Fun with graphical Links browser

Software in Links -g

I love the Links text web browser and have been using it on FreeBSD, Linux and OS X shells, terminals and whatnot for years but I've never once felt the need to customise any builds because it Just Works® so gosh darn well. Checking out the variants (-v) for the Links port in MacPorts on a whim I noticed something interesting:

links has the variants:
   universal: Build for multiple architectures
   gcs: Grilled cheese sandwich headers
   x11: Include X11 interface

Aside from the one obviously fabricated option (universal), the thing that caught my eye was X11. Being a curses application (I think) it didn’t strike me as intuitively obvious how an X11 interface would work, but it piqued my interest and it was a Saturday night so anything goes!

Entering links (then cursing, entering rehash and entering links again, one downside to tcsh!) I got the bog standard curses links interface I was used to, but consulting the man page there is a flag for graphical mode:

Run Links in graphics mode. If not given, Links will run in text mode.   

Running in graphics mode means that Links will probe all compiled-in graphics devices and run on the first found. If none found, links  will not run in text mode. This option works only if --enable-graphics was given to ./configure.

Run in text mode (overrides previous -g).

And it works!

And it works! I just said that. Of course if you'd been to their home page or Wikipedia recently you'd know this, but as I said at the beginning I'd never felt the need to.

What's really amazing is Links 2.0 with it's new graphics stack can (depending on the system) even display graphics on terminals without X! The layout of pages is a bit iffy, but I've got to admit that's gosh darn impressive.

I'll be sticking to using links in it's capacity as a lightning fast, easy to use text based browser, but it's been a fun experience, especially with this half pint glass of Kilkenny poured from one of those cans with the widgets. As I say, I have wild Saturday nights.

--->  Installing links @2.2_2+x11+gcs
--->  Activating links @2.2_2+x11+gcs
--->  Cleaning links
--->  Removing build directory for links

Why not Lynx or eLinks?

Because links is a delicious pun, having one big cat on my Mac is enough, and elinks imposes its own colour scheme over my carefully chosen Terminal colours of which I’m rather partial.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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