Fast Browsing with the lynx Command

The Lynx browser, originally sponsored by the University of Kansas, does not support graphics, sound, or any of the other plug-in features of today's modern Web browsers. You can really like Lynx anyway because it's fast, efficient, and does not take up a lot of disk space.

Lynx was designed to run on regular displays, or terminals, so you don't need to run the X Window System in order to use it. This program is ideal for quickly browsing Web pages to get the information you need without the "World Wide Wait" of too-large graphics or animations that just waste bandwidth.

New Term

The Lynx browser has 66 different command-line options, but it's easy to use. If you properly set up your system and start your PPP connection, you can start browsing by specifying a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), or Web address, on the command line, for example:

# lynx http://www.mcp.com

Figure 13.1 shows the Lynx browser.

If you need to fine-tune some of the ways the lynx command works, you can edit its configuration file, lynx.cfg, in the /usr/lib directory. I suggest that you make a copy of this file and copy it to your home directory with .lynxrc as the filename. In this file, you can set a number of Lynx features. For example, if you specify the name of your ISP's news server, you can read news:

NNTPSERVER:your.ISPnewserver.com

After you make this change, you can try to browse news with this:

# lynx news://your.ISPnewserver.comFigure 13.1

The Lynx text-only Web browser is a com­pact, efficient program you can use to quickly browse Web pages without waiting for graphics to load.

 

You can also use the Lynx browser to retrieve files without browsing. By using this approach, you can automatically research or get information on a regular basis:

# lynx http://www.yahoo.com/headlines/news -dump >news.raw

In this example, the content of the Web page is downloaded by the lynx command and then redirected to the file news.raw. Lynx also downloads files just like other browsers if you press the Enter key while your cursor has a file or link highlighted. The basic navi­gation keys for this browser are the cursors (to scroll up and down the current page, to go back to a previous page, or forward to the next), the Enter key (to load a link), and the Tab key (to go to the next link). To get help while using lynx, type the question mark (?) key.