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Web Browser Alternatives

The Linux/Unix platforms support most major alternative Web browsers, all of which are worth getting to know. Options for BeOS are somewhat more limited. All the worthwhile varieties that I've tried myself are documented in the following list:

  • Amaya: The World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) own browser is available for free download through www.w3.org/Amaya. Amaya supports Sparc/Solaris, AIX, OSF1, and multiple Windows versions as well, but not BeOS.

  • Opera: The Norwegian outfit that builds this fast, small, capable Web browser includes Håkon Wium Lie, a founding father of the Web from CERN, among its management team. Opera supports BeOS, Linux/Solaris, Macintosh, OS/2, QNX (a real-time variant of Unix), Symbian OS (a hand-held, wireless device OS), and numerous flavors of Windows. Visit www.opera.com for downloads and upgrades; register copies of this software for no more than $39 per copy, with all kinds of discounts available.

  • Netscape Navigator: The first big commercial Web browser may now play second fiddle to Internet Explorer in the numbers game, but it remains a serious contender in the browser field. Netscape works with multiple Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems. See home.netscape.com/browsers/6/sysreq.html for more information.

All of these browsers are reasonable alternatives for Linux, but only Opera works on BeOS at present. Surprisingly, these browsers lag behind IE in XML support in some ways, particularly where ease of integrating parsing and style-sheet driven display of native XML documents is concerned. In practical terms, since it's unsafe for developers to assume much native support for XML documents on the Web anyway, this limitation will affect primarily XML developers rather than ordinary users.

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