# Lightweight browsers

I've stopped using Opera as my main browser when the development of Presto was terminated more than a year ago. It seems that there are not too many alternatives left, in particular for users of Linux: among the big five, only Firefox and Chromium run on the open-source operating system. The latter lacks functions important for me, and I thus grudgingly decided to get used to Firefox. Not without several extensions, of course. Besides those used by 99% of the 1% users using extensions at all, I use Pentadactyl and find it indispensable in everyday use (hey, try to squeeze more usages of 'use' into one sentence).

In any case, the fox has grown fat and gets even fatter with all those extensions. Wouldn't it be nice to find a lightweight alternative with an analogous, vi based UI but with more modest requirements concerning computing resources? It sure would.

Here's a list of the alternative browsers I have encountered so far. The list is certainly not complete — far from it. I've marked projects which I believe to be abandoned with a dagger. I've also added the engine the browser is using, the mode it is operating in primarily, and the Archlinux repository in which it is contained.

 arora† webkit mouse Extra conkeror gecko keyboard (emacs) AUR dillo independent mouse Community dwb webkit keyboard (vi) Community elinks independent keyboard Community jumanji† webkit keyboard (vi) AUR links independent keyboard Core luakit† webkit keyboard (vi) Community lynx independent keyboard Extra midori webkit mouse Community netsurf independent mouse Community rekonq webkit mouse Community surf webkit keyboard Community vimb webkit keyboard (vi) AUR vimprobable2 webkit keyboard (vi) AUR uzbl† webkit keyboard (vi) Community w3m independent keyboard Extra xombrero webkit keyboard (vi) AUR

Conkeror really stands out in this list since it is kind of the antithesis to the myriad of webkit browsers with a vi-like interface based on either qt or gt: it uses XULrunner and offers emacs keybindings. A must for all emacs aficionados!

All of the webkit-based browsers are able to connect to https://fancyssl.hboeck.de, as are lynx, links and w3m. Why is that remarkable? Well, neither Firefox nor Chrome can cope with the high security settings of this page, and I thus thought that dwb would make an excellent replacement for Opera which I still use in a virtual machine for onlinebanking. Alas, all webkit-based browsers in the Archlinux (and Debian Jessie) repositories are plagued by a bug which makes them segfault on certain transport-encrypted sites, such as, for example, https://ing-diba.de. I'm currently trying to zero in on the actual origin of this bug.

Update: Posativ pointed out that the support of advanced encryption standards in webkit-based browsers doesn't mean that they won't connect to a server insisting on the RC4 cipher. That's absolutely true, unfortunately, as demonstrated by a visit of this site. If you'd like to examine the server instead of the client, go here.

And since webkit-based browsers are currently plagued by a myriad of bugs in the libraries they depend on, I've decided to stick to the big five for the moment even in my spartan virtual machines running wmii as window manager. I've settled (rather arbitrarily) on Chromium for online banking and on Iceweasel for the VPN. The few ads I may encounter in the latter case are blocked by privoxy in medium setting. Chromium doesn't offer any obvious configuration concerning proxies and cipher suites, but respects the following command-line parameters which disables the use of RC4:

chromium --proxy-server=localhost:8118 --cipher-suite-blacklist=0x0001,0x0002,0x0004,0x0005,0x0017,0x0018,0xc002,0xc007,0xc00c,0xc011,0xc016,0xff80,0xff81,0xff82,0xff83