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Sailfish Browser is dead. Hail Android alternatives?

asked 2018-05-28 18:07:05 +0300

jimjamz gravatar image

The Sailfish browser is a variant of Mozilla Firefox that is massively out of date. Unable to support the latest plugins offered by Firefox's browser app on other platforms, not to mention site incompatibilities and gaping security vulnerabilities as a result of being so far behind. But, what to do? Other Sailfish alternatives offer no confidence as a solid replacement (webcat, Web Pirate ...). Hats off for the contributions to, but these are not fully featured apps that can offer us the latest compatibility with sites, plugins and security features. As this app is essential to being our Window on the World, it's about time Jolla stood up and took this seriously. No more messing around with faffy features for the Calendar or Notes app. Invest some time and effort in getting our browser up to the latest versions and as fully featured as browser apps on other platforms. Otherwise, I don't see any other alternative but to start using Android based browsers, and that would seriously imoact the justification to use Sailfish.

Here's a quick example: Using Sailfish Browser, writing this very topic. Because there is so much text in the text box, it auto scrolls down. So, how to scroll back up to the text at the beginning of this text box? No amount of tapping, long pressing or dragging can allow me to scroll through all the text in this text box whilst editing.

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better not:
android layer has its own vulnerabilities...
and gecko update for SFOS is around the corner (38.8 from apr'16 ---> 45.9 from apr'17) so time-lag to recent ESR will not be as much as it is now...
nss update is planned at same time 3.20 --> 3.34+
plugins will not work because there are no known npapi plugins for armv7-architecture...
webRTC will come through gstreamer update to 1.14.x (available @ openrepos or soon by sfos update)

lpr ( 2018-05-28 18:34:02 +0300 )edit

@lpr: but 45.9 is still deprecated. It's seven releases behind 52, which is also deprecated, and an additional eight releases behind 60, the current and new ESR Firefox.

nthn ( 2018-05-28 19:32:05 +0300 )edit

@nthn yes, I agree. But given mobile surfing partition of mozilla browsers comes to a few a few percent in total (android, ios mostly webkit).
Security threats in SFOS are mostly from linux kernel side (qt 5.6.3 very recent in security terms)
As long as firefox mobile doesn't support wayland together with openGLES out of the box we will always be a huge step behind recent mozilla releases...

lpr ( 2018-05-28 19:46:47 +0300 )edit

Browser surely needs attention. I don't know how much help is for us Wayland porting efforts of Mozilla and Chrome, you probably know and can assess it better than me. Recently I stumbled on Qt 2018 roadmap where they mentioned decoupling of WebEngine and Qt releases (see, search for webengine on that page). If you look into qt webengine code tree, there are already hints of such decoupling. I presume we could also benefit from it, even on earlier Qt versions. Which makes me wonder whether we should look into building the browser around WebEngine.

I don't know how much effort has been put into WebEngine porting or whether it will start only as a part of SFOS3. Would be great if Jolla would do those bits in open, so we could help if we can.

rinigus ( 2018-05-28 21:10:51 +0300 )edit

@rinigus firefox on wayland (desktop) is close to done. i expect ff63 to run ok on any wayland compositor. No idea however how this translates to mobile and what can be done to have FF on SFOS.

Shame that Mozilla doesn't care -and i get why- for the only remaining alternative mobile OS. :/

ApB ( 2018-05-28 22:16:09 +0300 )edit

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answered 2018-05-31 11:59:16 +0300

carepack gravatar image

iirc this is addressed by jolla anf they working on it. iirc again it's on the plan of this years agenda / sfos3. lookout for the official statement on the blog page

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This is taking far too much time. They really need to switch to a faster release model because of the fast development in the browser market the last years.

The browser could alsi need some good new features and enhancements like custom searchs, better initialization of new tabs and so on. Many things modern browsers have and which would be really welcome especially on mobile devices.

Armadillo ( 2018-10-18 19:39:00 +0300 )edit

or someone sit down and compile firefox in the SDK.

deloptes ( 2018-10-18 19:55:48 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2018-05-28 18:07:05 +0300

Seen: 3,307 times

Last updated: Oct 18 '18