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Thursday·02·March·2006

The Galeon 1.3.x Rant, Part 2: Kazehakase is the real succssor of Galeon 1.2.x //at 01:57 //by abe

from the the-easiest-way-to-get-a-problem-solved-is-to-rant-about-it-in-public dept.

Well, I’m somehow suprised that my Galeon 1.3.x rant got so much response and especially so many constructive, non-ranty responses. Thanks, guys, you made my day!

A few of my arguments against Galeon 1.3.x are solved now (which of course was one of the targets of the rant ;-)… On the other hand, some of my statements were claimed false, but I still believe them to be right. I just strongly disagree with pure simplification being the right way in UI design.

But more important, I now know that Galeon 1.3.x will never be like Galeon 1.2.x and that it’s no legitimate successor of Galeon 1.2.x, because the focus and the design principles changed to more focus on beginners who may be confused by too many options and features and therefore excludes people which — for working efficently — need a tool being highly configurable regarding their customs.

I also never saw Galeon as part of GNOME, but as a very useful browser which unfortunately has this GNOME stuff in, but still is faster and more useable than Mozilla or Firefox with their XUL rendered GUI. So I used it and used parts of GNOME with it. I always wished SkipStone would have been as powerful as Galeon. But already the first comment to my Galeon 1.3.x rant pointed me to the true Galeon 1.2.x successor — without GNOME and just with pure GTK: Kazehakase. Thanks Miroslav Kure!

Galeon and GNOME developers should take a leaf out of Kazehakase’s book: They claim to be user-friendly by castrating the configuration window without any pointer in the program (help doesn’t count here!) to more options via the gconf-editor or about:config and therefore castrating their old users which are just used to have the power to modify the behaviour of an application.

Kazehakase just does what both, beginners as well as experienced users want and e.g. Lynx also does since ages: Letting the user (and not the developer) choose the user’s level. On the first tab of the Kazehakase configuration window, you can choose between UI levels “Beginner”, “Medium”, “Expert”. The default was “Beginner”, I’ve chosen “Expert” and I’m happy with it. GNOME developers may choose “Beginners” — for their clientele which I no more belong to.

But that’s not enough. Tommi Komulainen pointed me to about:config for the details. That’s fine. But Galeon doesn’t. Which isn’t fine. Kazehakase does. It has a menu entry “Detailed preferences” which just opens a new tab with about:config. IMHO a very elegant if not perfect solution. I really hope that at least this will be copied by the Galeon developers. So, Tommi, please tell the Galeon Developers on the GNOME Developer’s Summit in Boston next weekend, that I wish just two more menu entries beyond “Preferences”:

  • “Detailed browser preferences” which opens a new tab with about:config and
  • “Detailed UI preferences” which opens gconf-editor /apps/galeon.

With this, you probably help a lot of disappointed Galeon 1.3.x users. (And I know for sure that I’m not the only one. /me winks at Myon.)

OK, enough ranty sentences. If you want a more detailed and less ranty discussion, read on…

Answer to Erich Schubert’s Blog Posting

The first answer to my rant, I noticed, was from the former Galeon maintainer of Debian, Erich Schubert:

Many of the stuff you are complaining about is mostly the old “I need more features” mistake. Features do not increase usability (or as you called it “ergonomy”) by sheer quantity.

Of course, it does not. But many of the things I missed and argue about were only small changes in behaviour but which slowed down the whole handling of the browser. And a UI which was fast to use was one of the “features” I liked Galeon for. And sorry, many of those “features” increased my efficency with the browser a lot. (I don’t see this as features, btw, just as well thought out UI. You don’t have to use them, if you don’t want, but I do not expect, that anyone is confused that dropping a link in the same tab as it origins from, that it will just open the appropriate website.

I’ve seen users get totally confused by the amount of options they have to decide upon.

Have a look at Kazehakase or Lynx. A simple switch “UI level” or “User level” solves that problem perfectly without to alienate the more experienced users.

