Midori – a New WebKit-based Web Browser for Linux

I’ve been using Linux for a couple years, and one of the deficiencies I’ve seen since the beginning is a lack of web browser options. Don’t get me wrong, Firefox is a great browser, but it has some problems. For one, it’s slower than any native web browser. I say native because Firefox is built on top of XUL-runner technology, which means that every interface element needs to be designed, as opposed to a native application, which takes its icons and widgets from the system itself.

Firefox 3 (already in beta and quite good, I have to say), will be fully native, and actually seems a bit quicker to load, but it’s still slower than running Epiphay or Geleon, two native Gnome Linux web browsers.

Wait a minute, didn’t I just say that there are a lack of options? Yes I did. I say this even though Galeon and Epiphany exist, because those browser currently require that Firefox be installed for them to work! So if I want to use Epiphany, for instance, a Gnome web browser that uses the same html rendering engine, I have to have Firefox installed as well. Seems kind of pointless.

But there is a new kid on the block. Still in beta, and not nearly usable as a full-time browser, the Midori web browser is a browser I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on.

Midori is different from most Gnome Linux web browsers in that it doesn’t require Firefox to be installed, and it doesn’t use the Gecko html rendering engine. Instead, it uses WebKit, an offshoot of KHTML, long used by KDE for its Konqueror web browser, and lately used by Apple in its Safari web browser. Midori, therefore, renders websites just the way Safari does (just like Epiphany and Galeon render websites just the way Firefox does), as the two use the same engine.

WebKit is often seen as a fast rendering engine, and it shows with Midori. In addition to rendering pages quickly (and in a standards compliant manner), Midori is very quick to load. In fact, while I sometimes wait for two or three seconds before seeing Firefox’s first window, Midori is almost always up and running after only a second. Not a lot of time, I grant you, but still impressive.

So, since Midori is a native Gnome application, it fits into my desktop. Its tabs and widgets (buttons, check boxes, etc), all look like any other widget on my system, and whatever icon set I choose to use will be used by Midori. In addition, as it uses WebKit, Midori is a fast web browser. I haven’t yet run into any websites that looked “off” because of this, so if and when Midori reaches a full-time quality, I’ll likely be switching.

So why am I not switching yet? Because currently Midori is only at version 0.1.7, and has some issues. For one, any time I try to change the font used, Midori crashes instantly. In fact, while I can change the font family, the second I click inside the box to change the font size (Midori, by default, uses incredibly tiny fonts), it crashes. In addition, Midori doesn’t yet accept cookies, so I can’t use Midori for my banking website.

In spite of this, however, Midori is a good looking project that, judging by comments I’ve seen in software forums, people are awfully excited about. So for now I’ll stick with Firefox (and won’t regret it), but as soon as Midori progresses a bit more, you can bet I’ll check it out again.

To sum up, Midori is one of the best web browsers to have come out with an updated format and WebKit too can be counted into the same category where all you need to have is an excellent preventivo sito internet to start things out where things keep getting better and better due to the new software.