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The Year In Review: LinuxPlanet's Picks for the Best and Worst of 2001 - page 5

2001: The Year That Was

  • December 30, 2001
  • By Michael Hall
2001 was a great year for browsers: Mozilla got better and better, Galeon exploded onto the scene, Konqueror solidified its presence, and Opera provided an outstanding commercial browser for Linux users. After years of the creaky Netscape 4.x series, 2001 became a year where it seemed as if real choice existed. And lets not forget the console-based browsers... saviors to anyone who ever killed an X configuration and friends to GUI resisters.
  • Opera
  • Lynx
  • links
  • Konqueror
  • Galeon

Favorite Browser: mph

Galeon takes the cake. It's fast, flexible, configurable, and capable. I came into the year wavering between (and resenting) Netscape 4.x and Mozilla (and hating the keybinding shear I faced every time Mozilla would go on an instability tear), I'm leaving it sold on Galeon.

The highlights of this project would have to be the outstanding bookmark management, a complete set of configuration options, and some good UI features like sensible availability of a switch for common configuration options (activation/deactivation of JavaScript, personal font/color settings, and image loading/animation) from a top-level menu.

It's married to GNOME in a way that will keep a lot of people from running it, which is a shame, but I recommend it all the same. During a few of my sojourns in KDE, I was always careful to bring Galeon along, even if it did involve a small hit in performance.

When I'm living in console-land, links is my pick: it handles CSS and frames cleanly, and with SVGATextMode set to a reasonable setting, provides a very readable page.

Favorite Browser: bkp

This has got to be Konqueror. Yes, it's simple, yes there aren't cool built-in features. But all I want to something that will open up a Web page and display it close to the way the designer intended.

Thus far, Konqueror represents this the best, because of (here it comes again) the anti-aliased fonts. I mean, this isn't rocket science, people.

dep replies: Oh yeah? Then why don't we have them in Mozilla and OpenOffice? And why doesn't XFree support the render extension across the board? I mean, I agree that anti-aliasing is the coolest thing since the exploitation of the alpha channel, but I think that enthusiasm for it may be limited to me and thee.
mph replies:In light of my favorite time waster (next page), this may seem an odd thing to say, but I just don't see the attraction to anti-aliasing. I've played around with it on a few machines, and while it looks nice, I can't say that I much notice or care when I don't have it... and I certainly don't feel waves of relief when I encounter a machine that does. At some point, I guess with the widespread introduction of TrueType support and the massive amount of effort that went into documenting how to torment X into pleasant font display, font rendering became "good enough" for me without taking it to that extra step. That said, it never quite works right for me, and this may all be sour grapes.

Favorite Browser: dep

Again, I have two: Opera and Lynx. And again, my endorsement of neither is absolute.

Opera is a nifty and fast browser, and if you send the Opera people some money the little advertisements disappear. However . . .

If you've kept Opera up for a day or two and browsed all over the place, it gets slow. Not slow in terms of loading pages, which is after all a function of your connection, but sluggish in weird ways. As I write this, my Opera 5 (registered) has been open for about 16 hours, and I've done a lot of work in it. If I pass the mouse over the icons at its top, the icons are highlighted, like falling dominoes, long after the mouse pointer has gone on to other things. I admit that this is on a low-end machine, an Athlon 1.2-gig with 768 megs of memory and a G-400 vid card with a paltry 32 megs. But still.

Opera is pretty if you get the dynamic version and are using KDE. If you get the static version and are using the current KDE3 code, you'll instantly discover that the static version was not compiled with typeface anti-aliasing enabled, which looks awful. And to make things worse, the recently released Opera 6 technology preview does not accept Opera 5 registrations.

This would be enough to drive me to the very good Konqueror but for an incident just last night. I was setting up a Paypal account -- but when I hit the "submit" button (in Konqueror), it blew up. In Opera, it didn't.

For now Opera is the place to be, but as with so much else, the future is uncertain.

Then there is Lynx. I would hate it but for the number of times it has saved me over the years. It's not pretty, though it is surprisingly intuitive. It is purely text-mode. When you have broken X, as I seem frequently to do, it is the path to information, to downloads, to everything except pictures that a browser can provide. Not so much a matter of taste as need, it is simply essential.

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