Which webbrowser is the best fit for Toshiba AC100 (quickest, most responsive, lightweight)?

Asked by Ivan Zakharyaschev on 2012-09-05

(In general, I'm OK with emacs-w3m for webbrowsing when it's about browsing text content. It's lightweight, so it consumes little memory, which is important for Toshiba AC100, and using the keys from Emacs (which I'm already used to) for controlling is convenient, it's especially more convenient than controlling it with a pointer when travelling and not sitting at a table.)

But what if we talk about a more modern and complete browser, Firefox-like.

Which browser would be the quickest, the most lightweight, and the most responsive, and give the better user experience?

Ivan Zakharyaschev (imz) said : #1

As for the quickness, according to my feelings,

the quickest (having a quicker response to user actions than Firefox) among the browsers in Ubuntu 12.04 are Epiphany and Midori;

then come Firefox and Chromium;

and the most slow is rekonq.

Perhaps, after I turned off spellchecking, as described in https://answers.launchpad.net/ac100/+question/207704#comment-1 , Firefox would become more responsive, at least, when typing in a text area.

In a system having so little RAM (as Toshiab AC100), the amount of memory cobsumed by the browser is important (not only for the quickness of the browser itself, but for other tasks in the system).

As for memory consumption, I haven't done precise observations for all the browsers. I did though write down the memory consumption data for Epiphany, because I suspected a memory leak (similalrly, the data can be written down for other browsers) -- https://bugs.launchpad.net/epiphany-browser/+bug/1042075 , https://gitorious.org/ps-memstat/ps-memstat/blobs/epiphany/ac100-second-longer/ps-memstat-epiphany.out .

So, it seems to me that

epiphany and midori tend to consume too much memory: the more memory the longer they work. (A memroy leak -- https://bugs.launchpad.net/epiphany-browser/+bug/1042075 ?)

chromium consumes somewhat more memory than firefox.

I'm not ready to compare objectively their memory consumption. ("Their" means that of firefox, epiphany, midori, chromium, and rekonq.)

There was also another issue with browsers, especially before I set up on-disk swap in my system:

they crashed often. (rekonq crashed most often -- e.g. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/rekonq/+bug/1030285 , individual tabs in chromium also creshed often, firefox sometimes crashed.)

If you want to suffer less from the crashes, then chromium is more convenient because of its isolation of individual tabs into sepaarte processes (some tabs you are not currecntly viewing crash, but that's not too bad, because the browser is still there, your current tab is still there).

Even if there is more overhead because of chromium's isolation of tabs into separate processes, this is perhaps even better for the system control of resources, and I suspect this approach can give better responsiveness, if there are many tabs open.

Also, it gives more stability w.r.t. crashes (that are due to little memory perhaps).

So, I'd suggest using chromium by default, because it gives more stability and predictabilty, even if it has some overhead because of its architecture.

(Cf. disabling on-disk cache in browsers ofr better performance of the flash memory drive: https://answers.launchpad.net/ac100/+question/207704 .)

Ivan Zakharyaschev (imz) said : #2

Hmm, in ALT's LXDE "Lite" distribution (specifically targeted at lightweightness and potentially ARM systems) they have chosen Midori: http://www.opennet.ru/openforum/vsluhforumID3/83728.html#35 .

Ivan Zakharyaschev (imz) said : #3

To make using Chromium even more comfortable, the following tweak might be of interest for the low memory system like AC100 -- https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Chromium_Tips_and_Tweaks#Memory_usage :

Chromium offers some command-line options to help control how efficient it is with system memory, by determining how often it should release memory back to the operating system. It is done with the flag --memory-model=X, where X is one of the following:

...

low - Voluntarily reduce working set when switching tabs and also when the browser is not actively being used.