A Little Look At Dillo

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We discussed web browsers the other day, so in keeping with that topic, let’s talk about a browser you may not have heard of: Dillo. Is Dillo for you? Let’s look at its unique features and see if it is an option worth considering. Dillo

What Is Dillo?

Dillow is a web browser coded entirely in C using the GTK+ GUI toolkit, first released by Jorge Arellano Cid in 1999 and based on an earlier web browser, Armadillo. The same developer, Cid, runs the show today as he did back in ’99, and the project is funded by donations. There were attempts to receive corporate sponsors and grants, but to no avail.

Funding became a huge issue for the project, leading to it coming to a complete standstill in 2007. However, in 2008 they tried again, and received a nice donation of €115 from DistroWatch, a website bringing information on open-source Unix-style OS like MINIX and OpenSolaris as well as different Linux distributions.

Why Was Dillo Created?

This is one lightweight little browser! Just how lightweight? Their website boasts it is a meager 300KB in size! That’s pretty small.

Dillo was created with speed in mind. It is simple, and therefore, fast. According to Dillo’s website: “We’re developing a web browser that allows the user fast, secure and efficient access to the wide information spectrum of the Internet, keeping the hardware requirements to a minimum.”

In fact, Dillo is such a highly efficient browser, they boast all you need is a 486 PC and telephone line to receive a fast Internet connection. Hard to imagine in today’s world of broadband. In 2003, two people demonstrated the validity of this claim, rendering a web page on a 486 in a mere 10-15 seconds!

What Other Features Does Dillo Offer?

Like other browsers, Dillow offers tabbed browsing, JPEG/PNG/GIF support, bookmarks, and customizable fonts and colors.

Because of privacy concerns, the browser disables cookies by default, although they are supported. There is a tool called the “bug meter,” displayed in the lower-right corner, which shows any validation problems Dillo ran into on the web page it’s displaying.

What Platform Can Use Dillo?

Dillo will run on numerous platforms such as Linux, Solaris, BSD, Mac OS X, and certain handheld devices. Older versions of Dillo will run on Windows, but Cid has said that Windows goes against one of their objectives: “the democratization of Internet information access.” He stated in an interview that Windows “artificially raises the hardware requirements. If someone uses that platform, he will have to renew his computer periodically (to do the same things he was doing before), and also pay a new license every time there’s an ‘upgrade.’”

What Doesn’t Dillo Support?

If your Linux hosting website runs Java or Flash, those using Dillo will not be able to view those components. Dillo will not support right-to-left text, JavaScript, Java, complex text layout, or Flash.

Also, when it comes to frames, things get a little clumsy. Dillow represents each frame with a link to the content, essentially showing you only one frame at a time. An HTTPS plug-in is in the works.

Is Dillo For Me?

If you are looking to view information in an instant and aren’t running on Windows, yes! It’s speed in bringing a web page to your computer screen to you is unmatched, and it is highly stable.

If, however, you tend to visit big web pages with lots of frames, Flash or Java components, basically any complex web page, you should look elsewhere. You aren’t seeing these web pages as they were meant to be seen.

That said, it’s still a nice little browser to have when you need immediate access to information on a website that isn’t graphically cluttered. Does anyone have just one browser anymore? I, myself, have three!

With only a less-than-one-hundredth-of-one-percent usage share, it certainly isn’t something you need to worry about when designing your web page with your Linux hosting provider.

Have you ever used Dillo? What did you think of it?