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I have set up a machine with Ubuntu Server. Some of the server software I want to run on it has web based user interfaces for setting it up et cetera. I know I could connect to it from a different machine which has a graphical user interface, but in this case I would rather do it on the box.

So, from a fresh Ubuntu Server installation, what is the minimum I need to install to be able to launch a web browser I can use for this? For example chromium, firefox or arora.

share|improve this question
This may depend on what the interfaces require. Are they straight html, or do they have AJAX, flash, etc.? I'm assuming elinks is not what you're looking for either. – belacqua Feb 4 '11 at 8:49
They might have AJAX at least. Not sure about flash. – Svish Feb 4 '11 at 9:47
Why the assumption that you need a "light" web browser? X will be the heavy portion of the installation so firefox/chrome/chromium will be just fine. Why is X not on servers? I think because of security reasons and the expectation that there will be no head. – msw Feb 4 '11 at 11:01
@msw: Well, bad wording. I was thinking of firefox or chromium. What I am asking is what the minimum is I need to get one of those up and running. – Svish Feb 4 '11 at 13:04
@msw -- It is nice to have fewer packages installed, fewer things to upgrade, and as you said, fewer pieces on the system with a need for security auditing. That and you don't want to suck resources away from whatever the server is 'really' supposed to be doing. – belacqua Feb 4 '11 at 18:43

The lightest (and least-functional) browser I can find is links2 .

You can run it in graphics mode with the -g flag, like this:

 links2 -g http://localhost:9090

One of the lighter browsers with modern features I've used is arora .

Here are the listed dependencies from sudo apt-cache show arora :

Depends: libc6 (>= 2.2.5), libgcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1), libqt4-dbus (>= 4:4.5.3), libqt4-network (>= 4:4.5.3), libqt4-script (>= 4:4.5.3), libqt4-sql (>= 4:4.5.3), libqtcore4 (>= 4:4.7.0~beta1), libqtgui4 (>= 4:4.6.1), libqtwebkit4 (>= 2.0~week26), libstdc++6 (>= 4.1.1)

It should work for what I expect would be normal browser-based control panel stuff.

Here's what actually would be installed (taken from my 10.04 server) :

sudo apt-get install --simulate arora


The following NEW packages will be installed:
  arora libaudio2 libmng1 libphonon4 libqt4-dbus libqt4-designer
  libqt4-network libqt4-script libqt4-sql libqt4-sql-mysql libqt4-webkit
  libqt4-xml libqt4-xmlpatterns libqtcore4 libqtgui4
0 upgraded, 15 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Inst libaudio2 (1.9.2-3 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid)
Inst libmng1 (1.0.9-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid)
Inst libqtcore4 (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-xml (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-dbus (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-script (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqtgui4 (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-designer (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libphonon4 (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-network (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-sql (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-sql-mysql (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-xmlpatterns (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst libqt4-webkit (4:4.6.2-0ubuntu5.1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid-updates)
Inst arora (0.10.2-0ubuntu1 Ubuntu:10.04/lucid)

Other options

Although I have tried very few of these, a nice list (with brief descriptions) of light browsers is here:
The front page of the site also has this very nice admonition, in line with the idea of light web browsers:

Note: You have activated ECMA-Script (JavaScript). This web site does not use active contents and encourages you to deactivate ECMA-Script. Good web design does not require any active content [...]

Some of the ones I tried weren't happy with a 64-bit environment.

dillo used to be the way to go for a very light browser, but I had stopped using it do to lack of packaging and general rudimentary functionality.

Fennec is another slightly weirder possibility -- it's the mozilla mobile broswer. Very light, but it expects a tiny screen. It is in the repos.

share|improve this answer
Would I still be able to run it without installing gnome or kde or something like that? – Svish Feb 4 '11 at 9:48
As far as I tell, there are no gnome or kde dependencies. – belacqua Feb 4 '11 at 10:30
+1 for Arora - it's one of the lighter browsers available, and should have things like Javascript support that some admin sections will require. – Windigo Feb 4 '11 at 12:57
I tried to run arora after having done sudo apt-get install arora. I get the following error: "cannot connect to X server" – Svish Feb 4 '11 at 13:05

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