Comparison of lightweight web browsers

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A lightweight web browser is a web browser that sacrifices some of the features of a mainstream web browser in order to reduce the consumption of system resources, and especially to minimize the memory footprint.[1][2][3]

The tables below compare 15 lightweight web browsers. Several of them use a common layout engine, but each has a unique combination of features and a potential niche. The minimal user interface in surf, for example, does not have tabs,[4] whereas xombrero can be driven with vi-like keyboard commands.[5]

Four of the browsers compared—Lynx, w3m, Links, and ELinks—are designed for text mode, and can function in a terminal emulator. Links 2 has both a text-based user interface and a graphical user interface. w3m is, in addition to being a web browser, also a terminal pager.[6]

Overview[edit]

Browser Developers Development status Engine Programming languages Software license Latest stable release
Arora Benjamin C. Meyer et al.[7] Unmaintained QtWebKit[8] C++ GPL 0.11.0[9] (27 September 2010; 4 years ago (2010-09-27)) [±]
Dillo Jorge Arellano Cid et al. Active Dillo C, C++ GPLv3 3.0.4.1[10] (24 December 2014; 0 days ago (2014-12-24)) [±]
ELinks Petr Baudiš, Jonas Fonseca, et al. Unmaintained Links C, C++ GPLv2 0.11.7[11] (22 August 2009; 5 years ago (2009-08-22)) [±]
K-Meleon Christophe Thibault et al. Active Gecko C++ GPL 74.0 (September 27, 2014; 2 months ago (2014-09-27)[12]) [±]
Links Mikuláš Patočka, Twibright Labs, et al. Active Links C GPLv2+ 2.8[13] (22 September 2013; 14 months ago (2013-09-22)) [±]
Lynx Lou Montulli, Thomas Dickey, et al. Active libwww derivative C (ISO C) GPLv2 2.8.8[14] (9 March 2014; 9 months ago (2014-03-09)) [±]
Midori Christian Dywan et al. Active WebKitGTK+ Vala, C LGPL v2.1+ 0.5.9[15][16][17] (10 November 2014; 44 days ago (2014-11-10)) [±]
NetSurf John-Mark Bell, Michael Drake, et al.[18] Active NetSurf C (ANSI C) GPLv2 3.2[19] (30 August 2014; 3 months ago (2014-08-30)) [±]
QtWeb LogicWare; LSoft Technologies[20] Active QtWebKit C++ GPL 3.8.5[21] (9 September 2013; 15 months ago (2013-09-09)) [±]
QupZilla David Rosca Active QtWebKit C++ GPLv3 1.8.5[22] (12 December 2014; 12 days ago (2014-12-12)) [±]
rekonq Andrea Diamantini et al. Active QtWebKit[8] C++ GPLv3 2.4.2[23][24] (12 January 2014; 11 months ago (2014-01-12)) [±]
surf Christoph Lohmann et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C MIT License 0.6[25] (10 February 2013; 22 months ago (2013-02-10)) [±]
w3m Akinori Ito et al. Unmaintained w3m C MIT License 0.5.3[26] (15 January 2011; 3 years ago (2011-01-15)) [±]
WebPositive Andrea Anzani, Ryan Leavengood, et al. Active HaikuWebkit C++ MIT License 1.1-alpha[citation needed] (15 November 2013; 13 months ago (2013-11-15)) [±]
xombrero Marco Peerboom et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C, JavaScript ISC license 1.6.3[27] (11 July 2013; 17 months ago (2013-07-11)) [±]

Operating system support[edit]

Browser BSD Haiku Linux OpenIndiana OS X OS/2 QNX RISC OS Windows
Arora Yes Yes Yes Yes[28] Yes Yes No No Yes
Dillo Yes No Yes Yes[29] Yes No No Yes[29] Cygwin[29][30]
ELinks Yes[31] ? Yes[31] Yes[31] Yes[31] Yes[31] No[31] Dropped[31] ?
K-Meleon No No No No No No No No Yes
Links Unofficial No Yes ? Unofficial Yes No No Yes
Lynx Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[32][33] Yes
Midori Yes No Yes Unofficial[i] No No No No Yes
NetSurf Yes[34] Yes[ii] Yes[34] Yes[34] Yes[34] No ? Yes[36] No
QtWeb Yes Unofficial[37] Yes Unofficial[iii] Yes No No No Yes
QupZilla Yes[38] Yes[38] Yes[38] No Yes[38] Yes[38] No No Yes[38]
rekonq Yes No Yes Unofficial[iii] No No No No Inactive[iv]
surf Yes No Yes ? ? ? ? No Yes
w3m Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Inactive No No Cygwin
WebPositive No Yes No No No No No No No
xombrero Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes
Notes
  1. ^ Must be built from source code with a Vala compiler.[28]
  2. ^ A binary for NetSurf v2.0 for Haiku is available. For v2.1 and higher, one must build it from source.[35]
  3. ^ a b Must be built from source code; requires a compatible version of Qt.
  4. ^ rekonq v1.1 for Windows was published in September 2012. As of June 2014, it is the only published version for Windows.[39]

Features[edit]

Test scores reflect the version of the browser engine in use. Generally, a lower score indicates an older version of the browser engine.

