Desktop Application Selection for Maverick
Key question for Maverick is browsers. Time to move to chromium?
Categories so far: Browser, Image Viewer & Editor, Music Player, Messaging Client, Other
See below for a pro/con on each one.
A table listing CD size requirements for each app (and/or dependencies) would be useful here.
– Something like this? Can one make real tables here?
I got the size from »Download« in Synaptic, in case that’s wrong.
Tried out apt-rdepends for dependencies, too many to list effectively. I installed some from a clean install.
And to everyone at UDS: Have fun. :)
Firefox; 10.9 MB; depends on ?
Chromium; 21.1 MB; depends on ?
Epiphany; 1 MB
Image Viewer & Editor
Eye of GNOME; 0.4 MB; depends on ?
F-Spot; 1.4 MB; depends on ?
gThumb; 3.1 MB; depends on ?
Shotwell; 1.0 MB; depends on libgee2
Rhythmbox; 1.2 MB; depends on python-mako
Banshee; 3.6 MB; depends on libboo2.0.9-cil, libgdata1.4-cil, libmono-
Empathy; 1.3 MB; depends on ?
Pidgin; 1.8 MB; depends on ?
Thumbnailers; < 0.1 MB; depend on ?
=== Browser ===
I guess so. Just the amount of bulky chrome in Firefox is almost enough to default to Chromium.
Firefox standard install:
• title bar
• menu bar
• navigation toolbar
• bookmarks toolbar
• tab bar
• status bar
• tab bar + title bar
• navigation toolbar + menu bar
4 bars combined to 2. Additionally, bookmarks toolbar and status bar are on demand by default.
Mozilla is doing work to change is UI. Maybe it's better to wait and see, it seems they want to do something like in chrome, with less lost space. See :
Maybe asking Mozilla what they will do before anything
Right, I forgot to take Mozilla’s progression into account.
We may have to wait for the benchmarks there. Speed is what matters most to users: http://
The other important part is usability:
The Chromium preferences for one are much simpler than Firefox’s – though they are beginning to complicate.
An advantage of Firefox is the consistent looks with other Ubuntu applications. Especially that of the scrollbar, which I often have hard times to differentiate from its background in Chromium.
Replacing Firefox with Chromium might be a reasonable idea if it blended well with the rest of the desktop. Chromiums sandboxing features are convincing. Usablility-wise I have to moan about the lack of a proper bookmarks sidebar. With current widescreen monitors the bookmarks/history sidebar of firefox is ideal.
What about Midori? It's as fast as Chrome (in some cases faster), it uses GTK (a very important feature with the new windicators work planned for Maverick, not to mention the buttons on the left), respects the system theme and it has a small profile which makes it ideal for the netbook edition too. Plus, it supports the global menu project. It has a few things that could be improved like bookmark management, but it wouldn't take a lot of work to sort that stuff out.
Also, I would recommend Google Chrome over Chromium. Google Chrome has flash built-in now, thanks to a recent deal Google did with Adobe. This would enable us to ship flash by default legally, offering the greatest web browsing experience. Google Chrome is also a lot more stable that Chromium in my experience.
Chromium and localization: after a quick search on the Chromium website, it is not clear to me how it can be translated by the community. On Ubuntu there is a chromium-l10n package that reportedly contains translations for 50 languages, but I could not find any information neither on who did those translations nor how new languages can be added by the community.
It also seems that Chromium is using yet another localization technology, which most certainly will not be supported by Launchpad in the near future, so Chromium would not be translatable there, either.
humphreybc, problem with Google Chrome would be the branding, I suppose. Also, nearly every feature from Chrome bleeds into Chromium and the other way around, so it would be better to go with the unbranded version.
Regarding Midori: It is nice and lightweight, but does not have the vast amount of addons some users are used to. Installing userscripts does not work that easy either (in Chromium it is click and go). And it has an extra search bar in addition to the location bar – nowadays that is just interface cruft. People are typing »facebook login« into their location bar anyway (which is why it should not be called location bar *cough* omnibar).
