Maxthon for Linux: Firefox Slayer?

I've been doing some research on browsers for an article about Firefox and have uncovered some pleasant surprises.

One of them is that the Maxthon Internet browser may soon be ported natively to Linux. This is extremely interesting, given that Glyn Moody wrote that "the Maxthon browser is actually better than Firefox." (See Glyn's article The Real Firefox Killer at

Lots of people are very excited about Maxthon, which has gained notoriety as its China-based producer, Maxthon International, has grown from obscurity (outside of China) to recipient of VC money to over 151 million downloads.

Today Maxthon only runs on Windows. However, I chatted with Maxthon's CEO, Jeff Chen, who told me the following:

We have plans to move Maxthon to Linux. We know Linux is an open and powerful platform and we will not miss it. We have made it run on the Ubuntu system, via the help of Wine and ies4linux. We will continue to research until we can move Maxthon to Linux completely.

When asked whether Maxthon would be open source, Chen replied:

We are not sure about open source now since we’re just starting with Linux. But one thing for sure that we are very open to developers and end users. As we always do with Maxthon, contributions, ideas, and suggestions could go directly to our desktop.

Chen also noted how many of Maxthon's standard features originated as plug-ins developed by the browser’s fans. Also, plug-ins continue to be created largely by non-staffers, as do skins and filters. During the early development of Maxthon, when Jeff essentially was working alone on his 'labor of love', other browser users noticed Maxthon and began donating their time and expertise to expand the program.

All of those words are sweet news to Linuxers' ears. If Maxthon decides to go open source, then Firefox may have quite the challenge on its hands.

Stay tuned!


James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.


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Maxthon 3.0 uses WebKit as

Anonymous's picture

Maxthon 3.0 uses WebKit as its primary web layout engine, which effectively means that it could be ported to other operating systems such as Apple and Linux. The only difference would be that unlike the Windows version, the browser would lack its "retro" mode, otherwise known as the Trident engine, which is what Internet Explorer uses.

Wasn't this supposed to be about a web browser?

Silver Knight's picture

Where in the world did all the political discussion come from?!? I read the entire comment thread and still cannot figure out what all the Bush-hating and Nazi-hating and Hater-hating and just general all-around hatred has to do with web browsers. Aren't there political forums and other similar places where such discussions normally take place? I could have sworn that this was a Linux magazine website the last time I looked. Now suddenly it's become Slashdot?

As to the web browser itself, whether it's based on IE or not, if the developers of it stated that they plan to port it to Linux, I don't see why it would be so impossible for them to manage it. As one commenter stated, they could always build it to use the Gecko rendering engine easily enough, or Webkit for that matter... It's not such a stretch of logic to believe that such a thing might happen.

Also, regarding the linked site with the "browser check" to prove that Maxthon is based on IE. Guess what? I can convince websites that my Konqueror browser is IE, too. Funny thing... Turns out that my Firefox can do the same trick. Hmmm... How about that? Looks like Opera can, too... Whaddya know? Looks like it's not all that hard to spoof your browser details and fool a website to convince it to load in a browser it wasn't designed to "support". MOST browsers support such spoofing either natively, or with an extension or addon of some sort. This is also why you really can't count on webserver log statistics or server-side scripting language based "browser sniffing" as a reliable means of telling what browser your visitors use. You can get a general idea of the overall browser statistics representing your site visitors, but you cannot say with any certainty that those numbers are accurate.

I'm not saying that Maxthon is NOT based on IE, or that it IS based on IE, for that matter. I honestly do not know as I haven't bothered to research this browser all that much yet. What I AM saying is that just because some "browser check" website says that it's IE6 does NOT prove that it IS IE6. It could bloody well be ANY rendering engine powering the thing, but if it lies to the sites it visits (for compatibility's sake, or whatever other reason) then those sites will say that it's IE in their logs and their browser-sniffing code regardless of what powers it "under the hood".

