Browser review – rekonq
[update 2/24/2013 – see end of post]
Continuing with my series of browser reviews, today I am looking at rekonq. As with my earlier reviews, I have made a point of using rekonq for most of my browsing today, to give me a good basis for evaluation. For an overview of rekonq, see the Wikipedia page.
Page rendering is quite fast in rekonq. It is noticeably faster than in firefox or konqueror, and perhaps as fast as in midori.
Perhaps the biggest difference from the browsers of my earlier reviews, is that rekonq is well integrated into KDE. Thus it uses the same cookies and the same cache as konqueror. The cookies and cache are really KDE properties rather than konqueror properties, so I was not surprised that rekonq shared the use of these.
The support for tabs is pretty good. The tabs always show, even when only one tab is in use. There does not appear to be a setting for this, but the default behavior is to my liking. Additionally, it is easy to tell which tab is currently in use.
The one drawback is that when I middle click on a link, to open it in a new tab, rekonq does not automatically switch to that tab. There does not appear to be a setting for this.
It turns out that rekonq shares bookmarks with konqueror. This is not something that I would have guessed, since the bookmarks appear to belong to konqueror rather than to KDE. In any case, it’s a nice feature.
There is no bookmarks menu, which is a disadvantage. There is, however, a bookmarks tab that I can open. That lays out all of the bookmarks on a page. While I prefer a menu, the tab works pretty well. It is better than a tab sidebar, for it does not take up screen space when I am looking at a different tab.
Best of all, rekonq keeps the bookmarks in the order that I have kept them. That makes it easier to find.
Rekonq offers to remember passwords, and stores them in kdewallet. It seems to be doing this very consistently. And, best of all, it turns out that it shares saved passwords with konqueror. Thus it already knew the passwords that I had been saving in konqueror.
For the duration of this test, I made rekonq the KDE default browser, so that akregator would use it to display RSS messages. That is working rather well. So akregator should be sharing cache and cookies with rekonq. There is an RSS button available on some sites, that shows a list of the RSS feeds. And, while showing those feeds, there’s a button to add those to akregator (not tested).
After finishing this review, I shall probably keep rekonq as the default KDE browser, if only for use with akregator. I think I have mentioned in a previous post that I normally use firefox for most browsing, but I can still use that even with rekonq as the KDE default.
I think it was opera that first introduced a speed dial page, with a collection of mini-images for popular pages. Now many browsers are imitating that. I don’t much like it.
The rekonq version of “speed dial” is called “favorites”, and I prefer it to the other implentations that I have seen. In particular, it is easy for me to completely control which mini-pages show up on the favorites tab.
I ran into a couple of problems. I tried using rekonq to compose a page in my other blog. The first word of the text was “There”. After typing that in, I noticed that the edit box contained “ereT”. Weird. I erased that word, and tried again more slowly. The “T” went in properly. When I entered the “h”, the cursor moved to the left but the “h” did not appear.
I saved that partially composed post as a draft, then switched to firefox to continue editing.
Since then, I have disabled the rekonq option “Enable Vi-like navigation shortcuts”. I am now using rekonq to compose this message, and I am not having that problem.
While “h” does move left in vi browse mode, I was surprised to see this happen when I was inputting text. And it did not happen for a post at an internet forum. There must be something about how wordpress sets up its edit box, to cause this behavior.
Another problem that I noticed with this blog, is that the dashboard page is poorly formatted. Part of the chart of statistic for blog reading was off-screen. I had to use firefox to fully see that chart. I guess I’ll be sticking to firefox for future blog posts.
Yet another problem. At one time, rekonq appeared to not be able to load my blog page. This was not a network problem, because firefox could load it. And, at about the same time, it was unable to load the opensuse forum page. I shutdown rekonq, then restarted it — and those problems went away.
Of the browsers that I have reviewed thus far rekonq is the clear winner, at least for my taste. I’m not sure how well it would work in Gnome, but KDE users should give it a try. I expect that I shall continue to use rekonq in association with akregator, though I will revert to using firefox for most of my browsing.
[update 2/24/2013] I tried setting rekonq to load plugins on demand. That way, it would not play a flash video until I say so. Today (2/24) I tried that on a page about crows at Jerry Coyne’s blog. There are two videos on that page. I clicked to load plugins for the first video, and that went well. I then did the same for the second video, and rekonq crashed. I restarted rekonq, and again tried the second video — the first video began to play, and then rekonq crashed. I repeated, with the same results. I turned off auto-load for plugins, and reloaded the page. Both videos played properly.