Section 3.5. I Need a Simple Web Browser


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 bugs in that browser.

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.

3.5.1. Text Browsers

Yes, in Linux you can browse the World Wide Web from the text console. Several major options are described here:


Elinks

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 the elinks command. You can then 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 arrow. Developed in the Czech Republic, this tool is documented at http://www.elinks.or.cz/.


Links

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 links 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 arrow.

If you have both Elinks and Links installed, the links command opens the Elinks browser.



Lynx

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

W3m is a browser with more/less 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 http://w3m.sf.net.

Assuming you're connected to the Internet, you can call the web site of your choice with a command such as:

 lynx www.yahoo.com 

3.5.2. Other Graphical Browsers

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

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 http://www.gnome.org/projects/epiphany/.


Konqueror

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 http://konqueror.kde.org.


Netscape

Believe it or not, Netscape still provides a viable 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 user systems against untrusted sites. For more information, see http://browser.netscape.com/.


Opera

Opera is an excellent alternative to Firefox. In fact, until the advent of Firefox, Opera was my preferred browser. Opera still does a better job at blocking pop-up windows. 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 http://www.opera.com.



Linux Annoyances for Geeks
Linux Annoyances for Geeks: Getting the Most Flexible System in the World Just the Way You Want It
ISBN: 0596008015
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 144
Authors: Michael Jang

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