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Late last week I decided to take a closer look at midori , The Xfce web browser.

Short summary: I am now using midori as my day to day web browser. Read on for more detailed ups and downs.

First of all, midori and it's dependent libraries (WebKit, libsoup, etc) are all moving along very very fast. The versions in Fedora 10 are a bit behind the cutting edge, so I rebuilt rawhide versions of each of those packages locally here (midori, WebKit, and libsoup). Hopefully we will get some of those updated in F10 at some point. The WebKit in F10 is still using the libcurl backend, and lacks a lot of features.

I was surprised to see how nicely midori works. Bringing up new pages is pretty fast and so far everything has rendered pretty nicely (with a few exceptions, see below.) With the new libsoup version cookies are stored over sessions, so quitting and restarting will get you right back to where you were with the same tabs and cookies. Flash and openjdk seemed to work ok, although flash was the cause of several crashes (the only time the browser crashed so far for me). It's pretty easy to disable plugins until you are on a page that needs them. Memory usage seems much nicer than firefox, and I was able to open 150+ tabs with no problems or performance issues.

On the minus side, there are a few pages that don't seem to work right: gmail doesn't show the subjects and mail list right, google calendar works, but shows a simple version, and google maps also has difficulty. Hopefully those will get fixed in WebKit soon. Also, I use a squid proxy here, so shift refresh is a thing I often use, and thats not yet implemented. I ran into one page that was cached oddly in my squid cache and had to use a 'wget –no-cache' to get it.

Some wishlist items: It would be nice to be able to specify on a per page or per domain basis if you wanted images/scripts/plugins enabled. Perhaps a default and be able to override it per page? Some way to list/check what plugins you have enabled would be nice, right now you just have to see if they work. Also, it would be nice to have some cookie handling ability, something like the firefox ability to allow, allow just for session, or deny (with default deny).

Overall, midori seems to be working ok for me day to day. If it looks good toward the end of the Fedora 11 cycle, I might switch it in as default web browser on the Fedora Xfce live spin and/or Xfce default on install. Feedback welcome from anyone else out there that would like to try it out.

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