Sometimes, things are just under your nose and you completely miss them.
That happened to me. The default browser in Windows is Internet Explorer / Edge, on the Macintosh, Safari, and on Ubuntu, Firefox. The first thing I always do when configuring a computer is to add a couple of other browsers, typically Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. This activity goes back to when not all browsers were created equal – Mosaic and Netscape each had its own way of thinking when it came to rendering webpages so I would always test my web work to make sure that it worked for anyone visiting my sites, regardless of their browser choice. Put up your hand if you remember the message “This site works best on …”.
Of course, modern browsers all do a much nicer and more consistent job. These days, the criteria for browser choice involves personal preference, thoughts about privacy, speed, and especially the add-ons that extend the basic function of the web browser.
So, I was a bit surprised when I read this article – “Canonical’s Ubuntu Internet Browser Silently Becomes Awesome – Video“.
I was intrigued by the video and a bit surprised when I saw the icon.
What’s this? Safari for Ubuntu?
What’s the world coming to?
According to the article, it should already be on my computer since I was running version 15.04 of Ubuntu. After a little bit of remembering, I did remember poking around and seeing it before. By way of confession, I thought it was just another file browser to manage things locally and didn’t pay much attention to it.
Now, I decided I better kick the tires and take a look.
Hmmm. It renders this blog very nicely.
It displayed open tabs a little differently…
So, I did some more reading and realized that this was related to the Ubuntu Touch development. I shifted my thinking from it being just another desktop web browser and imagined it on a smartphone and it all started to make sense.
I then started to wonder again because the menu I saw was pretty small compared to the one in the video.
According to the software update, everything here was up to date. I tracked back the source to a launchpad page https://launchpad.net/webbrowser-app and checked the distribution. For mine, I was running the version packed into Vivid. There’s another version for Wily that would be the one displayed in the video. That would explain all of the enhancements. My aha moment for the day!
I was about to get the new version until I checked the calendar. Wily, version 15.10 will be released in the near future. The updated browser will undoubtedly be part of that installation. I’ll wait until then.
I wonder what else is on my computer that I need to investigate deeper!