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Triple-Engine Browser Released As Alpha 181

jcasman passes along a heads-up on Lunascape, a Japanese browser company that is releasing its first English version of its Lunascape 5 triple-engine browser. It's for XP and Vista only. There are reviews up at CNET, OStatic (quoted below), and Lifehacker. Both the reviews and comments point out that, in its current alpha state, the browser is buggy and not very fast; but it might be one to watch. "How many web browsers do you run? If you're like me, you regularly use Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari. Each of those browsers, of course, has its own underlying rendering engine: Gecko (in Firefox), Trident (in Internet Explorer), and Webkit (in Chrome and Safari). Today, a Japanese startup called Lunascape has released an alpha version of its Lunascape browser ... that allows you to switch between all three of these prominent rendering engines. The company says that the Japanese version of Lunascape has been downloaded 10 million times and touts it as the fastest browser available."
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Triple-Engine Browser Released As Alpha

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  • Lunatic Japan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @04:38PM (#25890967) Homepage Journal
    The idea is as ludicrous as a turducken []. One thing's for sure, though: It will be a turd.

    Lunascape supports its own plug-ins and themes...It does not, however, support Firefox add-ons, which is a real drag.

    And almost certainly not even worth the look useless unless it will be able to block ads and scripts like NoScript and AdBock can. Using the english page to search the plugins reveals...nothing! Nothing at all! Okay, trying the Google translation of the original Japanese page yields 43 plugins, all related to crap like youtube and twitter...not a single ad or script blocker.

    This browser is much more chindogu [], than anything else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Markvs ( 17298 )
      Ah, but turducken is tasty! But only in it's cooked state. Perhaps Luna will be tasty too, after it's been prepared and cooked and is actually ready to be served.
    • Re:Lunatic Japan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by worthawholebean ( 1204708 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @05:15PM (#25891583)
      It's in alpha. You can't really expect it to have a fully-formed community or mature addons.
    • Not related to plugins, but still on topic:

      Epiphany (Gnome's default web browser) used to try to be "engine agnostic", supporting both Gecko and WebKit, but the developers said that maintaining an abstraction layer over the two engines provided nothing but unnecessary overhead and maintenance overkill (so they've dropped Gecko and the abstraction layer).

      I wish Lunascape the best, but I guess they're a little overoptimistic about the idea of abstracting *three* different engines. It'd be like an abstraction
    • Then this browser isn't for you! This browser solves an interesting problem that I've wanted for a long time. That is most people browse with one browser they really like, but sometimes they need to visit a site for school or work that doesn't quite work with their browser of choice. As it was, you'd have to launch another browser for certain special cases. Now with this Triple-Engine browser you just switch the engine when you need a different browser. That's pretty cool. If you don't appreciate that,

      • by jp10558 ( 748604 )

        On the other hand, why would you block ads at the browser level still? There are much better techniques now, like a system wide http proxy. Guess what it works with all browsers on your system and doesn't require a plugin. Get with the times.

        Ehh? I've been using proxomitron since... IDK, 2000? It's not exactly a new concept - the in browser ad blocking is the new concept, especially for the ease of use by giving a GUI for ad blocking...

        • the ease of use by giving a GUI for ad blocking...

 a huge plus for the in-browser approach, IMHO. I love being able to ctrl-shift-B or ctrl-shift-E and then see exactly what can be (or was) blocked on a page and what my filters are...

        • There are GUIs for ad blocking http proxies.

  • Can you say bloat? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Foofoobar ( 318279 )
    My god! This is like inviting the cast of 'Biggest Loser' at the beginning of the show over to your apartment for Hors de Vors. Vista already ate everything, they are going to be fighting over crumbs!
  • Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @04:47PM (#25891085) Homepage Journal

    This isn't really useful as a diagnostic browser.

    There are significant rendering differences between the various KHTML/Webkit implementations (eg Apple uses its own font renderer, which gives seriously different results than most host OS renderers, and Google has provided its own viewport code which gets several things incorrect, such as the placement of background coloration on absolutely positioned bodies, which aren't as silly as they might initially sound once you look into scalable viewports.) It also misses Opera, which still has more market share than Safari on Windows, as well as a variety of small browsers.

    On top of that, there's the significant likelihood that this browser injects new differences into the rendering process.

    Short version? Switch if you find the browser compelling (does an, but this doesn't substitute for actual browser case testing (it neither correctly nor completely covers the playing field.)

    I won't be adding it to my standard six, that's for sure. The last thing I need is another also-ran browser to check.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *

      Short version? Switch if you find the browser compelling (does an, but this doesn't substitute for actual browser case testing (it neither correctly nor completely covers the playing field.)

      Hot on the heels of the article that complained about privacy in Safari 3.2, it seems like this browser really needs a central ratings server. i.e. The only point of a browser like this is to provide the use of a different rendering engine when no other engines will work correctly. Thus the ideal solution is not to make

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Thus the ideal solution is not to make the user switch engines willy nilly.


        The ideal solution is for the browser to pull the ideal rendering engine from a database that matches sites against the ideal engine.

