Launchpad Entry: mobile-lucid-arm-lightweightbrowser
Contributors: Paul Larson, David Sugar
Packages affected: ubuntu-netbook-remix
Mozilla Firefox is a fairly heavy web browser and suffers from less than optimal performance on ARM due to issues such as cache size. Lighter-weight web browsers should be investigated, and a more appropriate one should be picked as a default for ARM based releases. Standard-compliance is essential, along with support for modern browser user experiences such as tabbed browsing, form fill-in, extensions, media playback, Java support, etc. For these reasons, a consensus emerged at UDS in favor of Chromium.
To improve the user experience, the Ubuntu Netbook Edition for ARM now offers Google Chromium as the default desktop browser.
There are performance issues using Firefox on arm hardware. This blueprint was originally a question as well as a goal to try and find a lighter wight browser, perhaps based on webkit.
Browsing is an essential user experience. This blueprint addresses issues which detract from that experience on small cache arm processors when using Firefox.
That we can find an alternative that will still satisfy user needs including access to media (plugins), Java, flash (as it becomes available for Arm), as well as being sufficiently standards-compliant and meeting user expectations of a modern web browser.
We need to package Chromium in main and built it successfully for armv7 for Lucid. The UNE seed needs to be modified to insert Chromium in place of Firefox, and the default account skeleton needs to be changed to select chromium as the user's "default" browser in GNOME.
There may be a patch needed for armv7.
This may require up to several weeks to build, test, then commit changes to make this happen.
The user can export bookmarks from Firefox to migrate to Chromium. Stored account passwords and other aspects cannot be migrated easy, however.
We need to test Chromium on Arm side by side with Firefox to see how well this solves the performance issues we are addressing before committing to change the seed.
There is no UbuntuOne bookmark integration for Chromium at this time.
BoF agenda and discussion
Use this section to take notes during the BoF; if you keep it in the approved spec, use it for summarising what was discussed and note any options that were rejected.