Tag Archives: Internet Browsers

New Opera 10.60 Snapshot Introduces Better HTML 5 Standards Support

Opera 10 HTML5 and standards are quite the buzzwords these days. While Microsoft is desperately trying to catch up, others are determined to maintain their lead. Opera Software has released yet another snapshot build of Opera 10.60, which boosts the already excellent standard support offered by Opera.

The new snapshot includes:

  • WebM support for HTML5 video (demo)
  • HTML5 Offline Web Applications (demo)
  • Geolocation (demo – only partially implemented on FreeBSD/Linux)
  • Web Workers (demo – might be a slight delay before it starts working)
  • Major update for Cross-Document Messaging (demo)

Of course, other than this, there are the customary bug fixes and stability improvements. Opera 10.60 snapshot for Windows, Mac and UNIX can be downloaded from here. However, keep in mind that this build is not yet ready for primetime and probably contains several bugs.

Apple Misleads Users Once Again with Half Truths and Outright Lies

Recently, I took Apple to task for misleading the general population with its deceptive HTML5 and Web Standards demos. Of course, that was not the first time Apple used questionable tactics and it won’t be the last time either.

On Monday, Apple unveiled iPhone 4 and Safari 5 – both of which are impressive products in their own way. Yet, Apple felt the need to twist the facts to grab eyeballs.

Let me start off with Safari. In its press release, Apple claims, “Safari 5 on the Mac runs JavaScript 30 percent faster than Safari 4, three percent faster than Chrome 5.0, and over twice as fast as Firefox 3.6″. Intrigued by Apple’s claim, several bloggers and journalists performed their own tests. Needless to say, the results achieved by them didn’t quite hold up to Apple’s claims.

Safari-Speed-Benchmark
Safari5 gets beaten by Chrome 5 and Opera 10.53 (via Gavin M. Roy)

Gavin M. Roy found that Safari was comprehensively outperformed by both Chrome 5 and Opera 10.53. Safari’s performance looks even more ordinary when compared with Chrome 6 and Opera 10.60.

Safari-Speed-Benchmark
Safari5 gets beaten by Chrome 6 and Opera 10.6 (via DownloadSquad)

If this wasn’t bad enough, Apple also misrepresented the clarity offered by Retina Display during Steve Job’s keynote. Don’t get me wrong. IPhone 4’s display is indeed stunning. In fact, it’s most probably better than anything its competitors have to offer. However, as pointed out by George Ou, the slides used during the presentation depicted a PPI (pixels per inch) of 815. That is almost three times more than what is actually offered by the iPhone. Even iPhone advertisements exaggerate the clarity improvement achieved by the retina display.

Retina-Display-False-Claims
Retina Display: Apple’s Claims vs Truth

It’s not uncommon for companies to exaggerate their product’s capabilities. However, Apple seems to have almost made it an habit and an art.

Apple Tries To Be Open: Launches HTML5 Showcase That Doesn’t Use a Lot of HTML5

In the recent past, Apple has been vilified for acting like a big brother. Regular Techie Buzz readers are probably familiar with Apple’s battle against Flash and their stance against open technologies like Theora and WebM. Perhaps stung by the criticism, Apple has launched a new HTML5 showcase demonstrating what’s possible with Safari.

The message is loud and clear – Flash isn’t the only way to deliver rich web applications. If developers don’t want to write Apple product-specific code, they can always opt for open web standards.

HTML5-Safari-Showcase

The HTML5 Technology demo gallery has some spectacular samples, which showcase video, audio, typography, transitions and more. Each and every one of these demos have Apple’s hallmark. They are simple, yet stunning enough to wow you.

Unfortunately, they also bear Apple’s other signature – a lot of half-truths. According to Opera developer, Haavard K. Moen, “The only things that are HTML5 on that page are HTML5 <audio> and <video>”.

Worse still, Apple is using browser sniffing to artificially block other browsers. So, although Chrome – another WebKit based browser, does significantly better than Safari in HTML5Test.com, it stumbles while rendering Apple’s HTML5 showcase. Opera is another browser with an impressive HTML5 support that is not allowed to render Safari’s technology demos.

It is obviously well within Apple’s rights to create stunning demos showcasing its browser’s capabilities. However, dubbing its technology demos as HTML5 and Web Standards showcase, when they are clearly not, is despicable.

Apple deserves credit for encouraging and promoting HTML5. In fact, their focus on HTML5 will probably lead to an overall faster rate of adoption among both browser makers and developers. However, as Haavard points out, Apple is also trying to use HTML5 and open, as a buzzword, to its advantage.

