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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Midori : Light Weight WebKit based browser for Linux

The best thing about Open Source World is the number of different choices available whether its in the number of Linux distribution available or applications, and Web Browsers are no exception.

There are a number of different web browsers available on the Linux platform like the popular Mozilla Firefox running on Gecko , Opera or the Konqueror running atop KHTML. However, most of these web browsers are bulky owing to host of features they offer and there are only few lightweight "usable" Web Browsers available on the Linux platform, last one I tried was Dillo which was good for displaying simple web pages. Midori is a notch above Dillo and is based on popular WebKit engine (used by Safari).

WebKit is an open source engine that was created by Apple computers for it's Safari web browser( which is available on a number of different platform like Mac OS and Windows ). Code for WebKit was derived from another Open Source project Konqueror's KHTML Library and KDE's Java Script Engine (KJS).

WebKit is being developed by a number of different organisation and groups and is at the heart of two popular Web Browsers Apple Safari and Google Chrome. WebKit also powers a number of web browsers on the mobile platform(in fact Nokia plans to develop a web browser based on WebKit for it's Symbian mobile platform). It is an extremely robust rendering engine , and competes neck to neck (and in fact is ahead) with Gecko , Opera in terms of Java Script rendering.

Midori is a light weight Web Browser that has been built using WebKit, Midori is the only Web Browser available presently on Linux that uses WebKit engine(Chrome is not out for Linux yet). Midori uses GTK 2.x graphical tool kit for it's user interface and is in fact part of XFCE ( a lightweight window manager) as part of it's goodies package. Though Midori is still in early phase of development and is buggy, still it is usable. Some of the features of Midori are :

* Full integration with GTK+ 2.
* Fast rendering with WebKit.
* Tabs, windows and session management.
* Flexibly configurable Web Search.
* User scripts and user styles support.
* Straightforward bookmark management.
* Customizable and extensible interface.
* Extensions written in C.
* Custom context menu actions.
Midori is extremely good at rendering Web Pages (owing to it using WebKit for rendering web pages) and is extremely fast as compared to Mozilla Firefox or Opera on the Linux platform. Though , Midori lacks flash support presently which could limit it's usage slightly, Midori could be extremely useful for some one running an Old PC or Linux based Kiosks.

Midori is included in the official Ubuntu repositories , so it is extremely easy to install Midori. To install Midori issue the following commands in the terminal Window (Application -> Accessories -> Terminal )
sudo apt-get install midori

after issuing the above command you can launch Midori from (Applications -> Internet -> Midori Web Browser ).

Midori Web Browser in Action :)


Article Written by : Ambuj Varshney (blogambuj@gmail.com)
For Linux on Desktop Blog , http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com
(C) 2008 , Ambuj Varshney

3 comments:

Will said...

"Midori is the only Web Browser available presently on Linux that uses WebKit engine"

It's actually a more exciting world for browsers in linux!
Arora uses webkit, and kazehakase and epihpany can both be compiled with it as an engine.

Also the midori version i'm running (.1.1) works with flash 10!

Carlos said...

I agree that Midori it's a nice alternative browser. And the most promising alternative browsers that I've tried. If it can mimic the best things of Firefox (like bookmarking), while being light we can have serious competition to Firefox

venu said...

yes it is extremly faster than firefox but it is lack of XPCOM support and currently webkit engine is not supporting plugin development with directfb backend it is supporting presently on X11.

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