(That having been said, some of the other comments regarding it rendering identical CSS bugs to IE lead me to suspect that indeed it IS actually most likely based on IE and will probably need it's rendering engine replaced with Webkit, Gecko, or something else entirely, if ever it is open sourced. Personally, I will be sticking with my Firefox 3 for the time being, but I will certainly be watching Maxthon to see where it goes and what happens, and I'll probably at least TRY it on a friend's Windows machine out of sheer curiosity.)


Anonymous's picture

You guys are just sick or completely stupid and blind with your bloody Linux. I have used extenseively Maxthon for the last years and it is absolutely the best browser in the market with sideral distance regardless of all the technical critics I hear from linux and firefox sickos with the most ridiculous arguments.

It is just the best and fastest and ffull of tricks to make it easier and super configurable and with hundreds of skins etc etc etc.

I would like to use Linux on a daily basis but it is impossible for lots of reasons, one of them that there is noMaxthon and I must use Firefox (just horrible and prehistoric even the 3.0 version, a joke in comparison of Maxthon) or Opera (similar shit)

Keep talking bullshit. I just live happier with Maxthon and your fanatic ignorance.

Really? Try this link in Firefox first, then Maxthon

Anonymous's picture

Of course it's just a shell for MSIE.
The prime minister of China must have made a deal when he visited Redmond a few years ago.

Visit this page to see Maxthon fail to interpret standard CSS in exactly the same way as MSIE.

The page has groups of notebook style tabs containing lots of links. As you hover over a tab, it opens to display the links - It works properly in Firefox and Safari, but not in MSIE or Maxthon. They don't sense hovering over anything but a: links. They're way behind standard CSS. First look at it in Firefox or Safari to see it behave properly, then try it in MSIE and Maxthon.

Not just a shell

Ron White's picture

The only thing that IE and Maxthon have in common is the Trident rendering engine. Maxthon's user interface, tab handling, security, and, well, everything else is original and not dependent at all on IE.

Ron White, Destroyer of Urban Legends and Maxthon Advocate

Are you kidding? Try to open

Anonymous's picture

Are you kidding? Try to open this link with Maxthon and see how your "killer app" will be detected:

Your browser is: IE6, WinXP

Here is your browser's information:
Type = IE6
Name = IE
Version = 6.0

Maxthon is a IE-frontend, no more, like Avant and other similar applications.

Maxthon's not an IE frontend

Raul's picture

It doesn't prove anything. The only thing it proves is that IE & Maxthon use the same engine, that's it. Where you read "Type=IE" you should read Trident. That's it pal. Sorry but it's not just a skin for IE.

Look who's talking

Ron White's picture

All the little demo proves is that the browser detector isn't very good if it can't tell the difference between two browser both built on the same display engine. There are many and substantial differences between IE and Maxthon. Your implication that Maxthon is merely a skin for IE is simply wrong.


Sam Stainsby's picture

Glyn Moody rated Maxthon as "extremely dangerous for Firefox" over a year and a half ago. LOL.

Maxthon 3 will have its own

greenfields's picture

Maxthon 3 will have its own proprietary engine. Given that fact, they can make it open source.
I thought that linux users are (or have to be) very informed people. Why are you all making comments without making at least a basic research on the subject? Maxthon browser is a very capable piece of technology and its history is similar to your fav OS' history.

are you serious?

Anonymous's picture

Maxthon is an IE shell. How on earth could they open source IE? They don't have the rights to open source IE.

Maxthon is like an IE toolbar on steriods but it's still IE.

What a shame that Linux Journal is pushing a completely crazy IE+China=OSS story.

Open Source?

Robert Link's picture

Pardon my skepticism, but a browser from China? Only if it's open source and only after some of my more paranoid brethren have vouched for it would I consider something built on IE from China. I feel dirty having just browsed the page and downloaded the installer. But as I read the EULA all I could hear in my head was "Microsoft, from China!?"

