Uzbl Web Browser

Uzbl is a free and open source minimalist web browser designed for simplicity and adherence to the Unix philosophy. Development started in early 2009 and is still considered in alpha software by the developers. The core component of uzbl is developed in C but other languages are also used, most notably Python. All parts of the uzbl project are released as free software under the GNU GPL version 3. The name comes from the word usable, that is spelled in lolspeak. Despite being in early stages of development, Uzbl has already gained prominence as one of the best minimalist browsers.

Uzbl follows the Unix philosophy, As a result, Uzbl does not contain many of the features of other browsers. Uzbl has none of its own toolbars or widgets, and does not manage bookmarks, history, downloads, or cookies, leaving them to be handled by external programs or scripts like uzbl_tabbed for tabbed browsing support. For interaction with the program it can read input from standard input (FIFO pipe) or from POSIX local IPC sockets or it can be passed text files as it happens with the configuration file. This design is considered a benefit and not a drawback, allowing for more customization.

Development of Uzbl is still in the alpha stage. Uzbl is written and designed for Arch Linux, but can be compiled for other GNU/Linux distributions. Compilation guides are available for Gentoo Linux, Ubuntu, PLD Linux, MacPorts, and Nix package manager.
he idea for a new webbrowser appeared in spring 2009 on the internet forums of Arch Linux because there was no browser to be found whose design strictly adheres to the Unix philosophy. Dieter Plaetinck consequently started development and soon was supported by other developers from a very active community. The first code was published on April 21, 2009. After only two months of development the product was in a usable state. Besides compilation guides for a series of Linux distributions and Mac OS X/Darwin (MacPorts) there are also several precompiled binary packages available, although officially there is no version marked as stable yet. On September 21, 2009 Uzbl has been accepted into the Debian operating system and was migrated to its testing branch on October 2, 2009.


Uzbl uses the WebKit layout engine, and therefore inherits support for many web standards, including HTML, XML, XPath, CSS, ECMAScript (JavaScript), DOM, and SVG, passing the Acid3 browser test. Webkit supports Netscape-style plugins such as Adobe Flash Player and MPlayer. Numbered links feature enabled for keyboard navigation

Uzbl’s design focuses on keyboard control and hotkeys, although Uzbl supports mouse and other pointing device input. Like the pentadactyl and vimperator Firefox extensions, Uzbl employs a mode-based interface derived from the vi and Vim text editors. Rather than move the cursor to an address bar or a link, a user presses a hotkey to switch to “command” mode. From this mode she may: select links in the viewport through assigned keys (0 through 9 by default) or through typing an unambiguous string of the link text; navigate to another web page by typing its URL; modify settings; and perform other normal web-browsing tasks. While this mode-based interface creates an initially-steep learning curve, once learned it typically allows a user greater speed and convenience than many other browsers. Uzbl allows configuration of the hotkeys used.

Please visit Official Uzbl Web Browser Page for more information.

One thought on “Uzbl Web Browser

  1. Uzbl is an application, built with the C programming language on the WebKit rendering engine and basic Web browser development tools. The core application does little more than give WebKit a canvas on which to paint a page. Additional capabilities are provided by additional, separate programs, most of which are Python scripts. One script that is included in the standard distribution of it is called uzbl-browser, and it ties some tools together to provide a more complete browser experience. Another, called uzbl-tabbed, uses Python bindings for GTK to offer a tabbed version of a uzbl browser.

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