Living without the modern browser
The web can be a resource hog, sometimes devouring CPU and memory. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Text-based web browsers
There are multiple text-based browsers to choose from. The oldest and maybe the most well known is Lynx. Personally I use Links instead, which provides a similar experience, but also includes a “graphical” mode that is capable of displaying images, and the default background color is black as opposed to gray (only for the non-graphical mode, though the background color can be changed in graphical mode). Here’s a list of text-based browsers from Wikipedia (not all of them are maintained).
YouTube through RSS/MPV
I keep up with the channels I subscribe to via RSS. The main downside to this is there is no recommended feed, so I just live without that. You can get the RSS feeds for all of the channels you subscribe to by going here and clicking “export subscriptions” at the bottom, then just load that into your RSS aggregator. For RSS I use newsboat (terminal-based) and like other RSS aggregators, it supports opening links in an external browser of my choice (relevant later).
For watching the actual YouTube videos, I use MPV, and it’s dead simple. Just run the command “mpv
I did have an issue with MPV since it loads videos with the best quality possible (i.e. 4k). I only have a 1080p display and my computer has a hard time with higher resolution videos. So I just added the following line to
~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf (if that file doesn’t exist then it’s okay to just start with an empty file):
ytdl-format=bestvideo[height <= 1080]+bestaudio/best
This limits the resolution to 1080p or lower. You can replace “1080” with whatever “max resolution” you’d like to go with.
Twitch through Streamlink/IRC
EDIT: You can actually use MPV with Twitch as well (and since MPV uses youtube-dl, I assume it also works for anything youtube-dl supports?). Thanks you to u/my-name-is-puddles on Reddit for pointing this out to me. VLC also works.
Streamlink is a CLI program for playing videos from various websites in the media player of your choice (VLC by default). Starting up a stream with it is as simple as “streamlink
For chatting, it’s fairly trivial to set up an IRC client to connect to Twitch (assuming you already know how to use IRC). Chris Were recently did a great video about this, and you can also follow the instructions in this blog post to set it up.
Streamlink has support for other sites as well.
Using modern web browsers anyway
This bit is specific to Firefox and I believe it’s meant to become the default in the future. Consider enabling WebRender. This is faster although experimental. The relevant settings can be found in Firefox’s about:config by just searching for “webrender”.
There are also lightweight browsers better suited for the modern web than text-based browsers.
If you know of any other relevant applications, leave a comment on this gist, I would like to compile a proper list. Thank you @firstname.lastname@example.org for telling me about Streamlink.