10 lesser known web browsers for OS X

If you thought I was going to include Camino, Flock, Shiira or Opera, you’d be wrong :)

1. Demeter
2. Lynx
3. WebDesktop
4. Googalyzer
5. Wyzo
6. Tominated Browser
7. surfDude
8. NagaraBrowser
9. MiniBrowser
10. SchreibtischBrowser


Demeter

Download: http://www.hurrikenux.com/Main/Demeter.html
Requirements: unsure, but works on 10.4
About & Features: based off of the Shiira 1.x line of browser, Demeter is quite new. New to the point where I can’t find the minimum system requirements. If you want to use the “New DOM inspector”, Safari 3 (Beta) needs to be installed. Same with resizeable text fields. You can use custom agent strings and the “Quick Add to Google Calendar” is a great feature. There are two ‘themes’ included, Aqua and Metal. After using Demeter for a few days, it’s still as fast as it was when I started using it. Of all the browsers I tested, this is one that I’ll be leaving installed.

Screenshots:

demeter
default view
demeter
RSS view
   
demeter
Preferences
demeter
Advanced Preferences
   
demeter
Icons
demeter
Tabs

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Lynx

Download: http://www.osxgnu.org/
Requirements: System 7 or better
About & Features: From Wikipedia – “Lynx was originally designed for Unix and VMS and remains the most popular console browser on Linux. Versions are also available for DOS, and recent versions run on all Microsoft Windows releases. Versions for Mac OS X are provided by OSXGNU. There is also a “Classic” Macintosh version called MacLynx “for System 7 and later”, but it is not regularly updated.” Lynx is one of the oldest web browsers (it turns 25 this year) and is text only browser. For two straight years it was the only web browser that I used, and to this day I still use it at least once a week. The only drawback to using Lynx in OS X is finding the Terminal settings that allow for the best usability (that and it’s text only, which isn’t so much a drawback as it is the intent).

Screenshots:

lynx
black background
lynx
white background
   
lynx
transparent background
lynx
semi-transparent background

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WebDesktop

Download: http://stevenf.com/software/webdesktop/
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9 (Panther), 10.4 (Tiger), or higher
About & Features: in a nutshell, WebDesktop is Windows ActiveDesktop for the Mac. WebDesktop uses Apple’s WebKit to render HTML, the same rendering engine used in Safari. From the WebDesktop README file, “WebDesktop has two states, “active” and “inactive”. When WebDesktop is “active”, you can click on links on the web page to follow them, and scroll up and down the web page using the scroll bar on the right hand side. When WebDesktop is “inactive”, you can’t interact with the web page, but you can click on icons on your desktop, which is (unfortunately) impossible when WebDesktop is active. To make WebDesktop “active”, click on its icon in the Dock.” If you want to stay completely on top of your local weather, driving conditions, or any web site – WebDesktop might be your ideal solution. You can set the Refresh rate to never, 1 minute, 5 minutes etc. And that pretty much sums up WebDesktop :)

Screenshots:

webdesktop
“inactive” state
webdesktop
“active” state
   
webdesktop
right-click options
webdesktop
Preferences

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Googalyzer

Download: http://idisk.mac.com/gonfunko/Public/googalyzer.html
Requirements:
About & Features: Googalyzer is a browser designed to assist with web research. Combining a tabbed web browser with a text, outline, and bibliography editor, Googalyzer makes it easy to research a topic and keep track of the information you find without the need to switch between applications. You can drag and drop links, text and images from the browser to the built in text editor. Googalyzer also has a default set of buttons to assist in research – direct links to sites like Google Search, Google Groups and Google Scholar. For someone who uses the web heavily for research, this might be a seriously helpful browser.

Screenshots:

googalyzer
default view
googalyzer
text editor panel
   
googalyzer
text editor panel 2
googalyzer
outline/task list view

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Wyzo

Download: http://www.wyzo.com/
Requirements: Uh OS X – not sure exactly which version(s)
About & Features: From the wyzo ‘about us’ page: Wyzo is a web browser based on Firefox. Some of the modifications are:
  – It has a new skin, with an orange colour scheme
  – A new startpage, which lets you search 33 search engines.
  – A Bittorrent plug-in for Firefox, included with Wyzo, called FireTorrent.
FireTorrent is available as an .xpi extension for normal Firefox installations, but only for Windows. It places the torrent downloads in the same Window as normal downloads. Wyzo is currently in Alpha development stage”. So why use Wyzo over Firefox? I’m not sure. The cool’ish sounding built-in bittorrent client isn’t available for OS X. The skin isn’t particularly great (compared to the thousands of themes available for Firefox). And the wyzo portal isn’t anything special. For some reason the SearchStatus Firefox add-on is installed by default (which displays the Alexa and Google rankings etc). As it stands, I wouldn’t recommend Wyzo. But if it adds more features when it leaves the Alpha stage, it might be worth taking a look at again.

