July 23, 2012

The QupZilla Browser Continues Rapid Development, Makes Case For Top Browser In Kubuntu

With all of the well-deserved kudos and coverage that I have been giving to the rekonq web browser the last few days, I would be remiss to forget to mention another Qt-based web browser that is available for Kubuntu and it's derivatives (as well as other Linux distros, Mac, Windows, and Haiku) that has seen massive development in a short period of time. We're talking the QupZilla browser here. This browser flies under the radar in Kubuntu circles, mainly because it's not included by default in Kubuntu like rekonq is. Also, it may not help that it is yet another app with a "Zilla" at the end. That does not mean, however, that it should be overlooked as a worthy contender in filling your web surfing needs.

What It Has Going For It

QupZilla defines itself as a
"new and very fast QtWebKit browser. It aims to be a lightweight web browser available through all major platforms. This project has been originally started only for educational purposes. But from its start, QupZilla has grown into a feature-rich browser.
QupZilla has all standard functions you expect from a web browser. It includes bookmarks, history (both also in sidebar) and tabs. Above that, you can manage RSS feeds with an included RSS reader, block ads with a builtin AdBlock plugin, block Flash content with Click2Flash and edit the local CA Certificates database with an SSL Manager.
QupZilla's main aim is to be a very fast and very stable QtWebKit browser available to everyone. There are already a lot of QtWebKit browsers available, but they are either bound to the KDE environment (rekonq), are not actively developed or very unstable and miss important features. But there is missing a multiplatform, modern and actively developed browser. QupZilla is trying to fill this gap by providing a very stable browsing experience." - source

So far, so good, as WebKit for the most part rocks. It's no coincidence that both QupZilla and rekonq use WebKit for the job of heavy HTML lifting. Recent updates to QupZilla have brought a slew of new features. Mainly, tab previews, new address bar popup completion, improvements to AdBlock, and initial plugins support. The two initial plugins are a PIM Manager, which is like a form-fill tool that highlights form fields that can be automatically populated with data stored in the PIM from a key-stroke, and GreaseMonkey support. GreaseMonkey is definitely a power-user's dream, as can be seen with other browsers that have GreaseMonkey support. Finally, AdBlock is included as well, as again many power users insist on their browser of choice having this functionality.

QupZilla 1.3.1 Running In Kubuntu 12.04
Browsing DeviantArt using QupZilla

Giving QupZilla A Try On Kubuntu / Netrunner / Linux Mint KDE

Make sure you're running a recent version of Kubuntu. Note that the standard repositories have an older version of QupZilla that you'll likely want to avoid installing. Instead to get the latest and greatest, using your Muon Package Manager, click on Settings > Configure Software Sources, then enter your password. Click on the second tab on the top, labelled "Other Software". Then click "Add". Paste or type the following into Muon:
ppa:nowrep/qupzilla

Click "OK" and allow your system to update and then simply search for and install the "qupzilla" package. You're all set to try QupZilla out and give it a spin. 

Is It The Best Alternative Browser Out There?

Well, it does have a lot going for it. It's real competition in the native Qt web browser wars in Kubuntu is rekonq, which is the default browser on install. The only way to settle this is a good 'ole fashioned App Showdown. So stay tuned for that, which we should have up later this week. As for you, what do you think?