Lynx can save your life

To quote from the Lynx man page:-

Lynx is a fully-featured World Wide Web (WWW) client for users running cursor-addressable, character-cell display devices (e.g., vt100 terminals, vt100 emulators running on Windows 95/NT or Macintoshes, or any other “curses-oriented” display)

So why would you want a text based browser when you have the wonderful X windows experience of Firefox or Konqueror? Well the answer is when you break your X server and can’t get a graphical login; just like I did the other day.

Luckily I could login at a non-graphical terminal (Ctrl-Alt-F1) and then run lynx. This was able to get me to google where I could find the fix for my problem. (To do with stale .ICE authority files).

Lynx has a simple interface and in an emergency it’s a real life saver. If you want to have a play then install lynx via your preferred package manager. For (K)ubuntu it’s

sudo apt-get install lynx

Then you can type commands like


and you’ll see a text only view of the main search page.

If your terminal supports colour then links will be highlighted in red. Navigation is simple either using the tab key to move between links or the down arrow. Right arrow or enter will open a link for you.

Amongst a host of other features lynx gives you options for handling cookies and works from behind http proxies.

A bit like knowing where your torch is before the power fails, download lynx on your system today.

One big gotcha if you try using lynx in a graphical X based terminal such as Konsole: you may get odd responses from places like google. Temporarily unset your DISPLAY variable when you call Lynx to fix this.

DISPLAY=<space> lynx

Thanks to dpk for that dodge.


4 thoughts on “Lynx can save your life

  1. Same here, I used lynx for the first two years I had an Internet connection, which would be 1994 and 1995. After that, I wussed-out and got a graphical logon (much more expensive!). I still use lynx (and links) from my console (Linux, the BSD’s and Mac OSX).

  2. I like Links2. I use the -g option to run a graphical web browser on older machines. It works fine on a P90 with 48MB of Ram running Blackbox. I can use the mouse to click links, it does a good job of rendering graphical sites, and it has https and javascript support, so I can check my Yahoo web-mail, which requires both.

  3. lynx is GREAT, and it DOES actually save your life… For example when doing a net install of Debian linux , and then want to fetch some videocard drivers via the web . 🙂

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