dwb on Slackware

Being a big fan of lightweight and keyboard driven applications, I have always felt some kind of distrust towards bloated software that relies heavily on mouse clicks. For most tasks, using well configured keyboard shortcuts can be a much more efficient means of interacting with software. It is particularly true of command line software that I use on a daily basis. Since most of my activities involve keyboard driven interaction, it has always felt somewhat inefficient to keep switching between the ‘keyboard’ and ‘mouse’ modes, which is required when using a traditional web browser. It looks like dwb partially solves this nuisance. Edit: I say partially as it does not seem as lightweight as one would wish. As pointed out in the comments, its memory consumption is rather huge for a supposedly lightweight browser. On my system it looks similar to that of Firefox. Still, it is at least worth a try.

What is dwb?

dwb is a highly configurable WebKit web browser. It makes a heavy use of keybindings and employs vi-like modes (normal/insert/hint/command modes). Not only does it provide you with a great number of commands and settings, but also it lets you create custom commands as well as userscripts (via an available javascript API).

Install dwb on Slackware 14

Full Slackware 14 install provides you with most of the required dependencies with the exception of webkitgtk. Once you’ve installed webkitgtk, you can use a SlackBuild script that I have writen to install dwb on Slackware 14. The script (as well as a precompiled package for Slackware64) is available here:

dwb Slackbuild script and package downloads

Please make yourself familiar with dwb documentation before you start using it.

Happy browsing.

2 Responses to dwb on Slackware

  1. You really need a RSS feed for your blog, I always forget to check it manually.

    I used dwb for quite some time, but for now I am back to Firefox/Pentadactyl. I got so used to dwb’s keyboard shortcuts that I had to set up Pentadactyl in a similar way to not go insane. Anyways, dwb is nice, but has some serious downsides that currently prevent me from using it, from the occasional crash over problems with displaying some sites (I don’t know if this is caused by webkitgtk or dwb itself) to enourmous memory consumption (it is weird if you have to kill an allegedly lightweight browser after filling up the RAM and half of the swap-space on a machine with 2GB RAM and 4GB swap). I will try it again maybe in half a year to see what progress it has made, but for now it is not usable for me.
    Do you know if there is some vim-like browser that does not rely on Webkit, but on Mozilla’s Gecko engine? Feels somehow more stable to me.

    • admin

      Hi Tobi.
      Personally I haven’t had any problems with dwb crashing but must agree with you on memory consumption. It is only when you pointed it out that I noticed that on my system dwb memory usage seems comparable with Firefox, which does not make dwb a particularly lightweight web browser (I’ve edited my post above). I’m afraid I don’t know any lightweight Gecko browsers. Thanks for the RSS tip.

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