Christopher B. Browne's Home Page

5. Web Browsers

Most of the time, I use Lynx, as it's small and versatile. Very useful for writing web robot code in conjunction with Perl scripts.

5.1. Free Netscape - MOZILLA

It appears that it takes a fair bit of system resources to actually compile Mozilla; reports indicate that one needs 96MB of memory and about 300MB of free disk space to do so.

5.2. Lynx

5.3. Lynx and SSL

SSL is the "Secure Sockets Layer" interface defined by Netscape Communications Corp. which provides a protocol individuals to communicate with web servers in a secure fashion (e.g. where transmissions are secure against unwanted readers reading sensitive information such as credit card numbers) over the not-very-secure Internet. (What happens once the folks at the other end have your credit card information is, of course, a separate security vulnerability.

Unfortunately, as the US government (in particular, their National Security Agency) considers encryption technology to be a dangerous form of "munitions," it is difficult for freely-available software to include encryption technology and not run afoul of US export legislation.

The SSL software is no exception. As a result, only people that are prepared to compile their own custom edition of Lynx are able to access SSL-secured web sites using Lynx. Fortunately, with the SSL patches that are accessible from FTP sites outside of the USA, that isn't very difficult...

5.4. Other Text-oriented Browsers and Web Robot tools

5.5. Experimental Browsers

Much as in the realm of Word Processing, the Linux world has had development work taking place on a variety of fronts in the creation of "new and better" web browsers.

Unfortunately, the "big, powerful" web browser is of similar complexity to a "big, powerful" word processor. People want to integrate together a wide set of somewhat disparate functionality that makes it difficult to actually have a functioning browser.

Netscape Communicator is the "system to beat," and has an unfortunate degree of bloat, as it combines web browser, web page editor, news and mail readers, as well as various other functions.

The free availability of sources to Netscape Communicator has resulted in tremendously increased interest in "Mozilla," with the result that people have lost interest in development efforts on many of the following web browser projects:

5.6. Other Browsers

Contact me at