Rekonq: A Quick Glance At Kubuntu Next Default Browser

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The talk of the town is that the next version of Kubuntu (10.10, codenamed Maverick Meerkat) will have a new default browser, replacing Konqueror, the longtime KDE favorite. The replacement browser may very well be Rekonq, a browser that could be viewed as a next-generation approach to Konqueror. At first glance, Rekonq’s interface design looks very similar to Google Chrome, and like Chrome, Rekonq has the Webkit layout engine at its core. Webkit, originally developed by Apple, is actually derived from KHTML, the layout engine for Konqueror. To make matters more confusing, KDE developers began working on Webkit with talks of replacing KHTML in Konqueror. That did not occur, but Rekonq has managed to bring Webkit to KDE via an entirely new browser experience.

What’s in It?

1. KDE Integration

One of the features sorely lacking in most browser alternatives is true KDE integration. Firefox, Google Chrome, and most other browsers are primarily integrated with Gnome’s file picker and themes (although Firefox integration is now very close).
Some of the KDE features that Rekonq has appropriated are:

  • The ability to view a website’s source in a KDE text editor, such as KWrite
  • Complete integration of the KDE file chooser / save dialogs
  • Being a KDE application, it fully supports KDE styles and colors
  • Drag and drop support for images and documents
  • KDE web search shortcuts. With these, users can enter shortcuts like “imdb:” followed by a search term and automatically connect to the search engine associated with the the shortcut.
2. Webkit

As a Webkit-based browser, Rekonq comes with the standard Webkit features, such as:
Web inspector: A great tool for web developers that allows them to view each HTML element and its corresponding CSS style.
Javascript settings: Users can set specific Javascript settings, such as whether or not to allow Javascript to access the clipboard or open new windows.
Loading plugins: There are three settings for plugins (i.e. Flash player): autoload plugins, manually load plugins, or never load plugins.
3. Tab management

With Rekonq, users can clone tabs, detach them to open a new window, and drag and slide a tab to reorder it. In addition, each tab not currently in use will display a helpful thumbnail of its web page.
Upon opening a new tab page, Rekonq displays a page similar to Google Chrome containing the now famous Opera-like “Speed Dial” thumbnails, called Favorites. Furthermore, the page has three more tabs at the top that can display even more features: Closed Tabs, Bookmarks, and History.
4. Privacy

Rekonq has many modern privacy features, such as private browsing, similar to Chrome’s incognito browsing, where private data, such as history and saved forms, are not recorded. Users can also clear any private data and manage cookies. Like Konqueror, Rekonq has full support for ad blocking and comes with an extensive filter list, blocking most ads out of the box.
What’s Missing?

Despite its plethora of features, there are still some things Rekonq needs.
1. Extensions – What makes Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome so powerful is that they can be extended and serve virtually whatever purpose users want. Rekonq will have trouble getting many addons unless the KDE community falls in love with it.
2. Flash block – Although Rekonq has support for managing plugins, there is no whitelist feature that most flash blocking extensions have in other browsers, including Arora browser, Rekonq’s closest competitor.
3.Social Media Integration -Perhaps not an absolute must, but the ability to easily share sites and blog about them is something that would be nice to have as an extension.
4. RSS feeds – By default, RSS feeds are displayed without any styles. Google Chrome also does this, but there is an extension that formats the XML files and offers subscription options.
5. Better Javascript support – For whatever reason, some websites simply do not work correctly with this version of Webkit, while Chrome and other Webkit browsers display them just fine.
6. Future technologies, such as HTML5 video – The developers probably have plans for this, as it will be an eventual requirement to meet Web standards. Many other browsers have already added preliminary support for Ogg Theora, H.264, or both.
Rekonq looks very impressive, and adding it as the default browser or even as an installed option in the next Kubuntu should help build some more community support for the young application. Does this mean Konqueror’s days are numbered or that Rekonq will eventually be merged with Konqueror? Your guess is as good as mine.

I hope we KDE users get a good browser which are compatible ans stable with complex sites and flash-vased content.


BSD init pwns System V
Tried it sometime back on Fedora.. has nice features like Adblocking & stuff.. but the problem is, when you install a KDE app like Rekonq or Amarok on GNOME, it installs a ton of more software and libraries on your system.. Webkit lovers can also try Epiphany, it is one hell of a browser with built it extensions like Adblocking, HTML5 YouTube etc..


It is about time FF shifts to WebKit. Such small base browsers like Ephiphany, Arora, ReKonq, Midori are much faster and light. Just imagine what the whole dev community of FF can achieve. Sky's the limit.

Used Opera 10.5 in Debian and its too buggy and crashes most of the time :(


BSD init pwns System V
Nope.. it shouldn't. Gecko is awesome dude, it does way more functions than Webkit, like powering Mozilla Thunderbird, providing XUL Runner interface to other apps.. The problem with Webkit is, that although it is light, but it is only suited for Web-browsing etc..

Secondly, with the Gecko 1.9 engine, Mozilla has reduced the memory consumption drastically.. It also powers Songbird.. there is no Webkit based media-player IMO..

Moreover, when Firefox 4.0 will come out it will be powered by a brand new Mozilla 2.0 engine which will use a new Javascript engine called Tamarin.. I wish that Mozilla doesn't makes the same mistake that Opera made when they introduced Carakan.. Although, Javascript rendering using Carakan is very fast, but Opera has a huge memory leak problem.. Yesterday with 6 tabs open, it was using around half-a-gig worth of RAM..

Safari also uses around 33% of my CPU (phenom II 720).. I don't know why, I even updated it to the newest version...

And lastly, most important for me, it uses GPL which is way more awesome than Webkit's BSD.. BSD License is the most liberal that's why Apple takes a lot from BSD Licensed products and doesn't gives back anything.. But still, these are my views..

It would be interesting to know @a_rahim ji why you think that Firefox should turn to Webkit.. Just a healthy discussion, not a flame ware..


Super Moderator
Staff member
With most of us having RAMs like 3-4GB these days, does ANYONE still care about the memory? Itni bhi kanjoosi achchi nahi.

Regarding "memory leaks", 11 tabs + IRC and I was using 170MB in Opera. I don't even find Firefox slow on Windows or Mac OS X. In realtime, I just DON'T feel any difference. Those JavaScript comparisons are just a small JavaScript code running 1000 on times. Though Firefox on Linux sucks. It's hell slow (taking of the interface and hence renderring). No idea why.

And for Firefox, switching to Webkit might cause troubles with it's extensions (XUL Runner). Gecko is great. Webkit isn't the only solution for speed which many (especially Macboys, given their fetish for Safari) assume these days.

---------- Post added at 11:16 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:15 AM ----------

Used Opera 10.5 in Debian and its too buggy and crashes most of the time :(
It's not even Beta.

This is the latest snapshot and it has reached a level of stability now: *


BSD init pwns System V
@ico.. agree dude.. but still 500 MB RAM.. that too on Windows 7.. that wasn't good.. maybe the next version of Opera will fix these problems.. & if you've jumped to the Ubuntu Lucid bandwagon then you might've noticed how fast is Firefox 3.6.. It rules..

For Windows users, install Palemoon, optimized for AMD64 or Intel.. its just Firefox with optimized builds..
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