The subtitle to this post should be “Why HTML5 is a ‘Good Thing’” – I’m not averse to Flash and Silverlight, but these browser extensions can cause problems. Another machine I’d upgraded to 10.04 had a strange problem whereby Firefox would crash seconds after being launched. Generally I wouldn’t worry about it, since I use Chrome anyway, but I don’t like any software crashing for no reason! The solution was very simple. Read more…
Strange how, for years, I stuck with just Firefox. Now, I flip regularly between Google Chrome, Opera and Firefox depending on my mood or particular task.
Anyway, I wasn’t content to wait for the official standard Ubuntu repositories to be updated with Firefox 3.6, so – if you want to get the latest version of Firefox on your system, here’s how to do it on Karmic: Read more…
Although I have my doubts about Google, it still doesn’t stop me hypocritically waiting in line to receive an invitation to play with their new toys. So, after a long wait, on Sunday I finally received my invitation to the preview of Google Wave. I’m issuing a “long post alert” now, so you can cancel next year’s holiday if you plan to read all of this at once!
What is Google Wave?
Most people have already heard of Wave, but it’s actually a bit difficult to succinctly define exactly what it is. At its core, it is a HTML5 application, which provides a real-time messaging platform. That sounds a bit drab, but Wave has a lot of interesting possibilities. Read more…
In my continual quest to find a browser that I’m reasonably happy with, I decided to try Opera 10 for Ubuntu. I had been told that it was faster than Firefox and more sleek, and my first impression with the user interface was very positive. It does look incredibly pretty. I like the slim navigation bar, and the “Speed Dial” tab is very cool.
Unfortunately, when I actually tried to open a web page, it moved slower than an arthritic sloth on crutches whose feet were encased in concrete. Convinced that this couldn’t really be correct, I started to investigate. Due to my experience with slow browsing in Firefox (see this earlier post), I was leaning towards an IPv6 issue again. Sadly, it seems that it is not possible to disable IPv6 from within Opera, like it is in Firefox. The only option, then, was for me to disable IPv6 in Ubuntu globally. My router doesn’t support IPv6, and my network is IPv4, so I couldn’t really see any benefit to me in keeping it.
There were a few methods mentioned as to how to disable IPv6 in Jaunty, but this one was the successful one for me:
- Open a terminal window
sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
- Scroll down to after the line which reads: ## ## End Default Options ##
- At the end of the line that begins “kernel”, add the following text:
- Save and quit from gedit and restart Ubuntu.
The procedure is different for GRUB2:
- Open a terminal window
sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
- Locate the line which begins: “GRUB_CMD_LINE_LINUX_DEFAULT”, and within the speech marks type a space, and then:
- Save and close the file. Then type:
sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
- Now restart Ubuntu.
Hey presto – Opera now runs faster than a greased whippet on steroids. Apart from issues uploading photographs to WordPress :/ and eBay, I’m very happy with Opera and trying to overcome my guilt at not using Firefox as much! Here’as a screenshot of Opera in action – the eagle-eyed will notice the “Distribution Upgrade” is running, as I take the next bold step in my Linux adventure and upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”.
Although I do like Firefox and currently use it as my primary browser, I’m in the process of obtaining and compiling up the Kazehakase browser.
In the meantime, I’ve been getting annoyed with extremely slow browsing and an apparent keyboard delay on Firefox under Ubuntu 9.04. I don’t find the WordPress site the quickest, but a keyboard delay leading to missing characters when I’m typing makes it even more frustrating. Add in browsing at the speed of an arthritic sloth with terminal asthma and a limp, and I’ve succeeded in my quest of finding something new to shout at.
Anyway, after deciding that enough was decidedly enough, I searched for, and found, a reason for this problem. I’ll explain why this problem affected the keyboard in a moment, but the solution is as follows:
- Open Firefox and in the address bar type:
- In the Filter bar, type:
- Double-click on network.dns.disableIPv6 to set the value to “true”
- Restart Firefox
Obviously I’m assuming that you’re operating in an IPv4 environment, like me. Disabling this setting rapidly speeded up my browsing and removed the keyboard delay. But why?
Well, the browsing bit is obvious. If Firefox is attempting to resolve my IPv4 DNS server over IPv6, then it simply can’t. This is adding in an overhead on the browse time. Disabling IPv6 resolution means that it always resolves using IPv4. So that’s one problem solved. The keyboard issue took a bit more thought before I realised what was happening.
Basically, it boils down to the same name resolution problem. When you search in Google, you get the handly little “suggestion” as you’re typing. Each time you type a letter, Firefox has to make another call to Google’s servers to adjust the suggestion. Therefore, we experience the “lag”. The same problem happens if you have inline spell-checking switched on, which is why WordPress and any other text form was slow.
Switching it off has made Firefox more usable again, and the only thing that causes keyboard delays now is my rather random typing style!
EDIT 30th October: Check out this post for how to disable IPv6 in Ubuntu completely – this makes other browsers such as Opera work quickly.
Anyone who was using the Internet in the early-to-mid nineties will remember the Netscape vs Internet Explorer browser wars. Oh…the good old days of having to initiate your Windows 3.1 dial-up connection before launching Trumpet Winsock. But I digress! Unsurprisingly for anyone who knows me, I held on to using Netscape Navigator & Communicator for as long as I possibly could, before giving in to Internet Explorer. Yet again, “standards” were being set – not by technical superiority, but by the sheer might of one company’s dominance on the desktop.
That’s not to say that Navigator/Communicator was always superior to IE. Initially, yes – but I abandoned using Navigator when it was renamed to Communicator. At this point IE was significantly better and didn’t produce a BSoD as soon as I started working on something important! Later I switched to Mandrake Linux on my desktop and used Konqueror instead. Now, my daily browser is the spiritual successor to Navigator – Mozilla Firefox. Not only is it extremely fast at rendering pages, it’s compact and very stable. IE is installed, but is reserved for checking how a page renders to ensure that my stylesheets are correct.
It seems that I’m not alone in my decision to change browsers. A recent story on Slashdot regarding IE’s apparently reducing market share shows that the Browser Wars are definitely not over – just the names have changed, well…one of them has, anyway. The story reported that IE’s market share appeared to have dropped from 64% to 56% in just over a month! Wikipedia shows IE holding 65.5% of the market with Firefox at 22.1% as of May 2009.
The question is, though, what is IE’s actual market share? Where are the most accurate figures for browser usage? Where can you find statistics that reflect what’s happening in the real world? I’m sure the answer is on the tip of your tongue, but I’ll say it anyway – the access logs for www.mattrudge.net of course!
Firstly – I don’t usually access or look at my own website, so the figures aren’t skewed by my visits, but the statistics for July 2009 are surprising: Firefox accounted for 51.4% of visits, Internet Explorer 33.1%. Other browsers, such as Konqueror, Safari, Chrome, Opera, iBrowse and Netscape Navigator 5 (?) made up remaining 15.5%.
For June, the figures were completely reversed with IE showing 51.7% and Firefox 26.6%, and for the year-to-date, IE is at 45.8% and 31.6% for Firefox. There were also 25 visits from a lunatic using Netscape 1.0! Whilst visits to mattrudge.net have increased since 2008, the percentage of visits from IE users has steadily decreased.
Whether these statistics reflect what’s going on in the real world or not, I don’t know – maybe it’s just that IE users have better things to do with their time than visit my little corner of the web. What these and other statistics do show, however, is that for the first time in many years, there is a credible (and highly recommended) alternative to IE.