Image formats Advanced Test scores Plug-in APIs
Browser GIF, JPEG, PNG WebP JavaScript Frames Acid3 HTML5test Netscape Pepper
Arora Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 359/550[40] No[ii] No
Dillo Yes No No Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
ELinks No No Partial[iv] Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
K-Meleon Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 431/555[42] Partial[43] No
Links Yes[v] No Partial Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
Lynx No No No Partial N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
Midori Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100 380/555[45] Yes Yes
NetSurf Yes[46] Yes No Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No[47] No
QtWeb Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i][vii] 234/550[48] No[ii] No
QupZilla Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/550[49] Partial No
rekonq Yes No Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/555[50] No[ii] Partial[51]
surf Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100[i] 385/500[52] Yes ?
w3m Yes[53] No Partial Yes N/A[iii] N/A[iii] No No
WebPositive Yes No Yes Yes 96/100[i] 253/500[54] No No
xombrero Yes Yes[vi] Yes Yes 100/100 385/500[55] Yes ?
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Some tests take too much time to complete.
  2. ^ a b c NPAPI is ported to QtWebKit, but is not implemented in this browser.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The test requires JavaScript, which is not sufficiently supported by this browser.
  4. ^ ELinks implements Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine.[41]
  5. ^ Only Links 2 supports graphics.
  6. ^ a b c WebP is supported via the WebKitGTK+ browser engine.[44]
  7. ^ The final state does not match the reference rendering.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Arora, Himanshu (6 November 2013). "5 lesser-known browsers: Free, lightweight and low-maintenance". Computerworld. International Data Group. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Klimkiewicz, Kamil (18 January 2003). "Lightweight Web Browsers". Freecode. Dice Holdings. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Arimbra, Krishnan (16 July 2013). "Memory usage of the browsers – Lightest browser". Geekiest.Net. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "surf". Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Peereboom, Marco; Hill, David; et al. (1 March 2012 onward). "xombrero wiki § Quick-Start Tutorial". Conformal Systems. Retrieved 30 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Ito, Akinori. "w3m". w3m.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Meyer, Benjamin (2 October 2009). "Arora 0.10.0!". Arora Development. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Poulain, Benjamin; et al. (10 May 2010). "Applications Using QtWebKit". Qt Wiki. Qt Project Hosting. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Meyer, Benjamin (27 September 2010). "Arora 0.11.0!". Arora Development. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Arellano Cid, Jorge (2014). "ChangeLog". Dillo.org. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "ELinks - Full-Featured Text WWW Browser". elinks.or.cz. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "News". kmeleon.sourceforge.net. September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ "ChangeLog". links.twibright.com. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Dickey, Thomas E. (14 February 2014). "Stable release". lynx.isc.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Timeline". Midori: Webkit Web browser. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Midori 0.5.9 'Ballet'". Midori: Webkit Web browser. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
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  18. ^ "The NetSurf Developers". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "News". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "About QtWeb". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Qt Web Browser". QtWeb.NET. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  22. ^ "QupZilla Changelog". GitHub. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "rekonq: Files". SourceForge. 12 January 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
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  25. ^ "Index of /surf/". suckless.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  26. ^ "w3m: Files". SourceForge. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  27. ^ "xombrero: Files". SourceForge. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  28. ^ a b "Spec Files Extra Repository". OpenIndiana Wiki. 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  29. ^ a b c "Dillo Web Browser Compatibility". Dillo.org. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  30. ^ Vibber, Kelson (28 April 2005). "Installing Dillo on Cygwin". Hyperborea. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "Nettle". nettle.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  32. ^ "New Telnet Client and Web Browser for RISC OS". My RISC OS. 2 September 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c d "GTK NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "Haiku and BeOS NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  35. ^ "RISC OS NetSurf Downloads". netsurf-browser.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  36. ^ "QtWeb - Web Browser". Haikuware. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  37. ^ a b c d e f "Qupzilla - Lightweight multiplatform browser: Download". Qupzilla.com. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  38. ^ Papp, Laszlo (24 September 2012). "Randa: Rekonq installer for Windows". KDE (Laszlo Papp's blog). Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  39. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.21 (KHTML, like Gecko) Arora/0.11.0 Safari/537.21". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  40. ^ Inge Bolso, Erik (8 March 2005). "2005 Text Mode Browser Roundup". Linux Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  41. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20140105 Firefox/24.0 K-Meleon/74.0". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  42. ^ "ThirdPartyPlugins". kmeleonbrowser.org. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  43. ^ Jáquez, Víctor (31 December 2013). "Boosting WebKitGTK+ compilation for armhf with icecream". Herostratus’ legacy. Igalia. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
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  45. ^ Auza, Jun (27 June 2009). "5 Free and Open Source Web Browsers That You May Have Never Heard Of". TechSource. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  46. ^ "0001896: NPAPI plugin support". NetSurf Bug Report System. 22 October 2010 onward. Retrieved 14 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  47. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux; en-GB) AppleWebKit/534.34 (KHTML, like Gecko) QtWeb Internet Browser/3.8.5 http://www.QtWeb.net". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  48. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.21 (KHTML, like Gecko) QupZilla/1.6.0 Safari/537.21". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  49. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.21 (KHTML, like Gecko) rekonq/2.4.2 Safari/537.21". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  50. ^ Howell, Dean (22 May 2013). "ReKonq Gaining Chrome Extension Support, Still Sponsored By Blue Systems". The Powerbase. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  51. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Unix; en-US) AppleWebKit/537.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/24.0.1295.0 Safari/537.15 Surf/0.6". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  52. ^ Hoffman, Chris (23 January 2012). "How to Browse From the Linux Terminal With W3M". How-To Geek. How-To Geek, LLC. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  53. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; U; Haiku x86; en-US) AppleWebKit/536.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Haiku/R1 WebPositive/1.1 Safari/536.10". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  54. ^ "HTML5test results for: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/538.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/538.15 Version/6.0". HTML5test.com. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 

Further reading[edit]