If there was one software category where Linux has the most abundance, it’s the great selection of web browsers available. In this article, I’ll share what I believe to be the best web browsers available for the Linux desktop.
Firefox – First up is Firefox. I’ve been a Firefox user off and on for many years. What drew me to Firefox initially was the fact that it just worked. Using Firefox, I can extend its functionality by installing extensions. I happen to be a fan of Google Translator for Firefox and Tab Mix Plus.
I also love some of the integrated features provided by Firefox. Pocket is one such feature, as it allows its users to save articles or videos to be enjoyed later on. Firefox also provides a great built-in video chat client using modern web standards. It’s called Firefox Hello and it works on any modern operating system, even without a Firefox Hello account.
Midori – If you’re looking for a browser that balances between attractive and lightweight, then Midori might be a good fit for you. You’ll find Midori gives you modern tabbed browsing that also works well on older PCs with less resources.
I enjoy using Midori myself. It does a great job with HTML5 video while never missing a beat. Midori offers outstanding RSS detection and provides decent spell checking out of the box as well. If you want a good Firefox alternative for browsing without the extra “stuff,” Midori would be a good option for you.
QupZilla – Without any debate, I’ve found QupZilla to be the lightest weight browser I’ve ever used. It may not be pretty, but what it lacks in appearance it makes up for in usability. QupZilla also provides an RSS reader and AdBlocker right out of the box. Because ads on low resource machines can be a show-stopper, being able to avoid them without extra work is a nice bonus.
Another feature I like about QupZilla is that it does a good job mimicking your desktop theme. Some browsers don’t do well here, so this was a nice surprise. Bundle all that with a unified window for your bookmarks, history and RSS, and you can see why I think QupZilla is a solid browser choice.
Opera – In the past I’ve heard people explain that Opera is neat, but it’s not doing anything any differently than other browsers. I disagree. Despite being a proprietary browser, it does offer some great functionality not found elsewhere. Take the Opera Turbo feature for example. Using heavy compression, Opera allows users on the slowest of Internet connections to enjoy the Web like the rest of us.
Konqueror – The first reason I’m recommending Konqueror is because it also doubles as a local file manager. Konqueror runs fine on any GTK-based desktop environment, but it shines best on KDE. The second reason I’m recommending it is that the built in profiles for web, files and other layouts are pretty neat.
By default, you’re presented with the web browsing profile. There are other profiles provided as well, but you’re encouraged to create your own. Need a profile for work? Create one that opens a combination of an assigned directory along with specific tabs open. Personally, I’m fond of the Midnight Commander profile. A great side-by-side directory view is provided upon the profile’s selection.
Chromium – There is something to be said about Chromium. This open source web browser is the core code used in Google Chrome. By default, it’s free of Flash and offers a pretty solid experience. It also allows its users to install and run Chrome friendly extensions. Chromium can be compiled to ARM architecture based systems and can also be used with Netflix on Arch and Ubuntu.
Pale Moon – If you prefer things with Firefox the way they used to be, then Pale Moon might be a good match for you. Pale Moon is considered a fork from the Firefox project and some of the user experience will differ from modern Firefox. At its core, you might think of Pale Moon as a Firefox browser without the extra stuff. No WebRTC client, Pocket access or other related features. This is a browser designed for browsing only.
Now Pale Moon does offer a syncing service like Firefox, along with a profile management tool. But overall, this is a stripped down browser for casual users.
Lynx – Have you ever found yourself needing to browse the web from a command line? As rare as the need may be, having the option can be priceless. I’ve had occasions in the past where I’ve used Lynx to browse the web for something while troubleshooting an error with X. Another added benefit to using Lynx is it gives you the ability to see websites in a similar manner to how Google sees them. This can be very helpful indeed.
Browsers not listed
Now some of you may have found that not every single browser that runs on Linux is listed here. Chrome, for example, wasn’t listed here. The reason for this is that I only recommend browsers for Linux that I completely trust and feel good about suggesting to my readers. Chrome, among a few others, are not among those.
That said, what say you? Do you have a favorite browser than you think needs to be added to the list? Perhaps you disagree with one of the browser choices I’ve listed above? Don’t be shy, hit the comments and share your thoughts with me. Chances are, I may even gain some new insight from your browser suggestions. I’m looking forward to what you come up with.
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