How many browsers does an operating system really need? If you are looking from the outside in at the Linux operating system you would think it needed plenty of browsers. Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Chromium, Konqueror, Midori, Epiphany, Arora...and now Rekonq. That's right, Rekonq.
The description of Rekonq is simple: the Konqueror browser using the WebKit engine. But it's not quite that simple. Rekonq will be the new default browser for Kubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat). This is a new project that will, hopefully, overcome some ofthe shortcomings of the current Konqueror browser. And in this article we will take a look at this new browser so all the Ghacks readers will be prepared when it lands on the new KDE desktop.
Like any good browser, Rekonq has plenty of features. You won't, however, find this browser getting bogged down in too many features which wind up being nothing more than bloat. This should keep Rekonq fast and responsive. The current feature set includes:
Of course you are going to want to install this browser, so you can see for yourself how it performs. Since Rekonq is already in the standard repositories you should be able to install with the following steps:
That's it. You will now find this browser in Start > Applications > Internet > WebKit KDE Browser. I will warn you: Rekonq is not ready for prime time. This browser is still very much in beta. So if you rely on your browser for work, avoid using this for nothing more than testing purposes (and make sure you report bugs to the developer as you find them). Although I am currently writing this article in Rekonq, I do not dare do any general browsing.
When you open Rekonq you will be treated to a very clean interface (see Figure 1) that includes thumbnails of your favorite sites.
There really are no tricks or features that you will have any difficulty with. The only challenge you will have (in its current state) is finding web sites that won't crash the browser. But when you do come across web sites that work fine, the first thing you will notice is how quickly Rekonq renders pages. Rekonq is one of the faster browsers you will find on Linux. For example, loading Ghacks.net took Rekonq half the time that it took both Konqueror and Firefox. Rekonq rendered Ghacks.net in around a 1/2 a second faster than Chrome. Unfortunately the over all end result is that Rekonq is just not stable enough to compete on solid grounds. But when it is able to compete, it is lightning fast.
I am excited to see where this project is going to go. Even in its infancy it shows plenty of signs it will have a lot to offer the Linux desktop. Rekonq just might make the choice to have a "fringe" browser as the default a smart choice for KDE.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.