"Brand-X" Browsers -- Alphabetical List: A-G
Albert is a full-screen browser for VM/CMS systems with IBM 3270 terminals. It hasn't been updated since 1995.
Alis Tango was especially designed for users who need to use non-English languages. It has comprehensive support of multiple character sets, including better support than other browsers for the latest internationalization-related HTML, HTTP, and Unicode standards. While the mainstream browsers are gradually improving their internationalization support, Tango was there a long time ago.
Alis Tango was one of the earliest browsers I encountered that supported
This browser appears to be discontinued now; the manufacturer's site only mentions translation services now, not browsing software. When somebody wrote them to ask if it actually is discontinued, however, they replied that they preferred to call it a "mature product". Is it so "mature" that it's been sent off to the old browsers' home?
The Alis site is at:
Amaya was created by the W3 Consortium, the makers of the official HTML specs, as a "testbed" for advanced functionality they're working on developing standards for. It superceded their earlier testbed browser, Arena. It's not intended as a practical browser for end-users, and is full of bugs and flaws. For instance, when I tried an earlier version on a number of sites (including ones that validated fully under HTML 4.0) there were quite a few bizarre mis-renderings, like table cells that overlayed one on top of another and graphics that displayed in weird colors unlike those used by the designer. And it even hung my system once. More recently, when I tried a newer version, it didn't do the "grosser" things the earlier one did, though it still had a few problems. Don't expect to be able to use this as your primary browser, but it can be interesting for trying out W3C's new markup ideas; for instance, one supported the proposed MathML (Mathematical Markup Language) which has a set of tags for marking up equations.
You can obtain Amaya (for various platforms including Windows 95, NT, and Unix) at:
America Online (AOL)
A few years ago, you probably had a whole heap of their disks and CD-ROMs, when they were still sending them out by the ton. The TV cartoon Futurama even joked about a big part of the future's garbage asteroid being made up of them. And for years, these ubiquitous disks contained a "Brand X Browser," as early AOL Web support was done via their own proprietary (and rather crappy) browser. Later, they switched to a version of MSIE (adapted to do some AOL proprietary stuff like compress graphics in a way that sometimes screws them up, and use AOL's cache to not always show the current version of sites). After they acquired Netscape, many people thought (or hoped) they'd ultimately switch to some version of that, but instead they eventually let Netscape die (the Mozilla project continued as an independent nonprofit organization) and kept on making deals with the Evil Empire.
While serious Internet users thought the need for proprietary online services went away somewhere around 1995, they had their fattest years after that as they got all sorts of computer-ignorant people to think that their lousy service and its proprietary software were the best (or only) way to get online. This made them rich enough to gobble up entertainment/news conglomerate Time Warner in 2000, but this gave them severe indigestion, and eventually Time Warner emerged, Alien-like, from the belly of the combined company to reassert control and eventually excrete AOL altogether. About all what's left of AOL has going for it now in an age of ubiquitous broadband is the fact that an aging crowd of people who were computer newbies in the late '90s are still stuck on AOL's e-mail and AIM instant messaging because all their friends are there too, if they haven't migrated to newer, hipper services provided by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
Read about AOL, and possibly download their software if you have some perverse need for it and can manage
to find it buried in a site that's evolved into a general web portal, at:
AMSD Ariadna is a Russian browser, but it supports English too. Its maker doesn't seem to support it any more, however.
The company page is at:
Part of the ANT Internet Suite, ANT Fresco is a browser for the Acorn RISC platform, a popular computer in Britain. Its maker now is promoting it as an embedded browser for use in Internet appliances. An earlier version claimed to support HTML 3.2 plus some "Netscape extensions.", but a newer version is HTML 4.01-compatible.
Read more about it at:
Users of MS- or PC-DOS-based systems (non-Windows) have a graphical browser, too. It even
works on the older, slower PCs and obsolete graphic cards which aren't supported by the
current-day "mainstream" browsers. A Linux version is also now
available in beta form. Arachne is available free from:
ArcWeb is a browser for the Acorn RISC OS. It's not being actively developed any more.