And yeah, if you thought Microsoft fares better, here is a hilarious take on Internet Explorer’s HTML5 Testing Center.

Update: As pointed out by Sathya, Mozilla’s Robert Sayre has responded to Apple’s HTML5 Demos in his own eloquent manner.

Opera 10.60 Alpha 1 – Faster and Sexier Than Ever Before

The battle for speed between Chrome and Opera rages on. While, others like Firefox and Internet Explorer are struggling to stay in the race, Google and Opera Software are continuously setting the bar higher.

Opera-10.6-Speed-Benchmark

Opera Software has just released Opera 10.60 alpha, which introduces performance improvements for JavaScript, DOM and CSS. The newest alpha build fares 76% better Opera 10.5 in the Peacekeeper benchmark, with further speed improvements being promised for the beta build.

Opera-10.6-Interface

The newest alpha also sports numerous user interface improvements. The repulsive “O” button has been replaced by a prettier (and more obvious) Menubutton, while the annoying taskbar tabs for Windows 7 is have been disabled (they can be re-enabled from here). Other visual tweaks include prettier hover thumbnail tab previews and the use of icons instead of thumbnails for certain internal tabs like RSS Feed and Mail.

The new build also features dozens of stability improvements and bug fixes across all platforms. If you are feeling adventurous, you can download Opera 10.60 alpha for Windows, UNIX and Mac from here. However, keep in mind that this is an alpha release and is likely to be buggy.

Google Chrome Keeps Crashing After PC Comes Out of Sleep

If you are using the dev version (6.0.408.1 dev) of , you might have come across a mighty annoying bug where Chrome crashes every time you put the PC into sleep mode and then bring it out of sleep.

Also Read: Best and Most Useful Google Chrome Extensions 

This has been happening for quite a few days and has annoyed me to no end. In fact, I have started to save the Chrome session and then close the browser and then restore the session whenever I bring the PC out of sleep mode.

If you have been annoyed too, you are not alone, several users are facing this problem. I did file a bug with Chromium, however, my bug was merged with another bug since many users have reported the issue.

Though it looks like the issue will not be rectified soon, at-least not until Tuesday after the long weekend. Till then try using the session saver extension to save your session before you put the PC into sleep or switch to using the Google Chrome beta or stable releases.

Google Chrome For Mac and Linux Graduates Out of Beta

has been a really wonderful fresh air of breath in the web browsers domain, and Windows users have been able to enjoy the stable version of Chrome for quite sometime now. However, Mac and Linux users have have had to do with Dev and Beta versions of the browser.

However, starting today, Mac and Linux users will be able to download and use a stable version of Google Chrome to Mac.

Chrome for Mac Stable

The stable version of Chrome for Mac was announced at the official Google Mac blog with more details on the Google blog. The newer version of Chrome is faster than the beta versions and come with several goodies included. There has been over 213% and 305% improvement in the JavaScript performance based on the V* and SunSpider benchmarks respectively.

Beta users of Google Chrome for Mac and Linux will be automatically upgraded to the stable version. You can also download the new stable version of Chrome by visiting http://google.com/chrome.

Rekonq Getting Extensions Support



It seems like the being picked as the default browser for the upcoming Kubuntu Maverick Meerkat has really boosted the development of Rekonq, the KDE web-browser based on Webkit. The browser, which has till now been just about functional, is getting extensions support.

KDE developer Nikhil Marathe is currently working on bringing extensions to Rekonq. The good thing about  this is that the Rekonq  extensions  are based on Google Chrome’s  extension  API. This means that once completed, you will be able to use Google Chrome extensions in Rekonq.

In another Rekonq related news, Rekonq is getting its first beta release on 25 May as Rekonq 0.5. The extensions will not be there in the beta though. If you are using Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, Rekonq 0.4 is already present in the repository. You can try it out with the command:

sudo apt-get install rekonq

[via Markus’ Little Blog ]

WebM: Why We Should Be Excited

WebM-Open-Video-Codec Google has just unveiled WebM – an open source royalty free codec based on VP8 by On2. If everything goes according to (Google’s) plans, WebM would become the de-facto standard for HTML5 videos. In the past, I have emphasized on numerous occasions the need for an open codec – both on TechieBuzz and on my personal blog.

