Building Xombrero From Source

I recently came across xombrero in my search for a browser that is lighter than firefox yet still has the core security/safety features expected in a decent browser (namely solid javascript, plugin (java/flash), and cookie handling). 

From the xombrero wiki:
"xombrero is a minimalist web browser with sophisticated security features designed-in, rather than through an add-on after-the-fact. In particular, it provides both persistent and per-session controls for scripts and cookies, making it easy to thwart tracking and scripting attacks.
In additional to providing a familiar mouse-based interface like other web browsers, it offers a set of vi-like keyboard commands for users who prefer to keep their hands on their keyboard."
I have used firefox for years, primarily due to no-script and familiarity. Firefox either did all I needed or there seemed to be a plugin for everything I needed to do. I fought the usual firefox battle of memory leaks and broken/abandon plugins. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was ultimately memory. I tend to have 3 or 4 browsers open with anywhere between 3 and 30 tabs in each browser. This yielded firefox using well over 1gb of memory which just didn't sit right with me. 
I've tried numerous other browsers but the lack of noscript-like functionality kept me tied to firefox. Oddly enough, xombrero seemed to be a solid alternative from the start. Within 1-2 weeks of an easy transition to xombrero I found that I dreaded the infrequent need to open firefox for old bookmarks/functionality.

Missing Features

There are two primary features I needed that xombrero lacked:
  • a password manager
  • the ability to open a search (from the search box) in a new tab

After a little research, I found that the password manager was a frequent request to the xombrero dev team. The reason it does not have one is that it is difficult (time consuming) to do it right and you are welcome to fork/push a suggestion. As for the second feature, it seemed simple enough so I implemented it myself with a bit of help from the main developer. My enhancement has been accepted/pushed up to the site's github source site so if you would like this feature you will currently have to build from their source or my fork.

To Build From My Fork

Note: my enhancement is in the "OpenSearchResultInNewTab" branch. 

  • Checkout Source
    • head:  git clone
    • branch:  git clone -b OpenSearchResultInNewTab
  • Setup Build Environment
    • note: I needed to install the following dependencies before xombrero would build:
      • libbsd-dev libgnutls-dev libgtk2.0-dev libwebkitgtk-dev
      • another note: as of 2014-09-29 you need to install libgnutls28-dev as libgnutls-dev has issues with libgcrypt11-dev

  • Install
    • note: xombrero is set to build in a GTK 3 environment which I do not use; therefore I needed to specify GTK 2 prior to building with:
      • export GTK_VERSION=gtk2;
    • make
    • sudo make install

To Use The Open Search In New Tab

Its relatively straightforward:

  • Open xombrero
  • Hit F7 to go to the Search box
  • Type in something you wish to search for
  • Press Ctrl+Enter
    • note: pressing only Enter will open your search results in the current window


xombrero is a great browser, light, secure, and works in all the ways I prefer to work (keyboard/config driven). It has quickly become my default browser and one of the first things I set up on a computer.

Feel free to submit requests for new features to my github or the original developers if you find something xombrero is lacking.

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