About the speed of the GUI (not the rendering engine): Sorry, but my Galeon 1.2.x from Woody on my 400 MHz PII desktop (578 MB RAM) is just a lots faster than Galeon 1.3.x on my AMD K6 Sarge test server with 500 MHz and 256 MB RAM. It takes tenths of seconds unless something happens after I’ve chosen another tab on that machine. I don’t notice such delays with Galeon 1.2.x on the 400 MHz box. And the UI of Galeon 1.3 at work on 2.4 GHz and 384 MB RAM (or something like that) SuSE (*grmpf*) machine seems not to be that much faster than on my 400 MHz box.

Interestingly Kazehakase’s UI seems even as fast as Galeon 1.2.x’s, since I can use Kazehakase on my PI with 133 MHz, 64 MB RAM and Sid running without any big pain. Only the rendering seems slower than on the 400 MHz box.

Note that the gtk theme engine has an effect on performance. Choose a lightweight engine and it will be much faster. This applied to GTK 1, too - except that very few people chose a heavyweight engine. So just don’t use grandcanyon or similar engines.

I use the default theme and spinner which comes with Sarge for Galeon 1.3.x and the Aquatic theme and pipeon spinner for Galeon 1.2.x. So no slowing down Galeon 1.3.x with heavyweight themes.

Then you are complaining about the focus issues in galeon, which have improved a lot, and are to blame on mozilla embedding. Just because galeon 1.2 uses an anicent mozilla doesn’t make them galeon 1.3s fault.

There you may be right. I noticed that the focus bugs changed with every 1.3.x version I used.

On the missing preferences in the dialog: so what? I never open the preferences dialog anyway. I don’t even remember where it is!

If that’s the way most developers think, it’s no wonder, Galeon is no more usable. It reminds to times, where seats of cars were built so that fitted the chief developers body.

If you want additional preferences, get gTweakUI.

Don’t tell me that in a blog posting. Tell me that in the Galeon preferences menu! (The same counts for about:config and gconf-editor.)

Just for the record: gtweakui-galeon solves my wish for for configurable tab location. But that’s all regarding my list of unconfigurable things in Galeon 1.3.x. gtweakui-menus sovled all the menu issues. (Which I fixed using gconf-editor before, but thanks anyway.)

And I bet you are welcome to provide patches if you find anything else missing.

Since the tenor of how a powerful web browser should look like seems to have changed, I don’t think I should waste any time with Galeon 1.3.x anymore. I’ll better try to patch bugs in Kazehakase than patching “unwanted” features into Galeon or any external (sic!) application to configure it.

The Ctrl+U behavious works for me exactly as you requested it.

Sorry, here it just doesn’t. I just clicked into the location field and pressed Ctrl-U and I got the source of the current tab.

Maybe you should choose Emacs-Style keybindings when you want Emacs-style keybindings.

You may be right and I noticed again, why I don’t want a web browser which is that heavily tied into a desktop environment… But since there was no better browser than Galeon I used it.

But back to the subject: Where the heck do I find that switch for Emacs keybindings. Tried gnome-control-center and gconf-editor. Tommi pointed me to ~/.gtkrc-2.0, but this tip unfortunately doesn’t seem to work.

Oh, and btw something I never understood is, why Ctrl-U is said to be an Emacs keybinding. Ctrl-U in Emacs is a prefix switch since I use GNU Emacs (18.34 IIRC) and nowhere in Emacs Ctrl-U clears a line. *justwondering*

You can drop hyperlinks of a page onto itself. Drop them onto the tab an they will open in the current window.

I know that, but it’s just awkyard that I have to target the tab if I just could move the mouse just a few pixels off al drop the link. Ever thought, why mouse gestures are so efficient? Because you don’t have to target anything small, you just use the same move whereever you are. It’s just the same here.

The search window opens very quickly for me. […] For me it’s Ctrl+F and start typing. A “search in current page” widget would be so useless… and slow! If I have to type anyway, why should I use my mouse to go to the widget?

If the window opens fast, you’re completely right. So that’s probably just an issue which just comes up on slower computers.

