Alternate Web Browsers For Raspberry Pi: 0.2

I have turn my attention to testing on different desktop environments and using Fennec web browser. I was having issues reducing the system resources that was used by the other browsers so I wanted to try a browser that was designed for mobile devices.

Fennec is a firefox based browser for mobile devices. It uses less resources than conventional browsers, but has an interface that is not optimized for standard desktop computers. Fennec was on my list of alternate browsers but I could not get a working version to run. However, after some research, I was able utilize the mozconfig file and the Mozilla central build environment to build a working version of Fennec.

I have here the link to the gnome version of Fennec and all of the associate libraries. The stand alone executable. The stand alone executable has issues. I recommend getting the whole package (objdir.tar.gz).

Fennec 32bit Gnome Fedora

I will upload the other version when ready.

To build Fennec I had to first install the proper tools:

yum groupinstall ‘Development Tools’ ‘Development Libraries’ ‘GNOME Software Development’
yum install mercurial autoconf213 glibc-static libstdc++-static yasm wireless-tools-devel mesa-libGL-devel alsa-lib-devel libXt-devel

hg clone http://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central

Then I had to create a mozonfig file with “ac_add_options –enable-application=mobile”.

Here is fennec running on a number of different Desktops:

Gnome:

XFCE:

LXDE:

After I had all my browsers in new environments I tried comparing them using the same websites. I have also disabled swap using the swapoff -a command and sync command to clear the memory cache.

XFCE:

LXDE:

I am more interested in LXDE since it is the same environment used by the RaspberryPi board. Plus all the browsers used a bit less resources on LXDE, but Fennec did not perform as well as I had hoped.

The next test I did involved minimizing the ram, all the browsers except Arora still worked when I took the ram down to 256 mb under LXDE. But the system would not boot when I reduced it even more.

Midori:

Epiphany:

Chromium:

Fennec:

I had plans to bring these browsers to the raspberry pi board, and build a Fennec on a panda board, but I ran into numerous issues. The most notable is not being able to change the partitions for the raspberry pi. And not being able to install development tools for the panda arm device.

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