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 🙂

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