6.2 Browsers

FreeBSD does not come with a particular browser pre-installed. Instead, the www directory of the Ports Collection contains a lot of browsers ready to be installed. If you do not have time to compile everything (this can take a very long time in some cases) many of them are available as packages.

KDE and GNOME already provide HTML browsers. Please refer to Section 5.7 for more information on how to set up these complete desktops.

If you are looking for light-weight browsers, you should investigate the Ports Collection for www/dillo, www/links, or www/w3m.

This section covers these applications:

Application Name Resources Needed Installation from Ports Major Dependencies
Mozilla heavy heavy Gtk+
Opera light light FreeBSD and Linux versions available. The Linux version depends on the Linux Binary Compatibility and linux-openmotif.
Firefox medium heavy Gtk+
Konqueror medium heavy KDE Libraries

6.2.1 Mozilla

Mozilla is a modern, stable browser that is fully ported to FreeBSD: it features a very standards-compliant HTML display engine; it provides a mail and news reader. It even has a HTML composer if you plan to write some web pages yourself. Users of Netscape® will recognize the similarities with the Communicator suite, as both browsers share some development history.

On slow machines, with a CPU speed less than 233MHz or with less than 64MB of RAM, Mozilla can be too resource-demanding to be fully usable. You may want to look at the Opera browser instead, described a little later in this chapter.

If you cannot or do not want to compile Mozilla, for whatever reason, the FreeBSD GNOME team has already done this for you. Just install the package from the network by:

# pkg_add -r mozilla

If the package is not available, and you have enough time and disk space, you can get the source for Mozilla, compile it and install it on your system. This is accomplished by:

# cd /usr/ports/www/mozilla
# make install clean

The Mozilla port ensures a correct initialization by running the chrome registry setup with root privileges. However, if you want to fetch some add-ons like mouse gestures, you must run Mozilla as root to get them properly installed.

Once you have completed the installation of Mozilla, you do not need to be root any longer. You can start Mozilla as a browser by typing:

% mozilla

You can start it directly as a mail and news reader as shown below:

% mozilla -mail

6.2.2 Firefox

Firefox is the next-generation browser based on the Mozilla codebase. Mozilla is a complete suite of applications, such as a browser, a mail client, a chat client and much more. Firefox is just a browser, which makes it smaller and faster.

Install the package by typing:

# pkg_add -r firefox

You can also use the Ports Collection if you prefer to compile from source code:

# cd /usr/ports/www/firefox
# make install clean

6.2.3 Firefox, Mozilla and Java™ plugin

Note: In this section and in the next one, we assume you have already installed Firefox or Mozilla.

The FreeBSD Foundation has a license with Sun Microsystems to distribute FreeBSD binaries for the Java Runtime Environment (JRE™) and Java Development Kit (JDK™). Binary packages for FreeBSD are available on the FreeBSD Foundation web site.

To add Java™ support to Firefox or Mozilla, you first have to install the java/javavmwrapper port. Then, download the Diablo JRE package from http://www.freebsdfoundation.org/downloads/java.shtml, and install it with pkg_add(1).

Start your browser, enter about:plugins in the location bar and press Enter. A page listing the installed plugins will be displayed; the Java plugin should be listed there now. If it is not, as root, run the following command:

# ln -s /usr/local/diablo-jre1.5.0/plugin/i386/ns7/libjavaplugin_oji.so \

then relaunch your browser.

6.2.4 Firefox, Mozilla and Macromedia® Flash™ plugin

Macromedia® Flash™ plugin is not available for FreeBSD. However, a software layer (wrapper) for running the Linux version of the plugin exists. This wrapper also supports Adobe® Acrobat® plugin, RealPlayer® plugin and more.

Install the www/linuxpluginwrapper port. This port requires emulators/linux_base which is a large port. Follow the instructions displayed by the port to set up your /etc/libmap.conf correctly! Example configurations are installed into /usr/local/share/examples/linuxpluginwrapper/ directory.

The next step is to install the www/linux-flashplugin7 port. Once the plugin is installed, start your browser, enter about:plugins in the location bar and press Enter. A list should appear with all the currently available plugins.

If the Flash plugin is not listed, this is, most of time, caused by a missing symlink. As root, run the following commands:

# ln -s /usr/local/lib/npapi/linux-flashplugin/libflashplayer.so \
# ln -s /usr/local/lib/npapi/linux-flashplugin/flashplayer.xpt \

If you restart your browser the plugin should now appears in the previously mentioned list.

Note: The linuxpluginwrapper only works on the i386™ system architecture.

6.2.5 Opera

Opera is a full-featured and standards-compliant browser. It also comes with a built-in mail and news reader, an IRC client, an RSS/Atom feeds reader and much more. Despite this, Opera is relatively lightweight and very fast. It comes in two flavors: a “native” FreeBSD version and a version that runs under Linux emulation.

To browse the Web with the FreeBSD version of Opera, install the package:

# pkg_add -r opera

Some FTP sites do not have all the packages, but Opera can still be obtained through the Ports Collection by typing:

# cd /usr/ports/www/opera
# make install clean

To install the Linux version of Opera, substitute linux-opera in place of opera in the examples above. The Linux version is useful in situations requiring the use of plug-ins that are only available for Linux, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader®. In all other respects, the FreeBSD and Linux versions should be functionally identical.

6.2.6 Konqueror

Konqueror is part of KDE but it can also be used outside of KDE by installing x11/kdebase3. Konqueror is much more than a browser, it is also a file manager and a multimedia viewer.

There is also a set of plugins available for Konqueror, available in misc/konq-plugins.

Konqueror also supports Flash; a “How To” guide for getting Flash support on Konqueror is available at http://freebsd.kde.org/howto.php.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <questions@FreeBSD.org>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <doc@FreeBSD.org>.