Monday, February 28, 2011

Dillo2 in FreeBSD; fast but ugly

I had used the superlight Dillo2 browser in Ubuntu and Zenwalk some time ago but never really took a shine to it.
But, one of the great features of FreeBSD is the port system which provides an easy means to compile and install a truly massive range of software.
I installed Dillo2.2 from /usr/ports/www/ and set it up.
One of the first things I did was to download the Dillo png icon from, amazingly, Wikipedia which then gave me a nice icon to include in my AWN dock. BTW, another amazing feature was that I had to chmod +x on the dillo.bin file to make it executable.
Now, this is a very basic browser and if you like lots of eye-candy, you'd better look elsewhere. For example, webpages with frames cannot be handled. So, looks very featureless and even this blog cannot be displayed with the sidepanel on the same page as the text. My bank website looked extremely confused as dropdowns don't seem to be handled well and all options appear right away instead of remaining neatly hidden until required. Notwithstanding these issues, the bank website was still usable.
Before using it, you really need to look through the FAQ, configure your ~/.dillo/dillorc file (search for dillorc in this link) and then enable cookies as explained in the FAQ. Look through the Manual too.
In my case, I set the first active line in ~/.dillo/cookiesrc to DEFAULT ACCEPT meaning that I will accept all cookies.
Now, where Dillo really comes into its own is in speed. From the AWN dock, on clicking the icon it basically opens instantaneously. This is impressively fast.
I actually timed how long it takes to launch all six of the browsers I'm experimenting with in FreeBSD 8.2 RC2 and got the following results (average of 2-3 attempts):
Opera 11.0 = 4.8s, Firefox 3.6=2.3s, Midori 0.3.2=3.2s, Arora 0.11.0=5.1s, Epiphany 2.30.6=2.3s and Dillo 2.2=0.6s

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