"And [Midori] has an extra search bar in addition to the location bar – nowadays that is just interface cruft." The toolbar can be customized using the "Customize toolbar" extension. I'm sure we could quite easily fork Midori and customize the toolbar to how we want it to look by default.
As for Chromium/Chrome, I still don't believe it's a viable option simply because it's not GTK - it doesn't support the new window controls on the left, nor will it support any global menu stuff or windicator stuff. It also doesn't have the right click menu for managing windows between workspaces. All of this can be rectified by enabling the GTK window border, but that adds another chunk to the top of Chrome, thereby rendering the entire concept of the tabs _in_ the window border to save space useless.
Midori is GTK, it's faster than Chrome in most areas, and it's stable. It can be easily forked, it has just the right amount of features average users will need in an internet browser without cramming in junk, and with a bit of development work could be totally awesome. I think it has the most potential with the least tradeoffs.
@humphreybc: Remember this is not a spec for UNE. No one uses Midori but users are quickly moving to chromium thats why it was considered :) for chromium not using the window border of the default theme there is/was a reason which client side window decorations can solve. Even in lucid cycle when the csd patch was uploaded chromium devs were willing to implement this(even if it was not in gtk officially). Chromium is secure,fast and sleek :)
Another VERY big problem if firefox isn't used by default is banks. Lot of banks accpet only firefox as linux web browser to consult online. Exemple : Banque Populaire in France.
But I agree, today Firefox become to complicated, and with flash it's horrible.
The use of system windows bar in chromium isn't a problem at all. I use it, with the ambiance theme for chromium, and it feel very good.
If firefox kept here, maybe it should be a good idea to integrate firefox ambiance personna by default, it integrate very very well.
For those who are interested in Chromium for the speed, I would just like to point out that Mozilla is working on JaegerMonkey which should make Firefox much more competetive with Chromium in terms of speed:
In my opinion, Firefox is showing enough potential to warrant keeping it as the default. It's what people are used to, and people might not like being switched to Chromium for Maverick and then possibly back to Firefox for Maverick+1. If the new UI design and JaegerMonkey don't live up to their claims, then I think Chromium can be considered.
What about Epiphany?
It's a modern browser based in webkit that supports lots HTML5 features (like <video> tag through gstreamer).
Also It's the default browser of GNOME desktop an It integrates very well with the whole desktop.
Here is a slideshow showing what Mozilla plans for Firefox 4, which will bring huge improvements: http://
If Midori would be considered, i don't see why we shouldn't just go with Epiphany. Personally, i don't think it's ready, as much as i wish it was. Chromium might be good in the meantime though.
We are competing against Windows and I think we need to take into consideration the path that ie9 is taking. Accelerated graphics through GPU. We pick the one that commits to taking this strategy, simple. In Firefox 4 they talk about using DirectDraw which I think is an awful strategy because it only works on Windows, plus the version hell. And OpenGL is better, plus shader codes. I've tried to find a similar thing in Webkit but I haven't found it yet. We are going to loose big if we don't take this into consideration.
=== Image Viewer & Editor ===
I would consider Solang or Shotwell to replace the bulky F-Spot.
@amano - can you provide some more analysis of the F-Spot to Shotwell trade off?
Solang is a C++ photo editor that does't use a complicated Database for importing and exporting and should be more intuitive for new users. I might try to create a discspace vs. RAM usage vs. feature vs. usability overview by the weekend. I hate the tendency of F-Spot to duplicate pictures on your harddisk (original location, ~/Photo folder and inside the database as well). If there are thousands of pictures to be imported, you might easily run out of disk space. And database corruptions/
For now I can offer this video review of the Vala based Shotwell: http://
Why don't we replace Eye of Gnome with gThumb? It has all the features that EOG has, but with some basic image editing like cropping, red eye removal, brightness chucked in too.
