Linux Terminal Browsers

The Born Again Shell

Linux can be a complicated thing sometimes. The Linux terminal seems to be the source for many problems for the new user and even some of the old users. Many times when there are errors in Linux and people cannot get their x server back up and running, x server being the graphical front end to Linux, many people will simply re-install the whole operating system. The first thing I wish to make perfectly clear is that in most cases you should NEVER have to re-install Linux to fix a problem. That being said there are some reasons, but usually some quick Google searches can remedy the problem.

You may be asking yourself if you can’t log into your graphical interface how the hell are you suppose to fix your computer. Well terminal is very powerful in fact it is the backbone for Linux itself. If you have a second computer you can go online find the commands or learn the terminal commands to fix what is wrong. If you happen to be on your only computer, and it is the one messed up then you’ll have to resort to using a terminal command line web browser. Yes they exist, some basic some hard to grasp, none can handle pictures, but your wanting to fix things at this point so who needs pictures.

The main options for in text line web browsers are lynx, links, w3m, and Elinks. Each one handles the internet a bit differently. Each one has its pros and cons, but they do get you the information you need when your stuck with no GUI.

Lynx has very limited support for Java, which is rather unfortunate with how much Java is being used on web pages these days. Lynx is also very fast and requires very little bandwidth, therefore if you happen to be paying for a bandwidth usage Lynx does tend to save money. For one reason or another Lynx seems less vulnerable to malicious code and of course pop ups. Lynx like the others does not require the GUI, making its use in the terminal a perfect fit. As for how well it accesses web pages it seems to open any web page as long as some care was put into creating the web site, not only is this nice but also weeds out the web pages where information for fixing your computer may not want to be found.

Links usually comes installed automatically with terminal. The real problem with links as that it has errors wen working with metalinks. Although with ZGV. Links can pass images, although this usually requires graphics which if your using these to fix such mentioned graphics then those images won’t work. Links also supposedly supports mouse functions as well, although I have yet to test this out without the GUI running, it does work while the GUI is active. This functions is major considering that it is a textual based web browser. Elinks on the other hand is the upgraded version of Links, it is full featured and can support html 4.0. Elinks can render both frames and tables, and can be customized per user.

W3m is another very popular option in that is is vi compliant. W3m handles metalinks perfectly and with a little extra support can easily handle images through a graphical application. Although once again if your reading this to fix said graphical functions then those images will be likewise broken. W3m does handle redirects nicely though, it seems to think a bit about them then push them through just the same.

With any luck and some skill you can pull the information needed to recover your GUI. Once you are back in the GUI fixing the minor or even the major things seems to get a tad easier, especially with KDE or Gnome front ends. While the world moves away from the terminal and into GUI based operating systems, Linux will stay with its terminal. Can you imagine fixing another operating system’s GUI without terminal? If the operating system is good and only the GUI has broken, why replace the whole thing? Personally I don’t replace cars when a tire goes flat.

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