As for the tabs menu - I rarely have that many tabs, I could easily do without the tabs menu. Having more tabs than I can see is the point where I need to clean up… (just like having more applications open than desktops)

Well, I’d like to keep tabs open if I know, I’ll need the content of that page quite soon again. Even more, I use them as reminders, that I have to do something with them. And with Opera or Kazehakase there is a very nice feature not (yet) present in any Galeon version: Reopen recently closed tabs.

Although this feature doesn’t help with huge automatically started sessions. (But I usually process the windows with many tabs serially.) When I login and my Galeon starts, it usually opens several windows (one virtual desktop for each) with each having several tabs, e.g. one window with several Symlink tabs (malinglist admin, main page, IRC log, list of my comments — to look for replies, story stats, admin story list, and the new submissions list) or one window with other newstickers and blogs (most important ones plus two tabs with two different pages of an RSS feed reader for the rest), and one for all my daily comics. I guess, I load about 50 (internal and external) web pages when I log in. (Impossible without tabs, btw.)

Oh, and I do want my “empty new tabs” to open at the end of the list. This is much more predictable. I would often be annoyed by your preferred behaviour…

That’s ok. That’s your preference. And it was configurable in Galeon 1.2.x. For the rest of the discussion see above.

Having *one* network proxy setting for your desktop makes much more sense than having one for each application.

Not if you’re a webdeveloper. I have a proxy which modifies the content of pages for everyday browsing (Privoxy: It removes ads, banners, annoying JavaShit, zero width frame borders, etc.), but if e.g. a customer complains about a page I should temporarily switch off the proxy just to ensure, my proxy doesn’t modify the page and I see it as the customer sees it. This is very nice solved in Galeon 1.2.x (Disabled, Manually, Automatically) and even better in Kazehakase and one of the proxy chooser plugins for Firefox (they let me also choose between several manual proxy configurations).

You are of course welcome to write a proxy chooser applet if there is none. (Yes, this will affect galeon without a restart). Oh, and you can reach the proxy settings via the gnome menu with two clicks and no waiting for the galeon preferences dialog.

I do not use a desktop environment, I use a web browser. There is no panel and no menu on my desktop. There are just windows: Browser and terminals. I use Galeon because it’s a good browser (1.2.x ;-), and not because it’s built on GNOME.

But please stop requesting feature overload for the dialogs.

Nope.

This is an old discussion and has been done with.

Then it ended with the wrong result, namely to alienate users which were happy with Galeon and GNOME before.

Sometimes you just have to accept that many people have a different opinion,

I do accept that others have a different opinion, if they accept mine.

and maybe adopt to the new situation.

Yes, that means to drop Galeon 1.3.x and GNOME in favour of Kazehakase.

Otherwise your applications would still terminate when you press Ctrl+C…

I would be happy, if they would so in some cases, yes. Or at least, if it would be configurable… ;-)

Answer to Tommi Komulainen’s Galeon rant rant

The first trackback, which came in, was from Tommi Komulainen’s Galeon rant rant — a title I like very much. Unfortunately calling this post the “Galeon rant rant rant” wouldn’t be as good. ;-)

[…] And as it [Galweon 1.3.x] is a rewrite, things don’t suddenly just appear unless someone does the work and writes the code.

That’s ok. I just never did unterstand the reason for a complete rewrite, except that perhaps the switch GTK 1.x to GTK 2.x made it necessary.

So far no one has bothered to do so (just as no one has bothered porting the apparently “perfect” Galeon 1.2 to GNOME 2.x either.)

Well, Galeon 1.2.x wasn’t perfect, it just counts the same as for mutt: All web browsers suck. This one just sucks less. :-)

And btw, Kazehakase looks to me a lot like Galeon 1.2.x and it seems to me as someone has bothered porting the nearly “perfect” ;-) Galeon 1.2.x away from GNOME just in the sense of the good ol’ SkipStone. Sorry, GNOME guys, you’ve lost — a good browser.

