Light web browsers

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Light web browsers

There are few choices when it comes to light web browsers who are usable on the modern web today. The only real choice, if you want something with CSS stylesheet support, are the browsers based on webkit. Gecko-based browsers like Firefox, which is the only other modern rendering engine besides KHTML (Konqueror), require a lot of memory and resources. The really light web browsers can be a good choice on very old hardware, but their lack of CSS support really ruins the viewing experience on todays web.

Webkit: Arora vs Midori

Arora and Midori are your obvious choices when it comes to light web browers. They have both matured to the point where they are more than usable on common distributions such as Fedora, Ubuntu and Gentoo.

So how "light" are they, and which is betterman?

Versions tested here are:

0.10.2 (Git: 1386 82de949)
WebKit versjon: 532.4
Midori 0.2.4
GTK+ 2.18.9, WebKitGTK+ 1.1.15

Memory footprint

Lets turn netscape plugin support off and leave JavaScript on -- which is something people who want a light web browser for their older computer may want to do -- and load five websites in tabs:

It turns out that Webkit for GTK+ and browsers based on it require less memory than Webkit for Qt:

Arora 744m 198m 36m
Midori 606m 148m 26m

CPU usage

CPU usage is slightly higher for Arora, and pages load slightly slower. The difference is so small that it can barely be seen, though, so it does not really matter that much.


Arora and Midori mostly have the same features, with one important exception: Arora comes with a built-in flashblock. This is very usefull if you enable plugin-support, specially if you are using Adobes propietary flash plugin on a older computer.