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qutebrowser v1.13.1
qutebrowser v1.13.1
Original author(s)Florian Bruhin ("the Compiler")
Developer(s)Florian Bruhin and "hundreds of contributors"
Initial releaseDecember 14, 2014; 7 years ago (2014-12-14)[1]
Stable release
1.13.1 / July 17, 2020; 17 months ago (2020-07-17)
Repositorygithub.com /qutebrowser/qutebrowser
Written inPython and JavaScript
EngineWebKit or QtWebEngine
Operating systemLinux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD
Available inEnglish
TypeWeb browser
LicenseGNU General Public License

qutebrowser is a minimalistic Vim-style keyboard-focused web browser written in Python and PyQt5. It can use either QtWebEngine or WebKit to do web page rendering. You will probably love it if you want a keyboard-navigated web browser with Vim-style keys and you will probably hate it if you want a web browser you can navigate using a mouse.

qutebrowser is free software under the GNU GPL. It is primarily developed by Florian Bruhin.

Features And Usability: It's a Vim Users Dream (And Possibly A Nightmare)

qutebrowser is a keyboard driven web browser using Vim-style key bindings. Users of Vim and other Vim-style software like the Zathura document reader will feel right at home. This makes very hard or very easy to use qutebrowser depending on how you look at it and your familiarity with Vim.

quitebrowser launches two tabs the first time you start it: a hidden tab with the DuckDuckGo search engine and a tab in focus with a "qutebrowser quickstart" guide. That gude has a very handy cheat sheet available that will let you get the hang of keyboard navigation.

Using qutebrowser is very easy if you have the cheat sheet in front of you or if you have looked at it long enough to remember the keys that provide the functionality you want. Using it is absolutely impossible and a total nightmare if you do not know the keys you are supposed to use and you can't or aren't allowed to look at the cheat-sheet for some reason (like if some silly reviewer told you to share your impression of it without knowing anything at all about it or Linux for that matter).

The keys you need to use in qutebrowser are largely unique to it and Vim-style applications. As an example, alt+arrow left and alt+arrow right lets you navigate back and forth between pages in any other browser like Mozilla Firefox or Chromium or Falkon. The keys are, instead,

H go back
L move forward

Similarly, you can't just press ctrl+f to search for something on a page like you can in other web browsers. That's actually page down in qutebrowser. Searching is, obvious to those who have used Vim and similar programs, done by pressing /. And you can't change location with ctrl+l, you have to type go to edit the current URL and enter something else.

Qutebrowser is otherwise a solid browser. It renders web pages accurately and correctly, it is fast and snappy and it is overall very nice. But it's not for everyone.

Verdict And Conclusion

If you want a keyboard-navigated web browser and you are willing to learn the specific keys qutebrowser uses then you will probably like it and you may even love it. That is specially true if you use Vim as your primary editor.

If you want to be able to use the keys and keyboard shortcuts you are used to from other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and you have a habit of grabbing the mouse in order to move on when you are done reading a web page then you won't like qutebrowser. At all. You may even find it to be a dismal and horrible experience. You will have to change your habits and learn how to use it, which takes time, before you start liking it.

You should give qutebrowser a try if you want a keyboard-driven web browser and you are willing to accept the somewhat steep learning-curve you have to go through before you can use it as efficiently as other web web browsers. Learning qutebrowser can in some ways be compared to learning to touch-type, you start out slow but you're more efficient once you get the hang of it. Look elsewhere if you want something you can navigate with a mouse and the keys other web browsers use.

Future Development

Future versions of qutebrowser could be based on the Chromium Embedded Framework instead of QtWebEngine since the developer is slightly skeptical to the corporation who maintains Qt[2].


The homepage is at qutebrowser.org.