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ELinks is a program for browsing the web in text mode. The goal of the project has from the beginning been to provide a feature-rich text mode browser with an open patches/features inclusion policy and active development. One of these features is that ELinks includes Links-Lua which adds scripting capabilities to ELinks.

ELinks was forked from the original Links browser written by Mikulas Patocka. It is in no way associated with Twibright Labs and their Links version. Please read to the history page for more information about the various Links versions and forks.

Over the years many people have contributed to making ELinks what it is today.


Below the most noteworthy features are listed.

More about features and future goals …

Supported platforms

ELinks is written in near-ANSI C and is quite portable. It has been reported to run at least on the following platforms:

Platform Tested version More information
AIX ? ?
BeOS ? ?
CygWin ELinks 0.9.0-2 ITP post to cygwin-apps.
Digital Unix ? ?
FreeBSD ELinks 0.11.2 FreeBSD Ports. May crash with bug 919; fixed in ELinks 0.11.3.
GNU Hurd ELinks 0.13.GIT 2007-12-13 select() spuriously indicates an exception in a pipe, making ELinks stop reading from the terminal; patch ELinks to work around that. There is no /dev/random, so configure without GnuTLS or set up another entropy source. Bug 1013 may hinder error handling.
HPUX ELinks 0.4pre3 Link error.
IRIX ELinks 0.9.3 Problems upgrading to 0.10.
Linux alpha ELinks 0.11.3 Worked without problems.
Linux x86 ELinks 0.11.4rc1 Bug 1011 in Bash 2.05a and later.
Mac OS X ELinks 0.11.5 Darwin Ports.
Microsoft Windows ? ?
NetBSD ELinks 0.11.3 The NetBSD Packages Collection: www/elinks.
OpenBSD ELinks 0.11.5 Included in OpenBSD 4.5.
OS/2 ELinks 0.4pre6 Binary packages at OS/2 Site.
RISC OS ELinks It seems the Unix Porting Project has dropped ELinks.
Solaris ELinks 0.11.3 “SunOS 5.8 Generic_117350-46 sun4u sparc SUNW,Sun-Fire-480R”: Use GNU Make 0.78 or later. Apply the patch from bug 950. Ignore “gcc: unrecognized option `-rdynamic'”.

Current versions of ELinks do several things that ANSI C does not really allow:

Why text mode ?

It may seem strange that anyone would develop a text mode browser in a world where the power of computers keep improving and most people favor graphical applications. Most graphical browsers are slow (especially to start up) and eat a lot of memory. For some people, this is unacceptable, so avoiding these browsers to harvest your critical system resources when doing basic tasks on the net is one thing. Text browsers are also invaluable on servers without a graphical environment and over SSH (or similiar) text-only sessions. Besides, text mode browsing is fun and highly addictive when you get the hang of it. ;-)

And if you think that the current web is unbrowsable without images, you are wrong. 75% of the actual sites you visit are perfectly browsable (especially with the tables support) and another 15% are not exactly pleasant but still well-viewable. And even in text browser you can easily view individual images through some external viewer (like zgv on Linux console). Some people are actually using ELinks as their exclusive browser. However, you obviously do not need to be so extreme to still have many good practical uses for a text browser.

Other ways of browsing the web in text mode

ELinks is not the only text browser around. There are the various other Links flavors. You might be also familiar with lynx, one of the oldest text browsers, available on many systems. You will find that a lot of the navigation keys in ELinks are similar to lynx'. There also is w3m, which has some very interesting features, such as inline images or novel control style.

Last Modified: 13-Jun-2009 12:23:58 EEST. Validate: CSS XHTML.