Arena was an early W3C testbed browser. It hasn't been updated by W3C lately, as the W3C has switched their testbed efforts to their newer browser, Amaya. However, an independent developer, Yggdrasil, took over development of Arena, and released a few more beta versions, but doesn't seem to be developing it any more these days.
Apparently, some specialized communities still find a use for Arena in reading technical, scientific, and mathematical documents written in HTML 3.0, a never-approved variety of HTML that supports some "tech stuff" better than versions before and since.
Read about it and obtain it at:
Arora is a WebKit-based browser designed to be a cross-platform lightweight browser.
Its official site is at:
Atomic Web Browser
Atomic Web Browser is an alternative browser for iPhones to the Safari browser that comes with iOS. It has such added features as tabbed browsing and ad blocking. It sells for 99 cents, making it one of the few browsers around for any platform that is not free (as in beer, not necessarily as in speech).
Get it in iTunes through this link:
AvantGo is a company specializing in porting data between "PalmPilot"-style pocket computers and larger computers. They offer a free subscription service that provides "channels" of Web sites optimized for pocket computers that can be downloaded from your desktop computer using software they provide, and also provide the means of surfing the Web on your PalmPilot if it's got a modem. Their software manages to accomodate regular Web sites on such small computers through special options, but does better with sites optimized specifically for the service. Also available is open-source code for pocket-computer interfacing using protocols they're trying to make into a standard.
Access their site at:
AWeb is a browser for the Amiga computer.
Read about it at:
BeConn used to be an independent browser, supporting most HTML constructs but sometimes a bit quirky (e.g., not centering some things that are tagged as centered). It used the bizarre user-agent string "Sax Webster Sax Webster." But it doesn't seem to be supported any more, since I couldn't find a mention of it on the company's site on a later check -- and, still later, the beconn.com site seems to have gone away altogether.
The Treo line of cell phones use the Blazer browser to provide Web access.
Read more at:
This browser doesn't actually render the Web in Braille, but it does present a text-based rendering of Web pages in a form suitable to be fed as input to braillers, with line-based navigation for following links.
Read more about it and download it at:
You can find it at:
BrowseX is an open-source, cross-platform browser written in the TCL language. Versions for Unix and Windows are available.
You can get it at:
Info on the Camino project is at: http://chimera.mozdev.org/
Cello was one of a bunch of browsers created by academics in the early, pre-commercial days of the Web, and it was popular for a while. It hasn't been updated since 1994, though, so it is now a historical footnote.
Read about it at:
The Cendis product line from Global Converging Technologies consists of a group of cordless phones and touch screens that can disseminate information throughout your home or business, including Web pages, which can apparently be displayed both on graphical LCD screens and on the tiny text screens of phone receivers. These systems are Windows CE based.
I don't know exactly what sorts of browsers are used on those phone screens, but they might have had trouble displaying Global Converging Technologies' own site, which is designed in a rather accessibility-hostile manner, full of large blocks of text stored as images with little or no ALT text. This seems distressingly common in the sites of firms that are supposedly leading the way to greater Web accessibility via embedded browsers in telephones, palmtop computers, appliances, etc. You'd think those companies would go out of their way to make their own sites in a way that works in the sorts of devices they're promoting, but sometimes I find those sites to be especially bad at accessibility concerns. Anyway, the site doesn't seem to exist any more.
CERN Line-Mode Browser
The CERN line-mode browser was one of the first Web browsers ever created, from the physics research lab that originated the Web. When CERN got out of the "Web business," its further development shifted to the W3 Consortium, so it's sometimes also known as the "W3C Line-Mode Browser," or sometimes simply as "WWW" (its original name, back when it was one of only two browsers in existence, the other one being "WorldWideWeb" for the NEXT computer).