Screenshots:

wyzo
default view
wyzo
default view 2
   
wyzo
preferences
wyzo
advanced preferences

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Tominated

Download: http://tominatedsoftware.com/tb/index.html
Requirements: Not sure – can’t find them. Works on OS X 10.4.
About & Features: here are the claims that Tominated Software makes – “Tominated Browser is faster, more responsive and lighter than both Safari and Firefox. Tominated Browser is probably the lightest web browser ever. Using only 2 times as much RAM and only 0.2% more CPU than the Finder! This is the perfect web browser for situations where every CPU cycle counts. Although Tominated Browser is still in beta, it is quite stable.”

So – are their claims true? Actually, yeah. Except the “quite stable” part – I got it to crash several times in under an hour of surfing. Aside from that, it really is light and fast. It doesn’t use much CPU at all, the memory footprint is tiny, and pages really do seem to load a bit faster. Then again, there’s no bookmarks/favorites feature (?!), no tabs, and no search box. No plugins at all, in fact the only preference you can set is your home page. Except there’s no ‘home’ button. So light and fast? Yes. Feature rich? Absolutely not. So it’s a great browser, if your Mac is very low on system resources and you just want a simple web browser. It might also make a great browser for a public terminal, since you can’t do any ‘permanent’ damage other than change the start page. Oh – it does support Flash.

Screenshots:

Tominated Browser
Tominated Browser
Tominated Browser
Preferences

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surfDude

Download: http://iindigo3d.com/blog/?page_id=6
Requirements: it doesn’t say, but someone left a comment on the developers site saying “too bad it doesn’t work on Panther 10.3.9”
About & Features: Here’s what the developer says about surfDude – “surfDude was a simple Cocoa browser. It died some time ago, but I’ve brought it back to life a few months ago with new code. It can do most browsing operations very quickly, however is an alpha and may contain bugs”. My thoughts – it is faster than Safari, though it uses the same WebKit. Fewer is likely the cause for the increase in speed. One major bug – you can’t download files. They’ll play in the browser (if the file is an mp3, mpeg, avi etc), but if you try to ‘right-click’ and save file, it won’t work. If you used this browser on a public terminal, that might be a good thing. Otherwise, it’s not.

Screenshots:

surfdude
default view
surfdude
search works
   
surfdude
interface options
surfdude
advanced preferences

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NagaraBrowser

Download: http://www6.plala.or.jp/lingo/contents/software/nagarabrowser.html
Requirements: Not sure, I think it might be 10.2. If someone could translate the home page for me, that’d be great.
About & Features: I won’t be able to accurately list all of the features, because I can’t read Japanese. What I can tell you, is that NagaraBrowser is pretty cool. It’s a full-screen browser and appears to be based on WebKit. The floating controller is neat, ditto the transparency options. It was also quite fast, and I tried my best to get it to crash and it wouldn’t. But there’s no such thing as ‘non-fullscreen’, so it may not be ideal for everyone.

Screenshots:

nagara
default with controller
nagara
with controller, downloads and preferences
   
nagara
Nagara menu
 

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MiniBrowser

Download: http://www.studiojeroen.nl/site/software.php
Requirements: Mac OS X Tiger or Leopard
About & Features: the home page is in Dutch, but with the help of Babelfish I was able to gather this – it’s small, it’s fast, and it works on Leopard. Using it (on Tiger), I would agree that it’s small and fast. Thought not without its bugs. For example – you can’t enter an address of www.domain.com, it must be http://www.domain.com. Bookmarks/favorites is an odd feature to leave out, but this might be a beta. Or it might have been intentional. There are 0 preferences to set (as in you couldn’t even if you wanted to). But it’s small, and fast.

Screenshots:

minibrowser
default view
minibrowser
default view, again

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SchreibtischBrowser

Download: http://www.apfelplusz.de/schreibtischbrowser
Requirements: 10.4, I think.
About & Features: from the developer – “SchreibtischBrowser is a simple WebKit Browser that allows you to surf in Full Screen (Kiosk) Mode – so you can watch films and movies without Frames, Toolbars et cetera. Together with menufela and Isolator you will only see the film. You can operate SchreibtischBrowser via the Menubar and access your Safari Bookmarks.” And it’s all true. It’s also (almost) identical to NagaraBrowser, except it has fewer features (no floating downloads, no transparency etc). I’m not sure which of them came out first.

Screenshots:

SchreibtischBrowser
default view
SchreibtischBrowser
SchreibtischBrowser menu

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Webomatica August 1, 2007, 9:21 am

    Dang I have never heard of most of these. Thanks for checking them out. I’m actually a bit amused by the text only browser Lynx. Sometimes stripping all the images out saves time.

  • name August 26, 2010, 1:03 am

    sweet template

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