        No, then you've just got the browser switching rendering engines willy-nilly.

        I shouldn't even have to switch user-agents to make things work. That's why we have these things called standards -- the only rendering engine you should need is your favorite one that supports the standards.

        • Sorry,

          the only rendering engine you should need is your favorite one that supports the standards

          provided all your favourite sites use standards themselves.

          • Which is the point.

            As long as we're striving for an ideal, in my ideal world, sites follow the standards, or the sites get blamed, not the browsers.

        • I agree completely. While I understand the point of a browser like this, I do think that forcing engines to be standards compliant is a better solution. My intent was not to endorse this sort of browser, but rather discuss how it might work in a practical manner.

          That being said, there are a few circumstances where I can see multiple engines being of practical value. Those circumstances are when there are applications built on an engine-specific technology. e.g. a XUL application, a Mac Widget, a 3D Canvas a

          • Some of those edge cases really should be standardized, though. Lagging standards is why we have to put up with bullshit like Flash.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This isn't really useful as a diagnostic browser.

      I believe that the goal was to facilitate scan-line interleaving: every other line of a given website is rendered by a different engine. It is the latest effort in standards-based browsing. The Acid Test winds up looking like a bunch of cloned Neanderthal pirates that use solid state disks to subvert RIAA intelligence.

      Was this not the obvious use of such technology?


      • This may be the first genuinely funny thing I've ever seen an anonymous coward say. If you had logged in, I would totally fan you right now.

    • Why is this especially new anyway? I can already use IETAB in Firefox to view pages in IE rendering.

      So, this is new because... they've added a Safari user agent?


  • Target audience? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @05:00PM (#25891303)

    How many web browsers do you run? If you're like me, you regularly use Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari.

    What person in their right mind needs to "regularly" run 4 different web browsers? I'm a full-blown web developer, and I only use 2 browsers on a daily basis. I use Opera for the vast majority of normal browsing, references, API lookups, etc, and I use Firefox with Firebug for actual development and debugging. Periodically I test with IE and Safari, and maybe Chrome, but I would never say that I "regularly" use IE or Safari. Opera is the only browser I use where I save bookmarks, for example.

    I'm having a hard time seeing where there would be an audience for a browser with 3 rendering engines. In Opera I have toolbar buttons to launch the current page in Firefox, IE, or Safari. If I want to test my page with a certain rendering engine, I'm going to launch it in that browser. I'm not interested in testing my pages with "Trident running in Lunascape", I'm interested in testing with Internet Explorer. Period. It doesn't matter if it works in Lunascape if it's broken in IE or Safari or Firefox.

    And that's from a web developer's perspective, a normal user wouldn't have the first clue what a rendering engine even is and they wouldn't know when or why they would change the engine to use another one.

    If you want 3 rendering engines, download 3 browsers. A single browser with 3 rendering engines is a novelty, nothing more. It is not useful as a development tool because it is not the same thing when something works in Trident vs. working in IE. IE has plenty of room to screw things up besides the engine, testing with the engine is only one part of making sure it works in IE.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by prozaker ( 1261190 )

      so true, I don't know who else has a use for this except web developers.

      As a web developer myself I rather test a page in each browser instead of having one with 3 rendering engines in it.

      I didn't read the article but I'm guessing it only does 1 kind of ie. (maybe 7?) which is worthless because most of the problems occour in ie6 (god bless its heart)

      And most of the time, if not ever, if firefox displays it fine, then most of all the non ie browsers will do that too. And also because of firebug, I

    • The target is a person that, like a web developer, needs to run three browsers, yet unlike a web developer, is not able to actually use the three browsers, maybe one day, we might guess what sort of person that is.
    • by jp10558 ( 748604 )

      I wonder, how is Dragonfly coming along for the Opera dev tools?

  • Fastest browser? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Onyma ( 1018104 )
    I haven't had time to try this but if they are just sitting on top of everyone else's rendering engines then how can they claim to be faster than any of them?
  • End of story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @05:08PM (#25891445) Journal

    How many web browsers do you run?

    Like 99% of the rest of internet users, I use one browser (firefox).

    I'm rather surprised this has been downloaded 10M times, unless there is some sort of patriotism based motivation going on. For the life of me I just can't picture the average internet user saying "Hey, let's see how this website looks when rendered by the Webkit engine!" while their buddy, looking on over their shoulder responds "Yeah, do it! This is going to be a blast!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Like 99% of the rest of English speaking internet users, I use one browser (firefox).

      I'm being a little presumptuous, but I suspect that you, like me, have never looked at browser data for Japanese websites. They are much more tech savvy than we, and I would not be surprised to find that much like the population of Slashdot (myself included) they have a disproportionate share of that made up 1% of internet users that use multiple browsers you quoted.

      • They are much more tech savvy than we,

        With gadgets, yes, but not with computers. In my experience Japan lacks much of the "hacker-culture" of western countries.

      • I really have to give up my voting points just to crush this mystery.

        No japanese people on PC are NOT tech savy. I have average 50% IE6 access and 45% IE7 access and the rest is then ff/opera/safari.

