It's not often we see a new open source web browser. It should be almost impossible for any home-grown browser to compete with the Blink engine and Google's dominance with Chrome. It would likely take a team of dozens, or hundreds, to build something, maintain it, and ensure it actually worked with the sites we need to access. But none of this has stopped the Ladybird project, which is a new cross-platform browser for those of us who may be prepared to trade a little modern web comfort for some browser diversity. This point is even addressed in the project's FAQ in the answer to "Why bother? You can't make a new browser engine without billions of dollars and hundreds of staff."

To which Ladybird answers: "Sure you can. Don't listen to armchair defeatists who never worked on a browser."

Ladybird comes from the same developers behind SerenityOS, an alternative x86 operating system cast from the Unix-mold, and, of course, Ladybird has been developed to be its browser. But being cross-platform, it can also be built for Linux, macOS, and even WSL on Windows. This cross-platform capability is thanks to Qt, but Ladybird does not rely on Qt's own Blink renderer for its web rendering. This would make it little more than Yet Another Blink-Based Browser (YABBB). Instead, Serenity has its own library stack, including web, JavaScript, and other supporting libraries, to implement a minimal browser that already passes the Acid3 standard tests. This means you can already browse most websites, with only minimal degradation in output. There's currently no support for bookmarks, plugins, extensions, or password saving, but hopefully all this will come in the future. Ladybird is still a brilliant achievement for a small project, but also a great sign that the web isn't entirely out of our control yet, and that it is still possible to bootstrap your own browser outside of the Blink or even Gecko browser ecosystems.

Project Website

Ladybird lacks many modern web browsing features, but it does include tabs. Which is more than can be said of the early versions of Internet Explorer.

Bootable USB


The delicate art of installing a fresh Linux distribution from a USB thumb drive unites us all. As a Linux beginner, it's an early rite of passage that quickly differentiates you from the world of pre-packed PCs and Apple Store MacBooks. But even for experts and experienced users, it remains one of the best ways to freshly install Linux on new hardware or troubleshoot a borked update on Arch Linux. Despite all this, the process of creating and using a bootable USB thumb drive hasn't changed much over time. You download the Linux distribution image and write this directly to the USB device, either manually from the command line, or using a GUI helper such as Raspberry Pi Imager or Gnome's excellent MultiWriter. Despite its acceptance, however, this process isn't ideal. It's even a little convoluted, both in the way you have to write an image block-by-block, and because you lose everything on the USB stick. You can also only ever have a single distribution on one USB stick.

Ventoy is a huge upgrade to this old process and feels similar in impact to the dawn of live optical media that could boot directly into a running Linux environment. Through either a GTK-based, Qt-based, or command-line installer, Ventoy will install itself on your USB thumb drive. Except for ensuring you have the correct device, this process is automatic and easily monitored with one of the graphical installers. With that done, you'll never have to write an image again. After Ventoy has been installed, you can now simply drag and drop any ISO or IMG image, VHD virtual disk image, or even a Windows image file (WIM) into the first partition. On booting, Ventoy will automatically create a boot menu from which you can boot anything it finds. It's a brilliant way to quickly test something or carry more than one distribution with you when you travel, and it's a lot less risky than dd.

Project Website

Ventoy lets you boot directly from an optical drive into a running Linux environment.

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