GNOME Web Canary Builds Fly Once Again

Fellow fans of the bleeding edge may be interested to hear that canary builds of GNOME Web (aka Epiphany) are once again available.

Canary builds of anything (except actual canaries) aren’t intended to be used by regular folks.

Trivia: the term ‘canary’ is dervied from the historical practice of miners taking caged canaries down a mine when working. If the canary died it indicated that dangerous gases were present which might kill the miners, thus providing a warning to leave.

Canary software isn’t quite so deadly but it is generally more unstable than a “beta” builds. Bugs, regressions, performance quirks, and other flaws are likely.

Developer Philippe Normand announced the resuscitation of Web Canary in a blog post, explaining that the original reason for Canary builds vanishing was CI issues stemming from Web’s GTK4 port.

However, things are now resolved: “Recently, thanks to the efforts of my Igalia colleagues […] WebKit CI provides WebKitGTK4 build artefacts, hosted on a server kindly provided by Igalia,” Philippe writes.

Awesome news.

Install Web Canary via Flatpak

Image: Philippe Normand

Getting Web Canary running on modern Linux distros is trivial thanks to Flatpak, but you will need to add an Igalia Flatpak repo to pull in newer builds of WebKitGTK. Philippe’s blog post has all the commands you need to get this setup.

Flatpak is a great way to test development builds of apps as they can be installed and run alongside stable version without (to know knowledge) impacting them.

Even so, canary builds should always equal cautious behaviour – don’t install them idly, and don’t rely on them for critical, sensitive, or important tasks.

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