The Arena Web Browser

Status | Features | Background | Release History | Freely Redistributable | Development | E-Mail Lists | Source Code | Binaries | Documentation | Thanks | Authors | Coordinator

ArenaX (26k)

Arena is a graphical web browser consisting entirely of free software. Its origins predate proprietary packages such as Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mosaic. It is the source of a number of innovations which have since been copied by other web browsers, such as HTML tables and style sheets.

Arena has been created at the World Wide Web Consortium as a testbed browser for HTML3.0 and CSS1. Although it has not full implementation of CSS1 and HTML3.2, Arena continues to be a very useful tool for experimenting with and promoting style sheets.

Now Yggdrasil Computing and the free software community are turning Arena into a full-featured free alternative to proprietary browsers. Please see our press release for more information.

Prerelease. Currently a new developer release is done approximately once a week.

Arena supports:

You may wish to have a glance at these screen snapshots of Arena:

Be aware, if you use a browser which manages inline graphics incorrectly, e.g. Netscape Navigator, color presentation can turn out worse than bad. Please, use some smart external viewer (such as xv).

Arena has been developed from original CERN www line-mode browser in the World Wild Web Consortium. You can read more about the history on the W3C Arena web pages.

Here is an excerpt:

Dave Raggett first implemented a browser to render documents conforming to the HTML+ specifications which he worked on. HTML+ is now known as HTML3, and Arena's primary purpose is still to be a testbed for HTML3 documents. From July 1994, Håkon W Lie of CERN worked with Dave to extend Arena in several directions. First, it was modified to take advantage of the library of common code, now known as the W3C Reference Library. Also, Arena was ported to all major unix platforms and made available on the net. Henrik Frystyk Nielsen was responsible for the library while at CERN and has continued this work for the W3C at MIT. From release 0.96, Arena has included experimental support for Cascading Style Sheet, and Håkon Lie continued this work for the W3C at INRIA/Sophia Antipolis. Yves Lafon has joined the team and is completing support for forms and style sheets. We're grateful to many external collaborators.

Release History
The W3C has done 3 Arena beta releases: They are still available from the W3C in binary form.

The last one (``beta-3'') supports elements of HTML3, including tables, math and experimental style sheets. There are bugs and shortcomings, so be sure to set you expectations accordingly.

An internationalized version of Arena beta-3a has been done by OMRON. You can download their source code.

Now Yggdrasil has arranged to take over the Arena web browser from the World Wild Web Consortium. The public Yggdrasil Arena public announcement occurred in February, 1997.

Yggdrasil has done 3 ``beta'' development releases:

And then the numbering has been changed to GNU style: These releases have focused on stabilization, portability and code cleanup. Various segmentation faults and geometry calculation errors have been fixed, but even more remain.

Yggdrasil has upgraded the code, so now it uses the W3C Reference Library --- release 5.1k. All other libraries have been upgraded to the latest releases too.

Freely Redistributable
The W3C original Arena code is covered by the standard W3C copyright.
As Arena uses the external libraries: it inherits those copyrights on it's parts.

All further changes to the Arena code made by Yggdrasil are covered by the GNU General Public License, effectively GPL'ing Arena.

New releases of the Arena web browser are accessible on the Net via anonymous FTP from in the /pub/dist/web/arena/ directory.

E-Mail Lists

There are two mailing lists for Arena:

Participants may obtain information on subscribing to either list by sending an email message with "help" in the body of the message to Bug reports should be sent to

Source code
The source code of Arena is now available at Yggdrasil FTP site.

Arena runs on Linux and Linux-like systems such as UNIX(R) that include the X window system. Arena does not require any proprietary packages to compile and run on this platform.

You are are welcome to port Arena to other platforms.

If you are interested in producing and selling a version of Arena for the Microsoft Windows platform, we can offer you a head start. Yggdrasil has signed a contract with Pearl Software to provide the proprietary Pearl X emulator at an extremely economical price to any company interested in producing a version for Microsoft Windows platforms. If you are interested using the Pearl X emulator to produce such a product, please contact Adam Richter (

Precompiled Binaries
No precompiled executables are provided yet. We want to see the volume of bug reports that we get from developers and stabilize the releases as necessary before expanding the user community to include people who are not at the technical level where they feel comfortable compiling software from source code. Nevertheless, volunteers who want to contribute executables for their favorite platforms are welcome to do so and we will include those executables on our FTP site.

Please see the Arena help page and the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

We would like to thank the following people who made Arena possible:

Dave Raggett, Håkon W Lie, Henrik Frystyk Nielsen, Yves Lafon.

Arena Project Coordinator

Up Back

QingLong, <>