Sunday, October 29, 2006

When Opera ditched and Firefox came to the rescue

On Friday, my father complained that he had some troubles with Opera. He had been using computers for around two years now. His initial browsing experience started with Firefox but the rendering of Tamil fonts in the early versions of Firefox were not good enough and Opera did that way better and impressed him - ever since he had been a loyal Opera user. To see what the trouble was with opera, I logged in to his account and launched opera, clicked a bookmark and was annoyed to see a lot of popups (I don't know why opera didn't stop them). For the actual problem - the tabs didn't close when the close button is pressed and was totally disobedient. In additions there were other annoyances in websites that he normally visits. If this was firefox, a simple Greasemonkey script would have removed much of the annoyance. A quick search found that there was an equivalent called user scripts in Opera. But I couldn't stop the popups and the original problem at hand. I was hearing good things about Pango support in Firefox and a quick search revealed some screen shots that showed good rendering of Tamil fonts. Now I decided to set him up Firefox instead of solving the Opera problem - As I myself use Firefox, I could rest with managing one software instead of two.

I was already using Bon Echo (Firefox v2) but pango wasn't enabled, so I downloaded the source and built it with pango support. Building was easy - create a .mozconfig with required options and follow the the standard ./configure;make;make install; procedure. I was really impressed with the quality of the rendered output - simply nice. I tested it with the sites that my father frequents:
  • It did a good job in blocking unwanted pop ups, I also disabled the notification about the pop up being blocked.
  • There were some sites with annoying behaviors - Installed Greasemonkey and wrote some scripts to remove them.
  • Some sites were using dynamic fonts - Installed padma.
The end result is a shining high quality browser that impressed my father.

Now, If you can't read the statement below, go and get yourself a better browser
தோன்றின் புகழொடு தோன்றுக அஃதிலார்
தோன்றலின் தோன்றாமை நன்று.

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