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The 'links' text browser and why you might want it Apps
links screenshot

Although 99%of the world browses websites with some version of a graphical client, there can be times when it could be useful to have command-line access to a website.

Imagine a scenario where your home machine uses DSL or a cable modem, and is "net-connected" 24 hours a day. You're at the office one day, and notice a site that has a file you want to download, but it's only available via a web browser. If you've enabled remote connectivity to your home box (via telnet or SSH), you could connect to home, launch a text-based browser, and start the file download on the home machine. There are also command-line utilites that can do this for you (cURL is one of them; there's an OS X version here), but the text-browser is also useful as a, well, browser!

links is an excellent text-based browser that works very well in OS X. The small screenshot at the top of this article is of links displaying this site; here's the full-size screenshot. Read the rest of this article if you'd like instructions on downloading and installing links for OS X. You could also use lynx, another text browser; search this site on 'lynx' for more info.

The difficult way to install links is to download the source from the home page and compile it. Luckily, a macosxhints reader has already done that, making the process much simpler. Here are the required steps:
  1. Download the links program from macosxhints' anonymous FTP site. The filename is links.tar.gz, and it's about 474K in size. If anyone knows of another spot where this can be found on the web, please let me know and I'll add a link.

  2. Unpack the tar file, preferably with OpenUp.

  3. This will create a links_0 folder, inside of which is the links application.

  4. Open a terminal session, and become the root user by typing su and your password.

  5. Assuming you used OpenUp, the file will be located in your Library/OpenUp directory. We need to put it in /usr/local/bin so that it will be easily usable. Type the following:
    mv /Users/username/Library/OpenUp/links /usr/local/bin/
    NOTE If you do not have a /usr/local/bin directory, create it first. As root, type 'cd /usr/local' then 'mkdir bin'.

    If you didn't use OpenUp, then change the first part of the path to reflect the location of the application.

  6. Next, we'll set the owner and group for the application:
    cd /usr/local/bin
    chown root:wheel links
  7. Exit your root session by typing exit.
That's it for the installation. To make it functional, you can either just close and relaunch a terminal session, or type source /usr/local/bin at the command line. Once the program starts up, hit the escape key for the menu, and it's very self-explanatory from there. 
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The 'links' text browser and why you might want it | 5 comments | Create New Account
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Links download location
Authored by: _merlin on Jan 30, '01 05:45:03AM

I've posted a copy of the latest links binary (version 0.95 without SSL, configured for Darwin PPC, fully compatible with Mac OS X) on one of my websites - It's about 516kB of gzipped tarball. It has a read me file that tells you how to deal with its contents. Install/uninstall scripts are included. All the scripts use tcsh, the default shell. No need to get bash.

I strongly recommend reading the read me file and using the scripts for installation. One thing I forgot to mention in the read me file is that you may have problems, such as the cursor not being displayed (very annoying in forms) if you don't disable colour in the terminal options, then save your save your options. If you have any queries, please e-mail them to me.

Vasantha Crabb
Professional Audio Services

[ Reply to This | # ]
Oh yea, the keyboard!
Authored by: robg on Jan 31, '01 12:40:35AM

Having now had a couple days of time to play with the newest version, I'd forgotten how nice it can be to not ever have to use the mouse while browsing. Sometimes, simpler is nicer!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Links preferences editing?
Authored by: giaguara on Dec 05, '02 12:14:43AM

according to a browser that i tried with links / terminal thing i was using NETSCAPE and then links 0.96 on unix.

how can i fix my shown identity to be seen links (links / unix) or custom ??

i didn't find that on the instructions.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Links colors
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 15, '01 09:08:17PM

I compiled the source myself using ./configure, make, and make install. Everything seems to work ok, except when I turn on colors using Setup->Terminal Options. The colors that are displayed do not look like any of the screenshots of Links that I have seen. I have a black background, with text and links in white. The links are highlighted with a yellow block, which make the links almost unreadable. Is there any way to change the colors? The colors in my are the default set.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Links colors
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 16, '01 05:19:58AM

Duh! I assumed everyone was changing colors through Links itself. You can just change your colors to get the same effect.


[ Reply to This | # ]