dillo: a super fast web browser

January 30th, 2008 edited by Tincho

Article submitted by Kam Salisbury. Guess what? We still need you to submit good articles about software you like!

Dillo is a extremely stable, fast and light web browser. Based on GTK+, you can install Dillo from apt-get or snyaptic for just about any hardware platform and window manager supported by Debian or Ubuntu. Dillo is written entirely in C for speed and compatibility and is best for tasks where being fast and frugal on memory are the highest priorities. Perfect for large image archive displays!

Dillo showing

Dillo does not support several web protocols which helps it run faster. For example, standards compliant HTML content will be rendered correctly but do not expect the CSS, DHTML or Javascript to work correctly or at all.

Nevertheless, the version found in Debian already includes some patches that improve Dillo giving it support for: different encodings, anti-aliased fonts, frames, tabs, SSL and miscellaneous improvements. See this page for details.

A recent addition to the package, bugmeter displays the amount of HTML errors of the web page being viewed.

The project is currently looking for new developers, if interested please review the contact information at

Dillo has been available in both Debian and Ubuntu for many years

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

14 Responses

  1. redkde Says:

    I tought dillo project is dead.

  2. Johann Spies Says:

    I have used Dillo for several years, but lately it became unuseable with a “ERROR: Dns can’t solve (Null)” message for whatever url I try to browse.

    At the moment I have 0.8.6-i18n-misc installed on Debian

  3. Reed Says:

    Cool, I wish I had known about this several years ago, I might have attempted to port it to Palm OS. Maybe in the next few years another mobile OS that is in need of a web browser will emerge.

    This looks great for mobile devices, kiosks, embedded systems, etc.

    On the web page is says that dillo is “frozen”. I.e. the main developers aren’t actively working on it at the moment that much.

  4. Mary Riley Says:

    I recently tried Dillo in an Openbox installation, and it was pretty buggy. I ended up using a command line browser like links instead.

  5. Gwern Says:

    The project was mostly dead for a while, but a few months ago in 2007, Jorge released the initial port to FLTK (which was what was holding everything up), and now development has begun again.

  6. randomwalker Says:

    it’s specious to call dillo a “web browser”. i contributed a patch or two a long time ago, and even then it lacked support for so many features that it was seriously limited in what it could do. these days, *nothing* on the web works without support for css or javascript. at best, you can call it an “html renderer” which you can use in your app as an alternative to yelp or something like that. imo they should have dismantled the UI long ago and made it a rendering library instead. as it is, i don’t see why anyone would/should work on it and it’s best forgotten.

  7. beerfan Says:

    Just what we don’t need. Another non-compliant web browser.

    The engine could be useful for embedding in apps that need only basic strict mode rendering with none of the fluff (e.g., notes, chat client) but as a web developer I dread the promotion of so-called web browsers like this.

  8. Andrew Sidwel Says:

    If you’re interested in low-footprint web browsers, then try NetSurf ( It’s available in debian and ubuntu as the package “netsurf”: it supports HTML+CSS but not JS and does a substantially better job of rendering the Web than dillo whilst still being low-footprint.

  9. Ben Says:

    Hey, to all those people ragging on Dillo: chill. Dillo is absolutely necessary on some of the machines I work on, for example, the 32MB MIPS R4000 palmtop I’m posting this message from. Also, randomwalker’s statement that *nothing* on the web works without CSS and Javascript is just silly. Try disabling both in Firefox (which is just a couple clicks) and you’ll see.

    Dillo is also an excellent tool for web-developers. Preview your pages with Dillo and you’ll see not only what your page looks like for a baseline browser, but also there’s a handy list of the HTML bugs that you can pop up.

    Even on machines that have Firefox, some people prefer to use Dillo. For example, see, a Debian-based distribution that fits on a business card CD. They actually do pack in Firefox, but they include Dillo right next to it. That makes their distribution usable even on older laptops without much RAM or CPU power.

    I’m not saying Dillo is the best thing since sliced-bread. I actually found this page because I was searching for the Dillo plugin to add javascript functionality. But, it’s great for its niche: small and fast.

    –Ben in Seattle

  10. james Says:

    I use dillo quite abit. It’s very good on my 233mHz laptop (running debian etch and fluxbox) for reading ebooks that I have converted into HTML. It’s find function on large documents is very fast and on such a low power pc its faster to have no CSS and scroll down than wait for a minute for firefox to load.

  11. John Smith Says:

    dillo not bad, but links -g > dillo

    surfing the web like it’s 1999 :-)

    it’s nice to use linux with some speed and efficiency again (*cough* *bloat*)

    posted with links -g on a 200Mhz PPro

  12. chris Halbersma Says:

    Has anyone tested out dillo2 I was wondering how that worked out for them…

  13. dustypenguin Says:

    Using dillo 2.0.1 from an alienized rpm from
    I did this before I found the debs (not official) at .

    Why this version is not included instead of the ancient one in (even in sid!)
    is a mystery to me. Good, solid, quick browser
    with the newer version fixing some of the bugs from 0.8.6

  14. Ronald Says:

    I use Dillo quite a lot and only recently encountered the Can’t resolve DNS (Null) error.

    I am on an up to date Lenny machine. So I figure there must be an external factor involved on this problem.