Epiphany, a light web browser [en]

Epiphany is the GNOME project light web browser powered by the gecko engine. Epiphany user interface is simple, and uses your current GNOME theme.

Installation and quick look

To install : sudo aptitude install epiphany-browser epiphany-extensions. Epiphany will be in the Internet menu. To make it the default browser : > System > Preferences > Preferred applications.

Epiphany is fully integrated into GNOME, it will prompt you to open GNOME applications (evolution, bittorent, liferea …) when needed.

With epiphany-extensions, you get a whole set of extensions easy to use and working out of the box.

Smart bookmarks are very useful. When a site allows you to perform a search, add it to the bookmarks. Edit the bookmark properties. Replace the search item by %s in the URI, your bookmark becomes a smart bookmark. Entering a search term in URL box will allow you to search for that term in one of your smart bookmarks.

Show the smart bookmark on the toolbar (in bookmark properties), and you get all your favorite searches organized :


My drawbacks

(that does not prevent me from using epiphany as my main browser)

One of the main drawback to me is the fixed tab width. When you have multiple tabs opened, a little arrow shows up to scroll through tabs. I _personally_ do not like this very much. This is due to GTK toolkit and a bug has been filed looooong time ago. I use Tab Groups extension. A new tab will open right next to the current one. In addition, the Tab menu lists all open tabs. But still …


edit : please see a later blog entry. Unofficial Epiphany extensions partly fix that.

Another one is the find function. It does not stay up if you go to another tab. I added it to the toolbar to launch it when searching for the same string in different tabs. But still …

Tips and tricks

  • Quick search if your home page is not a search engine page : CTRL-L, enter keywords in the URL area, and ‘Search the Web’. By default, epiphany performs a Google search. If you wish to change the search engine, change the keyword.url in about:config
  • To open a link or a bookmark in a new tab, click with the mouse middle button after enabling /apps/epiphany/general/middle_click_open_url in gconf-editor
  • To enable smooth scrolling, go to about:config and set general.smoothScroll to true
  • To enable the spell checker, set layout.spellcheckDefault to 1 in about:config
  • Language for spell checking is set in spellchecker.dictionary in about:config. “en_US” for US English, and “fr” for French. Sorry, I have not checked other languages
  • Epiphany uses the general GNOME proxy setting
  • My favorite extensions : Ad Blocker, News Feed Subscription, Smart Bookmarks, Tab Groups
  • Enter about:epiphany in the URL area, and enjoy ;-)


blogs : Stemp ; ploum ; Raphael Slinckx