Regarding the Ctrl-U thing again:

This is rather funny, actually, as Galeon is trying very hard to support Emacs-keybinding

Indeed, it does, but probably not as hard as galeon 1.2.x did. (Altough I often quit both, 1.3.x when trying to use Ctrl-Q to insert some special character as I’m used to in Emacs trough ssh sessions. Solved the problem by disabling the Ctrl-Q shortcut, because I usually just close the browser when I log out. And for that seldom event, I can use the menu. ;-)

and in general trying to make some sense between actions with shortcuts in menus and actions built into widgets. The order in which keyboard events are handled in gtk+ is peculiar, but basically the ugly hacks in Galeon should ensure most Emacs keybindings (which conflict with HIG bindings) should just work.

Just another reason, why I prefer Galeon over other browsers, yes.

Of course this needs a setting similar to gtk-key-theme-name = “Emacs” in your ~/.gtkrc-2.0

The things you mentioned worked on Debian and SuSE also without that setting (for luck!), but unfortunately it didn’t solve the Ctrl-U problem… :-/

The way tabs work in Galeon is that related tabs are kept together while unrelated tabs are opened at the end. A link on a page opened in a new tab is considered related, opening a new (blank) tab from menu or command line is not.

Yes, I expected this logic behind that behaviour. But if I open a new tab manually, I usually do it, because I want it side by side with the current open tab (which was configurable with Galeon 1.2.x). It’s seldom the case that I have to open unrelated tabs.

I also don’t argue against the default, I just argue about that I can’t reverse it to the former, for me usefuller behaviour. Galeon just doesn’t know if I consider a tab related or not.

Example: I have web site open and need a word translated. I cut & paste it into my dict.leo.org Smart Bookmark and hit Ctrl-Enter. I want that page to open directly besides the current tab.

BTW: Smart Bookmarks are also a very nice feature of Galeon (1.2.x as well as 1.3.x :-). That’s one of the things I still miss in Kazehakase. But I’m sure, it will come… ;-)

Have you ever actually looked at the number of options in about:config? I seriously hope you’re not seriously suggesting moving them all in the UI.

Nope. Even more, I expected that those, you’d better should not play with unless you’re know what your’re doing (disabling HTTP 1.1 e.g.) should not show up in the UI.

I think even Mozilla left out some options from distracting the user.

They did. But not because they would distract the user but because they’re dangerous if you don’t know their implications.

The defaults should just work. If most users are likely to want or need to tweak some preference it’s in the UI. For niche uses there’s gconf-editor an about:config.

Then — again &mdahs; there should be a either menu entry “Detailed XY preferences” or “Expert XY preference” which opens up about:config or gconf-editor or there should be a switch “User level” or “UI level”. But silently removing configurations options is just anything but user-friendly.

I can’t help it but the overall impression I got from the rant was basically Galeon 1.3 is different from Galeon 1.2…

You’ve got it! Galeon 1.3 is different from Galeon 1.2! That’s what I’m complaining about. Galeon is no more Galeon. Galeon 1.2.x was a good and configurable browser. But now, with 1.3.x, Galeon is a browser.

The whole Galeon team will be in the GNOME Developer’s Summit in Boston next weekend. You might want to bribe us with few beers to fix your Galeon pet peeves :-)

Sorry, too far away. But after this quite interesting but also disappointing discussion about the GNOME directions of UI design, my main wish is — as I already wrote in the beginning of this posting — to include menu entries for about:config and the appropriate path in the gconf-editor. This would be a small help for all those which disagree with where the current direction of GUI design in GNOME seems to go: Pure simplification without regarding any collateral damages on experienced and habitual users.

Humans are habitual beings — and this should never be forgotton in HCI. (And maybe in that point, I’m even more human than other humans. ;-)

But my biggest problem with Kazehakase at the moment is, that I can’t remember it’s name correctly (nor do I no know how to pronounce it correctly). Perhaps it should just refer to it as “Aleon”: “Galeon” without the GNOME part. ;-)

Comments

about:config

Posted by: Reinout van Schouwen
Website: http://www.vanschouwen.info/
Time: Mon, 03 Oct 2005 19:13

Did you know you could bookmark about:config? Voila, a menu entry!

