WebKit on the new Raspberry Pi 2

Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new model of the Raspberry Pi!
While the new Raspberry Pi looks almost identical to the previous one, it’s much more powerful (and with four cores instead of one) and costs just $35.

Here at Collabora we have worked together with the Raspberry Pi Foundation on optimising WebKit for the first Raspberry Pi, achieving a good browsing experience (notwithstanding hardware limitations) with smooth 720 videos, good responsivity, etc.
Despite this work, a lot of web sites are just incredibly heavy and don’t run too well on the RPi1, so the extra CPU power is very useful. Just look at this video to see the difference in performances between the two Pis.

Comparison between the RPi1 and RPi2 (mp4 video file)

Our optimised WebKit-based web browser (i.e. GNOME Web, AKA Epiphany) is already available in Raspbian images, so you will get this out of the box.

7 thoughts on “WebKit on the new Raspberry Pi 2

  1. @Alexander:
    I haven’t had time to try yet, but I suspect that some extensions needed for compositing may be missing.
    Also gnome-shell is really heavy from a memory point of view and that may be a problem.

    The RAM is shared between graphics and the normal CPU. The default configuration doesn’t have enough RAM to play 1080p videos. You can change this in the boot settings and then you would get smooth playback on the Pi2 (the Pi1 would struggle due to the memory copies we need to do in the browser).


  2. Dont suppose youve got any nearer to enabling the autoplay for youtube videos. As soon as thats done IVe got a perfectsolution to our digital signage requirements when combined with Concerto (www.concerto-signage.org/)


  3. p.hipwell:
    The reason YouTube works like that is because it’s very very very heavy; even on a modern computer it uses a lot of CPU and time just to load the page. This was unacceptable on the Pi1, so we disabled most of the JavaScript and we force the creation of a proper HTML5 <video> tag that shows the YouTube video.
    I plan on verifying which hacky features from the Pi1 we can disable on the Pi2, but I think that YouTube will stay more usable with the hacks in place. Autoplay is disabled just because trying to play a video while a heavy page is loading meant problems with the video.

    I wonder why you care about YouTube videos (meant as the full page instead of an embedded video) on a digital signage platform. What are your requirements?


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