Linux Lightweight Browser Comparison

  • Performed: 2014-03-27

Results

browser comparison: pageload, rss, and total memory

Raw Data

      P1   P2   P3   P4          
Browser MI TtL P1 MPT P1 MPR P1 TtL P2 MPT P2 MPR P2 TtL P3 MPT P3 MPR P3 TtL P4 MPT P4 MPR P4 TtL Avg MPT Avg MPR Avg Notes
luakit 4 0.5 1,886,728 34,280 4.55 2,621,632 123,836 2.4 2,112,576 69,814 2.27 2,377,148 37,938 2.43 2,249,521 66,467 very fast startup; not sure why but my instance of this is a LOT slower!
midori 4 0.5 2,031,720 38,784 4.3 2,737,324 104,470 2.2 2,145,772 74,064 2.24 2,590,920 42,508 2.31 2,376,434 64,957 very fast; slight lag in startup
xxxterm 4 0.1 1,992,176 35,112 3.64 2,704,401 105,132 1.7 2,104,998 69,060 1.22 2,220,904 39,100 1.665 2,255,620 62,101 for min: -STt; very fast startup
dwb 3 0.5 1,906,232 40,616 3.8 2,595,912 99,116 2.11 2,127,668 72,354 1.69 2,330,436 44,068 2.025 2,240,062 64,039 start with: -nR; fast startup (maybe slightly slower than xxxterm); I think we can get MI to 4 with some stylesheet work
qupzilla 3 1.96 1,864,072 99,648 3.96 2,135,780 153,146 3.09 2,000,276 128,256 2 1,947,785 103,213 2.7525 1,986,978 121,066 not a bad browser; cant get rid of nav bar or menu bar (one must be showing)
firefox 2 1.45 780,244 121,092 7.37 867,496 157,501 2.61 819,532 140,065 2.5 809,828 122,653 3.4825 819,275 135,328 start with: -P tester (this is a new/clean profile with no mods); slow startup; can't get rid of tab bar and nav bar (in nightly anyway)
arora 3 10.34 2,145,324 463,512 20.4 2,350,557 508,921 11.31 2,170,976 490,092 10.24 2,303,132 467,537 13.0725 2,242,497 482,516 startup is very slow; seems no way to get rid of Menu bar

Caveats

  • No consideration given to flash
  • No consideration given to install/disk space
  • No consideration given to chrome/chromium
  • Must be a graphical (non-text) browser
  • Must support javascript

Legend

  • TtL P#: Time to Load Page # (where # is the corresponding page from the pages list) is the time it takes from execution until the page is up and all applicable data on the screen
  • MI: Minimal Interface is the ability to show only content and little or no chrome of the browser. This ability is scored as follows:
    • 1: cannot - cannot minimize interface and/or interface is not minimal
    • 2: some - can minimize some but not all/most
    • 3: most - can minimize most but not all
    • 4: all - completely minimize all chrome
  • MPT P#: MemoryProfile using pmap (total memory)
  • MPR P#: MemoryProfile using ps (RSS - 'used' memory)

Page List

Notes

  • Firefox is not exactly a light browser but it has been included for comparison purposes

Other Browsers

Other browsers worth mentioning but do not fit my requirements:

  • dillo: a great browser, very fast, but no javascript
  • netsurf: interesting and fast browser
  • w3m: fast text-based browser (probably already installed on your system)

Findings

luakit, midori, and xxxterm are all comparable with dwb in the same realm but it appears to take a bit of work to get it to a minimal interface like the other three. Qupzilla is not bad as it offers some improvement in memory usage over firefox; however, arora is a bit of a waste at this point in time.

While the top three (luakit, midori, or xxxterm) are all capable of making a nice 'webapp' launcher, I would recommend xxxterm as it is enough quicker to launch to make it worthwhile.