I'll keep my firefox, thanks, or my lynx. ;)

Imagine what the rest of the

Casper Gielen's picture

Imagine what the rest of the world must feel, having to run mostly US software on their computers. There have been enough rumours about backdoors in Windows that some people get really nervous.
BTW, what makes you think that US-based software wouldn't spy on US citizens?

The take-home message would be, "Don't trust your computer blindly, regardless of who wrote the software."

Computing is going global

James Gray's picture

Thanks for your comment Robert. It is interesting to note how things from other countries are infiltrating our computing experience more and more. Ubuntu is from South Africa and the UK, SUSE is originally from Germany, Mandriva is from France and Brazil, MySQL was Swedish and OpenOffice was German (StarOffice) before Sun took them over, and there are so many other examples, especially in the open source arena. It doesn't seem to matter much where something comes from nowadays as long as it's good.

James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.

Can we trust them?

Anonymous's picture

Stealing military secrets, buying up shipping and military ports, breaking into top security labs, and hacking the computers of our Congress... I try not to be prejudice, but certain things are hard to ignore.
Thanks for the article. I'll keep my Firefox as well.

Can we trust -the USA , Not Bloody Likely

Bruce Sinton's picture

The USA invaded Iraq because Bush said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and the ability to launch an attach on the USA with missiles.
This was lies, bullshit ,crap and the revolting Government of the USA killing tens of thousands of Iraq citizens to get their hands on OIL.
If you have not figured this out by now there is no hope for you.

Your accusations about China -are they proven or still just accusations, and probably more American bullshit.

Peace and Joy.

Why is it that some little

Anonymous's picture

Why is it that some little fags have to turn every discussion into a political whine fest?
You trolls have nothing better to do? You could at least get your facts straight when you start ranting about something you obviously know nothing about. The US didn't go to war with Iraq because they had missles that could reach the US. They were believed to have weapons of mass destruction which could be carried to where they wanted to use them. Then again that might be over your head, since you low life types never let the facts get in the way of your stories and propaganda spews. This story wasn't about that so why don't you stop trying to hijack a conversation and leading it where little trolls like you live. It might surprize you but some people like to have conversations about other things than political BS that you seem so interested in. Your biggest problem here is your kind is just blinded by hate and jealousy, to the point you can't even control yourselves. Try and stick to the topic for once if you can.

To the point of whether or not someone trusts using anything from china, every one knows you can't trust them. Their past history is well known by all who care to listen. If you want to use the software go ahead and use it, but it doesn't make you right and all the other people wrong. Your pathetic.

LOL. Bush lovers are always

Anonymous's picture

LOL. Bush lovers are always so nicely spoken why is that? It seems when real arguments run thin they're replaced by stronger language filled with threats and intimidation - just the original (Bush).
Bush lovers, he lied to you, the world told you so at the time, you believed him anyway, your goddamn fault.
Your ignorance helped cause immense suffering and pain around the world - live with it, stop blaming others and be glad you're probably not going to pay the way the Germans were made to pay for their complacency whit the Nazi regime.

" LOL. Bush lovers are

Anonymous's picture

" LOL. Bush lovers are always so nicely spoken why is that? It seems when real arguments run thin they're replaced by stronger language filled with threats and intimidation " --

If you would read what you wrote, the whole thing, then you would see it is your kind that does just that. You have no answers or facts for your arguments. You get frustrated and then the name calling and foul language and name calling ensues. You just proved your own case against yourself. You might want to rethink that technique, because this one is really showing you up bad and proving their point. There was no substance to anything you said, just baseless accusations and character Assassination, that's just typical of your kind though. It would serve everyone involved if people would just stop hating and trying to work together to solve problems. It really would, try it sometime. You might find you like it.

