Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Centos 6/RHEL install Elinks Text Browser


Elinks is a popular text based browser for Linux which is easy to use and install. Its in many standard repos so just type

$sudo yum -y install elinks             to install it

$elinks                                 to run it

Or you can visit http://www.elinks.cz/ where they build it.

Its a multi collaborative effort and the goal of the project is to provide a feature-rich text mode browser with an open patches/features inclusion policy

It's an excellent little browser and you will find yourself using it regularly once you have tried it. It's main function is to work in a standard Linux console.

The first screen to render in the console on running Elinks is a url entry box. A simpler opening GUI would be difficult to conceive and it is immediately redolent of the old Google fascia only in Black and White. 

See it below, in  an Rxvt terminal emulator on the Desktop.




Elinks Text Web Browser in Rxvt terminal emulator

Often, you will know the url of a page of information you need, especially if you visit it regularly. You can just pop up a terminal window, type in elinks with the url and you are in business. Fast/touch typers will definitely like it.

It has a menu at the top similar to many of the day to day applications you may run on a normal desktop, but runs in text mode. Menu options are

File View Link Tools Setup Help 

with a number of sub menus beneath them.


Type minimallinux.blogspot.com into the url box and view the contents of this blog in text mode.




Elinks in Rxvt viewing minimallinux.blogspot.com

It is a breeze to negotiate the various options and renders pages accurately and quickly. It is much easier to use than the Lynx text browser which is also widely available, but slightly more complex.

If you are in a Linux console and need to look online for information, this is the ideal way to do it. So give it a try, install as above and run the program.

Run the program and type the url you require simultaneously and it will open up at the url, as below.So the command

#elinks http://www.hardcode.nl/archives_143/article_574-format-drive-using-fdisk-on-linux.htm           shows as below.




Elinks in a Linux console.

You can sign in to a Google account if you have one,just hit Esc for the menu, go to file and open a new tab, type in the url and up pops the sinisterly ubiquitous Google page. Arrow down to sign in and navigate to email address, which is highlighted in black, hit enter so it turns white and you can enter your email, repeat the procedure for the password.

You get a message about updating to chrome but nonetheless most of the site works in text mode. You can navigate around your account and make adjustments as necessary. I didn't, however, find out how to sign out of the Google account so if you do, feel free to post the details here.




Elinks in Rxvt downloading a Centos 6 iso

You can also use Elinks in the Desktop in a terminal emulator like rxvt which is often quicker, and handy for viewing text dominated information sites.

Being realistic, a text based browser is not going to replace or compete with a graphical web browser such as the ones you have become used to on a Desktop & many sites just aren't suited to them. They ARE harder to use and require considerable keyboard skills to get the most out of them, but unquestionably they are very useful in a console environment and you should install one as standard most of the time.

Elinks is a highly recommended text based Web Browser for the Linux console.

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