IMO the KDE “Falkon” browser, which I’ve now used for all of a two days under Leap 15.1, is excellent. It’s much faster than Firefox, it displayed TV programs straight away with no fuss or licencing problems, it imported Firefox bookmarks without any problems, and it’s easy to use. It also doesn’t seem to have the JSON file-protection issues which bedevil Firefox (though not in my experience) and Epiphany, and result in continuous hard-drive usage.
The one thing it cannot do is install Privacy Badger. In fact installation of any third-party extension apparently requires Python & QT development skills, and the AdBlocker plugin obviously isn’t intended to stop trackers.
Leap 15.1 runs version 3.0.1 released in 2018, and the KDE website states the latest version (3.1.0 I think) was released in 2019.
So does anyone know where Falkon’s future lies? Will it forever languish in 2019? (And yes, an upgrade to 15.2 will happen soon, but this isn’t an O/S version-related question.)
Thanks Deano, the Reddit discussion was interesting with 37 replies to a very similar thread. In general, users who have discovered Falkon really like it.
However there’s a perceived lack of maintenance due to infrequent updates, and users cannot install extensions (a show-stopper for some, including me).
The comment about infrequent updates may be a little unfair since most of the critical work is done by QtWebEngine, which is frequently updated via automatic updates of each distribution (confirmed by my own experience with TV-on-demand). Falkon also fits better into KDE Plasma, and it’s faster than FF or Chrome.
On the issue of trackers, the FF / Chrome / Android extension Privacy Badger released by Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) is changing (or has) so it’s “learning” is not done locally but downloaded as a pre-learned list since local learning may allow “fingerprinting” of individual users. - see https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/10/privacy-badger-changing-protect-you-better On my own system, the Badger has blocked 1,133 potential tracking domains (using the downloaded list, I think), and local learning can be enabled if desired.
From the little I understand of Qt bus architecture, it appears Falkon communicates with QtWebEngine, which does all the hard work, and QtWebEngine is “based on” Chromium which supports Chrome extensions.
And a 2019 post on the Qt bugfix website “Support some of Chrome extensions API” - see https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-51185 - suggests it might be possible for any browser using QtWebEngine to use this API so users can install Chrome extensions. Perhaps Chrome extensions could even be installed independently at the QtWebEngine level by a SysAdmin.
Would anyone more familiar with browser / QtWebEngine architecture please shed more light on this subject?
Has this API been implemented, and if so, is it used directly by the four browsers listed above which, essentially, just provide a convenient GUI?
Does Leap 15.3 support Chrome extensions now anyway?
Sorry, I didn’t phrase that question properly… I meant to ask whether the Falkon package included in Leap 15.3 (or even its QtWebEngine backend) supported Chrome extensions?
The 2019 note on the Qt website mentioned above suggests backend support for Chrome extensions would be desirable, and in that case I imagine browsers using the QtWebEngine need only implement a GUI using the API. It would be better from a system-management point of view also.