I am a heavy user of the Gale­on Web browser. IMHO, it is far and away the best browser avail­able for any plat­form. Tabs and ses­sion sup­port with crash recov­ery are bril­liant fea­tures. Not only has Gale­on had them for longer than most oth­er browsers, it imple­ments them in a super­i­or way. Not only that, it is quite fast and stable as well. I keep Gale­on open all the time with mul­tiple win­dows open (presently I have 7 open win­dows, which allow me to ‘cat­egor­ise’ my tabs), and each win­dow has many tabs (For example, I’ve got over 30 tabs in my ‘main’ win­dow, and over 50 in anoth­er). I like my tabs to run down the left side of my win­dow (AFAIK some­thing only Gale­on can do), so that more can fit on the screen and I don’t have to scroll through them. It may sound nuts, but I like it that way. And yes, I also use book­marks: my book­mark col­lec­tion is extens­ive. If Gale­on crashes (a rare occur­rance), or if I want to close it for some reas­on (anoth­er rare occur­rance), I can get all my win­dows and tabs back when I restart it. 

As you can see, I am very attached to Gale­on’s unique fea­ture set, which makes switch­ing to a new browser dif­fi­cult to say the least. Before I moved whole­sale to Gale­on, I would sim­ul­tan­eously run Kon­quer­or and Opera, and some­times Nets­cape 4 as well. This was so I could lever­age the strengths of each indi­vidu­al browser. 

I have been eye­ing Galeon2 for a while now, and I finally decided to try it out. If it’s good enough to be included in Man­drake Linux 9.1, then maybe it’s good enough for me. Galeon2 is still under­go­ing heavy devel­op­ment, so I was­n’t expect­ing too much. Since the Gale­on team is pretty-much rewrit­ing the whole thing from scratch to take advant­age of the GNOME2 plat­form, it would be under­stand­able for it to take a while to reach matur­ity. My ver­dict? It is very close to meet­ing my needs. There are many extra set­tings hid­den in Gconf, and after tweak­ing these I was able to cre­ate a sim­il­ar setup to what I had in Galeon1. How­ever, some things don’t work yet and a couple are missing. 

I had a chat with some Gale­on developers a few weeks ago, and they said that they are try­ing to reach a sim­il­ar fea­ture set to Galeon1, the dif­fer­ence being that this time they are cod­ing for GNOME2 and its Human Inter­face Guidelines. Unlike the Gale­on splinter pro­ject Epi­phany, they are not try­ing to cut out fea­tures on a sig­ni­fic­ant scale. A while ago there was much con­flict in the Gale­on mail­ing lists (to which I am a sub­scriber) over wheth­er Gale­on should sim­pli­fy its fea­ture set or con­tin­ue on its cur­rent course. The Gale­on founder and main­tain­er, Marco Pesenti Gritti, left the pro­ject, forked the code and used it to cre­ate Epi­phany. I per­son­ally like this dual-pronged approach from the GNOME folks. Most people don’t like unne­ces­sary com­plex­ity, and so Epi­phany gives a simple, Safari-like inter­face and exper­i­ence. For power-users such as myself, Gale­on fits the bill brilliantly. 

There are some pros to Galeon2 over Galeon1. For one thing, the UI is faster and more respons­ive. My favour­ite, though, is the default book­marks. There aren’t very many, but the ones that are there are great. In the GNU /​ Linux -> News sec­tion, for instance, there are only four entries: 

  • Desktop Linux
  • OSNews
  • Pclinuxon­line
  • Slash­dot

Notice any­thing spe­cial in there? Of the four GNU/​Linux news sites chosen by the Gale­on team, PCLinuxOn­line is one of them! 

I for­got to men­tion one of my oth­er favour­ite fea­tures in Gale­on (1 and 2): smart book­marks. I like them so much that in early April I volun­teered to take charge of main­tain­ing the offi­cial smart book­mark dir­ect­ory. The Trans­late to Eng­lish smart bookmark/​bookmarklet in the default Galeon2 book­marks was made by myself. There are many oth­er book­marks in the dir­ect­ory which I wrote myself, includ­ing some to search PCLinuxOn­line (in the News cat­egory). I know it’s not much but it’s nice to hear that oth­ers appre­ci­ate and use your work 🙂 

Galeon rocks! / Sridhar Dhanapalan by Sridhar Dhanapalan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
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