Sep 062011

The browser market for GNU/Linux is dominated by Chrome and Firefox, with Opera on the sidelines with a smaller percentage of users. but as in all fields also in this one GNU/Linux offers many really interesting alternatives that you should evaluate.

I know that there are also text-based browsers, which i often use when I work on servers and I need a fast information or to verify a web-site, but today I’ll just go for the graphical ones used in desktop environment.

So let’s take a look at SRWare Iron, Icecat, Midori, Dillo and Rekonq.

SRWare Iron

Google’s Web browser Chrome thrilled with an extremely fast site rendering, a sleek design and innovative features. But it also gets critic from data protection specialists , for reasons such as creating a unique user ID or the submission of entries to Google to generate suggestions. SRWare Iron is based on the Chromium-source and offers the same features as Chrome – but without the critical points that the privacy concern.

SRWare Iron, or simply Iron, is a free and open-source web browser implementation of Chromium and does not provide extra privacy compared to Chromium, it does implement some additional features that distinguish it, such as built-in ad blocking.

So in summary,from the project chromium (which is also available as a browser on Linux) derive the Chrome browser, which is the revised version by Google, improved, but criticized for its privacy and Iron, an Open source version that retains the characteristics of Chromium for the privacy and adds a few add-ons.

You can also visit the link: Chrome VS Iron to see a comparison of the characteristics of the two browsers.

To download the latest version available for Linux, please visit this link that will take you to the Official download page.



GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. In addition, it features a few security features not found in the mainline Firefox browser and included as additional addon:

  1. Some sites refer to zero-size images on other hosts to keep track of cookies. When IceCat detects this mechanism it blocks cookies from the site hosting the zero-length image file. (It is possible to re-enable such a site by removing it from the blocked hosts list.)
  2. Other sites rewrite the host name in links redirecting the user to another site, mainly to “spy” on clicks. When this behavior is detected, IceCat shows a message alerting the user.

icecat it’s used as default in place of Firefox in the distributions: Trisquel, Debian and Gnewsense.
If you use Ubuntu you can add the official PPA.


Midori is a minimalist browser for Linux based on WebKit Gtk. Currently at version 0.4.0, is included in the Xfce desktop environment. He is also now part of the suite of the native software of Elementary OS and Bodhi Linux.

Midori integrates really well with Gnome and is known for the low consumption of memory.

Features midori

  • Full integration with GTK+ 2
  • Anonymous mode Navigation.
  • Fast rendering with WebKit
  • Tabs, windows and session management
  • Favorites managed with XBEL.
  • User scripts and user styles support.
  • Straightforward bookmark management.
  • Customizable and extensible interface with Lua and Vala.
  • Extensions such as Adblock, form history, mouse gestures or cookie management.


Dillo is a minimalistic web browser particularly intended for older or slower computers and embedded systems, it’s known for its speed and small footprint.

Reviews of Dillo have praised its extraordinary speed, but noted that this speed comes at a price.The most visible cost is Dillo’s inability to display complex web pages as they were meant to be. A 2008 review by commented that Dillo’s utilitarian user interface may be “intimidating” for new users as well, and pointed out the scarcity of plug-ins for Dillo. In all, Dillo’s global usage share is less than one hundredth of one percent.

Dillo is, however, the browser of choice in several space-conscious Linux distributions, such as Damn Small Linux and Feather Linux and the new release (the 3.0) should be available in these days, and probably will enhance the user interface and the rendering of pages.


I suppose that for KDE users this is not an unknown name.
Rekonq is a lightweight, QtWebKit-based web browser developed inside the free software project KDE. It is the default web browser in Kubuntu and Chakra GNU/Linux. Contrary to Konqueror, which has been KDE’s main web browser for years, rekonq aims to be a standalone and simple web browser.

Some features introduced in the latest release are:

– OpenSearch support (XML & JSON parsers) on urlbar suggestions
– Better cache management (WebKit Page Cache feature support)
– enhanced Private Browsing mode (needs KDE SC 4.6)
– new restore session notification system (you’ll hopefully never see it…)
– Various improvements in bookmarks management
– Optional tab list menu entry (more will come in tabs management)
– User Agent switch support
– Save zoom settings per host
– Reenable raster graphics system by default on linux (basically, this means better webkit performance)

Release 1.0 is developed in these days, and if you are interested i suggest to subscribe to the feed of  Andrea Diamantini‘s blog, the main developer of this project.

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  2 Responses to “5 Less know Browser for Linux”

  1. Midori is great for quickly checking sites when my old laptop is running low on available memory and I don’t want to hit swap. Have you checked out Kazehakase? It’s another light weight browser.

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