Web browser beta

Update: Several commenters note that installing this beta can break various other elements in the system. It’s probably worth backing up your SD card before trying it out.

One of the goals we’ve been working towards with our friends at Collabora over the last few months is the provision of an up-to-date, HTML5-capable web browser for the Pi. In particular, we aim to support:

  • A good multi-tab experience
  • ARMv6-optimized 2d rendering
  • Accelerated image and HTML5 video decoding

The plan is to provide a port of the confusingly-named Web web browser (formerly Epiphany) in future Raspbian releases. Now, just in time for Christmas, we have a very early beta for you to play with.

Several tabs open with 157MB of resident data

Most of the work that has been done so far, over and above porting Web to Raspbian, revolves around memory footprint optimizations to support a usable number of tabs on the 512MB device without swapping. We haven’t finished the various acceleration tasks yet, so you’ll have to wait until the New Year to see a version which uses OpenMAX pipelines for media decode and has additional Pixman and Cairo assembly language fastpaths.

We inherit Webkit’s HTML5 standards support, including Canvas

If you’d like to have a play with the browser in its current state, you’ll need to add the following line:

deb http://raspberrypi.collabora.com wheezy web to /etc/apt/sources.list, and then type:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser cgroup-bin libraspberrypi0 libwayland-client0 libwayland-cursor0 libwayland-server0a

Start the browser from the applications menu, Internet > Web. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, our new kernel supports cgroups which the browser can use to receive notification of impending out of memory (OOM) events, allowing it to preemptively deallocate resources. To enable cgroups, add the following to your kernel command line:

cgroup_enable=memory

Happy surfing!