Web Browser Basics
In order to access files on the World-Wide Web (WWW), you need to use a web browser. A web browser will enable you to access files specifically written for the WWW (in HTML format) but it can also allow you to access files via anonymous ftp and other formats. Graphical browsers like Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome also let you view images that are part of web pages and can launch other applications (or view internally via plug-ins) to view PDF files, PostScript files, VRML files, unsupported image file formats and animations as well as doing other things like viewing audiovisual files. Using a text browser like lynx, you can access all the files which a graphical browser can but you can not display anything but the text.
Highlights: The primary browsers used are Firefox from the Mozilla Foundation, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome. If your machine or login method only supports text, you can use lynx, written at the University of Kansas.
Availability and Setup
For security and safety reasons, we currently recommend the Firefox browser from the Mozilla Foundation.
Graphical Users: Log in to the machine you wish to run the browser from and set your DISPLAY environment variable and, if necessary, use xhost to allow the machine you will be running the browser on to display graphics on your terminal. Now, type firefox to run Firebox. This should bring up a large window on your screen. You will be logged in to whatever default page the browser is set to bring you to. You can follow hypertext links by clicking on the link. Useful functions are OPEN WEB LOCATION to go to a specific Web document (File Menu->Open Location in Firefox), GO BACK to the document you came from (Back arrow in Toolbar in Firefox) and QUIT (File Menu->Exit in Firefox). Play around by clicking on links and buttons and trying out the other menu options.
Using any web browser, you will be brought to some default starting page by the browser every time you start it up. In each browser, there is a way to change this default starting location. However, an even simpler way to go where you want right at the start is to run any of the browsers with a given URL as an argument. For example, typing firefox http://www.bu.edu/tech/about/research/scv/ or lynx http://www.bu.edu/tech/about/research/scv/ as appropriate would start you out at the Scientific Computing and Visualization Home Page rather than the browser’s default starting page.
Help on Firefox: See the Firefox home page.
Document Name: browsers
Author/Maintainer: Aaron D. Fuegi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Executable: /usr/bin/firefox, /usr/bin/lynx
Keywords: www, browsers, explorer, mozilla, firefox, safari, lynx, web
Machines List: Katana Cluster
Created August 1, 1995; Last Revised April 6, 2006; Last Modified June 2, 2009
URL of this document: http://www.bu.edu/tech/about/research/training/scv-software-packages/browsers/
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