Three Good Linux Web Browsers

There are quite a variety of Web browsers you can use on Linux.

They range from full-featured ones, like Firefox and Chrome, all the way down to the utilitarian Lynx command line browser. While the top two give an unsurpassed graphical experience, Lynx has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that you will find useful.

Firefox
Firefox is probably the best-known modern Web browser for Linux. It has been around, in various incantations, since 2004 and grew out of the original Mozilla browser. I remember reviewing Mozilla 1.0 version back in 2002. If you want a laugh go to the link at the bottom and read about my stone-aged (then, fairly mainstream) hardware and how I conducted my tests.

Thankfully, Firefox today is fast and has a lot of interesting and thoughtful features. Version 13 is the latest stable release and was a major upgrade in performance from previous versions. It uses a high-performance Java engine and WebGL for 3D graphics. I’ve used it for about a week and it does seem to load more quickly than in the past. Pages come up quickly, as well. I always seem to have trouble with Flash on Firefox. After upgrading everything to the latest versions, most YouTube videos have reds and skintones replaced with a creepy light blue color.

Chrome
Chrome is Google’s browser. I like it because it has a minimal, uncluttered interface and is probably the fastest browser on my aging Asus duo-core notebook. Speed is the reason I use Chrome over Firefox, even with its latest upgrade.

The browser has some add-ons, but nowhere near as many as Firefox. And, it’s kind of a pain to go to the main wrench button whenever you want to print something. All the people are the correct color in Flash videos using Google Chrome.

Both Firefox and Google Chrome let you enter search terms in the URL address box, have nearly unlimited tabbed browsing, and are stable with minimal lockups and crashes.

Lynx
This browser runs from the command line and is understandably not loaded by default. It is a text-based browser that takes a little getting used to. It doesn’t handle graphics, although that turns out to be a strength. Nasty code embedded in graphics likely won’t affect your machine when you’re using Lynx.

I’ve used Lynx on remote machines in the past. My old Plug Computer was a headless Linux server that I used for testing Arduino projects and so on. It had no X server. Sometimes I’d need to look at data formatted in HTML format and I could just log-in over SSH and use Lynx to see what I needed.

You can also run Lynx in scripts and pass it arguments. This is helpful for Web screen scraping activities and automated data capturing tasks.

Search around the Web and you’ll find a multitude of other browsers. Honorable mentions include Opera, Konqueror, and Seamonkey.

Give them a whirl and add your likes/gripes in the comments.

Related links

Firefox
Google Chrome
Lynx
Evaluating Mozilla 1.0 Candidate 1
Wikipedia’s list of Linux browsers

Comments

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