Web Browsers

Here are alternative browsers that you may find useful or interesting. This is not a comprehensive list of Linux web browsers, just a few that I liked.


Arora is a Webkit based browser written with the Qt UI framework.  It’s surprisingly fast and pretty full featured. Arora has many of the features we expect in a modern browser, such as Flash blocking, ad blocking, private browsing mode, a bookmark manager, a history manager, privacy controls and even the Webkit inspector. Arora also runs on FreeBSD, Mac OS X, Windows, and Haiku.


Google’s Chrome browser and its open source brother Chromium are quickly becoming a popular replacement for Firefox on Linux systems. Chromium is included in the Ubuntu repositories for Lucid and Google has released beta versions of Chrome that run on Ubuntu and other Linux distros. Chromium is pretty stable and works well for day-to-day browsing.  Chromium seems much speedier than Firefox, especially when dealing with javascript intensive web applications such as GMail and Facebook. Chromium includes support for a variety of extensions and well as the Webkit developer tools.  These days, Chrome and Chromium are giving Firefox a run for its money on Linux!


Conkeror is an Emacs inspired Mozilla based browser.  It features the same Gecko layout engine as Firefox, but there is no GUI, just Emacs style commands for navigating, searching, etc. If your fingers are programmed for Emacs, you might feel right at home in Conkeror.  We doubt this browser will be a big hit with the average Joe, but Emacs fans will surely enjoy Conkeror.


Elinks is atext based browser similar to the classic Lynx browser. It launches inside a Terminal window and presents you only the text of websites, no images, javascript, or Flash. This can be rather useful for website developers to test their sites, and can be useful for reading information on sites that are full of annoying javascript and Flash ads.


Epiphany is the official web browser of the GNOME desktop. It is a very easy to use Webkit based browser with a simplistic user interface. Epiphany is very slim on features and options, the standard installation offers no extensions, no advanced developer tools and no ad or Flash blocking. Installing the packages epiphany-extensions and epiphany-extensions-more will give you some useful extensions such as ad blocking and greasemonkey scripts (although this also made Epiphany very unstable). What Epiphany does offer is simplicity and speed. If you’re looking for a speedy no-frills Webkit based browser for GNOME, this is it.


Not really an alternative desktop browser, but interesting and useful none the less,  Fennec is the mobile version of Firefox that is used on mobile platforms like Nokia’s N900. Fennec is included in the Ubuntu Lucid repositories and is quite useful for testing out your sites in Mozilla’s mobile browser without spending money on all the latest mobile phones. This is a must have for web developers.


Based on Firefox, Flock is a browser that focuses on close integration of different social media services such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Flock has been around for several years but has never picked up substantial market share. While the integration of these social networks is nice, there is a lot of competition from the plethora of other tools for social networking. With new features like the Ubuntu MeMenu, the features of Flock seem even less compelling. That said, Flock is a very nice browser and runs quite well on Ubuntu (although a little manual installation is necessary).


Links is a text based browser that ads basic image support. It’s kind of like using the web in the Mosaic days. We’re not quite sure when Links would be useful, but if you’re looking for a text-based browser that supports images, Links is for you.


Midori is a GTK browser based on Webkit (more specifically WebkitGTK+). It tracks the latests versions of WebkitGTK+ very closely, so you always have a fresh version of Webkit. Midori is very lightweight and fast, but still has a lot of features including extensions like ad blocking and user scripts. We find Midori useful for sites like Facebook which tend to slow down Firefox.


The only non-free browser in our lineup is Opera. This is one of the most controversial browsers available for Linux. Many people think it’s the best browser on any platform, while many would never install a browser that isn’t open source. Opera is a very mature and full featured browser, if you like Opera on Windows or Mac, then go ahead and use it on Ubuntu too.


When Mozilla abandoned the old Netscape Navigator code base and launched Firefox, many people missed the mail, news and composer features of the old suite. For those who miss the old Netscape suite of apps, you can install SeaMonkey. The browser has been kept fairly up-to-date with the latest Gecko rendering engines but it’s starting to look pretty dated (especially with the classic Netscape theme installed). There are better and more modern alternatives to most of the SeaMonkey suite, so we suggest keeping this one around only for nostalgia.