Why are some more nicely

Anonymous's picture

Why are some more nicely spoken? Maybe it's because they are more intelligent and reasonable than your kind. Like the gentleman said, your kind is blinded by hate, you never let the facts or truth get in the way of your lies and propaganda. Either you will never see the truth because you already have your minds made up about whatever it is your crying about, and the ones that do see the truth never have the decency or manhood to admit it. All you want to do is perpetuate a lie. If anyone is lying it is you. If it makes you feel better about yourself then go ahead, but you have to know everybody that reads what you have to say knows your a liar. Stop being a little girl and try and think before you speak. You won't humiliate and embarrass your family so much that way. Like the one poster stated, this wasn't a political argument, but as he put it, little trolls like yourself can't help yourselves can you? Try and be more specific the next time you try and accuse anyone of something, if you think that far ahead. It gives the other people your trying to convince something to debate intelligently. Then again, you really wouldn't know how I guess. Your kind never does. And if anyone has caused any suffering around the world it would be your kind that are too cowardly to step up and help your fellow man when they are in need. The US has done that throughout it's history. I'm sure whatever little hole in the ground your from can't say the same. It might be your eaten up inside by your own cowardly nature and that causes you to try and blame other people in the world for what's bothering you. Sounds like a personal problem and you might try keeping it to yourself, because nobody else really cares, I'm sure. Make the best of your miserable little existence and stop making it worse on yourself. Grow up little girl, stop whining so much, there really is no excuse for it.

So, I didn't provide facts

Anonymous's picture

So, I didn't provide facts for 'Bush lied'. You really think that's needed!???

I didn't provide facts for 'the world told you so'. Same as above.

I'm not whining or 'hating' but the 'name calling' I concede. Calling somebody a 'Bush-lover' simply because he calls the op (of this sub-thread) 'little fags' and reiterate the Bush-lies: 'They were believed to have weapons of mass destruction'. Is of course not so nice.

Iraq was NOT believed to have anything threatening to anyone but its closest neighbors and nothing remotely resembling WMD. Again I don't bother providing facts - Google is only a click away from you, just do your own research if you want the facts. You are the Americans who should be doing your homework yourself. Your are the ones who decide on the crimes committed in your names.

Anyway you Americans may not be Bush-lovers but those of you who defend the stupidities that caused hundred thousands of innocent deaths and untold sufferings around the world are asking to be called just that.

The fact that this issue pops up in even the most innocent contexts should tell you something about what Bush really has done to your nation's reputation. Instead of riding the high horse throwing threats and angry language around you'd be better off being a bit more humble and start making change at home.

To Mr. “ I didn't supply

Anonymous's picture

To Mr. “ I didn't supply the facts” , - So, I didn't provide facts for 'Bush lied'. You really think that's needed!???

Are you serious? I think that question settles without a doubt of your convicted mindset towards certain people in the world. That's the attitude of liberals in the United States and the other like minded individuals like yourself around the world. That's a big reason why the world is in the shape it is now, by that hate that keeps popping up. Think about it, the hate will blind your ability to reason honestly. That was a very revealing statement indeed. If you get your education from Google, then that's another damning piece of evidence against you and your ability to really know what your talking about. YES, you do need to provide evidence to support your attacks on another person or entity. How would you like to be on trial for something you didn't do and the prosecutor says he doesn't need any evidence of the charges against you, or better yet, he tells the court that they can Google it. Contrary to your opinion it is not very intelligent to base your decisions on a source like that.

You also said “ the world told you so”. And you expect us to take that remark as fact from someone that's already proven they know nothing except from what they got off of Google? Ok, right. Maybe you weren't listening when the world spoke, if you were you would know that they said pretty much the opposite. How surprising.

It's probably no use to explain the facts to you since you've proven that your not open to any discussion of the facts pertaining to the subject, but I will say that it wasn't just the United States that said they had WMD's, that was the consensus from Intelligence agencies from several countries. I'm sure you wouldn't admit that though, because a few good facts and a little truth would destroy your theory born out of hate. Oh, maybe you can Google that info too, I'm sure it's out there too if you want to spend the effort to get at the truth.

