Web browsing on Mobian
#1
I just installed Mobian on my Pinephone SD card, and the first application I try out is usually the web browser. As a new user the experience isn't exactly stellar, but after fiddling around a bit I've found some things that takes Firefox some way towards being usable for me.

So I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread where we can share our experiences and tips on how to get the best browser experience on Mobian!
  • First of all: script filtering. This is essential for me and I run NoScript on my desktop. I noted that Firefox on Mobian comes with uBlock Origin installed by default, which seems like a great idea! I'm not exactly sure yet how this compares to NoScript, but kudos to the Mobian developers for having this out-of-the-box!

  • Next up: screen rotation. Tap the top bar to swith to landscape mode. I think I actually prefer this manual selection of orientation to an automatic one; I almost always lock the rotation anyway if it's automatic. But with Mobian the screen is rotated so that the buttons ends up on the bottom, which is very inconvenient! I hope this is a bug and that it will get fixed.

  • Screen estate: With the screen in landscape mode pretty much half the screen gets eaten up by Mobian's black bars on top and bottom and by Firefox's menu bar, to the extent that landscape mode becomes unusable. However, if you open the "three-bar" Firefox menu there's a "Fullscreen" option, and this removes all the clutter so that the whole screen is usable! Tap the bottom-right corner to get the Mobian bars back. However since fullscreen mode hides the fullscreen option, I have not been able to figure out how to get out of full screen mode to reach the address bar and tabs again! Undecided If I could figure this out, Firefox could be quite useful for me on Mobian. Any ideas?

  • My previous smartphone (a HTC Desire - yes, from 2010), has a great browsing experience: the browser is automatically full-screen; the address bar is reached by scrolling the web page to the top (it's effectively stacked on top of, and "part" of, the web page); and perhaps most importantly, the width of all text fields is automatically adjusted to be no wider than the screen width! That means that no matter how you scale the page, free-flowing text fields never overflow the screen width sideways, so you can scale the page (images and font size) to your preferred size without ever having to scroll sideways back-and-forth to read all the text in a field! I'm a bit saddened that this is not the obvious way to do things today, 10 years later... but maybe we can get it on our Pinephones some time in the future? Smile

How do you browse the internet on Mobian?
#2
You should be able to disable fullscreen with F11. You can reach the key in the terminal layout.

I use qutebrowser. It's fast and has all the features I want. No plugins, but it is highly configurable. I've moved the tab bar to the bottom, removed unneeded clutter and configured an Android user agent.
It's meant to be used mainly with the keyboard with vi-like bindings, but it works quite well with the virtual keyboard if you rebind a few shortcuts. Only annoyance is that it mostly does not enter text entry mode when you tap on a text field. But you'll soon have that in your muscle memory.
#3
Boern: thanks for your input, I'll have to check out qutebrowser!

There's no F11 (no function keys at all) on any of the keyboard layouts as far as I can see? Oh, I need to press the ">_" key to get those keys, now I get it! Thanks!
#4
uBlock & uMatrix are written by the same developer, and both are needed for full functionality.

uBlock takes up what he calls the "static filtering" part, it's a replacement for AdBlock and an element hider, not NoScript. It will only block site elements that it has a pre-existing rule for in some filter list, and it provides a UI for creating your own filter rules, matching by URL, or by CSS selector for cosmetic filters.

uMatrix is the "dynamic" filtering half, performing the functions of NoScript, RequestPolicy and a cookie manager. You can set it to deny everything by default, and then choose what to enable from the categories of cookies, css, images, media, script, XHRs (requests by a script to load content on the fly), frames, and miscellaneous, and from what domains & subdomains the current site should be allowed to load each of these.

uMatrix is better than NoScript & RequestPolicy once you get used to it, and has an interface better suited to complex modern sites with a lot of cross-site requests. It does not include some of NoScript's niche extra features, like "ClearClick"; if you actually need those, then you'll need to install NoScript alongside it.

As soon as I install uBlock, I turn off & delete the subscriptions to massive third-party filter lists and just use it for creating my own filters to zap things with more resolution that uMatrix allows for. Typically this occurs when you want to block only some scripts or images from a particular origin, while allowing others.
#5
(08-18-2020, 02:54 PM)Boern Wrote: You should be able to disable fullscreen with F11. You can reach the key in the terminal layout.

