GNOME Web Browser “Epiphany” Brings Back PDF Viewing And Dark Theme


Before discussing the latest “Epiphany”, let me briefly explain it. Epiphany is a codename for the default web browser of the most popular Linux desktop environment GNOME. That’s why it is also known as GNOME web.

GNOME web is mainly developed for the Linux systems using the popular web browser engine, WebKit. So, recently along with the latest release of GNOME 3.36, Epiphany has with the revival of old features and other improvements.

Epiphany 3.36 — New Features

Earlier GNOME web 3.14 supported the PDF documents. But, as GNOME shifted to Wayland by default in v3.24, PDF support is disabled. Hence, this version includes the new PDF.js reader to view the PDF files in a web browser.

GNOME Web Epiphany PDF Viewer

Talking about the new design and theming, GNOME web had issues rendering HTML pages in dark mode. But after some changes to webKitGTK, it can now display the website normally with a dark theme. Also, if the website doesn’t support dark mode, the web browser switches to light automatically.

GNOME Web Epiphany 3.36 dark mode
GNOME Web Epiphany 3.36 dark mode

Epiphany supports viewing page source of websites. However, the code is displayed in plain text as it does not highlight JavaScript or HTML with color. Epiphany v3.36 now supports syntax highlighting using the highlight.js library that could render colorful markup text properly.

GNOME Web Epiphany 3.36 syntax highlighter
GNOME Web Epiphany 3.36 syntax highlighter

Among the security policies, instead of having a process for each browser tab, Epiphany 3.36 now creates a separate process per website. Using new WebKitGTK APIs, process swap navigation also gets better to provide site isolation.

Here is the list of some other changes:

  • Service worker enabled
  • Responsive browser design for smaller screens
  • New adblocker
  • Bubblewrap sandbox tool

If you want to install the Epiphany browser, you can directly install it from your Linux distro package manager. But, for the latest version, you need to install it via Flatpak.

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Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar is a software engineer by profession with interest and experience in Blockchain, Angular, React and Flutter. He loves to explore the nuts and bolts of Linux and share his experience and insights of Linux and open source on the web/various prestigious portals.
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