Last Updated on: 17th November 2023, 07:44 pm

Web site:
Category: Network
Subcategory: Web browsers
Platform: AmigaOS, Atari TOS, BeOS, BSD, Haiku, Linux, OS X, RISC OS, UNIX-like, Windows
License: GPL
Interface: GUI
First release: May 19, 2007

NetSurf – a small, fast, free, open source, multi-platform web browser for RISC OS, UNIX-like platforms (including Linux), Mac OS X, and more. It is written in C and released under the GNU Public Licence version 2. NetSurf has its own layout and rendering engine entirely written from scratch. It is small and capable of handling many of the web standards in use today.

NetSurf’s multi-platform core is written in ANSI C, and implements most of the HTML 4 and CSS 2.1 specifications using its own bespoke layout engine. As of version 2.0, NetSurf uses Hubbub, an HTML parser that follows the HTML5 specification. As well as rendering GIF, JPEG, PNG and BMP images, the browser also supports formats native to RISC OS, including Sprite, Draw and ArtWorks files.

The NetSurf project was started in April 2002 in response to a discussion of the deficiencies of the RISC OS browsers that were available at the time. NetSurf has been developed continuously ever since. The latest features and bug fixes have always been available immediately to users through the project’s autobuilder. NetSurf had become the most widely used browser on RISC OS well before NetSurf’s first release, version 1.0, on 17th May 2007. Development builds have continued to be more widely used than release versions by RISC OS users.

A GTK port was started in June 2004, which runs on Unix-like platforms. Initially this port was created in order to aid the development and testing of the RISC OS version. Over time, the GTK port has become a fully fledged part of the project and cemented NetSurf’s commitment to portability.

The RISC OS front end is suitable for RISC OS 4 and greater. The AmigaOS front end is suitable for AmigaOS 4. The BeOS front end works on BeOS, Zeta and Haiku. The Mac OS X port requires at least version 10.5. NetSurf’s GTK front end works on Unix-like systems, including Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Solaris and others. There are no native Windows or MacOS X ports of NetSurf at the moment, however the GTK front end can be built for those platforms.

NetSurf’s framebuffer front end has no particular operating system or GUI toolkit requirements. Its mouse pointer, all its widgets etc, are drawn though NetSurf’s internal plotters, the same rendering interface used to draw web pages. This makes the framebuffer front end highly portable.

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