Re: w3m -> standard, lynx -> optional
As a regular links and w3m user, I decided to throw in my two cents. I
regard links as a featureful and self-contained browser for beginning to
experienced users, whereas w3m is IMO more oriented towards power users
and is better integrated to the rest of Unix userland.
I use w3m a lot more than links, so my knowledge about links is inferior
to that about w3m. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
(1) the most important feature of w3m (for me) that is lacking for links
hasn't, surprisingly, even been stated in this thread (at least I wasn't
able to spot it). It is the ability of going back and forth and follow
links without ever losing history. Many browsers work like, you can go
back or forwards in history but if you ever follow a link your "future
history" will be gone. In w3m, you can jump into any page you've ever
been in during that session with "s" (as long as you don't explicitly
throw your history away with "B").
(2) w3m can be used as a pager, which is invaluable when you test
programs that produce HTML; you just tack "| w3m" to the end of the
(3) this has also received some attention in the thread, but w3m is
*modal* when it comes to editing form fields (you can enter / exit edit
mode by pressing return). This is powerful and confusing to beginners,
as is the modality of vi.
(4) w3m uses metamail for opening different content-types. The most
irritating feature for me in links is that every time I start to use it
on some new account, I have to copy a kazillion settings from some
earlier account. I know, most "ordinary users" have usually only one
account they work on...
(5) w3m doesn't have incremental display and isn't very
"thread-oriented" otherwise either. Whether this is a pro or a con
depends on where you come from.
(6) the default behavior for editing textareas in links and lynx is very
irritating. At least in lynx, you can use a proper editor for editing
textareas. But in w3m, this is the *only* behavior supported. For me,
that's a pro; but for most people, I expect that to be a con.
(7) links has a menu and uses dialog boxes for most everything. I hate
this but I expect most people to like it.
(8) w3m's help texts are hilarious. (This is off-topic; please don't be
Because of this orientedness of links towards everyday users and w3m
towards power users (as I see it), I would recommend using some version
of links as the default text-mode browser, even though I deem w3m a
better program overall.
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