10.03.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

GNOME Web 41 Flatpak Review and Bonus: You MUST Have a Web Browser in Debian! (Is This a Bug?)

Posted in Debian, GNOME, GNU/Linux at 5:08 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

GNOME Web 41
GNOME Web 41 on Debian 11 GNU/Linux

Just several days ago, I gave a mostly favorable review of GNOME Web 3.38.2 as packaged by Debian 11 GNU/Linux.

While I think 3.38.2 was a good browser, I decided to move on and pull in the Flatpak version of GNOME Web 41.

“The YouTube Ad Block script mostly works. Sometimes you see a second or two of the ad, but it mostly gets rid of them, and they never interrupt a video.”Visually, the two versions are pretty similar, but there have been some improvements to stability, performance, minor UI tweaks, and a new AdGuard script that complements the built-in Webkit Content Blockers-based Ad Block feature.

When I got started, I made the mistake of pulling in the Flatpak without removing the DEB.

When you bring in the Flatpak of Firefox, it can be installed side-by-side with Firefox ESR from Debian, but GNOME Web does not get along well with its Debian package cousin, and the Debian version takes priority in the GNOME Shell overview.

So I ended up purging epiphany-browser and epiphany-browser-data with apt, and then deleting the local config and cache folders for “epiphany” under my Home folder (which are hidden behind the Ctrl+H hotkey to toggle invisible items).

This made way for the Flatpak, which now started.

The YouTube Ad Block script mostly works. Sometimes you see a second or two of the ad, but it mostly gets rid of them, and they never interrupt a video. Which is nice, because Google has gotten totally carried away to the point of making it unusable without this.

“Bill Gates was a liar when he swore up and down that IE was integrated deep, deep, into the guts of Windows 98, in court, under oath. So why can’t I remove Firefox ESR from Debian?”Performance of GNOME Web 41 has been improved, due to improvements in both the browser and in the newer version of WebkitGTK it brings in from the GNOME 41 platform Flatpak.

Today, I decided that I didn’t really need two Firefoxes, Firefoxen(?), whatever. 😉

So I went to apt-get purge the Firefox ESR from Debian to keep the Flatpak, only Debian told me that it would remove Firefox ESR and bring in Chromium. At first I thought something was broken, but then I found out that several of the metapackages require a Web browser, and they don’t recognize browsers from Flatpak, and when I decided I’d get clever and apt purge firefox-esr chromium … It told me it would get rid of a bunch of stuff, including the X11 server(!!!!) and bring in the DEB package for GNOME Web.

But that’s when it gets really strange.

I told it apt purge firefox-esr epiphany-browser chromium and now it wants to bring in Konqueror and half of KDE, including its Dolphin file manager.

So at this point, I became intrigued and told it apt purge firefox-esr epiphany-browser chromium konqueror, and it agreed to remove all browsers and not put a browser on the computer, if I would remove the X server, some fonts, all of LibreOffice, and the GNOME and desktop metapackages.

I think that this has to be some sort of a bug, because nothing should force you to have a Web browser, plus I still have Vivaldi installed, and alternatives recognizes that as one of the options for x-www-browser.

So I searched the problem, and a suggestion for how to hack around it came up suggesting to build an empty package that lies and says it’s a provider for “chromium” and dpkg -i it, and it would fool apt so that when you remove firefox-esr it doesn’t try to install anything.

I’m just not that sure Firefox ESR bothers me that much, but the idea that we “must” have a browser in a GNU/Linux OS is a bit nuts, isn’t it?

When I was 14, I set up Windows 98 and then used an unofficial script called Revenge of Mozilla, written by Bruce Jensen, and the Explorer shell from Windows 95 OSR 2.1 (FAT32 compatible), and it gave Windows 98 an enema and got it down to less than 100 MB.

It turned out that it ran pretty well after that, and that many patches no longer applied to you because you didn’t have the bloated and buggy code on your computer.

Bill Gates was a liar when he swore up and down that IE was integrated deep, deep, into the guts of Windows 98, in court, under oath. So why can’t I remove Firefox ESR from Debian?

Lastly, I finally got around to installing the email client, Geary, out of Flatpak. For privacy, I won’t post screenshots of that, but it’s pretty much as pictured on Flathub, except I use Adwaita Dark.

There’s no pesky guessing at how to set this thing up if you use GMail or Outlook Mail, which you can log into via OAuth through GNOME, in the Settings application.

In fact, this is VERY nice because I use two-factor authentication on all of my accounts and making app passwords is a hassle.

Technically, GNOME already has an email client called Evolution, and it has been around for a very long time (originally from Ximian, then Novell, and now “The Evolution Team”).

But Evolution is a big “Groupware” suite, and Geary is just an email client. If you’re like me and just need email, and want a fast and efficient workflow and a performant client, Geary fits the bill.

Microsoft’s Outlook Webmail occasionally gives GNOME Web an outdated version that’s a holdover for Internet Explorer 7 and earlier, and it looks like Hotmail.

It’s pretty gross. I asked Michael Catanzaro to look into using User Agent tricks to make it work, but we never found anything that reliably brought up the “modern” version that other browsers get.

It’s interesting, because Microsoft doesn’t do this to Safari.

They have done similar nasty things to Opera, back when it was really a company in Norway with a real browser. They had a very good rendering engine, better than anything else out there at the time, and Microsoft sabotaged MSN. So Opera released a Bork Edition of Opera, which translated Microsoft’s website into the language of the Swedish Chef.

Regardless, since Geary does what I need it to, and pairs well with GNOME Web, I won’t have to be using Microsoft’s nasty webmail interface. Even if you do get the “modern” one, it will take up a bunch of the screen with “Are you using an ad blocker? Click here to pay us and we’ll give you part of the screen back!”.

I really need to get everything over to one email service that Microsoft has nothing to do with. That won’t be easy. *sigh*

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  2. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  3. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  4. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  6. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  7. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  8. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  9. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  10. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  11. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  12. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  14. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  15. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  16. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  17. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  18. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  19. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  20. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  21. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  22. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  23. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  24. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  25. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  26. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  27. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  28. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  30. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts