How is Abrowser different from Firefox?

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andrei
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Joined: 02/28/2012

I notice it has no trademarks from Mozilla. So, basically it's like Iceweasel?

SirGrant

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If you want the technical details here is the package helper with how it is changed:

Firefox package helper

If you want the short version it is unbranded. It is also modified so that if you install add-ons they use the ones on the Trisquel add-on site because the mozilla site encourages users to install non-free add-ons.

mYself
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Joined: 01/18/2012

Abrowser is an unbranded version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser that never recommend non-free software, so it is similar in concept to GNU IceCat/Iceweasel. The only (noteworthy) difference is the change of the default add-ons page to Trisquel's own, community maintained, libre version. Note, that the rebranding is necessary because of the trademarked artworks that can be used only if the modifications are approved by the Mozilla Foundation.

I would like to ask a question too:
Why is there so many Firefox spin-offs if the purpose is basically the same? I noticed that IceCat comes with some useful extensions (GNU GNUzilla privacy extension, HTTPS-Everywhere, MAFIAAFire Redirector, Priv3) installed by default. Maybe Trisquel could include some of it's own.

SirGrant

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Well one reason is apparently Trisquel just made an agreement with duckduckgo. I don't know the details but I assume it will be mutually beneficial.

mYself
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Joined: 01/18/2012

This does not make any sense. '(GNU/)Linux Mint' done the same lately in its 12th release, codenamed "Lisa" and they included DDG(DuckDuckGo) in the vanilla Firefox[1]. Also, Debian rebranded the whole Mozilla family because the changes made to the Firefox's code was not approved by the Mozilla Foundation[2]:
Mozilla Firefox -> Iceweasel
Mozilla Thunderbird -> Icedove
Mozilla Sunbird (discontinued, moved to the Lightning project, later merged with Thunderbird) -> Iceowl
Mozilla Application Suite (discontinued, forked as SeaMonkey[3], community maintained) -> Iceape

Why is this good for? The best way for both Debian/Trisquel should be moving to the GNU rebranded version (IceCat) and help to maintain/improve it. For Thunderbird, there is no need to rebrand it (like Debian does), only to change the add-ons page to the GNU-one[4] (like Trisquel does).

Also, why is that Mozilla allows to modify Thunderbird (in Trisquel, it comes with a modified add-ons page[4]) without the need to rebrand it while Firefox do not? Is it because Thunderbird has its artwork under a free license? If so, why Firefox does not? What is the difference? Is it a strategic move of Mozilla, because Firefox (its flagship product) is more important to them and in this way they want to protect the so called "Firefox user experience"?

[1] http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1884, proof here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU_VCWpfrsw
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla_Corporation_software_rebranded_by_the_Debian_project
[3] Another bug (Trisquel has many of this type). Did you see that while the SeaMonkey packages are removed from the repositories[5], the 'Add/Remove Applications'(gnome-app-install) has it listed?
[4] http://libreplanet.org/wiki/List_of_software_that_does_not_respect_the_Free_System_Distribution_Guidelines#Thunderbird
[5] http://libreplanet.org/wiki/List_of_software_that_does_not_respect_the_Free_System_Distribution_Guidelines#seamonkey

Magic Banana

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There is a technical reason o prefer Abrowser to IceCat. Take a look at this post by quidam (Trisquel's leader).

mYself
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Why is IceCat packaged in a different way than Abrowser/Iceweasel? Does this mean that it contains all the dependencies built into one package? If so, is Firefox packaged in the same way?

I compared both Abrowser 7.0.1 and IceCat 7.0.1 (the latest version from PPA) and came up with these results:
Abrowser has nine(9) dependencies and weights 47.2MB after installing compared to IceCat which has only one(1) dependency and weights a slightly lesser 44.8MB after installing. Also, IceCat contains some add-ons by default. All-in-all, IceCat is better than Abrowser and it does not seems to be "wasting space" like mentioned by quidam.

