Stricter browser control prevents using Falkon

I like to use the Falkon browser but today (after some time absent) I noticed the first time that complained that the browser is unsupported and wouldn’t let me log in. Did that change come as an unavoidable side-effect of deploying a newer version of the Discourse platform or did the maintainers of make decisions about the browser policy?

I support (i.e. vote for) freedom of choice in browsers, based on open standards :+1:

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Only Thomas could (I believe) offer an authoritative answer to this sorry, but I’m 99% certain it was not a deliberate decision, possibly just effect of an updated plugin.

I note

Some plugs where automatically updated Thu, Feb 23, 2023 at 7:40 AM

though it maybe another of the updates too. I usually access via firefox* so wouldn’t have noticed any change, but I can confirm when viewing this page in falkon I do see

Unfortunately, your browser is unsupported. Please switch to a supported browser to view rich content, log in and reply.

(for the record; I’m on my primary lunar box)


I can’t imagine this being a purposeful decision, as the Lubuntu Development team at one point considered changing the default browser in Lubuntu to Falkon. I assume it must just be the result of an update or something.

Falkon is based on QtWebEngine, which is basically a really old version of Chromium with security patches from newer versions applied. The version of Chromium used in QtWebEngine Lubuntu 22.04 is version 87, which is ancient compared to modern Chromium (version 110, meaning it’s 23 versions behind). And I think upgrading QtWebEngine would require upgrading the whole Qt stack, which is impractical to the point of virtually impossible.

I’ll ask @teward what happened here and if there’s a chance that it could be reversed. (In fact I just asked him by pinging him.)

Sadly, though, you might just end up needing to change browsers to something that’s updated reliably. Chromium and Firefox are the easiest browsers to do that with - both are distributed as Snaps in Ubuntu (and by extension, Lubuntu). You might also be able to install a different browser via a third-party repo or other installation method if you prefer (Brave is a popular choice, and I hear good things about Vivaldi, both are Chromium derivatives similar to Falkon). And I see there’s a slightly newer version of Falkon in the Snap repo in the latest/candidate channel, so that might buy you some time. (The ideal solution would be for Qt to keep QtWebEngine current and for Falkon to have a frequent release schedule, but I don’t think either Qt or KDE are going to make that happen for multiple good reasons.)

I definitely agree that we should have freedom of choice in browsers. But browsers that don’t stay up-to-date with modern standards and requirements eventually stop working. Also, browsers that don’t get reliable security updates (like Falkon) are probably not safe to use, and as QtWebEngine and Falkon are both in the Universe repo in Ubuntu, they don’t get reliable security updates. So you may want to switch browsers for the sake of safety.


Thanks for your answers, particularly the analysis on the state of Falkon. If it seems that Falkon won’t be a practical choice in the long term, it is fine to drop the case…


From the technical perspective, the site runs on NGINX as a frontend and the Discourse containers they build in the backend. NGINX just passes all requests to the backend. So from the perspective of HTTP compatibility, it’d work.

However, I have no control on the Discourse internals. If Discourse returns a “Your browser is not supported” then that’s outside the purview of anything I can do to address this, as that was a code change in Discourse upstream.

This is not an intentional change on part of Lubuntu. We just do standard Discourse updates, and we’re bound to what Discourse chooses to support.

(We have separate controls in nginx for things like Internet Explorer user-agent strings, in which case they get an error generated at the NGINX level, but we do NOT have anything like that for any other browsers in our own configurations - so any other “unsupported browser” stuff is a Discourse software change outside our control)

NOTE: I do NOT read Discourse regularly, email or IRC or Telegram are the faster ways to reach me on things - this went under the radar because nobody told me about this.