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Firefox 3 and Linux

Mike Connor blogs about the proposed requirements for Firefox 3 to run on Linux. A nasty surprise for me was the inclusion of GNOME as a dependency. While the GTK/Pango/Cairo/etc. requirements are quite understandable, I don't understand why it should need GNOME. Many of us are happy with KDE or Xfce and would like to avoid the bloat and the dependency hell of GNOME for the sake of running a browser.

As an aside, Firefox on Linux also seems to behave quite differently from Firefox on Windows. For example, on Linux Firefox seems to consistently consume more CPU time and memory than on Windows. Some pages are rendered differently on Windows and Linux (perhaps due to the availability, or otherwise, of the fonts requested by the page designer and the rendering infrastructure). I have personally also noticed bug-337093 on Windows but not on Linux.


  1. Yeah - gnome sounds like an overkill requirement to me too. I wonder what happened to http://jriddell.org/programs/akademy/mozilla-kpart-announcement

    The requirements for Eclipse are almost as bad, however. For Eclipse I put my hopes on http://eos.sourceforge.net/

  2. I think the dependency on GNOME is because you can't get a decent, modern user experience from just a windowing toolkit and some drawing libraries.

    You need you be able to open a file of some random type automatically (even if it is just to show the downloads dir), you need to show up in application menus reliably when installed, you need to present the same file chooser as the rest of the desktop. You need to be able to fill form controls with data from the user's "about me" entry in the desktop's address book. Basically, you need to behave like a native application, rather than just (sometimes) looking like one.

    Given KDE's focus on KHTML and that FF already uses GTK, choosing to integrate it with GNOME seems like a reasonable way to go.


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