Kazehakase on steroids

All right, if you’re still using Firefox, you need to put down the mouse right now. Just put it down. Let go. Relax your index finger for a few minutes.

Most of the about:config tweaks that work for Firefox also work for Kazehakase. Which means all those speed gimmicks that you can find around the Web are easy to apply to Firefox’s redheaded stepchild, and the results are better than you’d expect.

I spent a few hours last night culling and testing settings, and so far, these work great. I can’t say that any one in particular is wonderfully effective, but that’s because I applied most (if not all) of them in one shot, so I only saw the before-and-after of the entire list. And like I said, it was fantastic.

user_pref("content.notify.backoffcount", "5");
user_pref("network.dns.disableIPv6", true);
user_pref("network.http.pipelining", true);
user_pref("network.http.pipelining.maxrequests", 8);
user_pref("network.http.proxy.pipelining", true);
user_pref("network.prefetch-next", false);
user_pref("nglayout.initialpaint.delay", 0);
user_pref("plugin.expose_full_path", true);
user_pref("ui.submenu.delay", "0");

You can add these manually to your about:config page, but you'll have to create about six or seven of them from scratch. You should be able to cut and paste these into your ~/.kazehakase/mozilla/kazehakase/prefs.js file while Kazehakase isn't running; I haven't tried that, so don't yell at me if it doesn't work.

For the record, I'm using version 0.4.7 out of the Arch repositories :oops: ; I tried 0.4.3 out of Gutsy :) yesterday and it worked the same. (The 0.4.2 version in Feisty has a submission form bug; I believe that bug was solved in 0.4.3, but you'll have to recompile it yourself or beg and plead for a backport on the forum.)

And don't forget that there are some simple ways to work around a few other Kazehakase shortcomings, like it's failure to clean up after itself. And if you need a decent download mechanism, since Kazehakase's onboard downloader is a bit ... crude ... well, think about grabbing axel, to which I can personally testify to ungodly speeds.

So what do you get for your effort? A GTK-only Gecko-based browser that can handle Flash and Java, and is faster, cleaner, lighter and more interesting than Firefox, The Slug. :twisted:

P.S.: If you know of any other tweaks that seem to work, let me know. I think I got most of the big ones.

P.P.S.: If you're a server admin, please don't tell me pipelining is evil. I know all about the increased server load and yadda yadda yadda. I'm sure my $200 1Ghz Inspiron 8000 is such a huge drag on your $5000 Poweredge 1955 Blade server. Give it a rest. Go find a Microsoft server that needs rebuilt.

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18 thoughts on “Kazehakase on steroids

  1. billy

    I’ve tried kazehakase a few times, but I find it very unresponsive. Though it loads some pages very fast, it freezes regularly and uses a lot more cpu than firefox. I’m running dapper and installed the repos version (0.3.3.1). Are their significant improvements in later versions that make it worth to compile from source?

    Strangely enough, even epiphany uses more resources than firefox on this machine.

    Reply
  2. K.Mandla Post author

    Personally, I think so. I don’t recall using it before Edgy, so I won’t say there are huge improvements, but a spin past the changelog might persuade you to recompile it.

    I will agree that occasionally, perhaps once every few days, it freezes. That being said, I get the same problems with Firefox, so that’s not much of a detraction.

    I think the real appeal for me is that I find it much cleaner, faster and simpler than Firefox. It starts faster for me, it seems less taxing on system resources and I get a general overall improvement over Firefox, particularly on older hardware.

    I like Firefox and I think it’s a great contender to take on IE, but I wouldn’t run IE on a 300Mhz Pentium II either. For my purposes, Kazehakase handles that caliber machine nicely.

    Reply
  3. Xavier

    How do you install FF plugins into Kazehakase. I love Kazehakase, but the lack of plugins and extensions are killing me!

    Reply
  4. K.Mandla Post author

    I don’t think you can. It’s not the same thing as Firefox, so there’s no way of installing them.

    From my experience, the only thing I really miss is the Adblock extension. It would be nice to have that same function in KH. But everything else I’m used to is either already in place, or vaguely similar.

    Of course, there are sooo many extensions that this won’t be the case for everybody. :(

    Reply
  5. voltaic

    I love Kazehakase in almost every way, but there is one thing that really gets to me:

    I can’t use the CTRL+TAB shortcut to switch between tabs. The TAB key in Kazehakase seems to be hard-coded to move focus between focusable elements on screen. When I try to assign TAB with the CTRL key to do anything else, the assignment is simply ignored. And, if I reassign the TAB key on its own then I can’t hit TAB to go from one form one field to the next on web pages. It’s a little mind boggling to me that such a basic idea that is in every single browser out there is not included in Kazehakase. Maybe because it is from Japan? Cultural differences? I really don’t know.

    And I would love to post this on a mailing list or a wiki but the entire Kazehakase website/wiki/mailing_list is overrun by spambots.

    For people looking for adblocking features, you can use a proxy server to filter out the ads before they get to your browser. I use prixovy to do this, and it works pretty well.

