Web Browser Alternative



  • As I learned from the telegram group, we need a Web Browser Alternative to the existing UT web browser. Furthermore I learned, that this has to be Qt based.
    So I searched for a Qt based open source web browser and I found Otter Browser.
    This seems to be activly supportet and has a GitHub repository.
    So could this be an good alternative to the current UT browser?


  • Banned

    We need browser with good media etc. support. Otter is not there yet and doubt it will be for long time (if ever).

    Can we get some browser in which we could get Netflix, Viaplay, Amazon and such VOD services working?



  • @Bastos the alternative web browser is badly needed as the current is not the best. Or maybe just need an upgrade and add features.
    Once snaps are ready, mabe then I guess.


  • Infrastructure

    @alternator I am not sure that our fans want to have an alternative, google-free OS only to clutter it with sources of identity tracking like every modern streaming service does :) - just a thought. Personally, I see no reason to watch any live stream on a mobile device, because the screensize sucks xD

    @all Please feel free to use tickets for enhancements & suggestions: https://github.com/ubports/webbrowser-component/issues

    BR



  • Otter is based on opera so html5 compatible. And afaik the qt basis will make use of all the gstreamer plugins possible.

    If all this is right, imo the question is how deep the integration is needed to support all the webapps etc.
    Will otter will survive? Do not know, but the github repository has quite frequend usage and has recent issues.



  • Please take my otter idea only as a suggestion. I personally have no clue about integrating browsers in ut...



  • @Bastos
    for me sounds ok (but for me is elinks also ok ;)
    yes i like the name


  • Banned

    @Flohack

    Tablet is big enough to watch video in car, bed or other places where it is hard to carry your 50" tv set. Even phone screen is enough, when you have nothing else. When Touch came to market many left it in market waiting for Netflix app (which was once promised by Netflix but since forgotten).

    I would have bought few more M10 tablets for the family, but lack of Netflix and others would have rendered them useless for them and flash to Android would have been inevitable.

    With now i have had to stick with pirate VOD sevices that works with M10.



  • I tell you this project : https://github.com/lirios/browser
    The LIRI browser was present in the UT Store

    GM



  • @Flohack, I agree with you on this one. Why should people want to move to our os if it is not offering the “basics” that other ones do? If you do not have anything else, then the size does not matter, it will be big enough.

    The idea of adding patches and features on to the browser we have currently works for me. Yes there are a few issues that really need to be fixed with it first (like when it closes down tabs on start-up), but on the whole it does the job. Why not spend valuable time and effort focusing efforts on other issues with the os to bring it up to speed or even stable and then when the foundations are OK, move on to replacing or patching.

    I have worked on a number of projects in the past where the developed application met the requirements to the letter. However, when it went to UAT things were held up as the user base wanted a more “user friendly” way of doing something or something being presented. We need to make sure that we do not fall into the trap of developing things too techy so the user base does not like it.



  • What about Brave, to complex to port ?



  • Just a quick follow-up. Otter Browser uses QtWidgets which are not well supported on the UT platform, therefore it doesn't look like the best project on which foundation we could develop an alternative browser.
    I've never heard about Brave, I see now that the desktop version is based on Electron and React. It seems interesting and it's something supported in theory[1].

    Before we continue this discussion, or anyway we start to work on an alternative, we need to know why the current solution is not optimal, which are the issues that affect usability, and which issues can not be resolved unless we work on something new.

    • Issues with UX could be addressed in webbrowser-app as well
    • Memory management bugs on low-end devices will be likely triggered by any web browser we could decide to use (in the same way e.g. InstantFX has important issues on BQ E5)
    • Issues with user agent strings could be hard to workaround, as many web services could simply bounce us off if we declare ourselves as "Ubuntu Touch" OS - there was a reason why UT browser disguised itself as an Android/iOS/etc. client.

    ===

    [1] https://github.com/CanonicalLtd/react-native/tree/ubuntu/ReactUbuntu/application/src



  • @sverzegnassi said in Web Browser Alternative:

    Before we continue this discussion, or anyway we start to work on an alternative, we need to know why the current solution is not optimal, which are the issues that affect usability, and which issues can not be resolved unless we work on something new.

    The system browser is actually in pretty good shape, no doubt because it's leveraging Chrome technology. flac support is missing, and HTML5 Notifications seem to be disabled. I haven't yet convinced the browser to play a file in the background, but I've found a UI tweak app which might help. I'll also watch to see if/how the browser can sustain long polling in the background.

    I started reading this thread quite a bit more pessimistic than I am now. I ran the browser through a number of HTML tests, and it has quite good coverage of ES6 features. I'd guess that things like the new grid CSS layout system will be needed in the next year or two, so hopefully Oxide tracks all that support, and this browser can track Oxide.

    The test coverage even said the browser engine had Service Workers. I haven't actually fired up any, but without any UI to see/clear such things, this could let a fair bit of mess to accumulate. I can mostly develop/debug my web stuff elsewhere, but I hope there's at least a JS console output to be accessed somewhere.

