Some thoughts about Epiphany extensions

Many GNOME users have not realized that the Epiphany browser, apart from the official extensions package, can be further extended by third party extensions, which haven’t made their way into the official package yet. A good place to start checking what else is available for your favourite browser is the Third Party Extensions for Epiphany page in the GNOME Live wiki.

Another thing you should know is that the epiphany-extensions binary package for your distribution might not contain all those extensions that have been made official and are included in the epiphany-extensions source package. This is because the official extensions are further grouped according to their level of code maturity. So, for now we have the following ephy extensions groups:

  1. The official extensions that are marked as safe by the packagers and, generally, by all the folks that make decisions for each distribution. These extensions are finally available to the end users through the extensions panel.
  2. The official extensions that are not mature enough to appear in Epiphany’s extension panel. This means that there is a great issue with this group of extensions. If an end user does not check the official extensions package sources or the Epiphany project’s webpage, it is absolutely impossible even to know about the existence of these “imature” extensions.
  3. The third party extensions, which are mainly distributed by their developers.

All these restrictions do a good job protecting the end user from using buggy code, but this situation, not only narrows the end user’s freedom of choice, but also leads new Epiphany users, who are not aware of the situation, to make the false assumption that it is way too difficult to extend this browser’s functionality to suit their needs. The Firefox phenomenon has shown the importance of the high availability of software that extends the browser’s functionality.

My suggestion to packagers is: enable all official extensions (except for the examples maybe) in the epiphany-extensions package. The end users have the right to choose to use imature code.

NOTE: Those users who wish to recompile the extensions package, please read here.

Another thing that requires much thought is how well this epiphany-extensions package concept will work when the number of the available extensions increases. It will give both the end users and the developers a hard time. Furthermore, this concept promotes the distribution of 3rd party extensions by many different locations on the web, which is absolutely unacceptable when it comes to security. I mean this is a web browser, not a calculator!

I hope the folks at the Epiphany project give a higher priority to the organization of the extension distribution system in a more effective way.

Some thoughts about Epiphany extensions by George Notaras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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About George Notaras

George Notaras is the editor of the G-Loaded Journal, a technical blog about Free and Open-Source Software. George, among other things, is an enthusiast self-taught GNU/Linux system administrator. He has created this web site to share the IT knowledge and experience he has gained over the years with other people. George primarily uses CentOS and Fedora. He has also developed some open-source software projects in his spare time.