Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 19th Sep 2004 09:23 UTC
Internet & Networking A few days ago we read about the Deli Linux, which aims to fill-in the gap of Linux distros in the 486/586 machine range by running lightweight/older applications. The disto comes with Dillo and Links as its browsers, but I bet there aren't many people who know that there is yet another very lightweight browser for GTK+ 1.2.x and it is more powerful and more memory-optimized than Dillo: Access' NetFront. Check for info and screenshots inside.
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NetFront is nice- my take on it
by RevAaron on Sun 19th Sep 2004 22:10 UTC

First- I've never used NetFront on an x86 Linux machine. I'll try to sometime, but I'm on a Windows machine right now. I have used it on PocketPC, Palm OS and on the Zaurus, which runs Linux and Qtopia. I've found it to be a great browser on these PDA platforms. IE sucked in PocketPC 2000 and 2002- but I've had a very good experience using IE on vanilla WinCE 3.0 (Handheld PC 2k) and WinCE.NET 4.1, both of which have a *much* better IE than the first two versions of PocketPC. That said, NetFront still did better than IE on my WinCE machines (Jornada 720 and Sigmarion 3) in one big way: speed. On the Zaurus C760, NetFront was quite a bit speedier than IE was on my Sigmarion 3, with the same CPU. NetFront also had a nice feature to retool the page for better viewing on a PDA- no horizontal scrolling.

Opera 6 for the Zaurus has a similar feature but is much crappier. Opera 6 was a little faster and I liked it over all a wee bit more than NetFront on my Zaurus C760, so I ended up using it a lot more. One very annoying "feature" (?) of NetFront on the Zaurus is that you can only have something like 4 tabs- with Opera there is no limit other than memory space. Not a big deal for a lot of people I imagine, and something that hopefully doesn't exist on the desktop version, but for someone who uses my PDA as my main computer, it often made me go to Opera. When doing a lot of web browsing, it is common for me to have both Opera and NetFront open, with NetFront handling the pages with a lot of horizontal scrolling, which is fixes for me very well- without mangling the way the page looks.

The speed and rendering capability of NetFront makes the Zaurus a very good platform for mobile web browsing. Anyone who has read my reviews of the Zaurus C760 here or elsewhere knows that the Zaurus does *a lot* of things poorly... But web browsing is one of the places where it beats out WinCE and Palm OS IMHO.

As I mentioned above, there is a Palm OS version of NetFront. NetFront is what Palm bases their "Web Browser" app on- it's just a re-branded NetFront. It it quite fast, be it over a USB/PPP (try out SoftTick's app!) or wifi connection. Though with the POS version, there is no ability to have multiple windows or tabs, which is a show stopper for me other than looking up something quick on the web.

It does look like it's using the Qt widgets to render within the page itself. It does *not* use KHTML, though it could have statically linked Qt in there. Though it would be odd- Qt and GTK+ in the same app, though it has certainly happened in the past.

As for the bug viewing slashdot: I can second that this is a problem with Slashdot, not the browser. I have seen this little glitch many times in Firefox, NetFront, Opera and IE. Just reload the page. I'm not sure what causes it, it always seemed to me that my browser wasn't delivered all of the HTML or CSS that it needed to display the page correctly.