Yes, the new gthumb development branch looks very promising. Version 2.11.3 from mid April even added a flickr importer and exporter and a facebook exporter (the latter is an extension that has to be enabled first). It uses the database of Nautilus to store the thumbnails but doesn't use a database to import the pictures as a whole. And you are right to question the current Ubuntu approach to split the image related tasks into Eye of Gnome and F-Spot ones. Gthumb could replace both of them.
Regarding merging image viewer and editor, please also see the related blueprint: https:/
(Is it possible to link blueprints?)
I would put a serious vote down for Solang for the same reasons that Telepathy and PitiVi were chosen as deafult: Solang seems to want to integrate and do things properly. Check this out from their FAQ (http://
"Why write yet another photo manager? F-Spot, GThumb, J-Brout, Shotwell, etc. rock.
In our opinion none of them integrate well with the desktop. They need you to explicitly import photos from a directory and any meta-data that you add (mainly tags) get inserted into their private database. We do not do that anymore. We use Tracker (http://
I would suggest going back to using F-spot, the fears that F-spot would not be able to be maintained by the community have been utterly shamed by it's new maintainer RubenV who revitalized F-spot and managed to grow a community around the new code base. Progress has been astounding and the roadmap includes even greater code sharing with Banshee, more features and UI work. We are still supporting F-Spot on LTS and for these types of uses Ruben has introduced an LTS promise for the 0.8 branch of F-spot. It is the horse to bet on in the photo management race.
=== Music Player ===
I would consider to replace Rhythmbox with Banshee, which finally got support for gapless playing (not for LAME MP3s yet, but rhythmbox cannot handle that either).
The advantage of using Banshee over Rhythmbox would be that -- with a bit of work -- the 'Ubuntu One Music Store' could be turned into a 'Ubuntu One Music and Video Store', something there is probably a lot of need for, but not much choice in.
@qense: Banshee has a few UI problems , but the most frustrating problem is the browser view is stuck with only "All Artists" view , which makes the browser view unusable in certain locales. [which is not a problem in RB]
In that case, how hard would it be to:
1) add a video catalogue to Rhythmbox
2) fix those issues in Banshee?
adding video support to rhythmbox is a fair bit of effort and requires some extensive internal changes. Not having seen much motivation for it besides "banshee does it" it's a pretty low priority at this stage.
The only technical obstacle against Banshee would be its current use of HAL. There is already a branch to get rid of it (Alex Launi works on it): http://
Banshee 1.8.0 no longer depends on HAL, it has excellent integration with Ubuntu specific technologies such as the SoundMenu and Application Indicators. The development pace is nothing short of amazing and the community which has grown around Banshee has proven to be welcoming and swift to fix bugs. Banshee has multiple UIs which suits Ubuntu well for deployment on UNE as well as the desktop.
=== Messaging Client ===
Please consider adding proper IRC client or fixing Empathy.
Currently using Empathy as an IRC client is horrible experience. Take a look at this article, which quite good describe all the troubles: http://
As for instant messaging/IRC clients - Pidgin should go back to default, end of story.
What about VOIP application? It use to be Ekiga before. Now there's an option to add your SIP to Empathy. Unfortunately, Empathy doesn't store phone numbers, so it's very unfriendly to use. You have to every time type phone number you want to call. I can recommend an app called SFLphone http://
=== Other ===
They are not really desktop applications, but what about having the thumbnail factories installed by default? They are very convenient to quickly identify the right file and folder. Also that is often requested by users switching from Windows.
Maybe integrate a wallpaper application like drapes (http://
[amano 2010-05-10] The limitation of X to not paste content from an application that gets closed causes a lot of gripe for people used to the behaviour of windows: https:/
I think that it would be handy for linux newbies to include Nautilus-
I don't feel strongly about this but it seems that Pino might be quickly outdoing Gwibber. Would it be worth replacing?