I use qutebrowser. It's fast and has all the features I want. No plugins, but it is highly configurable. I've moved the tab bar to the bottom, removed unneeded clutter and configured an Android user agent.
It's meant to be used mainly with the keyboard with vi-like bindings, but it  works quite well with the virtual keyboard if you rebind a few shortcuts. Only annoyance is that it mostly does not enter text entry mode when you tap on a text field. But you'll soon have that in your muscle memory.
How did you install Qutebrowser? I get an error stating that it is not available.
PinePhone UBports CE and Mobian on SD, Mint Mobile, Pinebook Pro Manjaro
#6
(08-19-2020, 12:21 PM)klick Wrote: How did you install Qutebrowser? I get an error stating that it is not available.

Normally with the terminal.
Code:
sudo apt install qutebrowser

Maybe you have to update the repos with apt update first.
#7
(08-19-2020, 12:19 PM)Dendrocalamus64 Wrote: uBlock & uMatrix are written by the same developer, and both are needed for full functionality.

...

Noting the OP mentioned script filtering, I hope my dumb question is pertinent: I load /etc/hosts with MVPS hosts. Does this have the same effect or is script filtering resolving/avoiding a different problem?

ps - so far find Firefox the only thing that works for me despite being dog slow to load (speed is great once running). Use scale-to-fit (which is patchy) and User-agent-switcher to keep a desktop flavour as most mobile websites are appalling - specifically I find fleabay mobile unusable!
  • ROCKPro64 v2.1 2GB, 16Gb eMMC for rootfs, SX8200Pro 512GB NVMe for /home, HDMI video & sound, Bluetooth keyboard & mouse. Arch (5.13 kernel, Openbox desktop) for general purpose daily PC.
  • PinePhone BraveHeart now v1.2b 3/32Gb daily driver, dual boot via p-boot with Mobian/f2fs/Phosh on eMMC, Arch/ext4/Phosh on SDcard
  • PinePhone v1.2a 2G/16Gb that needs USB board replaced
#8
(08-19-2020, 02:50 PM)dukla2000 Wrote:
(08-19-2020, 12:19 PM)Dendrocalamus64 Wrote: uBlock & uMatrix are written by the same developer, and both are needed for full functionality.

...
Noting the OP mentioned script filtering, I hope my dumb question is pertinent: I load /etc/hosts with MVPS hosts. Does this have the same effect or is script filtering resolving/avoiding a different problem?
Putting things in /etc/hosts is a blunt instrument - you're stopping the browser getting anything from that domain. Tools like uBlock, uMatrix and NoScript are much more selective - you can allow some content types while blocking others, even when they're from the same domain. They also have options for blocking specific undesirable behaviours - check their respective FAQs and documentation for the details.
#9
(08-20-2020, 05:56 AM)wibble Wrote: Putting things in /etc/hosts is a blunt instrument - ... Tools like uBlock, uMatrix and NoScript are much more selective ...
Thanks
  • ROCKPro64 v2.1 2GB, 16Gb eMMC for rootfs, SX8200Pro 512GB NVMe for /home, HDMI video & sound, Bluetooth keyboard & mouse. Arch (5.13 kernel, Openbox desktop) for general purpose daily PC.
  • PinePhone BraveHeart now v1.2b 3/32Gb daily driver, dual boot via p-boot with Mobian/f2fs/Phosh on eMMC, Arch/ext4/Phosh on SDcard
  • PinePhone v1.2a 2G/16Gb that needs USB board replaced
#10
(08-19-2020, 01:56 PM)Boern Wrote:
(08-19-2020, 12:21 PM)klick Wrote: How did you install Qutebrowser? I get an error stating that it is not available.

Normally with the terminal.
Code:
sudo apt install qutebrowser

Maybe you have to update the repos with apt update first.
Thank you. I installed the latest OS on my SD and was able to install Qutebrowser via the Software store but it will not run. It gives a "Failed to start with the QtWebkit Backend! error.
PinePhone UBports CE and Mobian on SD, Mint Mobile, Pinebook Pro Manjaro


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