The comparison was performed on a clean Trisquel-mini 5.0 Live-CD. The external repository used is available here.

SirGrant

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mYself you may want to bring that up on the IRC channel. Quidam isn't as active on the forums but is usually reachable via IRC.

mYself
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I never ever used any IRC client before. Maybe it is the right time to try some of them.

Magic Banana

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Pidgin, which is in the default install of Trisquel can be used as an IRC client. The server you must indicate to find the #trisquel channel is: irc.freenode.net

But have you read my reply below? It details the technical problems as far as I understand them.

Dave_Hunt

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I use pidgin for my irc and text messaging needs. For my limited
purposes, there's nothing it doesn't do.

-Dave H.

On 03/02/2012 03:16 PM, name at domain wrote:
> I never ever used any IRC client before. Maybe it is the time to try some.

SirGrant

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Here is the documentation on how to connect to the Trisquel IRC chat channel.

If you prefer to use commandline/terminal you can also try irssi which is a commandline IRC client.

Just be aware IRC is a little bit addictive. It is fun chatting with people who love free software.

I would also recommend joining #fsf which is the free software foundation's channel. There is also #gnu of course.

Magic Banana

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As far as I understand, the aforementioned libraries (statically included in IceCat but not in Abrowser) are used by other applications as well. Some of those applications being included in Trisquel's default install, you end up having the libraries twice on the Live CD (limited to 700 MB) and twice in the central memory if you happen to use, at the same time, IceCat and those applications (waste of RAM). Then, there is the argument about upstream availability (IceCat being absent from Ubuntu's repositories), which is a label of quality (for the packaging).

tash
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marioger
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I guess it is an agreement that gives us more freedom... ?

SirGrant

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I guess indirectly. It looks like a financial partnership (DDG is the primary search engine). Only in the sense that more funds helps produce a better distro.

t3g
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Two things I would like to see fixed in Abrowser:

1. The user agent string has Firefox in it in addition to Abrowser. There are still a lot of sites that look for values in the user agent and Abrowser chokes on it sometimes. Other browsers like Iceweasel (and I believe Icecat too) have Firefox and its version in the UA string in addition to their own name.

2. Abrowser up to date for older versions of Trisquel especially 4.0 which is an LTS release. Ubuntu started offering modern versions of Firefox backported to 10.04 and above a few months ago. It would be nice if the Trisquel team used existing packages and its source code to backport modern versions of Abrowser to Trisquel 4.0 and push it along with the standard system updates.

Chris

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I didn't notice this although keeping an eye on the security updates for programs packaged for Trisquel is critical.

It is too bad we don't have more developers / packagers involved in the project.

t3g
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Ya, my skills are more in the web realm with design and backend. I wish I had more experience with C, Java, or whatever tools that are popular to build this distro. There is always time to learn though.

Chris

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It is kind of funny how things work out for those who are very technical involved in big projects. I'm mainly referring to people who started it all. The more involved you get the less time you have to work on the technical aspects yourself.

Look at Richard Stallman or Linus Torvald. Both are technical and both are involved in some very big way in projects they started. Neither does much coding these days. There is just too much coordination and other related tasks which become more important to the well being of the project.

Torvalds from what I understand largely accepts code / manages the code others submit rather than writing code himself. This is not to say he doesn't write any code. Richard Stallman doesn't even do that much. He doesn't even coordinate much of it. While his team may be small there is some one else to help coordinate (amongst other things).

Just about anybody who has been involved for a long time in something tends to run into this I think. It isn't an aging thing either. You just end up in situations where the projects you started become bigger than you and the managerial tasks take over.

I'm not as aware of other projects although I can think of one or two with much younger folks (people in their 20s). Even smaller projects with just one person can end up in this situation. If you are spending a lot of time speaking, fixing the web site, and talking with others to raise money for instance it gets in the way of the more technical aspects of the project.