Text Web Browsers

People who are new to Unix-based systems tend to ask the question "Why on earth would I want a text-mode browser? I'm going to compile X and use Konqueror/Mozilla/Whatever!". Those who have been around systems for a while know that when (not if) you manage to mess up your graphical browser install and you need to look up some information on the web, a console based browser will save you. Also, there are quite a few people who prefer to use one of these browsers as their principle method of browsing; either to avoid the clutter and bandwidth which accompanies images or because they may use a text-to-speech synthesizer which can read the page to them (of use for instance to partially sighted or blind users). In this chapter you will find installation instructions for three console web browsers:


Introduction to Links

Links is a text and graphics mode WWW browser. It includes support for rendering tables and frames, features background downloads, can display colors and has many other features.



In the text mode, Links cannot be configured to use UTF-8 encoding for the terminal output. This limitation renders Links useless as a text-based browser in UTF-8 locales. See general discussion of this type of issue in the Needed Encoding Not a Valid Option section on the Locale Related Issues page.

In the graphical mode, Links displays text correctly even in UTF-8 locales, if all characters exist in the built-in font used by Links. Form submission in UTF-8 locales is handled correctly when running in X11-based (but not framebuffer-based) graphical mode.

Package Information

Links Dependencies


GPM-1.20.1, OpenSSL-0.9.8d, libpng-1.2.12, libjpeg-6b, LibTIFF-3.8.2, PCRE-6.7, SVGAlib, DirectFB, and X Window System

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/LinksBrowser

Installation of Links

Install Links by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr &&
make CFLAGS="-O2 -Wno-sign-compare -Wno-pointer-sign"

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
install -v -d -m755 /usr/share/doc/links-2.1pre23 &&
install -v -m644 doc/links_cal/* KEYS BRAILLE_HOWTO \

Command Explanations

CFLAGS="-O2 -Wno-sign-compare -Wno-pointer-sign": Disable printing of many warnings about mismatched signs in parameter passing and comparison operations during compilation.

--enable-graphics: Add this switch if you want to use Links in graphics mode. You will either need to install the X Window System or enable frame buffer support in your kernel and install GPM-1.20.1.

Configuring Links

Config Files


Configuration Information

Links stores its configuration in per-user files in the ~/.links directory. These files are created automatically when links is run for the first time.

For the correct display of non-ASCII characters, Links has to be configured through the menu (accessible by pressing the ESC key), as follows:

  • If running Links in the text mode, go to the “Setup > Character set” menu item and select the character set that matches your locale.

  • Optionally, go to the “Setup > Language” menu and select the user interface language.

  • Finally, select the “Setup > Save options” menu item.


Installed Program: links
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /usr/share/doc/links-2.1pre23

Short Descriptions


is a text and graphics mode WWW browser.

Last updated on 2007-02-14 17:40:25 -0600