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Debate Continues on Ubuntu 13.10′s Default Browser

firefox1The debate about which web browser should come installed by default on Ubuntu 13.10 continues.

Discussion on switching from the current default ‘Firefox’ to the webkit-based* ‘Chromium’ were first raised at the Virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit (vUDS) back in May.

Continuing that discussion in a post to the Ubuntu Desktop Mailing List Canonical’s Jason Warner writes:

“In the past few weeks I’ve seen quite a few articles and comments on the possible switch, and in light of those I’d like to focus this discussion a few ways.

1. This is NOT about which browser is better.
2. This is NOT about which browser has more features or X, Y or Z feature.
3. Openness and freedom are still part of our core values. However I’d rather not turn this thread into a “who is more open/free” debate.

What is important, and ultimately should be the deciding factor, is the common end user experience. Which browser, in the common case, will be the best for the general end user?”

Quality, stability and user experience as highlighted by Warner as important points for consideration.

So Which?

“8,300 people voted, with 57% favouring Firefox, compared to 43% who chose Chromium.”

We conducted a vote last month asking readers which browser they’d prefer to see as default.

Over 8,300 people voted, with 57% favouring Firefox, compared to 43% who chose Chromium.

Slim split, and hardly decisive.

Part of the rationale that started talk on switching was that idea that more people are using Chrome(ium) than Firefox in general.

“Is Firefox winning because it benefits from the convenience of being pre-installed?”

Judging by visits to this site from Linux users for the last 30 days Firefox still rules the roost with 50.9% to Chrome’s (including Chromium) 46.8%. Opera and minor webkit using browser (Web, Midori, Rekonq) make up the remaining scraps.

Is Firefox winning because it benefits from the convenience of being pre-installed? Could be.

But this stat certainly shows that almost 50% of Linux users go out of their way to use something that isn’t the default.

Bottom Line

As of yet no decision has been taken, but Warner himself states that he is ‘still leaning towards Chromium’.

Of course, the bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter which browser comes by default. Both will remain available to install from the Ubuntu Software Centre (albeit Chromium has, up until recently, been poorly maintained).

Which would you prefer?

*Now a webkit fork