This browser is sometimes still used on systems accessed via text-mode terminals of some public
libraries, at least the ones which haven't upgraded to a more advanced text browser
like Lynx. The version I tried at a library recently was pretty backward; it didn't recognize
many character entities (like
Practically all libraries these days have fully-graphical computers for Web browsing using "mainstream" browsers, so what's the point of using the text-mode terminals anyway? Quite simply, the graphical systems are so popular these days that there are often lines, waiting lists, pre-registration requirements, and time limits on them, while the text terminals, mostly used for accessing the library's card catalog, are open and available. So the text Web access, little-known to the public, can be useful for looking up a quick fact on the Web, at least if the site you're looking for is text-browser-accessible.
At your library, look for a menu item like "Gateway Access" or "Network Access", and find the "World Wide Web" option.
Read about the line mode browser at:
If, by some chance, you're using a VM-CMS mainframe computer, you can browse the Web through its text-mode terminals using the Charlotte browser, a text browser that has some support for tables and frames. It's apparently since been adapted into the commercial product Enterprise View.
You can obtain Charlotte at:
Chimera is a browser for the UNIX-based X-Window system... and it also used to be an unrelated Mozilla-based browser for the Mac OS X system. The latter one changed its name to Camino to remove this confusion.
Info on (Unix-based) Chimera is at: http://www.chimera.org/
Chrome (also known as "Google Chrome") is a browser released by Google on September 2, 2008. It is an open-source browser built on the WebKit engine, which is in turn derived from the KHTML library used by Konqueror. As such, its rendering engine is closely related to that of Apple's Safari browser, and in fact "Safari" appears within its user agent string. Joining the "browser wars" at a time when they were already heated up as a result of competition between MSIE, Firefox, and Safari, Chrome's major innovation is in the use of separate processes for different tabs, windows, and scripts in order to prevent a crash or hang of one of them from dragging down the entire browser, as well as other improvements in memory and process management. Chrome has gone through more rapid development of new major versions than any other browser; as of late 2010, two years after initial release, a version 7.0 of Chrome was already in beta. It is currently (late 2011) the fastest-growing browser in market share, sometimes even coming in first place in usage stats for "techie / geek" oriented sites, in a close race with Firefox, with MSIE third or fourth (contending with Apple's Safari). Firefox eventually imitated Chrome by doing rapid releases and bumping up the version number similarly.
Chrome Plus is a variant of Chrome released independently. It has some additional features such as mouse gestures.
Obtain it at: http://chromeplus.org/
Remember the Commodore 64? Somebody came out with a text-mode Web browser for it, Contiki. It's also been ported to Atari 800 computers, setting a record for the oldest computer that has been able to browse the Web (that model is from 1979).
Read about it at:
CAB is a browser for the Atari ST series of computers. Yes, there are actually still people out there using these, though I haven't heard much about them in years. The ICAB browser for the Mac seems to be a descendant of CAB.
The makers of the commercial version of CAB are at:
Windows users can actually try out this browser, and other Atari software,
through the emulator available at:
CubicEye is a "3-D" browser that presents multiple Web pages arranged like the walls of a room. When I first heard of it, there was a demo version available, but it required a version of Windows that I didn't use at the time. Now there does not seem to be any available demo version downloads in their site.
Find out about it at:
CyberDog is an Internet suite developed by Apple to showcase their OpenDoc system. Some Mac users like it a lot; during the period when deja.com was a product-rating site (at the stage in between when it was the Usenet index DejaNews and the time it got sold to Google and returned to that function as Google Groups), CyberDog was the top-rated browser of all.
Obtain it at: http://www.cyberdog.org/
Deck-It is a WML browser that simulates browsing on a cell phone. It lets you browse both WML sites and normal HTML sites, which are converted into WML on the fly by Deck-It to simulate the HTML-to-WML conversion done by Deck-It's maker, PyWeb, to participating Web sites. Thus, the main purpose of Deck-It is to show webmasters what their sites look like in PyWeb's service and encourage them to join so that cell-phone users can access their sites.
