What Is Midori Browser?

The lightweight Linux browser is beloved by many

Illustration of a location field in a web browser.

Pixabay

 

Midori is a web browser for Windows and Linux. Often referred as "Small and Mighty", Midori is beloved by many in the Linux community. It uses Apple's Webkit rendering engine (although doesn't work on macOS or iOS).

What Is Midori?

Lifehacker rendered in the Midori web browser.

Midori is Japanese for Green. That name doesn’t actually hold any significance to the web browser, other than the logo is a green cat paw. Name aside, Midori is a web browser that focuses on being lightweight by reducing the amount of features it includes. In other words, it’s simple to use (with a few caveats) and renders websites quickly.

As you might expect, the feature set for Midori is pretty bare bones. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks the basic features users have come accustomed to working with on a browser. Midori includes the following features:

  • Tabbed browsing
  • Bookmarks
  • History management
  • Ad blocking support built in
  • Private browsing
  • Cookie and script management
  • Web app support
  • Customizable side panels
  • User scripts and styles support

When Did the Midori Web Browser Come Out?

Although Midori was originally released on December 16, 2007, it is still considered beta software. The current stable release is 0.5.11 and development is slow. To make matters a bit more questionable, the only way to install Midori on many Linux distributions (more on this in a bit) is via a snap package, and that brings a certain level of instability to the application. So the prospect of using Midori carries with it the understanding that some features may not work.

Caveats to Using the Midori Web Browser

Despite coming out in 2007, Midori isn't feature complete when compared to other browsers in the market.

Google Drive doesn't fully support the Midori web browser.

Midori's limitations become clear when you attempt to use the likes of Google Drive. Once you’ve logged into your account, you will be warned that the browser is unsupported and you might experience unexpected behavior. That is not something anyone who depends on Google Drive for productivity wants to see. This should be a resolvable problem by switching the User Agent string. However, even changing the User Agent string to Chrome (in Preferences > Network > Identify As) the problem persists.

Setting the User Agent in Midori.

Despite these kinds of caveats, Midori still has a sizable following. Case in point, Midori is the default browser for the Bodhi Linux distribution. In fact, the best way to experience Midori, is via the Bodhi Linux distribution. With that distribution, you are certain to have a Midori experience that should work exactly as expected.

How to Get Midori

Midori running on Bodhi Linux.

How you install Midori will depend on your platform. If you’re using a Linux distribution that supports snap packages, you can install Midori using the command:

sudo snap install midori 
Other Linux distributions (such as Elementary OS) still have a version of Midori in the default repository. If you’re lucky enough to use a distribution that includes Midori in the default repository, you will have a version of the browser that functions well.

Midori Web Browser for Windows

It is also possible to install Midori on the Windows platform by downloading and running the official installer. The Windows version runs well and all features do work.

Midori Web Browser for Linux

You can install Midori from the source code. Within that archive, the installation instructions can be found in the HACKING file. The one caveat to the instructions is that it doesn’t include the necessary dependencies that must be installed. A word of warning, installing those dependencies can be a bit tricky.

Who is the Best Suited User?

This is a tricky question, but one that can be answered. Because of the complication of getting a Midori installation that works well, the best users for this particular browser are those who can install from the standard repository (such as Elementary OS), or from a downloadable installer (Windows), or Bodhi Linux. If you’re stuck using snap, know that (until a number of bugs are worked out) Midori will be a problematic browser.

Suffice it to say, the best matched users for Midori are those who want a lightweight web browser, not burdened by too many features, but don’t mind having to do a bit of work to get it running as expected. The good news is, once you do get Midori running how you want it, you’ll find it well worth the time invested.

What We Like:

  • Simple, clean interface.
  • Just the right amount of features.
  • Speed dial makes getting quick access to favorite sites easy.
  • Web app support.
  • Fast loading and page rendering.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Snap package installation results in broken features.
  • Lack of third-party extensions.
  • Some sites (such as Google Drive) will not function properly.