The Raspberry Pi Foundation, creators of a credit card-sized computer that plugs in to a TV and keyboard, has announced a new browser called Epiphany. To be included on future versions of the company’s Raspbian operating system, this browser is based on one that already exists in the development community, simply called “Web”, from the GNOME open source desktop project. It replaces the “rather venerable” Midori browser with many improvements and additions.
One of the most significant advances is much better HTML5 compatibility. HTML5 is an increasingly important aspect of web pages and thus it is essential that it works well on any browser one chooses to use. The UI is much more intuitive and responsive, with smoother scrolling and improved page load techniques that fix many of the problems the previous browser had under heavy load.
Video playback is another important aspect developers focused on. YouTube (News - Alert) support has been improved with on-demand loading of embedded videos, which allows the page to load much faster. Videos are now decoded and scaled through gst-omx hardware. The number of memory copies necessary has been reduced and fullscreen playback is much faster through the use of dispmanx (however, a company representative stated that this is still a work in progress).
The company says Epiphany will be included as the default browser in all future releases of Raspbian, but those who can’t wait can type a few lines of code and get it ahead of time. Details are available within a blog post from Upton on the Raspberry Pi website.
Edited by Maurice Nagle