Introducing: Otter Browser For Power Users

Otter Browser

The web browser scene looked different during the early 2000s as there were two main browsers; Internet Explorer dominated the space with almost 95% market share.

Then came along Mozilla who released Firefox browser and it started the seemingly impossible job of taking away a little of that IE’s market share away. Next, there was a third browser that had a huge impact on the modern browser even though it was not as widely used: Opera.

It was first released in April 1995 and it introduced features that most of us take for granted today; tabs, speed dial, browser sessions, pop-up blocker, and deleting private data.

With all the outstanding features, Opera never got to the third position in terms of market share. In 2013, February, The Opera team announced that they would drop their own Presto layout engine and concentrate on building a new browser based on Google’s Chromium project.

Their decision made many Opera fans unhappy. Opera had its own thing going on, now it’s all Chrome with a slightly different jacket and improved features, just like in the case of SlimJet or any other browser that is based on Chrome.

Introducing Otter Browser

Emdek, a Polish developer, started the Otter Browser project “to recreate the best aspects of the classic Opera (12.x) UI using Qt5”. According to the project’s FAQ, Otter will not just be a clone of Opera 12. According to Emdek,

Nope, not all of it is even possible or feasible (like Unite, widgets etc.), some of these concepts started to show their age or could be simply done better (for example more flexible while being also simpler to implement and comprehend by the end user).

Emdek mentioned that he plans on making Otter a modular browser. That means, for example, that users will be able to replace the stock bookmark manager with a completely different one! He also has it in his plans to include an email client and the mail client will be a module that users can decide whether to install or not.

He mentioned that he would like for Otter to support the use of other backends besides QtWebKit and He hopes to include Blink and possibly Gecko.


Project Not Complete – Yet

The Otter Browser project is still under development and so more work is yet to be done. For you to have an idea of what the project developers have in plan, see a to-do list taken from the project’s Github page below:

  • Passwords Manager
  • Tabs Grouping (stacking and panorama mode)
  • Support for tab thumbnails embedded in tab bar
  • Feeds reader (as module)
  • Helper for mouse gestures
  • Fine-tune UI (sizes, margins, and other details)

Future features include support for Chrome extensions, a BitTorrent  module and more.

Installation Instructions

You can install Otter Browser on your Ubuntu-based systems by pasting these commands into your terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otter-browser/release
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install otter-browser

If you use an Arch-based system, you can find otter-browser in the Arch User Repositories.

For any other Linux systems or Windows, download the installation files here.

In Conclusion,

Otter Browser has a long way to go before it can be compared to Opera 12 in terms of  features, but they have made a great start since they are just on version 0.9.10. The fact that is is a modular browser in order to keep the underlying code fresh is cool. We imagine it must be difficult replacing code within a project without affecting the rest of the project.

We like the “switch layout engines” feature because it will be a useful tool with which web developers can test their projects for multiple browsers.

What do you think of Otto Browser?  Are you looking forward to using the browser or do you think it is just another huge waste of time? Let us know in the comments section below.

About The Author
Martins Okoi
Computer Science enthusiasts with a passion for learning new things. In my spare time, I listen to music, read like a compiler, and learn like an A.I algorithm.

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