Some programs provide the ability to pass URIs to external programs. When stumbling upon a reference to a page you want to see, it is sometimes a kludge to copy and paste it into ELinks. This is where -remote can be a nifty solution.
When invoking ELinks with the -remote argument, it does not start a new instance, but instead connects to an already running ELinks, making it possible to control that ELinks instance. The -remote command line switch takes a command consisting of the action to invoke and any parameters to the action. Commands must begin with a nonempty sequence of ASCII alphabetic characters followed by optional whitespace and an opening parenthesis. They must end with a closing parenthesis optionally followed by whitespace. Here is an example for opening freshmeat.net in a new tab:
$ elinks -remote "openURL(http://freshmeat.net/, new-tab)"
When running this command in a terminal, you will see a small delay before ELinks returns. If no running instance was found, it will return with the error message:
ELinks: No remote session to connect to.
All URLs passed to the openURL() commands can be URL prefixes, so the command above could have simply used “openURL(fm, new-tab)”.
Remote control is implemented using the intercommunication socket created in ~/.elinks/, so the command has to be run on the same machine as the instance you want to control; or put differently: the two ELinkses need to share a file system that supports socket files, which rules out usage of -remote over NFS. This also implies that the ELinks instance you want to control should be started without passing -no-home nor -no-connect.
The built-in -remote support is to some degree compatible with the one Mozilla provides (http://www.mozilla.org/unix/remote.html), but with some homebrew extensions added and few unsupported features. All the supported actions are documented below.
Under some circumstances, use of the -remote control can cause ELinks to become unresponsive. This is cause by the current key press and mouse focus being redirected to new tabs or dialogs opened by the -remote action.