February 23, 2019

Links Provides Multicolumn Text Browsing

Another text-based browser

  • February 26, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

Sometimes you just need to have the information you want, without all of the frills and trappings. And what many people need, at times, is just the facts, ma'am.

This desire is what keeps text browsers going strong in this age of big graphical browsers. One such browser that has made its presence known on a variety of platforms is Links.

Links is, like its homonym Lynx, a text-only browser that provides just the textual information of a given Web page. Also like Lynx, Links is also available on several platforms, including Linux and FreeBSD.

Unlike Lynx, Links provides quite a few extras with its display--the most noticeable being the multicolumn screen. When Links displays BrowserWatch, it does not list the contents of the left column first, followed by the content of this column, as Lynx does. Text is shown on the Links screen with a fair approximation.

Besides tabular support, frames are supported in versions 0.90 and beyond. Color support is also included.

Links also has mouse support and when I tested it on the Linux platform, I found the mouse support to be stable and very useful. No more scrolling through all of the different links to get to the one I wanted.

Another nice addition were the drop-down menus, which allowed me to quickly figure out the keyboard shortcuts for this application. Users who prefer the mouse can use these to get their browsing done if need be.

Links has a small footprint, too--only about 450K on my Linux box. While I did not test Links on the other platforms, indications are that they are stable and fast on those other OSs. The one exception to this is the Windows version, as it is listed as unsupported and that any bugs you find are yours to fix.

Downloading Links is easy, as there are tarballs and binaries available at the Links site. Here's a quick hint: check the SITES file in the download directory for a list of sites that have Links available in packaged formats, like RPM and DEB.

For quick and easy information digestion, take Links out for a spin and see if it doesn't satisfy your craving.

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