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Is there any interest to bringing chromium/blink to Mer/Sailfish OS?

asked 2017-01-12 16:11:28 +0300

ArmsOfSorrow gravatar image

updated 2017-01-13 13:46:00 +0300

I've stumbled upon this post before writing this, however, it appears to be unmaintained.

Keep in mind that I'm writing this from a user perspective. As a developer, I have nothing but respect for the team that develops and maintains Sailfish Browser, but as a user I notice mostly one thing: it is slow. I've tried using Firefox on Android, which was marginally better, but still had frequent rendering "pauses" with text appearing blurry for almost a minute before finally moving on (essentially the same thing that plagues Sailfish Browser too). After that, I've downloaded chromium for Android from here and it was much more usable. Good performance without many hitches on my Jolla 1, i.e. a good user experience.

There's a project that adds wayland support to chromium, which might ease the porting process to Sailfish OS; it is currently in the process of being upstreamed.

I think it would be worthwhile to have chromium/blink on the platform, since it has a noticeable performance benefit and users care a lot about a good browsing experience.

What's your take on this? I would like to discuss this from a development perspective as well, e.g. how much of an effort it would be when the ozone wayland platform is completely upstreamed.

Here's some blog posts about the state of upstream wayland support:

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This no longer work due qt5-qtwayland-wayland incompatibility with ... Pity, it was fast and with very low memory footprint.

tvicol ( 2017-01-13 19:07:55 +0300 )edit

Any news about that?

naytsyrhc ( 2018-05-30 16:50:09 +0300 )edit

On the chromium side of things it still seems the be worked on.

I've never actually tried to build it for Sailfish, but I could imagine that some components would require updates first (e.g. Wayland). That's only speculation from my side, though.

ArmsOfSorrow ( 2018-05-30 18:11:08 +0300 )edit

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answered 2017-01-13 10:31:47 +0300

Tofe gravatar image

Well, it all depends on what you mean by "bring Chromium/Blink". For Blink, you can already have a look at alternative browsers on SailfishOS, like PirateWeb or WebCat, which are based on WebKit. In the (near?) future, Jolla wants to upgrade to Qt 5.6, which brings WebEngine. The latter uses the Chromium core, and wraps it for an easy use for Qt/QML. Be sure that once Qt 5.6 is there, you'll see a WebEngine based browser for SailfishOS within two weeks :)

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Qt WebEngine will not replace Qt WebKit, do not expect WebEngine browsers "within two weeks"

coderus ( 2017-01-13 10:46:43 +0300 )edit

If Qt WebeEngine is available (next to Qt WebKit, for instance), then having a browser would merely be a problem of porting the Qt web browser example they have to SailfishOS. It would be pretty minimal, but it's feasible within two week :p

Or maybe I'm just hopelessly optimistic here.

Tofe ( 2017-01-13 10:51:53 +0300 )edit

Both of those browsers you mentioned are slow and hopelessly outdated from an engine perspective. The main intent here is to have a browser engine that is updated more frequently than once every two years to get better performance and security patches.

Qt WebEngine wouldn't cut it either, as Qt probably won't be updated for a long time after 5.6 has landed. Or would it be possible to update the WebEngine module independently while staying on the same Qt version?

Also, WebEngine isn't even part of mer-core as of now, so it doesn't look like that's coming.

Furthermore, there seems to be a crash bug when running on wayland, so another thing against getting Qt WebEngine anytime soon.

ArmsOfSorrow ( 2017-01-13 11:03:01 +0300 )edit

Is there any privacy benefit for using the Chromium for Android instead of the plain Chrome from Play Store? I downloaded it to try it just for fun, but visually it's 1:1 to Chrome and starts suggesting signing into "Chrome" with the Google account for "the Google-recommended content" from the first launch.

(yes I do understand after having installed Play Store that is pretty much a stupid useless question)

teemu ( 2017-01-13 14:33:37 +0300 )edit

First of all Chrome != Chromium. Chromium is fully open source while Google's browser features some closed components, so there's that.

It depends on how much of the chromium project you use. content_shell, which is the minimum part needed for layout is the most important one (the "engine" + some more basic stuff). Everything else is optional, but I'd advise using some more components, like history, autofill, etc., basically what a user expects from a functional browser without reinventing the wheel.

ArmsOfSorrow ( 2017-01-13 18:37:47 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2017-01-12 16:11:28 +0300

Seen: 1,092 times

Last updated: Jan 13 '17