    I'll stop here: tl;dr :-)



  • @vandys said in Web Browser Alternative:

    The system browser is actually in pretty good shape, no doubt because it's leveraging Chrome technology. flac support is missing, and HTML5 Notifications seem to be disabled. I haven't yet convinced the browser to play a file in the background, but I've found a UI tweak app which might help. I'll also watch to see if/how the browser can sustain long polling in the background.

    Yep, that's actually a limitation of the Ubuntu Touch platform. We could even run Firefox on the phone, but I suspect that it would be frozen in background as well.

    In order to have HTML5 notifications, we'd probably need to support them in UT itself. It's just like what Canonical did with the Ubuntu Download Manager. The current web browser wouldn't be able to download file in background, otherwise.

    I started reading this thread quite a bit more pessimistic than I am now. I ran the browser through a number of HTML tests, and it has quite good coverage of ES6 features. I'd guess that things like the new grid CSS layout system will be needed in the next year or two, so hopefully Oxide tracks all that support, and this browser can track Oxide.

    Here's where the thread originally started in the Telegram group. Canonical has abandoned Oxide and no further development is expected, so we need an alternative. It is uncertain that UBports have enough resources for maintaining Oxide by their own.

    Choices are QtWebEngine (but it has been told it doesn't build on armhf, due to a recurring bug[1]), or qtmozembed (a Qt wrapper for the Gecko engine - which is used by SailfishOS for their browser).

    ===

    [1] There is some armhf build for 5.7.1 in Ubuntu repos though
    https://packages.ubuntu.com/zesty/qml-module-qtwebengine



  • Also an Adblocker would be nice.



  • Where do I find liboxideqt in the ubports github repos? I've (of course) found the Ubuntu one, but want to make sure I'm looking at it in its actual context. Thanks.


  • Infrastructure

    @alternatorr I face a similar problem, but this explains the situation:

    Turns out I subscribed to Amazon Prime now. I see some use of Music & Movies for me, lets not argue about if Netflix etc. is better. Lets assume Amazon Prime is a decent service.

    I am a heavy Windows user, but for my TV box in the living room I got a Linux thingie with Kubuntu and stuff. Now its like:

    • I CANT watch movies in HD, since there is NO DRM solution existing for Linux. Period.
    • I CANT watch movies in HD on my WINDOWS work PC, since my monitor does not support HDCP. Period.
    • I CANT watch anything useful on a business trip to the US, since I am out of my home country. Just lol.

    TO me those streaming services are really flawed, and I sometimes even resort to buying a DVD (I dont own BluRay now) which is cheaper and more reliable than any streaming service, except you are the "mainstream windows user" type. Meh.



  • @Flohack said in Web Browser Alternative:

    @alternatorr I face a similar problem, but this explains the situation:

    Turns out I subscribed to Amazon Prime now. I see some use of Music & Movies for me, lets not argue about if Netflix etc. is better. Lets assume Amazon Prime is a decent service.

    I am a heavy Windows user, but for my TV box in the living room I got a Linux thingie with Kubuntu and stuff. Now its like:

    • I CANT watch movies in HD, since there is NO DRM solution existing for Linux. Period.
    • I CANT watch movies in HD on my WINDOWS work PC, since my monitor does not support HDCP. Period.
    • I CANT watch anything useful on a business trip to the US, since I am out of my home country. Just lol.

    TO me those streaming services are really flawed, and I sometimes even resort to buying a DVD (I dont own BluRay now) which is cheaper and more reliable than any streaming service, except you are the "mainstream windows user" type. Meh.

    Netflix shouln't be too hard to make work, since it already works in Opera and Firefox if you have proper drm libraries. Amazon prime is great if you live in the US or UK. Rest of the world not so much.

    VOD services are flawed (HBO most of all) but i love em because it is so simple compared to discs. I have many unopened series boxes that i didn't need because they came to Netflix or others before i got to them. I don't watch tv anymore at all. I get all my entertainment from VOD services and such.



  • @Flohack said in Web Browser Alternative:

    • I CANT watch movies in HD, since there is NO DRM solution existing for Linux. Period.

    I was really curious about that statement so I've permitted Firefox to install DRM (that was just for you, I hate DRM!) and I now can watch Amazon Prime Video in HD.

    This is in a Debian machine, from Spain, connected to https://www.primevideo.com/

    Is it perhaps your Amazon Prime different in your country?


  • Infrastructure

    @advocatux said in Web Browser Alternative:

    us about that statement so I've permitt

    Ok let me be more specific: There are certain TV series and movies that can be watched in HD. Its not the fault of Amazon but most of the big studios only permit HD content if it is displayed on a HDCP protected display. Which is not available for Linux.

    So I need to rephrase: I CANT watch popular movies in HD, ..., some TV series (Amazons own productions e.g.) work fine.

    BR


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