Dillo browses the Web's slowest corners with ease | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Dillo browses the Web's slowest corners with ease

Dial-up? Old PC? Obsolete Windows? Weird system? Dillo is your browser.

Dillo is a fast, free, cross-platform Web browser with a mission to democratize the Internet. To that end, it can run on just about any PC, including any still running Windows 95 (yes, 95, "because we can") and it doesn't support Java or plug-ins by design, to keep it small, fast, and secure. For dial-up connections, older computers, legacy systems, malware recovery kits, and similar uses, it's just about the only choice in an up-to-date browser. But Dillo serves well in the role.

Dillo is portable and so small it fits on a floppy disk, yet it opens and loads very quickly. Dillo is hardly a throwback; it has a clean, up-to-date interface that supports tabbed browsing and HTTPS, though it doesn't offer SLL certificate validation. Most of the time, Dillo's less-is-more approach works fine, though of course most of the Web sites you're familiar with will probably look a bit different. Things like animated banners, crawls, and automatically refreshing displays are absent, as is most advertising. But Dillo reproduces images, links, fonts, and other Web content normally, more or less, depending on the site, how it was rendered, and other factors. It provides the essentials and doesn't fail in its mission to make online information freely and widely available. Dillo's preferences include the ability to choose fonts, load or not load various content, choose a search engine, and configure proxies and other network settings.

Obviously, Dillo isn't the best browser to use as a daily driver, especially for broadband connections. Old ways linger in many corners of the Internet, though: dial-up connections on Victorian telephone lines, obsolete machines running ancient copies of Windows, legacy systems...that it works at all validates the Internet's original goal, surviving nuclear war. We're glad Dillo can handle all that, even if we're also glad we don't need it.

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