I like to use the Falkon browser but today (after some time absent) I noticed the first time that discourse.lubuntu.me 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 discourse.lubuntu.me make decisions about the browser policy?
I support (i.e. vote for) freedom of choice in browsers, based on open standards
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.