Sorry, but exposing about:config from the default menus is just silly. Half the prefs wouldn't even work with embedded mozilla.

Reply

Re: about:config

Posted by: Axel Beckert
Website: http://noone.org/blog
Time: Mon, 03 Oct 2005 23:13

Nice idea I haven't thought about. But since I work more with typing URLs directly or fetching them from history, I probably don't need it. That's definitely a URL I know by mind. :-)

Regarding about:config in the menu, you may be right. I never checked, if there are things to configure which don't work with embedded Gecko.

Reply

Re: The Galeon 1.3.x Rant, Part 2: Kazehakase is the real succssor of Galeon 1.2.x

Posted by: Zygo Blaxell
Website: mailto:zbnoone@umail.hungrycats.org
Time: Mon, 03 Oct 2005 20:20

"Having *one* network proxy setting for your desktop makes much more sense than having one for each application.

Not if you’re a webdeveloper. "

Also not if you're on a laptop moving from network to network (sometimes you need to use a proxy, sometimes you need to not use a proxy).

Also not if the proxy you are required to use on a particular network is horribly broken wrt cached pages. Galeon 1.2.x used to have a rightclick menu on "Reload" the allowed reloading the page bypassing the proxy, which was nice. Now I have to do stuff like append "?@ADSFH" (a different string each time) to every URL that fails to load with the right Content-Type on the first try.

Also not if your corporate intranet sites use NTLM authentication, but Galeon or Mozilla or something absolutely refuses (!) to do NTLM authentication over a proxy, even if you flip the appropriate-looking settings under about:config. I end up firing up Konqueror (which doesn't share the GNOME web browser setting) to work around this.

Also not if, for the current 10 minutes, you are using a $10/MB network feed (e.g. PPP-over-GPRS), and you want one (and only one) application to know where it is. Things like news tickers, weather applets, apt-watcher, and so on are all nice when you're connected to a $0.30/GB network, but they cost more than a dollar each over a cell phone, and it takes much longer than 10 minutes to temporarily disable and reenable them all for such a short time interval. It's much more convenient to 1) use iptables to prevent everything under my own user ID from accessing the network, 2) run a proxy server on localhost which runs under some other user ID, 3) temporarily configure one browser application to use that proxy to get through the firewall. This doesn't work under the GNOME "one proxy to connect them all" scheme, since you can't tell one application how to use the proxy while keeping the information secret from other applications. Fortunately Konqueror doesn't share its proxy settings with GNOME.

" The way tabs work in Galeon is that related tabs are kept together while unrelated tabs are opened at the end. A link on a page opened in a new tab is considered related, opening a new (blank) tab from menu or command line is not.

Yes, I expected this logic behind that behaviour. But if I open a new tab manually, I usually do it, because I want it side by side with the current open tab (which was configurable with Galeon 1.2.x). It’s seldom the case that I have to open unrelated tabs. "

I currently have 5 galeon windows open, with between 31 and 174 tabs open on each. If a new tab was *ever* added to the end of the window list instead of immediately following the current tab, I would never find it again until weeks later. I somehow configured my Galeon so that tabs always appear next to the current tab, but I don't remember how.

Reply

Re: The Galeon 1.3.x Rant, Part 2: Kazehakase is the real succssor of Galeon 1.2.x

Posted by: Günther
Website: 
Time: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 17:52

> Galeon 1.2.x used to have a rightclick menu on "Reload" the allowed reloading the page bypassing the proxy, which was nice.

Galeon 1.3.21 has that, too.

I also regularly use a new tab to look up some word in dict.leo.org. The fact that it's opened at the end is a little distracting, but does not matter much because I'm taken back to the previous tab when I close it.

Reply

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This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the IT Support Group (ISG) of the Departement of Physics at ETH Zurich.

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