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Current HOWTO: Linux WWW HOWTO

Linux WWW HOWTO : Setting up WWW client software Next Previous Contents

2. Setting up WWW client software

The following chapter is dedicated to the setting up web browsers. Please feel free to contact me, if your favorite web browser is not mentioned here. In this version of the document only a few of the browsers have there own section, but I tried to include all of them (all I could find) in the overview section. In the future those browsers that deserve there own section will have it.

The overview section is designed to help you decide which browser to use, and give you basic information on each browser. The detail section is designed to help you install, configure, and maintain the browser.

Personally, I prefer the Netscape; it is the only browser that keeps up with the latest things in HTML. For example, Frames, Java, Javascript, style sheets, secure transactions, and layers. Nothing is worse than trying to visit a web site and finding out that you can't view it because your browser doesn't support some new feature.

However I use Lynx when I don't feel like firing up the X-windows/Netscape monster.

2.1 Overview


Netscape Navigator is the only browser mentioned here, which is capable of advanced HTML features. Some of these features are frames, Java, Javascript, automatic update, and layers. It also has news and mail capability. But it is a resource hog; it takes up lots of CPU time and memory. It also sets up a separate cache for each user wasting disk space. Netscape is a commercial product. Companies have a 30 day trial period, but there is no limit for individuals. I would encourage you to register anyway to support Netscape in there efforts against Microsoft (and what is a measly $40US). My guess is if Microsoft wins, we will be forced to use MS Internet Explorer on a Windows platform :(


Lynx is the one of the smallest web browsers. It is the king of text based browsers. It's free and the source code is available under the GNU public license. It's text based, but it has many special features.


Kfm is part of the K Desktop Environment (KDE). KDE is a system that runs on top of X-windows. It gives you many features like drag an drop, sounds, a trashcan and a unified look and feel. Kfm is the K File Manager, but it is also a web browser. Don't be fooled by the name, for a young product it is very usable as a web browser. It already supports frames, tables, ftp downloads, looking into tar files, and more. The current version of Kfm is 1.39, and it's free. Kfm can be used without KDE, but you still need the librarys that come with KDE. For more information about KDE and Kfm visit the KDE website at http://www.kde.org.


Emacs is the one program that does everything. It is a word processor, news reader, mail reader, and web browser. It has a steep learning curve at first, because you have to learn what all the keys do. The X-windows version is easier to use, because most of the functions are on menus. Another drawback is that it's mostly text based. (It can display graphics if you are running it under X-windows). It is also free, and the source code is available under the GNU public license.

NCSA Mosaic

Mosaic is an X-windows browser developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. NCSA spent four years on the project and has now moved on to other things. The latest version is 2.6 which was released on July 7, 1995. Source code is available for non-commercial use. Spyglass Inc. has the commercial rights to Mosaic. Its a solid X-windows browser, but it lacks the new HTML features. For more info visit the NCSA Mosaic home page at http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/Mosaic/. The software can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Mosaic/Unix/binaries/2.6/Mosaic-linux-2.6.Z.


Arena was a X-windows concept browser for the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) when they were testing HTML 3.0. Hence it supports all the HTML 3.0 standards such as style sheets and tables. Development was taken over by Yggdrasil Computing, with the idea to turn it into a full fledge free X-windows browser. However development has stopped in Feb 1997 with version 0.3.11. Only part of the HTML 3.2 standard has been implemented. The source code is released under the GNU public licence. For more information see the web site at http://www.yggdrasil.com/Products/Arena/. It can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.yggdrasil.com/pub/dist/web/arena/.


Amaya is the X-windows concept browser for the W3C for HTML 3.2. Therefore it supports all the HTML 3.2 standards. It also supports some of the features of HTML 4.0. It supports tables, forms, client side image maps, put publishing, gifs, jpegs, and png graphics. It is both a browser and authoring tool. The latest public release is 1.0 beta. Version 1.1 beta is in internal testing and is due out soon. For more information visit the Amaya web site at http://www.w3.org/Amaya/. It can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.w3.org/pub/Amaya-LINUX-ELF-1.0b.tar.gz.

Red Baron

Red Baron is an X-windows browser made by Red Hat Software. It is bundled with The Official Red Hat Linux distribution. I could not find much information on it, but I know it supports frames, forms and SSL. If you use Red Baron, please help me fill in this section. For more information visit the Red Hat website at http://www.redhat.com


Chimera is a basic X-windows browser. It supports some of the features of HTML 3.2. The latest release is 2.0 alpha 6 released August 27, 1997. For more information visit the Chimera website at http://www.unlv.edu/chimera/. Chimera can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.cs.unlv.edu/pub/chimera-alpha/chimera-2.0a6.tar.gz.


Qweb is yet another basic X-windows browser. It supports tables, forms, and server site image maps. The latest version is 1.3. For more information visit the Qweb website at http://sunsite.auc.dk/qweb/ The source is available from http://sunsite.auc.dk/qweb/qweb-1.3.tar.gz The binaries are available in a Red Hat RPM from http://sunsite.auc.dk/qweb/qweb-1.3-1.i386.rpm


Grail is an X-windows browser developed by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). Grail is written entirely in Python, a interpreted object-oriented language. The latest version is 0.3 released on May 7, 1997. It supports forms, bookmarks, history, frames, tables, and many HTML 3.2 things.

Internet Explorer

There are rumors, that Microsoft is going to port the Internet Explorer to various Unix platforms - maybe Linux. If its true they are taking their time doing it. If you know something more reliable, please drop me an e-mail.

In my humble opinion most of the above software is unusable for serious web browsing. I'm not trying to discredit the authors, I know they worked very hard on these projects. Just think, if all of these people had worked together on one project, maybe we would have a free browser that would rival Netscape and Internet Explorer.

In my opinion out of all of the broswers, Netscape and Lynx are the best. The runners up would be Kfm, Emacs-W3 and Mosaic.

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