- Lynx (web browser)
Wikipedia Article displayed in Lynx
Original author(s) Lou Montulli, Michael Grobe, Charles Rezac Developer(s) Thomas Dickey Initial release c. 1992 Stable release +/−](June 21, 2010 ) [ Preview release +/−](January 10, 2011 ) [ Written in ISO C Platform Cross-platform Available in English Type web browser License GNU GPL Website lynx.isc.org
Browsing in Lynx consists of highlighting the chosen link using cursor keys, or having all links on a page numbered and entering the chosen link's number. Current versions support SSL and many HTML features. Tables are formatted using spaces, while frames are identified by name and can be explored as if they were separate pages. Lynx cannot inherently display various types of non-text content on the web, such as images and video, but it can launch external programs to handle it, such as an image viewer or a video player.
Because of its text-to-speech–friendly interface, Lynx was once popular with visually impaired users, but better screen readers have reduced the appeal of this application. Lynx is also used to check for usability of websites in older browsers. It is still included in a number of Unix products and Linux distributions, and is particularly useful for reading documentation or downloading files when only a text-based environment is available. It is also useful for accessing websites from a remotely connected system in which no graphical display is available. Despite its text-only nature and age, it can still be used to effectively browse much of the modern web, including performing interactive tasks such as editing Wikipedia. The speed benefits of text-only browsing are most apparent when using low bandwidth internet connections, or older computer hardware that may be slow to render image-heavy content.
Because Lynx does not support graphics, web bugs that track user information are not fetched; therefore, web pages can be read without the privacy concerns of graphic web browsers—though many webmail services today disable images in emails by default, and most graphic web browsers allow images to be disabled as well.
Lynx accepts configuration options from either command-line options or configuration files. There are 142 command line options according to its help message. The template configuration file
lynx.cfglists 233 configurable features. There is some overlap between the two, however there are command-line options such as
-restrictwhich are not matched in
lynx.cfg. In addition to pre-set options by command-line and configuration file, lynx's behavior can be adjusted at runtime using its options menu. Again, there is some overlap between the settings. Lynx implements many of these runtime optional features, optionally (controlled through a setting in the configuration file) allowing the choices to be saved to a separate writable configuration file. The reason for restricting the options which can be saved originated in a usage of lynx which was more common in the mid-1990s, i.e., using lynx itself as a front-end application to the Internet accessed by dial-in connections.
Lynx was a product of the Distributed Computing Group within Academic Computing Services of the University of Kansas, and was initially developed in 1992 by a team of students at the university (Lou Montulli, Michael Grobe and Charles Rezac) as a hypertext browser used solely to distribute campus information as part of a Campus-Wide Information Server and for browsing the Gopher space. Beta availability was announced to Usenet on 22 July 1992. In 1993 Montulli added an Internet interface and released a new version (2.0) of the browser.
Garrett Blythe created DosLynx in April 1994  and later joined the Lynx effort as well. Foteos Macrides ported much of Lynx to VMS and maintained it for a time. In 1995, Lynx was released under the GNU General Public License, and is now maintained by a group of volunteers led by Thomas Dickey.
Platforms and features
Lynx was originally designed for Unix and VMS and is a popular console browser on Linux. Versions are also available for DOS. Recent versions run on all Microsoft Windows releases, and Mac OS X, both PowerPC and (via Fink) Intel CPUs. There was also an early port to "Classic" Macintosh System 7 and later, called MacLynx. Ports to BeOS, MINIX, QNX, AmigaOS (called ALynx) and OS/2 (called Lynx/2) are also available.
Lynx is based on a very old version of libwww, dated from 1994. It supports many computer protocols: Gopher, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, WAIS, and NNTP. Support for NNTP was added to libwww from ongoing Lynx development in 1994. Support for HTTPS was added to Lynx's fork of libwww later, initially as patches due to concerns about encryption.
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- Lynx homepage (old but still cited: doslynx, Lynx links and original)
- Michael Grobe's personal recollections of Lynx development
- Extremely Lynx resource page from version 2.7
- Mac OS X version at osxgnu.org
- Lynx for Windows 2.8.5rel1 installer
- Lynx on OS/2
- Learn how to use Lynx
- Lynx from FOLDOC
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