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Topic: Otter browser and competition (Read 8517 times)

  • ersi
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Otter browser and competition
Otter is a webkit-based browser that distinguishes itself from other Chromium clones by means of Opera-like interface. It's still in alpha stage so let's keep track of the development and hope it goes well.

What I know about Chromium itself, it's possible to set there a speeddial-like startup page. Speeddial is a feature first implemented in Opera, so it makes sense that this feature is planned in Otter too. The place in settings configuration dialogue already exists, but is inactive as of yet.

The main webkit-based browsers that I use are Luakit and Rekonq. I have not looked too deep under the hood of Rekonq, because it comes with sensible enough defaults considering my preferences. It makes for good basic browsing without font issues, which is a good achievement for something webkit-based. The downside of Rekonq is that the interface only looks good in KDE and has dependencies in that direction too.

Luakit is an almost faceless browser: It has no buttons on the interface. It's meant to be primarily driven by keyboard. I am keyboard-focused myself, so I like this basic idea, but the rendering engine has font issues and I have had the app stall with downloads. Tweaking the keyboard shortcuts and other settings means hacking config files. There's no settings configuration dialogue. Anyway, the configuration files can be figured out almost without additional documentation, which makes the learning process enjoyable. I would be very happy if Otter's config files became the same.

At the current stage, Otter has a very good feature that stands out: Focus on font settings in the configuration dialogue, already implemented to an extent. Fonts are extensively configurable in old Opera too, so this is no surprise, but in a webkit-based browser, ability to set fonts is actually very important, because webkit is notorious for font issues.

Otter has made a good start by getting font and colour settings right. Let's hope for other features too that Opera was famous for, such as very sensible downloader, perfect bookmarking, sidebar, stacking and tiling of pages in single window, userCSS and userJS, etc.

  • Emdek
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #1
One important note, WebKit is primary (and so far only) rendering engine module for now, in future default module will use Blink (through QtWebEngine, which was released as technology preview recently) which is descendant of WebKit used by Chrome / Chromium.
Currently it is also possible to have limited (only basic browsing, full integration impossible) Gecko module, using this library.
Nadszedł już czas, najwyższy czas, nienawiść zniszczyć w sobie.
The time has come, the high time, to destroy hatred in oneself.

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #2
I also consider Maxthon (now at v0.9.2.1 for the Linux beta) a candidate for an Opera replacement because its Windows version has pretty much all of the major features I knew and loved from Opera Presto: highly configurable Speed Dial page, mouse "rocker" gestures for Forward and Back actions, popup blocking, ad blocking, general form autofill (not just passwords), configurable default page zoom (other than 100%) etc.

The first major disappointment with Maxthon, however, which tells me I'm never going to use it as my only browser, is that due to the fact that it's based on Chromium it shares Chrome's lack of support for whatever the AdBlock and AdBlock Plus extensions need in order to block in-video ads, including YouTube ads. This is a major disappointment because with Opera Presto I had gotten used to never ever seeing YouTube ads after installing AdBlock Plus. And I'm afraid Otter will have the same deficiency since it too is based on WebKit.

  • Emdek
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #3
@donjoe, QtWebKit uses QNetworkAccessManager for network requests,  so it's possible to block any request, we just need efficient mechanism to store matching rules and match URLs of these requests.
Nadszedł już czas, najwyższy czas, nienawiść zniszczyć w sobie.
The time has come, the high time, to destroy hatred in oneself.

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #4

I also consider Maxthon (now at v0.9.2.1 for the Linux beta) a candidate for an Opera replacement because its Windows version has pretty much all of the major features I knew and loved from Opera Presto: highly configurable Speed Dial page, mouse "rocker" gestures for Forward and Back actions, popup blocking, ad blocking, general form autofill (not just passwords), configurable default page zoom (other than 100%) etc.

The other day I installed Maxthon. I saw no standard menu bar. And no way to enable it. I uninstalled Maxthon.

It seems that they did have a standard menu bar until version 3, but removed it. Programs don't want me to use them these latest years.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #5
It seems that they did have a standard menu bar until version 3, but removed it. Programs don't want me to use them these latest years.

All the Gnome programs are also on a quest to become unusable.

  • ersi
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #6
Note that there's also some differences in default configuration of programs across distros. For example Evince in Mint Cinnamon has a regular menu bar. Cinnamon's design itself favours it. But in Manjaro Linux Evince has no menu bar out of the box. Just the way it's packaged there. Can be configured of course.

Another example, I was just about to complain that Otter browser does not remember its default position over restart. I close it maximised, but it does not open up next time maximised. This problem, however, occurs only in Openbox desktop, Manjaro. It doesn't on Xfce, also Manjaro. Go figure.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #7
I moved the off-topic discussion to Browsers & Technology.

  • Emdek
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #8
@ersi, try this patch for that position issues:
http://paste.kde.org/puksrmjqw
It uses different way to store and restore it, the downside is that it's kind of binary data...
Nadszedł już czas, najwyższy czas, nienawiść zniszczyć w sobie.
The time has come, the high time, to destroy hatred in oneself.

