Lynx (web browser)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Original author(s)Lou Montulli, Michael Grobe, Charles Rezac
Developer(s)Thomas Dickey
Initial release1992; 32 years ago (1992)
Stable release
2.9.2[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 31 May 2024; 12 days ago (31 May 2024)
Written in
Windows, VMS[3]
Available inEnglish
TypeText-based web browser
LicenseGNU GPLv2 Edit this at Wikidata

Lynx is a customizable text-based web browser for use on cursor-addressable character cell terminals.[4][5] As of 2024, it is the oldest web browser still being maintained,[6] having started in 1992.


Lynx was a product of the Distributed Computing Group within Academic Computing Services of the University of Kansas.[7][8] It was initially developed in 1992 by a team of students and staff 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 System[9] and for browsing the Gopher space.[10] Beta availability was announced to Usenet on 22 July 1992.[11] In 1993, Montulli added an Internet interface and released a new version (2.0) of the browser.[12][13]

As of July 2007 the support of

NNTP and WAIS.[5][16] Support for NNTP was added to libwww from ongoing Lynx development in 1994.[17] Support for HTTPS was added to Lynx's fork of libwww later, initially as patches due to concerns about encryption.[18][dead link

Garrett Blythe created DosLynx in April 1994[19] 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.[20]


rendering the same page

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.

SSL[5] 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 is not inherently able to display various types of non-text content on the web, such as images and video,[4] but it can launch external programs to handle it, such as an image viewer or a video player.[21]

Unlike most web browsers, Lynx does not support JavaScript, which many websites require to work correctly.[22]

The speed benefits of text-only browsing are most apparent when using low bandwidth internet connections,[23] or older computer hardware that may be slow to render image-heavy content.


Because Lynx does not support graphics,

blacklisting, or alternatively cookie support can be disabled permanently.[21]

As with conventional browsers, Lynx also supports browsing histories and page caching,[24] both of which can raise privacy concerns.[25]


Lynx supports both command-line options and configuration files. There are 142 command-line options according to its help message. The template configuration file lynx.cfg lists 233 configurable features. There is some overlap between the two approaches to configuration, although there are command-line options such as -restrict which 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.[26][27][21]


Because Lynx is a text-based browser, it can be used for internet access by visually impaired users on a

Indian Institute of Technology Madras.[34]

Remote access

Lynx is also useful for accessing websites from a remotely connected system in which no graphical display is available.[35][36][37] 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.[24][38][39]

Web design and robots

Since Lynx will take keystrokes from a text file, it is still very useful for automated data entry, web page navigation, and web scraping. Consequently, Lynx is used in some web crawlers.[citation needed] Web designers may use Lynx to determine the way in which search engines and web crawlers see the sites that they develop.[40][41][42] Online services that provide Lynx's view of a given web page are available.[43]

Lynx is also used to test websites' performance. As one can run the browser from different locations over remote access technologies like telnet and ssh, one can use Lynx to test the web site's connection performance from different geographical locations simultaneously.[38] Another possible web design application of the browser is quick checking of the site's links.[44]

Supported platforms

Icon for OS/2 port

Lynx was originally designed for

MINIX, QNX, AmigaOS[50] and OS/2[8]
are also available.

The sources can be built on many platforms, such as Google's

Android operating system.[51]

See also


  1. ^ Thomas E. Dickey (31 May 2024). "ANN: lynx2.9.2". Retrieved 1 June 2024.
  2. ^ Nelson, H. (24 April 1999). "Lynx Installation Guide". Archived from the original on 5 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  3. ^ Dickey, Thomas (11 September 2015). "Lynx2.8.8 [sic]". Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Rakitin 1997.
  5. ^ a b c Legan 2001.
  6. ^ "A Command Line Web Browsing with Lynx and Links Tools". TecMint. 2016-04-27. Archived from the original on 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  7. ^ a b Paciello 2000, pp. 154–155.
  8. ^ a b c Legan 2002.
  9. from the original on December 7, 2023. Retrieved December 6, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Bolso 2005.
  11. ^ Montulli 1992.
  12. ^ Stewart 2000.
  13. ^ Nelson 2000.
  14. ^ Kahan 1999.
  15. ^ Dickey 2007.
  16. ^ a b Seltzer 1995.
  17. ^ Kahan 2002.
  18. ^ Nestrud 2000.
  19. ^ Buttles 1994.
  20. .
  21. ^ a b c d User's Guide.
  22. ^ Wallen 2011.
  23. ^ "What is Lynx, and how do I use it?". Indiana University. 2018-01-18. Archived from the original on 2022-09-15. Retrieved 2022-09-16.
  24. ^ a b Senjen & Guthrey 1996, pp. 136–139.
  25. ^ Timmer 2010.
  26. ^ Help file.
  27. ^ Configuration file.
  28. ^ Paciello 2000, p. 157.
  29. ^ RNIB 2011.
  30. ^ Rosmaita 1996.
  31. ^ Dixon 2004.
  32. ^ Rosmaita.
  33. ^ Sajka 1999.
  34. ^ Achraya 2006.
  35. ^ Wayner 2010.
  36. ^ Chapman 2003.
  37. ^ Killelea 2002, p. 9.
  38. ^ a b Killelea 2002, pp. 60–61.
  39. ^ a b Taylor 2005, pp. 225–227.
  40. ^ King 2008, pp. 44–46.
  41. ^ Bartlett 2006.
  42. ^ Rognerud 2010, p. 187.
  43. ^ Paciello 2000, p. 135.
  44. ^ Killelea 2002, p. 178.
  45. ^ OpenBSD23.
  46. ^ OpenBSD55.
  47. ^ de Raadt 2014.
  48. ^ OpenBSDport.
  49. ^ "Homebrew Formulae". Homebrew. Archived from the original on January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  50. ^ Marquardt 1995.
  51. ^ "[APP] Compiled lynx binary for android - Shell or ADB". XDA Developers. 27 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2016-05-27.


External links