July 16, 2008

12 Web Browsers for Linux - Review

The GUI browsers

Mozilla Firefox gained more and more popularity since its initial release in November 2004, and today is the browser of choice for the majority of Linux users. Although relatively new compared to other browsers which date for over 10 years, Firefox became a myth in the web browsers world, not only on Linux, but on Windows too. It uses the open-source Gecko rendering engine, it's well-known for being very secure, it manages passwords and cookies very well, it can be expanded by using various add-ons, it supports themes, and those are just a few of its features. The new release, 3.0, also brought several usability improvements, like a new location bar, which makes it easy and fast to find the address you are looking for. It's also highly configurable, and the options which are not available in the Preferences window can be set using the about:config command in the location bar. In my opinion, its only minus is that it takes a considerable amount of time to load, it occupies a lot of memory, and the interface is a little bit slow. Otherwise, probably the best browser available on the Linux platform.
Official website

Built using the Qt toolkit, Opera is closed-source, but it compensates introducing many features, like a BitTorrent and IRC clients, tabs for most of the actions available (like the transfer window), widgets, plenty configuration options, a cool default interface (the black one in Opera 9.50 and 9.51 really looks awesome if you ask me), system tray integration. And those are just some of the highlights. Opera probably offers the most usable graphical browser to date, and it's definitely a feature-complete browser.
Official website

Using the KHTML engine for displaying web pages, Konqueror is the well-known browser (and not only) for KDE. Although not as powerful at displaying pages as Firefox, Konqueror uses less resources, it has very good KDE integration, allows previewing of audio, video and image files, it integrates well with KGet, a powerful download manager, it supports plugins, it offers spell-checking, and it's highly configurable. For KDE users, Konqueror should be the right choice.
Official website

Epiphany Browser
Epiphany is the default web browser in GNOME, built in GTK and using the Gecko layout engine. Epiphany has a simple and clean interface, it doesn't look bloated, and it can take advantage of plugins. Some say it uses less resources than Firefox, although I wouldn't bet on it, the difference to me doesn't look significant. Nevertheless, Epiphany is a good alternative to Firefox, especially that it integrates very well with the GNOME environment.
Official website

The first time I bumped into Dillo was when I tested a version of Damn Small Linux from the 3.x series. I remember I didn't like it at the beginning because it just didn't look to provide the features I needed. But since it's so small, Dillo is actually a great little graphical browser which is worth a try.
Official website

Yet another GTK application, Galeon is pretty powerful and includes all the important features you would expect from a web browser.
Official website

An interesting browser, Kazehakase can use the Gecko engine, it supports mouse gestures, it allows three different levels for interface, Beginner, Medium and Expert (called UI Levels, depending on which one is selected the interface offers less or more options and menus). Kazehakase also supports tabs, and allows you to modify its interface by editing the /etc/kazehakase/kz-ui-UI_LEVEL.xml files, where UI_LEVEL is either beginner, medium or expert.
Official website

The CLI browsers

lynx is one of the well-known and full-featured web browsers for command line.
Official website

Another CLI web browser, links has mouse support.
Official website

w3m is another popular and powerful browser for command line with support for tables and frames.
Official website

elinks is a fork of the links web browser, running only in text mode, with mouse support.
Official website

Similar to lynx, this web browser supports background downloads, and can be run in graphical mode using the links2 -g command.
Official website

Updated: Jul 16, 2008 (Created: Jul 16, 2008)


Anonymous said...

People using emacs should also have a look at the great conkeror browser (used to be a plugin for firefox) which uses many of the same keybindings as emacs and has an interface similar to it (e.g. a minibuffer). You can find it at:


Anonymous said...

Very useful, thanks.

As a language nit, you mean "fewer resources," not "less resources."

Anonymous said...

Actually "less resources" is not incorrect, as the resources are not necessarily discrete entities.

E.g. if the resources are, say, CPU time and memory then a browser which uses half the memory and 75% of the CPU time does *not* user *fewer* resources.

Anonymous said...

This is getting quite annoying, I have read roughly three Linux Browser reviews that haven't included the offshoot of Mozilla, which was once the most popular browser on Linux. Seamonkey deserves a spot among your reviews, I find that it performs better than Firefox, in many areas. http://www.seamonkey-project.org/.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that Opera is the fastest (performance and start-up time) and the most secure.

John Ortiz OrdoƱez said...

Thanks for this list. I prefer Mozilla Firefox web browser. Fast. Segure. Smart. http://SoftVaina.blogspot.com

Geoffray said...

It exist also Midori & skipstone

they are light web browser

tante said...

There are many things you reported on changing right now: Epiphany dropped Gecko in favor of Webkit and I think that Konqueror uses Webkit also instead of KHtml (I'm not 100% sure on the last one).

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference in writing a comprehensive review of a class of product including comparisons of functionality, speed and user friendliness and making what is affect a list of alternatives.

Your series of "reviews" is lacking in "reviews" and should be renamed something like "products available".

Of the browsers listed how many have you actually used?

Anonymous said...

I'll add NetSurf Web Browser, it's small, fast and simple.

Anonymous said...

This is just a random list of browser, not a review. ...and better lists are available via Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

FF3 uses and leaks significantly less memory than WebKit based browsers or Opera. (Right after starting it may use a bit more).

Anonymous said...

Galeon is a dead project. Development is halted and it has not been updated since 2006. Dillo is "frozen" (probably permanently) and hasn't been updated for a couple of year either.

Anonymous said...

Actually, even though development on dillo is halted -- it is used in a lot of distros, like mydsl and puppy linux. It's not meant to be a feature-rich browser like Firefox. It can run on a PDA for crying out loud! The current version is perfect for old computers -- it gives you an experience somewhere between a CLI browser and Firefox or Opera.

Anonymous said...

I think you forgot arora and konqueror4 based in webkit.
Epiphany is going to swap its engine from gecko to webkit.
Thx for writing about GNU/Linux

Anonymous said...

Opera forever!

Anonymous said...

Un salut de la un roman de 62! Felicitari pentru registrul deosebit de larg pe care il abordezi. Ai in fata un univers fascinant -- ma refer la lumea informatiei in general. Personal nu agreez "platformele", si cu atat mai mult pe cele in linie de comanda. Dupa aproape 37 de ani de lucru pe diverse domenii de activitate (si software!) lucrez la un proiect de viitor extrem de interesant. O scurta vizita la www.gheorghematei.blogspot.com si www.geocities.com/gmatei2000 da o idee despre .....
Succes in toate!
Gh.Matei ... Romania

Anonymous said...

First of all those people who uses abbreviation FF for Firefox, can you please tell me how can you call it FF since only the first F is Capital, it should be Fx not FF

secondly Firefox is not so GREAT as you think. recently my bookmarks disappeared without a trace, it means a lot to me, without my bookmarks my life got harder, it was not the only reason caused me to dump Firefox, at the moment I'm using Fx I've just installed linux and there's only Fx available

That's why I was searching for some other browser that is not related to Mozilla Corporation in any means,

I might use Opera if I'm unable to find a good open source browser not related to Mozilla or it's technology