Lynx (web browser)

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Lynx is a text-only Web browser for use on cursor-addressable character cell terminals. It is released as Free software under the GNU General Public License. Supported protocols are Gopher, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, WAIS, and NNTP.



Browsing in Lynx consists of highlighting the chosen link using cursor keys, or having all links on a page numbered and entering the chosen link's number. Current versions support SSL and many HTML features. Tables are linearized (scrunched together one cell after another without tabular structure), while frames are identified by name and can be explored as if they were separate pages. Lynx cannot inherently display various types of non-text content on the web, such as images and video, but it can launch external programs to handle it, such as an image viewer or a video player.

Because of its text-to-speech–friendly interface, Lynx was once popular with visually impaired users, but better screen readers have reduced the appeal of this application. Lynx is also used to check for usability of websites in older browsers. It is still included in a number of Unix products and Linux distributions, and is particularly useful for reading documentation or downloading files when only a text-based environment is available. It is also useful for accessing websites from a remotely connected system in which no graphical display is available. Despite its text-only nature and age, it can still be used to effectively browse much of the modern web, including performing interactive tasks such as editing Wikipedia. The speed benefits of text-only browsing are most apparent when using low bandwidth internet connections, or older computer hardware that may be slow to render image-heavy content.


Because Lynx does not support graphics, web bugs that track user information are not sent, and emails can be read without the invasion of privacy of HTML enabled web browsers.

Lynx does support HTTP cookies, which can be used to track user information. However, cookie support can be disabled.

Development history

Lynx was a product of the Distributed Computing Group within Academic Computing Services of the University of Kansas, and was initially developed in 1992 by a team of students at the university (Lou Montulli, Michael Grobe and Charles Rezac) as a hypertext browser used solely to distribute campus information as part of a Campus-Wide Information Server. In 1993 Montulli added an Internet interface and released a new version (2.0) of the browser.[1][2]

Garrett Blythe created DosLynx and later joined the Lynx effort as well. Foteos Macrides ported much of Lynx to VMS and maintained it for a time. In 1995, Lynx was released under the GNU General Public License, and is now maintained by a group of volunteers led by Thomas Dickey.


Lynx was originally designed for Unix and VMS and is a popular console browser on Linux. Versions are also available for DOS, recent versions run on all Microsoft Windows releases, and Mac OS X.[3][4] There was also an early port to "Classic" Macintosh version called MacLynx "for System 7 and later".[5] Ports to BeOS, MINIX, QNX, AmigaOS and OS/2 are also available.

Alternatives to Lynx include Links (with variants Links2 and ELinks) and w3m.

See also



External links

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