  • ersi
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #9
As far as I know about patches, I am supposed to recompile the program with the patch and hope it will work, right?

There are some minor challenges with this. First, this most likely presupposes that I have the git version that I constantly update anyway, right? Unfortunately I don't have the git version.

Second, words like "patch", "(re)compile", and "git version" are pretty much Chinese for me. I can leave the impression that I can handle the Chinese (about 20 years of reading tech docs on the web does its thing) but I cannot handle the actual process.

The way I got Otter installed was by means of Yaourt package compiler. It says "package compiler" in its job description but in truth I have absolutely no idea what it means. To me it installs stuff, guided step by step like installation wizards in Windows. That's all I know, because that's all I see.

So, I got Otter installed this way:
- I opened the package compiler (about which I don't know what it does) by typing yaourt otter-browser
- Two packages were offered: 1. otter-browser 2. otter-browser-git
- The git version fails to install. The git-less version installs just fine. What's the difference, I have no clue. I can type down the error message, but what's the point? When something is too difficult to install, I simply install something else. This is how the world works for me. And I suppose this is so for the majority of people.

That's why I started by asking about Qt5 dependency. Due to this dependency, I have Otter browser only on Manjaro. The dependency prevents me from installing it anywhere else, e.g. Ubuntu. I'm sure there's a workaround, but this only means the installation is not straightforward, i.e. it's not accessible to average computer user.

In short, thanks for the patch but I cannot use it.
  • Last Edit: 2014-03-14, 05:46:30 by ersi

  • Emdek
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #10
@ersi, it's easier than it looks. ;-)
Download SDK from here (Qt 5.2.1 for Linux 64-bit (368 MB) should be right choice).
You don't have to install git (but it's recommended and easier than it looks), you can use Download as ZIP instead.
To apply patch simply save it as file in the root directory of project (that one that contains otter.pro), for example patch.diff and run:
Code: [Select]
patch -p1 < patch.diff

Then open otter.pro in QtCreator, ensure that kit is set to Qt5 (it tends to default to Qt4...) click Configure project and then click Run.

If you get some cryptic errors mentioning gst then you have to install development packages for GStreamer 0.10 (not newer, they broke ABI compatibility), like libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev (in Debian / Ubuntu).
That's worst part, due to nonsensical naming of these packages...
Nadszedł już czas, najwyższy czas, nienawiść zniszczyć w sobie.
The time has come, the high time, to destroy hatred in oneself.

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #11
For those of us with less understanding as to what this all means, can you please let us know when Otter is available for download, @emdek?

  • ersi
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #12
It's available for download here http://sourceforge.net/projects/otter-browser/files/ At first I had trouble finding Linux files there, now I am not sure if Windows files are there... Are you on Windows? Maybe this one is for you http://sourceforge.net/projects/otter-browser/files/otter-browser-alpha3/otter-browser-alpha3-xp.zip/download

  • Emdek
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #13
@Colonel Rebel, until 1.0 (not sooner than September) you can expect new release each month.
If someone would help with packaging (my Windows box is Turion based so it's kind of slow...) then we could introduce weeklies. ;-)
Nadszedł już czas, najwyższy czas, nienawiść zniszczyć w sobie.
The time has come, the high time, to destroy hatred in oneself.

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #14
Windows builds always get more attention.
Anybody help?
:coffee:
Fortuna fortes juvat.

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #15

It's available for download here http://sourceforge.net/projects/otter-browser/files/ At first I had trouble finding Linux files there, now I am not sure if Windows files are there... Are you on Windows? Maybe this one is for you http://sourceforge.net/projects/otter-browser/files/otter-browser-alpha3/otter-browser-alpha3-xp.zip/download

hi to all i'm new on this forum :) very nice project!

i'm searching for a new browser that'll use as the default on 5/10 pc per day (i have a computer shop and i need a browser without plugins support)

What is the difference from : otter-browser-alpha3.zip and otter-browser-alpha3-xp.zip ?

someone can make a Visual C project to build this browser using microsoft compiler?

  • Emdek
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Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #16
@Davy Bartoloni, xp version is for Windows XP, it doesn't include taskbar integration (so far only transfers progress) which causes crashes there. It will be eliminated as soon as that issue will be resolved (I have idea how it could be fixed, I'll test it today).

AFAIR someone created project file for VS.
Quick lookup gave this result:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1043294/qt-qmake-tp-vc-to-create-visual-studio-project-files
So in theory it should be fairly easy to create it from otter.pro.
Nadszedł już czas, najwyższy czas, nienawiść zniszczyć w sobie.
The time has come, the high time, to destroy hatred in oneself.

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #17
Thank you very much Emdek!

Re: Otter browser and competition
Reply #18
Many thanks to both @ersi and @emdek.   :cheers: