Lunascape 5: World’s First Hybrid Engine Browser


What was your motivation for creating Lunascape?

I could tell from early on that browsers are the center of the computing universe. But there’s a lot of room for improvement. Back in August 2001 the big problem with browsers was keeping multiple windows open at once. Screens were small, having 20 windows open at once was annoying. So I built the initial Lunascape browser with tabs, the world’s first, actually, and got so excited by the potential for improving browsers, I never looked back. I worked at Sony doing research on advanced browser technologies, I went back to school for a while, too, in the same area.

Eventually, I knew I wanted to create a company for the express purpose of improving browser technology. So I founded Lunascape in 2004.

It’s not, though, just a business. I see browsers as the key to bridging the Digital Domain. The more accessible, the more easy to use, the more the Internet becomes possible for people everywhere. We have users around the world, including places like Bhutan and Gambia. It’s incredible. That’s something worth being involved in.

What are the license restrictions? Is it OpenSource or Proprietary?

Lunascape is proprietary software, but is free to download and use.

Will a free version of the browser be always available?

Yes, absolutely.

How to write plugins for this browser? What language do you use for writing plugins?

We use Jscript, VBScript and C++ — anything that utilized COM — plus HTML and CSS.

How are flash plugin, java plugin, video player plugin etc are managed? How to install them?

This is a major priority for us because we believe the “vendor lock-in” part of browser use occurs with plugins. Users spend a lot of time customizing their browsers. Losing that when they want to try another browser or switch completely is just too painful. In Lunascape, for Trident, it’s the same as regular browsers, just a one-click process. For Gecko and Webkit, we bundle the various plugins and are planning to be able to install them with the same easy one-click process in the future.

What are the options available for javascript engines? Do you support SpiderMonkey, SquirrelFish or V8?

We support all of the various Javascript engines that Trident, Gecko, and Webkit support. In the case of TraceMonkey running on Gecko, we do our own specialized tuning, and it actually runs faster than on Firefox.

If I switch from gecko to webkit for web rendering can I still use tracemonkey as my javascript engine?


Do you have any plans for developing this browser for other operating systems?

Yes, we’re actively planning versions for both Linux and Mac. We’ve had many requests for both.

When do you plan to release the final version of Lunascape5?

We won’t disclose that too much ahead of time, but it’s not far off! Our blog and twitter are great places to get the latest information from us. We’re always talking with users there and giving out information and schedules as soon as we know them.

What is the future plan going forward?

Users are looking for effective, fast, easy web surfing. They want to use web applications — like gmail, Facebook, Twitter and many, many more — and not get stuck down in the weeds with issues like trying to figure out which web browser is best. It shouldn’t be like that. Answering those needs, that’s what we’re after.

We’re ambitious. Something close to 5 billion people still are not using the Internet at all. Using a browser will be, more than likely, the first and best way for new users of the Internet to take advantage of cyberspace. Imagine all that human potential. The browser is a key tool in that equation. Facilitating ways to support new Internet users, people who have never been online, that’s a major goal of ours.


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