Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
For a long time now I’ve been looking for something between Dillo and Iceweasel (which I find a little faster than straight Firefox). I want to like Dillo in the same way I want to like Fluxbox, but Dillo never does it for me. It tends to spatter things across the page, and the whole GTK1.2 interface is just plain ugly. I’m usually willing to sacrifice looks for speed, but in Dillo’s case, I can’t do it. It’s too sloppy.
On the other hand, Iceweasel/Firefox do everything a competent browser should do, but they don’t do it fast enough for me. The memory footprint is heavy and they seem to lurch along without noticing how cumbersome they are. Sure, I can get Java and Flash and all the extensions I want, but even in their purest states, they seem to drag. Sometimes just scrolling down the page can cause some stutter. Come on! 👿
About a month ago, Brunellus mentioned Kazehakase in a thread and I installed it briefly, then got sidetracked and forgot all about it. He mentioned it again in this thread, and I’m sold now. It’s clean, it’s fast and it doesn’t chunk along on my 1Ghz machine.
It’s not as full-featured as Iceweasel/Firefox, but I’m learning to tweak it. It does tabbed browsing, which I won’t live without any more, and it handles GTK themes, which I won’t live without any more. It has a lot of neat things that I can learn to love — like thumbnailing closed pages and keeping them in a sidebar, so you can find one you closed a while back — and I’m sure the things I don’t like will turn out to be manageable. (It also has a neat Snap-like effect of throwing up a popup thumbnail when you hover on a link. Kewl! — er, I mean, cool!)
A few downsides, as there always will be: Edgy’s version is only 0.3.8, and as of this writing, the current build is 0.4.4.1. Feisty gets 0.4.2, so I can’t jump to cutting-edge-stable unless I go with Feisty. I see that 0.4.4.1 is in AUR, so I might use it on my next ultralight Arch setup.
I also would like a few more privacy options, like clearing the cache on closeout, or not keeping a URL history. I have a feeling I’ll find those options somewhere, either in a newer version or when I play with it longer.
So this one gets a great big thumbs-up from me. Lighter and faster than Firefox and Co., but a stronger browser than Dillo (or links 😉 ). This one is a keeper for me.