    Reply
  6. johnraff

    The Adblock issue affects speed: a page I just viewed on KH took just as long to load as it would have on Fx- I guess because of the flash advert that would have been blocked on Fx or Swiftweasel.

    Yeh a howto on privoxy might be nice…

    (and it is a pity about the KH wiki)

    Reply
  7. voltaic

    OK. Privoxy is very easy to set up. Once you have it installed (your distribution probably has a package for it) you will find an init script for it in /etc/init.d/. You can invoke “/etc/init.d/privoxy start” to start the proxy server, which by default loads the /etc/privoxy/config file.

    With the server running, you set your browser to use privoxy as its proxy server. So go to the preferences page in Kazehakase and set your proxy server to “127.0.0.1″ with port “8118″. This is the default port for privoxy. I don’t have Kazehakase in front of me right now, but I think you can set both HTTP and HTTPS to use the privoxy server.

    If you want to see if privoxy is running try opening 127.0.0.1:8118 in your browser. This should bring up the configuration page for privoxy.

    Ad blocking works very well, but there is some added overhead as privoxy has to churn through the website and filter the offending content. For me, it’s just as fast as browsing normally most of the time, but sometimes I find that pages take a while to load. Try it out and see how it works.

    If I missed anything, they have very good documentation at: http://www.privoxy.org/

    Reply
  8. K.Mandla Post author

    Great, thanks a lot. I’ll give it a spin this evening when I get home, if I’m not too tired. I have to go to a wedding tomorrow so I might not get a chance to test this until later in the weekend, but if I can get it working I’ll package it up properly and republish it (with proper credit, of course ;) ) in a separate post. (It will help me find it later.)

    Thanks again! This will be a huge boost for anyone who’s trying to move away from Firefox. Cheers!

    Reply
  9. johnraff

    I’ve just put in privoxy and Kazehakase is using it as a proxy. Ads are indeed being filtered just like Adblock Plus on Fx. However, on this particular machine (128MB, 450MHz) I’d say that Swiftweasel (which does seem to be significantly faster than Firefox btw) w. Adblock Plus is loading the same page faster than Kazehakase through privoxy. About 6sec vs 10sec for a Guardian page eg:(http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/nov/02/climatechange?gusrc=rss&feed=12)…

    Reply
  10. voltaic

    Here is something interesting: http://www.gozer.org/mozilla/ad_blocking/

    As the website suggests, you place the contents of the ad_blocking.css file in .kazehakase/mozilla/kazehakase/chrome/userContent.css and surprisingly the ads are gone. The list was last updated in August, but ad blocking still works very well. This also doesn’t suffer from the performance issues that privoxy brings about.

    Every kazehakase user should give this a try.

    Reply
  11. K.Mandla Post author

    Excellent find! I need to test two things now — privoxy and that ad blocking file. I should have a block of time this evening to set things up, but it looks like you’ve done the hard part already. Cheers and thanks! :D

    Reply
  12. K.Mandla Post author

    Fantastic! When I get back from work I’ll take a look. Feel free to import anything worthwhile from here into the wiki. It’s all GFDL1.2 now, so there shouldn’t be any licensing issues between the two. Thanks a bunch! This is really great! :mrgreen:

    Reply
  13. Keith

    I’ve just spent a couple of hours on this and wonder if someone can help with these issues:

    1) DealKiller
    I can’t get new tabs to open in focus. I’ve tried creating a firefox style browser.tabs.loadInBackground entry but no go. This is a MAJOR annoyance for me.

    2) Strange
    While there is a keyboard shortcut for “open link in new tab” there is no way to do this with a gesture. Seems strange.

    3) Doesn’t use flash by default, but I’m sure this is easy.

    TIA

    Keith

    Reply
  14. K.Mandla Post author

    Hi Keith. I’ll try to help with these, although you may have found a bug or two for what I can see. I’m using v0.5.0 on Arch for all these.

    1. In the New tab submenu of the advanced preferences, I have both “Move focus to new tab on NewTab Action” and “Move focus to new tab on middle-clicking link” selected, and the focus shifts when I middle click, but not from a right-click-Open in new tab selection. That might be a bug; you should check the Kazehakase bug tracker and see if anything like that is filed there.

    2. I don’t use gestures, so I’m afraid I can’t help with that one.

    3. I think installing the Flash plugin for your distro should do the trick. In Arch that’s “flashplugin”; Ubuntu uses “flashplugin-nonfree”. You shouldn’t even have to restart your browser after installing it. Just refresh the page and Flash items should animate.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  15. Ridwan

    I’ve tried v0.5.2 on gOS 3. Does the drop link to download tray (on the right corner) works?
    The stranges thing is Preference menu, when I click it, it would close the browser. Is this a bug?

    Reply
  16. K.Mandla Post author

    Ah, you might have a buggy release. I remember there was one that crashed on certain preference choices. See if there’s an updated version, or try checking the Kazehakase home pages for fixes. I think just about everything in the preferences menu is reflected in the rc file, so you might also be able to avoide that menu by directly editing it.

    Reply

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