Obtain it at:
Spyglass created this browser especially for embedding in devices such as set-top TV boxes, telephones, etc. Its envisioned uses went beyond the Web to other places where some sort of interactivity is needed without a full-fledged computer, such as pay-per-view program selection in a cable-company converter. However, the Spyglass site doesn't seem to work any more; I'm not sure if the company is still around.
Dillo is a simple, compact open-source browser for Unix platforms, completely written in C.
Read about it at:
DocZilla (formerly MultiDocZilla) is a browser being created using the open-source Mozilla source code by an independent developer, and will support a much wider range of data formats than normal browsers, including full-fledged SGML and 50 different graphic formats.
Read about it at:
Dolphin is an alternative browser for mobile platforms. They've even managed to get the iOS version of it into the iTunes app store, despite Apple's infamous tight control and the fact that it is competing with Apple's own Safari browser. It has support for syncing of data across multiple devices, and webzine browsing.
Read about it at:
DreamPassport is the browser that comes with the Japanese version of the Sega Dreamcast game unit, released in late 1998. However, the much-hyped American release on 9/9/99 used a different browser, from PlanetWeb. I don't know much about the DreamPassport browser.
Read more about the Dreamcast at:
Draconis is an Internet suite for Atari computers, including a Web browser.
Find out about it at:
ELinks is a fork of Links, a text browser for Unix-like systems. ELinks adds support for tabbed browsing, and is currently better-supported than the other text browsers including Links itself.
Its official site is at:
The Emacs text editor has been popular with some users of Unix and some other operating systems for decades (I used it on a DEC-20 mainframe back in the '80s). To be precise, Emacs (short for Editing Macros) actually began in the '70s as a set of command macros for TECO, an even older and highly cryptic editor. Because of this structure, its functionality can be further extended by adding more macros, and somebody has come up with a set of extensions that turns Emacs into a full-fledged text-mode Web browser.
It's got a few problems. When I tried to view the characters & fonts page from this site, it refused to display it because some of the Unicode characters embedded in it weren't to its liking (although they're perfectly legal characters). Refusing to show a page at all if it doesn't like one character in it is rather a bad attitude for a browser to show. Also, Emacs-W3's style of attempting to render table layouts and colors in text mode, in some cases, produces less readable output than Lynx's style of ignoring almost all of this presentationalist stuff.
Information on GNU Emacs (an open-source version of Emacs) is at:
Blind or visually-impaired people may also want to obtain EMACSpeak, to turn it into a speaking browser.
Lineo (formerly Caldera Thin Clients) has created Embrowser as a browser designed to be embedded in products such as TV set-top boxes. I don't see any mention of this product in their site now, but perhaps it has become part of the more comprehensive "Embedix" package.
Their site is at:
Enterprise View is another browser for VM/CMS mainframes with 3270 terminals. It's apparently adapted from Charlotte. The site of the maker, Beyond Software, doesn't seem to be up any more.
The GNOME 2.4 desktop environment comes with a Mozilla-based browser, Epiphany.
More information is at:
Ericsson WAP SDK
This is a software development kit for mobile-phone (WAP) site developers, which includes a WML browser to simulate browsing on a cell phone.
Find out about it at:
Fennec is a mobile version of Firefox under development as of late 2009, with test versions available for the Nokia N810 operating system as well as for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
More information is at:
Firebird was formerly Phoenix, but it changed its name due to a legal conflict. Unfortunately, the new name conflicted with an open-source database project, which caused friction and flame-wars within the open-source developer community. In the short run, the Mozilla organization stuck with the name despite opposition, but made a policy to refer to it as "Mozilla Firebird" to distinguish it from that other Firebird. Then, a few months later, they made another name change, after careful research to ensure that nobody else was using it for anything even remotely similar, and it became Firefox.