        The average japanese use just uses his mobile phone more of browsing and as they update their phones every 6 months, they get automatic updates. On their PC they behave like any other human beeing. They just have no idea that they should update the browser. Nor does MS push IE7 in any hard way ... which is sad .

    • How many web browsers do you run?

      If you're a webdeveloper, I hope one has access to at least IE, FF, Safari and Opera for testing and perhaps Chrome as well for JS engine differences to safari. Otherwise, one just have to assume that everything works out A-OK for everything.

      • Javascript libraries can help with a lot of that, but you're right.

        Which is part of why this browser seems so pointless. Webkit in Safari is different than Webkit in Chrome. Webkit in this new browser will be different still. Which means you just added three more configurations to test, without removing any -- except I, for one, am not going to care, since I don't see this browser getting a user base anywhere.

    • You obviously haven't discovered the wonders of WebKit. Maybe this is very subjective but WebKit: looks better, renders faster, runs JavaScript faster, performs better all around, has better developer support (if you're running the nightly builds), and is lighter weight on all fronts.

      There is one thing it doesn't do however. That is, it doesn't work with the "online" quizzes my university insists on using. That's why I have Firefox and that's why a browser that switches engines is a pretty good idea in an

  • How many browser do I use? The majority of users? Come on people. The majority of users use one browser. They use either Internet Explorer, or something like Firefox. That's it. If they use something besides Internet Explorer, they will reluctantly fire up IE when they have problems. Does anyone believe otherwise? Unless I'm developing web pages, I personally don't use more than that either - I may check new ones out, and pick the one with the current best features for what I use - but this isn't no
  • by jaymzter ( 452402 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @05:10PM (#25891483) Homepage

    Yeah, just like "Citizen Dick is really big in Japan too.

  • by amake ( 673443 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @05:11PM (#25891509) Homepage
    I work for a Japanese video game company, and about a month ago we had a network outage that was traced back to the auto-update feature of Lunascape. I have no idea how many people installed it, but it apparently created enough traffic to take down our internet connection. I hope the developers have improved it by now.
  • this browser, like firefox, locks the file that is being downloaded and is therefore, not anime friendly. since it is not anime friendly, it has dishonored all of japan. until i can download my code geass mkv files in hi def and watch them as they are being downloaded (btw, lulu lives so =P ), i will stick with my anime friendly opera browser.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PitaBred ( 632671 )

      Stop using Windows and that file locking crap just goes away.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        There is no law that says you have to lock files under Windows, PitaBrain.
    • Huh? VLC plays any file I drop into it, even files that are open by other processes, without any complaints (assuming the file is downloaded faster than it plays, of course). The only problems arise when a file isn't downloaded in a contiguous fashion and VLC starts trying to play a chunk of garbage in the middle of the file...

      • Oh, and if you're using FF, you should be aware that sometimes it decides to download a hidden .part file and leave your target file at zero length until the download completes. If you drop the .part file into VLC it'll play just fine... uh, you might have to remove the .part extension manually when the download completes, though, since FF can't rename it while VLC is playing it.

        Oh, and speaking of which: if you don't have Windows configured to show hidden/system files, please deposit your geek card in the

  • by Joe Snipe ( 224958 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @05:43PM (#25891985) Homepage Journal

    So is there some feature that allows it to automatically switch between engines, or is this just another ill-thought out mashup? I mean if I have to choose which engine each time, then I might as well just open another program, RAM isn't the tight commodity it once was.

  • Three rendering engines? I'm reminded of the lowly razor. First it was a single blade. Then two, then it went to three. I thought that would be it. Then the Quattro came out: four blades. Of course, everyone thinks this is ridiculous, but then someone comes out with five blades! What percentage of your head must be bone to think that you need five blades on a razor - plus one extra for those areas that need a precise trim? Some amazingly close to 100 number, I'm guessing.

    So now it's not enough to
    • by SEE ( 7681 )

      Nobody skipped two. It's called IE Tab, it's an extension for Firefox.

    • What percentage of your head must be bone to think that you need five blades on a razor - plus one extra for those areas that need a precise trim? Some amazingly close to 100 number, I'm guessing.

      Technically speaking, percentages don't approach 100. They approach 1.

  • Fastest? Lemme guess, when you make an HTTP request it goes to some website with a database of all webpages cross-referenced by which rendering engine is fastest for each, then it opens the site you asked for with that particular engine.
  • Oh Oh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )

    It "works" like slashdot's new CSS stuff: run like hell!

  • Useless (Score:5, Funny)

    by lord_sarpedon ( 917201 ) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @07:40PM (#25893445)

    Three engines, for the closest browse yet...

  • They already have plugins for IE and opera rendering engines for firefox. And I think one for webkit will appear very soon as well, so I really don't see the need for switching to anything over firefox.
  • Sounds like 3X the memory footprint and 3X the browser vulnerabilities.
  • Browsers that can work with multiple layout engines are not new.

    People forget that Netscape 8's big feature is the ability to display pages with either the Trident or Gecko layout engine []

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle