While Firefox is currently the default web browser for Ubuntu 16.04, there are many alternative and special-purpose browsers available to install on Linux. If you’re looking for a break from Firefox or need a browser to accomplish a special task, there’s probably an alternative browser out there for you.
Here are 10 alternative browsers that you may find useful or interesting. This is not a comprehensive list of Linux web browsers, just 10 that I found interesting. If you’re using Firefox or Chrome on Ubuntu, you can install these browsers by clicking on the "Install Now" button after each summary.
Chromium or Google Chrome
Since its release in late 2008, Google’s Chrome browser and its open source brother Chromium have quickly become the most popular replacement for Firefox on Ubuntu systems. Chromium is included in the Ubuntu repositories or you can download Chrome directly from Google . Chromium has been considered by Canonical as a replacement for Firefox as the default browser in Ubuntu, but so far, Firefox is holding its ground.
Some unique features of Vivaldi include Quick Commands that let you control the browser with text commands, built-in notes feature with sync, advanced tab management, and mouse gestures.
Vivaldi is not available in the default Ubuntu repositories, but you can download an Ubuntu compatible DEB package from vivaldi.com .
Opera has several unique features like an integrated VPN service, built-in ad blocking, innovative tab cycling, and Opera Turbo for faster page loading. You can download an Ubuntu compatible version directly from opera.com .
Web (formerly Epiphany) is the official web browser of the GNOME desktop. It’s an easy to use Webkit based browser with a simplistic and speedy user interface. In fact, Web is like the granddaddy of simple web browsers, delivering a simple user interface years before Chrome came on the scene. The browser is very performant and polished, offering more features with each release. Web makes a great simple alternative to Firefox and Chrome.
Midori is a cross-platform GTK browser based on Webkit. Midori is very lightweight and fast, but still has a lot of features. Midori is amazingly quick and can be useful for sites like Facebook which tend to slow down Firefox. Users concerned about privacy will be interested to know that Midori features Duck Duck Go as the default search engine, offers built-in ad blocking and good cookie control.
Ubuntu Web Browser
One alternative to Firefox as the default browser is already installed on most 16.04 systems. As part of their move towards mobile and "convergence", Canonical has developed their own slimmed-down browser that works on phones, tablets, and desktops. While Ubuntu Web Browser may lack many features that desktop users are accustomed to, it sometimes comes in handy when you need a second browser session and you need something that launches and renders pages quickly.
Brave is a new entry into the browser market by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich. The main focus of this new browser is a controversial system called Brave Ledger that strips ads and trackers from websites and replaces them with ads sold directly by Brave. Eventually, websites should, theoretically, be able to get paid for the ads Brave shows on their site. While this mostly seems like a convoluted attempt to insert themselves into the online advertising space, some of the technology being used by Brave is quite interesting. It uses Electron , Node.js, and libchromeiumcontent to take advantage of Chromium’s Blink and V8 engines.
While it’s possible that the company’s plan to disrupt online advertising may not work in the long run, it is good to see more innovation in the open source market and more browsers that support Linux. Installation instructions are available on brave.com .
QupZilla is a fast Qt based browser that is available for pretty much every operating system. QupZilla uses QtWebEngine, a new web engine based on Chromium. It features a reasonably simple interface that will seem familiar to new users. The browser is packed with options, but really offers nothing new or unique when compared to Firefox or Chromium.
Russian search and online services giant Yandex have released their Yandex Browser for Linux and it runs quite well on Ubuntu systems. Yandex Browser is based on Chromium but replaces Google services like search, sync, and security checks with Yandex services and virus scanning with Kaspersky antivirus. The browser also has nicely integrated translation features using Lingvo translation engine. Recently, Yandex Browser started offering Opera Turbo to speed up websites on slow connections.
While Yandex Browser mostly offers advantages for those living in Russia, it is good to see that they, and many others who are basing their browsers off of Chromium, are supporting Linux.
Even more alternatives
Here are even more browsers you might want to check out for use on Ubuntu!
What is your favorite Linux web browser? Leave your comments below!