Linux text-mode applications (Web browsers)

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I wrote this article to publish it as a series for another website recently but unfortunately the closure of it caused that I could not publish it. Now the first part is ready. This part focuses on text-mode web browsers with introducing them in details and their installation processes.


Many people and Linux users prefer to run Linux just in the console mode. It seems that nowadays console is insufficient for the daily tasks and the users have to run GUI to do their tasks such as surfing the internet, twitting, checking e-mail and so on. Surprisingly most of mentioned tasks could be done in the basic Linux machine which just runs on console mode. Many software applications are available for doing mentioned tasks and this article covers most of them which are necessary for doing daily tasks with simple user guides for each application about how to utilize it. This series of articles divided applications into different categories (Web browsers, Multimedia, etc.) and each category with its applications is introduced separately. This article focuses on web browser from “Linux console mode applications” series articles. In this article three different text-mode web browsers are introduced with their installation guide in Ubuntu Linux.

One of the common and basic needs of each computer user is, accessing to the internet for surfing the websites and doing other activities with the use of various applications and one of the most important of these applications is web browser. Different web browsers are written for the text-mode which give the ability to the user to surf the net in the text-mode without switching to GUI. Some of the famous and well known web browsers are introduced in this section.

Linux text-mode applications (Web browsers)


Basically, Lynx one of the oldest console mode web browser which is still used by many Linux users. Lynx has simple installation process and working with it, is fairly easy even for the beginners.

For installing Lynx in Ubuntu just you need to run the following command in your terminal.

$ sudo apt-get install lynx

The process of installing Lynx will be started and it will not take so much time. After installation compilation, you are able to run Lynx with typing “Lynx” in the terminal.


The other available web browser for console mode which partially supports HTML 4, complex pages that contain tables, frames. In comparison with Lynx, it can be said that Links is more update and has better support. Additionally, the new version of Links is available which is known as Links2. Links2 supports both graphical mode and text mode but it cannot handle the heavy websites that use java scripts, flash video and other cosmetic things even in GUI mode. The graphic version of Links2 is very lightweight and suitable for running it in the buffer mode when GUI mode is not installed completely. For installing both Links and Links2 just write the following command in console.

$ sudo apt-get install links

Finally, for running each just either type links or links2 and for running Links2 in GUI just add -g after the command like,

$ links2 -g


The last application of this section is W3m. Generally, W3m web browser supports table, SSL connections, multi languages, color and inline images and has more abilities than mentioned web browsers. Installation procedure of W3m is as easy as the other two web browser, you just need to copy the following line in terminal.

$ sudo apt-get install w3m

For running the application just type w3m [url] in terminal.

Since most of the text mode web browsers are utilizing the common keys, therefore one section is dedicated for the frequent and useful keys in these web browsers.

  • G pops up the address bar and you can write the address of your favorite website to navigate there.
  • Q it is used to quite from the application.
  • Home jumps to the first page of the website.
  • End jumps to the last page of the website if it has multi pages.
  • Left and Right arrow keys similar to Back and Forward buttons on GUI web browsers.