And there are no crimes committed in our names in America. If anything is done wrong we do something about it, unlike a lot of other countries, (one of which I wouldn't be surprised if you were from, that would explain your avoidence of the truth and the perpetuation of propaganda supplied by other groups, ) those countries which would hide the truth and deny them at all cost.

You also said “ The fact that this issue pops up in even the most innocent contexts should tell you something about what Bush really has done” No, that just proves like the one post remarked, that trolls are every where, the ones who don't have a life and live to spread ill-will to their fellow man around the globe. See how simple it is if you just stop and think?

I know it will be fruitless, but maybe you can provide some of your strange facts that support your claims of America causing all the untold damage you spoke of. That would be nice, imagine, some facts to support your rantings. While your trying to dig up those so called Google facts maybe you'll see where it says that America has been the defender of the oppressed around the world, like no other country. I know you would not admit that, we've already established your character and credentials. We are also the most Generous when it comes to providing aid during natural disasters and or the like around the world. Do we ever get any acknowledgment for that from people like you, no, you just act like it never happened and continue with your hate filled rants. We'll continue to help the weak or defenseless around the world from the likes of you and your kind whether you like it or not. That's what really eats you up isn't it, envy, jealousy, it's not a pretty sight is it. Open your eyes, your ears and your mind, don't stay closed off in your own hate filled little world. It's much better being a free man walking out in the light of day.

Wow!! Ignorant as the

Anonymous's picture

Ignorant as the Germans that "had no idea" what was going on during the Nazi years. I'd say guilty as hell. Honestly, I don't care how you research the facts. What matters is that it's your country, it's your responsibility. So keep on pretending you don't know - what's it to me anyway?

Godwin's law, you lose.

Anonymous's picture

Godwin's law, you lose.

I think the post right above

Anonymous's picture

I think the post right above yours nullifies your ridiculous statements.

Ok, now it makes that 3

Anonymous's picture

Ok, now it makes that 3 posts up from this one now, not the one citing Godwin's law which is quite accurate. It's a shame people jump to that extreme of comparing everything they dislike to Nazism in their dialog. Guess that's what happens when they have no real ideas on a subject.

So Mr. Ignorant hates the

Anonymous's picture

So Mr. Ignorant hates the Germans. Why do you hate Germans? What have they done to you? I have a question for your little boy, what country are you from? I notice you seem to leave that out. Could it be your ashamed of it, and their accomplishments or lack thereof? Why do so many people hate so relentlessly? Funny if you think about it, such a HUGE amount of hate by such SMALL people.

LMAO, I'm not from the USA,

Anonymous's picture

LMAO, I'm not from the USA, but it is very apparent you have a problem. I think that he has your number spot on. You seem to be just mind bent on ignoring the facts. Like the others said, it seems you will never admit your wrong, and that you just want to believe something there is no evidence to support. I feel sorry for you.


environmentalist's picture

woooow, sorry mate seems to me you're not aware of what really happened. are you from USA? you're too much of a patriot incapable proper reasoning. if i were you, i won't let BUSH go that far by invading your little brain :)

All this rhetoric from a

Anonymous's picture

All this rhetoric from a story about a browser? LMAO. And you want to tell somebody they aren't capable of reasoning things out sensibly? At least that's what I assume you meant by your statement, it didn't sound coherent but I'll let it slide for the sake of the discussion.

Maxthon Sux!

Anonymous's picture

It is from Microsoft.
It will never be Open Source.

NWO is coming near. And you are blinded.

I am going to stick to real free software.

Linux version would be different

James Gray's picture

But if Maxthon creates a Linux version of its browser, they must ditch the IE-based engine and build a new one. Or they could build it on top of Gecko, the Firefox engine, as Flock does.

James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.

Open Source Maxthon

Ron White's picture

And actually Ver. 1 of Maxthon was able to use Gecko. The 30 or so developers working on Maxthon have not had time to make Maxthon ver. 2 work on Gecko, but that's likely to be the way they'll go.


lapubell's picture

well put.