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[10] (9 April 2014; 6 months ago (2014-04-09)) [±]
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; 32 days ago (2014-09-27)[12]) [±]
Links Mikuláš Patočka, Twibright Labs, et al. Active Links C GPLv2+ 2.8[13] (22 September 2013; 12 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; 7 months ago (2014-03-09)) [±]
Midori Christian Dywan et al. Active WebKitGTK+ Vala, C LGPL v2.1+ 0.5.8[15][16][17] (3 April 2014; 6 months ago (2014-04-03)) [±]
NetSurf John-Mark Bell, Michael Drake, et al.[18] Active NetSurf C (ANSI C) GPLv2 3.2[19] (30 August 2014; 60 days ago (2014-08-30)) [±]
QtWeb LogicWare; LSoft Technologies[20] Active QtWebKit C++ GPL 3.8.5[21] (9 September 2013; 13 months ago (2013-09-09)) [±]
QupZilla David Rosca Active QtWebKit C++ GPLv3 1.8.3[22] (19 October 2014; 10 days ago (2014-10-19)) [±]
rekonq Andrea Diamantini et al. Active QtWebKit[8] C++ GPLv3 2.4.2[23][24] (12 January 2014; 9 months ago (2014-01-12)) [±]
surf Christoph Lohmann et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C MIT License 0.6[25] (10 February 2013; 20 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; 11 months ago (2013-11-15)) [±]
xombrero Marco Peerboom et al. Active WebKitGTK+ C, JavaScript ISC license 1.6.3[27] (11 July 2013; 15 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] Partial[i]
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[ii] No No No No Yes
NetSurf Yes[34] Yes[iii] Yes[34] Yes[34] Yes[34] No ? Yes[36] No
QtWeb Yes Unofficial[37] Yes Unofficial[iv] 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[iv] No No No No Inactive[v]
surf Yes No Yes ? ? ? ? No Yes
w3m Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Unofficial Inactive No No Partial[vi]
WebPositive No Yes No No No No No No No
xombrero Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes
Notes
  1. ^ Dillo on Windows requires Cygwin.[29][30]
  2. ^ Must be built from source code with a Vala compiler.[28]
  3. ^ A binary for NetSurf v2.0 for Haiku is available. For v2.1 and higher, one must build it from source.[35]
  4. ^ a b Must be built from source code; requires a compatible version of Qt.
  5. ^ rekonq v1.1 for Windows was published in September 2012. As of June 2014, it is the only published version for Windows.[39]
  6. ^ w3m on Windows requires Cygwin.

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] No 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. 
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  10. ^ Arellano Cid, Jorge (2014). "ChangeLog". Dillo.org. Retrieved 29 August 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 29 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Midori 0.5.8 'Unicorns and pixies'". Midori: Webkit Web browser. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Changelog". midori-browser.org. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  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. 19 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 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. 
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  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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  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]