3.5. I Need a
Simple Web Browser
Not all Linux desktops have the firepower needed
for the GUI. Even if you have enough memory for a simple GUI, your
system may not be able to handle a fully featured browser such as
Firefox. Alternatively, you may want a GUI browser other than
Firefox so you can avoid the effects of its known
While the Firefox browser avoids many, perhaps
most, of the problems associated with Microsoft's Internet
Explorer, as time goes on, crackers will create problems for
Firefox (as they have already).
Fortunately, there are web browsers of many
types available for the Linux desktop. Most distributions include
more than one application that can be used as a web browser. I'll
review some of the alternatives in this annoyance.
Yes, in Linux you can browse the World Wide Web
from the text console. Several major options are described
Elinks is a fully featured, text-based browser
and an enhanced version of Links. It supports many GUI-style
features, such as downloads of images and Cascading Style Sheets.
It is currently available from the Fedora/Red Hat and Debian
repositories. Once it's installed, you can start the browser with
command. You can then
with the Esc key. You can move between links with the
up and down arrows; you can move to a highlighted link with the
right arrow; and you can move back in your link history with the
left arrow. Developed in the Czech Republic, this tool is
documented at http://www.elinks.or.cz/.
Links is a browser with pull-down menus; SUSE
and Debian have customized versions on their installation CDs. For
more information, see http://links.sf.net. When you run the
command, you can access
menus with the Esc key. You can move between links with the up and
down arrows, you can move to a highlighted link with the right
arrow, and you can move back in your link history with the left
If you have both Elinks and Links installed, the
command opens the Elinks
Lynx is a browser that lets you move the cursor
between links. SUSE and Debian make this browser available from
their repositories. You can move between links with the up and down
arrows, you can move to a highlighted link with the right arrow,
and you can move back in your link history with the left arrow.
Menu keys are listed at the bottom of the screen. For more
information, see http://lynx.isc.org.
W3m is a browser with
command-style pager capabilities. Only Debian makes this browser
available from its repositories. You can move to links with the
arrow keys, you can move to a linked page with the Enter key, and
you can access menus with the Insert key. For more information, see
Assuming you're connected to the Internet, you
can call the web site of your choice with a command such as:
Linux supports a wide variety of graphical
browsers; Firefox is just the most prominent. I've compiled an
incomplete list below, based on some of the browsers I'm able to
install on my Linux desktops. I do not include Mozilla and Galeon,
as their developers have used the associated code to create the
successor browsers Firefox and Epiphany. Mozilla (in suite form) is
still available and currently at 1.7.12.
Epiphany, the successor to Galeon, is a web
browser designed for the GNOME desktop. Development seems to have
slowed as of this writing, perhaps due to its shared use of the
Gecko rendering engine (with Firefox). For more information, see
Konqueror is a web browser designed for the KDE
desktop. As a file manager and browser, it is functionally similar
to GNOME's Nautilus. However, it is more customizable through the
KDE Control Center (current versions of Nautilus are at best
difficult to use for web browsing). For more information, see
Believe it or not, Netscape still provides a
web browser. At one time, it was the leading browser on the
Internet, with a market share far greater than Internet Explorer.
Now it is built on Firefox, with a focus on securing
against untrusted sites. For more information, see
Opera is an
alternative to Firefox. In
fact, until the
of Firefox, Opera was my preferred browser.
Opera still does a better job at blocking pop-up
. If you
choose to download Opera, just be careful with the download site.
The default download server is in Norway (the home country of
Opera), and if you're in the U.S., it's most efficient to download
from a U.S. server. For more information, including downloads, see