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NetRaider: Small, Fast Window to the Web

A scaled-down Konqueror

  • February 15, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

One of the positive things about surfing the Web in these enlightened times is the proliferation of choices one can use for a browser.

A new choice that has recently been introduced on the Linux platform is the NetRaider browser.

NetRaider is advertised by its development team as "small, stable, independent, and free," four words a lot of us like to hear. In this case, there is mostly truth in the advertising. For just a 0.0.2 release, this browser was a very impressive product.

NetRaider is to be used on the KDE2 desktop, one of the many graphic interfaces available on UNIX and Linux machines. There is a good reason for this, since much of the rendering functionality is borrowed from the embedded version of KDE2's own native browser Konqueror.

Because of this use of the Konqueror rendering engine, NetRaider's own renderings are very smooth, particularly in the font department, long the bane of any Linux user. I ran across a few rendering boo-boos here and there, but a reload of the page always fixed it.

Users will like NetRaider for its simplicity and its speed. And I am not kidding about the speed. I loaded up several pages, of varying degrees of complexity, and they all flashed up to the screen in seconds. I even loaded my favorite bugaboo site for browsers, MSNBC, and everything loaded very quickly.

There are not a lot of tools in NetRaider's single tool bar, just your basic navigation icons and one menu icon for adjusting the browser options. Everything was easy to understand and pretty easy to find.

NetRaider also comes with a cookie manager, which performs quite well. This was a pleasant surprise coming from a browser with such a small footprint. Compressed for installation, this browser comes in a just over 1 Mb, so it can easily fit on a floppy. The installed size is just 3 Mb.

The only thing about this browser was the claim that it was desktop independent. I tried running it in GNOME, and, well--it wasn't pretty.

Being a very new browser and all, there are some glitches, of course. Bookmarks do not get carried between sessions, nor do the cookie policies. But for an alpha release, NetRaider certainly performed very well.

I recommend Linux and UNIX users keep an eye on this one for future improvements.

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