Firefox, formerly Firebird, formerly Phoenix, is a browser based on the Gecko rendering engine of the Mozilla project. It was designed from the start to be cleaner and sleeker, without the "cruft" accumulated in the full Mozilla suite; it concentrates solely on Web browsing without other things like mail/news and realtime chatting. Originally it was considered an offshoot of Mozilla, but later on a new Mozilla roadmap called for Firefox to become the flagship browser of the Mozilla project, with a new Mozilla suite possibly to be built in the future by combining Firefox with other modules such as the Thunderbird mail/news program, though no such "new suite" was ever made. The "old" Mozilla suite has had no further releases (other than minor maintenance fixes) after version 1.7, but a new grass-roots group is working on further updates under the new name SeaMonkey, which was the code name of the suite before this. Firefox has long been the most heavily-promoted "product" of the Mozilla organization, and has been promoted in a New York Times ad paid for by contributors, as well as being mentioned in many newspaper and magazine articles. By early 2005, its share of browser usage was approaching 10%, depending on what statistics you used; in some countries usage was even higher, and usage among "techies" tended to be higher than among the general public. By 2009, usage figures were sometimes up to 20%. By 2010, it was common on "techie"-oriented sites for MSIE to come in third place, behind Firefox and Chrome (with Chrome sometimes beating Firefox for the first place spot, though in general-population usage Firefox is by far the leading "alternative" browser). MSIE often shows as less than 50% of the market share of general usage, making its lead only a plurality rather than a majority.
In 2011, Firefox adopted a "rapid release" policy where they released new versions very frequently. This resulted in some criticism for their bumping up the version number by whole numbers for versions that perhaps only deserved a "point release", and in the process broke some add-ons that judged their compatibility by major version number. As the number is approaching 10.0, we'll soon see if the dumb browser-sniffers can cope with this without mistaking it for "1.0" or "0.0", the issue that forced Opera to obfuscate their user-agent string version number.
One thing I don't like about Firefox is its lack of support for the LINK menu bar, something that is present in the Mozilla Suite, and which encourages Web developers to support logical navigation through link elements. You need to install an addon to get this in Firefox.
Read about it at:
Flock is a fork of Firefox, apparently being developed as a commercial project. Its added features are geared towards participation in social networking and picture-sharing sites.
Read about it and download it at:
This speaking browser has voice-recognition capabilities. Based on its user-agent string, it appears to be built on the Mozilla browser engine. To use it, you need an account at the FreedomBox site, but free trials are available.
Information on it is at:
Galeon is a browser based on the Gecko (Mozilla) rendering engine.
Information on it is at:
Ghostzilla is a Mozilla-based browser with the rather unique feature of being designed to run in "stealth mode", to hide the fact that you're surfing the Web. It's intended for use in places where Web surfing is banned or limited (workplaces, schools, parental controls at home, etc.) to enable circumvention of such restrictions with less risk of being caught than with "normal" browsers. It does this by "blending in" to your computer's screen, replacing the window of whatever other application you have open, "muting" all colors to grey and hiding most images unless you mouseover them (thus avoiding a screen look that is obviously a Web page), and going away altogether when you move your mouse away from its window (you bring it back later with a "secret" mouse gesture and are still right where you left off in your surfing).
Whatever you feel about the morality of such software (geeks, teenagers, and other anarchistic types will tend to love it; pointy-haired bosses, parents, politicians, and other control freaks will tend to hate it; the rest of the world will probably be in a muddled, hypocritical middle that denounces such things as dishonest but sometimes resorts to using them themselves to get around a disliked restriction imposed on them), it's an interesting example of the use of the open-source Mozilla code to produce a browser with characteristics designed to cater to a special need.
Get it at:
Gzilla is a compact browser for the X11 windowing system under Unix.
This page was first created 24 Sep 1998, and was last modified 15 Nov 2011.