Until now, two codecs were being considered for use with the <video> tag – H.264 and Theora. Unfortunately, there are considerable problems with both. While Ogg Theora is royalty free and open source, it is a technically inferior codec. Not only are the file sizes generated by Ogg Theora larger, but it also lacks hardware acceleration support. The latter is critical for mobile devices like the iPad and the the iPhone. H.264 is a superior codec, but it is proprietary. If it becomes the prevalent codec, we would be held hostage to MPEG-LA’s goodwill.

If you believe that this doesn’t affect you, then think again. MPEG-LA is legally entitled to collect royalty from both content distributors as well as (commercial) content providers. Yes, they have decided to waiver this fee til 2015. However, there is nothing stopping them from changing their minds after the initial grace period is over.

WebM offers a way out. It is a media project encompassing both audio and video. While the video codec is based on VP8 codec by On2 (Theora is based on VP3), Vorbis will be used for delivering audio. The container format is based on a subset of the Matroska media container.

WebM will be initially supported by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. While Chrome had earlier chosen to support both H.264 and Theora, the latter two had opted against using the patent encumbered H.264. Now the big question is, will Apple and Microsoft back WebM?

My guess is that Microsoft will make Internet Explorer WebM compliant in time. The biggest thorn in Google’s way may be Apple. Apple has been pushing hard in favor of H.264. In fact, recently Steve Jobs had issued a thinly veiled threat against Theora. His exact words being, “A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other open sourcecodecs now”.

The biggest advantage WebM has is Google and its might. While, MPEG-LA would like to go after any open codec it considers a threat, Google is a formidable target. WebM will also be getting a huge initial impetus in form of YouTube compatibility. Numerous major players have already pledged to support WebM. Besides the aforementioned browser vendors, hardware manufacturers like AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Freescale, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments will be backing the new technology. Adobe will also be supporting WebM through Flash.

If you want to get a taste of WebM go ahead and download the experimental builds of Mozilla Firefox or Opera. Google Chrome builds with WebM should be released on May 24.

[ Download Opera and Mozilla Firefox with WebM ]

Ubuntu Is NOT replacing Firefox with Google Chrome. Its Chromium!

Word have been spreading around that Ubuntu is replacing Firefox with Google Chrome for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. This “news” seem to have started out with a post at ubergizmo, which TechCrunch picked up and then posted (refering to Ubuntu Netbook Edition with the no-longer-in-use name Ubuntu Netbook Remix). With Neowin too joining in with a post today, it is spreading like wildfire.

However the truth is that it is not Google Chrome which may replace Firefox; it is Chromium. (We wrote about it four days ago.)While Google has released most of the Chrome code to the Chromium Project, Chrome still has some closed-source codes and come packaged with proprietary software (Flash). Anyone with even a slight understanding of the Ubuntu Philosophy (and Licensing) would understand that Ubuntu can never have Google Chrome as a default application.

Two days ago, when this misinformation has just started spreading, Ubuntu Developer Jorge Castro wrote a blog post clarifying that it is not Chrome but Chromium that they are considering as a replacement for Firefox in UNE 10.10. Unfortunately his message did not go through. This is what he wrote:

I’d like to clarify some things about our session on default applications and Chromium.

  • Chrome and Chromium are not the same thing. Chrome is a non-free build of the Chromium project.
  • It is impossible for us to ship Google Chrome as a default web browser without compromising  our beliefs. You can read more about our licensing and how that relates  here.

I hope that clears things up, you’ll be hearing more updates in the usual development channels from the Desktop team as the cycle progresses.

Hopefully, this post in clears things up. :)

Download Google Chrome 6 Dev Channel Release

Google-Chrome-6 Google Chrome 6 is here. The latest dev channel build sports the version number 6.0.401.1. The new release does not, however, include any major new features.

Unlike other browsers, Chrome’s version number is not determined by the presence or absence of new features. In fact, 6.0.401.1 is just a regular bug fix update to the previous dev channel release, Google Chrome 5.0.396.0.
Google’s unusual numbering scheme has allowed Chrome to gallop ahead of Firefox, at least when it comes to version numbers.

The summarized changelog is given below.

  • All
    Don’t prepend scheme on copying an incomplete hostname. (Issue 43585)
  • Windows
    Much better display/eliding of RTL and mixed-direction strings in the omnibox dropdown. (Issue 41716)
  • Linux
    Make sure scheme is prepended to addresses that are cut (as opposed to copied) from the omnibox. (Issue 43569)
    Fixed rendering of monospaced fonts on Linux (Issue 43252)

Known issues include some form fields not submitting the form on hitting enter. You can find more information about this release here.