NetSurf – A Graphical Web Browser for Command Line (+CSS Support)
To be honest, Modern web pages ain’t look pretty in CLI web browsers. Up until yesterday, the most kick-ass web browsing experience I had in Console was w3m with image viewing enabled. I was under the impression that this was the best that CLI web browsers could do. However, all that changed when I stumbled upon NetSurf; a venerable independent web browser that has been around for nearly a decade and is available for many Platforms such as RISC OS, Amiga, BeOS, and UNIX-like systems (For both GTK and Framebuffer front-ends). Below is a screenshot of NetSurf FrameBuffer front-end in Debian on my Asus EeePC:
The best possible way to install NetSurf is compiling from source code. There are some binary packages for Debian, Ubuntu, Puppy Linux, Slackware, etc (check out here) but they are most likely spiked with GTK libraries which are of no interest here.
The real squalor in NetSurf compiling process is the drudgery of installing all its dependencies. There is no single resource that lists all the dependencies and libraries you need to install (Now I wish I had taken a note of all the things I installed). However don’t panic. If you take it step by step you are going to be fine.
- Head to this page and download all the libraries that are listed on the top of the website (exclude ones that are for RISC OS) and compile each of them as usual. For example, start with LibCSS and do the following:
tar –zxvf libcss-0.0.2-src.tar.gz
Do the same thing for all the other libraries. Some libraries may complain that you don’t have some binary libraries (like XCB and SDL) installed; which means you should install them first. When you have all the libraries compiled and installed you can move to next step which is compiling the NetSurf source code.
- Go here and grab a copy of NetSurf’s source code.
make TARGET=framebuffer install
If the compilation is successful then you should be able to run NetSurf now. Happy (without-X) web surfing and if you have any questions or ideas, feel free to leave a comment.