’ll be finished in a few months. But isn’t FF’s most useful extension AdBlock? That is already a built-in feature of Rekonq as well as Konqueror.
      Rekonq itself is just a minor browser but its rendering engine is not. So far I have yet to encounter a website that does not work with it. OTOH pages like cracked.com make FF crawl.
      Ever since Safari 1.0 was released, the Mozilla people promised that in the next FF version the performance gap will be closed but it seems to me that the gap is increasing.
      In the early Safari days FF had the benefit that many websites did not work with Safari but today website authors are aware that there are FF, Safari, Chrome, various other WebKit browsers for smartphones, and even relative standards compliant versions of IE.

      1. The AdBlock+ extension is the most important for me, but there are thousands of extensions for both, FF and Chrome(ium), and I use like ~15.
        Extensions is the most useful feature of FF, and the one the make it popular (also that there was almost only Internet Explorer..)

        Good to see progress in Rekonq extensions!

  9. Did you get “List Links with Kget” to work? It doesn’t seem to do anything for me.

      1. It doesn’t do anything at all. I click the menu entry and nothing seems to happen. I’m not even entirely sure what I am supposed to be seeing.

  10. I vastly prefer either reKonq or Konqueror using WebKit as well. Firefox makes me feel like I’m using a different computer with its non-integration and weak performance. Right now I use Chrome though, because I generally don’t know how to get the latest versions of things, and it works well. (Stuck with 0.4.x now.) I would still prefer native looking windows though, and I absolutely swoon at the thought of using native window-bar tabbing rather than Google-Look. Still Google-Look is better than wasting screen space on a separate tab-only bar.

    Very looking forward to reKonq 0.6 release version packaged officially for my distro.

  11. I. LOVE. Rekonq.

    I love that it opens fast.
    I love the way it looks (minimalist UI)
    I love the way it handles webpages.
    I love the way it handles history and closed tabs.
    Flash and heavy java (eg WordPress content editor) often feel a bit sluggish. (I am running trunk, which may be part of this)
    I love the integration with KDE (downloads / notifications).

    Great work team Rekonq!

  12. Well, rekonq has few issues … especially for http sites that redirect you to https pages (for example, as a secure login). Right now, it redirects me to google.com when that happens πŸ™‚

    Maybe this is an issue with KDE itself but issue nonetheless.

      1. Well, I am running Qt 4.7 on Fedora 13 and yet this ‘bug’ persists. My company’s home page has a login link which never loads in rekonq.

      2. Seems like the same issue as https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=247598
        I have no clue what’s causing that bug for you and the reporter. All I can say is that it doesn’t happen for me and I’d guess for the developers neither because then they’d be annoyed by it and fixed (or at least commented on) that. Here’s my exact setup:

        Rekonq 0.5.80 (=0.6beta) + KDE SC 4.5.0 + Qt 4.7nightly as shipped in openSUSE’s Build Service (newer than the beta2 release).

        Maybe it isn’t even a software problem. Maybe it’s a connection problem to your DNS provider, caused by overload on his side or possible overload for your modem.
        When I have many connections established (by running a P2P service or whatever) my DSL modem is not able to handle the load all the time, causing occasional lockups.
        You could try to reduce the number of concurrent connections in your P2P program (if you have one running) and maybe tweak the network connection timeout settings in System Settings.

  13. If only QtWebKit and KHTML would start supporting HTML5 video tag properly, so that there would be less flash nuisance since youtube and vimeo have both pretty nice HTML5 players… Codecs are issue especially with vimeo but one problem at the time πŸ™‚

  14. ok, just test opera 10.61, it’s a nice browser. firefox 4 seems to be following opera 10.6x interface.

    opera = qt + everything (full features) – opensource; which is a lot better than chromium or other non qt/kde browsers.

    hat’s off to opera browser 10.6x

  15. Big fan of Rekonq (made me return to KDE πŸ™‚ ). I reported a bug and received immediate answer. I wish Ubuntu could be faster putting new versions in official repositories. Now 0.5 version in KDE 4.4.2, only glitch is an error in facebook pages regarding javascript (it displays a message saying that a script is causing an error and if I with to stop it). Other than that: fast, clean, well supported browser. Not using FF anymore (philosophical issues about branding and GPL, lack of integration with both Gnome [look and feel of some gtk themes] and KDE). Liked Epiphany and Midori but missed some features. Havn’t tried Konqueror with other engine. Will follow Rekonq and see what happens.

  16. I’ve just given Rekonq a test drive for a couple of days now. But things I miss, from the top of my head, is Auto Copy, better tab management and session restore. The last one I found out the hard way… 😦

    1. Current rekonq *has* session restore. When you restart it, it pops up with a bar at the top (like the “Do you want to remember the password” bar) Saying that Rekonq appeared to have crashed and would you like to restore the session. I don’t know if it can handle multiple windows like FireFox, but I have to say it’s message looks much more aesthetically pleasing.

      1. I tried killing rekonq and starting it frΓ₯n the meny. The session was remeberd. But if I shut down my computer with rekonq open and then starts the computer again, Kubuntu starts the programs that was open on shutdown. But the rekonq session is lost…

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