Sunday, July 15, 2012

Qupzilla browser (1.3.0) in Raspbian

I have Raspbian (fully updated) working pretty well on my RPi.
Yes, I know this is a very cheap computer with just 256 MB of RAM (and even then, not all of it is available to the CPU) and a 700 MHz CPU.
So, working and browsing speeds on the RPi are very far below what can be expected of a modern laptop or Desktop.

However, I've done a few things to get as much speed as possible out of my RPi. First, of course, I've overclocked the CPU to 850 MHz and move the RAM speed up to 500 MHz from 400 MHz.
In addition, I have Raspbian installed on a 8GB Class 10 SanDisk SD card.
Further, I try to avoid, where possible, use of the mouse and just work from the keyboard. (Soon, I'll post some more details on these enhancements).
As a result, my RPi is working pretty smartly, and other than a lack of flash, can pretty much do everything I want.

But, I'm interested to track down an ideal web browser for this low-power device. So, today, I tried Qupzilla for which no Arm version presently exists.
So nothing for it but to compile it on my RPi.

Details on how to download the source and compile Qupzilla are provided here.
Before stating however it is necessary to install both git and qt-sdk, both of which are available in the Debian repos.
Then change to your home directory and then issue these commands in succession

$ git clone git://
$ qmake
$ make 
The first two are quick (60 seconds for the first, 15 for the second), but the third took quite some time. Even with the overclocked board and the class 10 SD card, the compile took almost exactly three hours.
Next install it with
# make install
and that's it.
Two features I very much like in Qupzilla are its superb RSS reader as well as the ability to populate the bookmarks toolbar with favicons without text.

While I only have a few hours playing with Qupzilla on my RPi, it has a lot to recommend it in terms of performance.
However, it seems a little heavy on resources, which is not ideal on the resource-challenged RPi, in comparison with the two other browsers I'm looking at on this machine (Midori and Uzbl).
In addition, for some reason which I cannot understand, nor can I find and other reference to this problem on the net, I cannot open beyond the login page.
I've already referred to this with Qupzilla on a Mac.

Finally, I just link to this RPi forums post which shows how fast browsing on a RPi can be. I would estimate that my response speeds are perhaps half of what's evident in the video which is still quite respectable.

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