The Otter browser focuses on maintaining the old version of the Opera browser (before it switched to something based on Chromium). It tries very hard to implement the old Opera rendering engine, as well as countless features like “notes,” a password management system, and speed dial.
The Otter browser is quite popular, but hardly any Linux distributions carry it in their official software repositories. Also, the official website has no native binary packages to download. Instead, those interested in using an executable “run anywhere” AppImage package are instructed to download the source code for Otter, and build it manually.
Dependencies For Otter Browser
The official Otter GitHub page outlines the dependencies required to build the software. Specifically, users will need to install QT 5.4+, Git, GStreamer 1.0, OpenSSL 1.0 (1.1 will not work), and Cmake 3.1.0.
Open up the terminal, and search your distribution’s package manager for these pieces of software. Once installed, follow the instructions below to build the software.
Build Otter Browser
To start the building process, use the Git tool to grab the latest source code.
git clone https://github.com/OtterBrowser/otter-browser.git
Then, use the CD command to move the terminal into the source code folder.
Using the mkdir command, create a “build” folder. In this folder, cmake will place the built binary of Otter.
mkdir build cd build
From here, run cmake. Running this command is the first part of the compiling process and may take a bit of time. Be patient.
When cmake finishes, it’s time to run the make command, another build command. Running this command will finish up building the Otter browser software.
Lastly, install the browser to your Linux PC with the make install command.
sudo make install
Arch Linux Instructions
The Otter browser can be installed via the Arch Linux User Repository. Getting it is easy, and it starts by installing the Git package. To get the package, use the Pacman package manager and install it.
sudo pacman -S git
Now that the Git package is installed on Arch use it to grab the latest version of the Otter browser PKGBUILD files.
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/otter-browser.git
Use the CD command and move the terminal into the download AUR build files.
Inside of this folder, use the makepkg command (along with -si) to generate an installable Arch package. Keep in mind that using the -si flags will go out and grab any required dependencies that Otter needs. That said, it may not install all of them, and you may need to download them manually.
If you’ve tried to compile Otter on Linux without luck, and you’re not on Arch Linux, a great way to get the browser working is to use the universal AppImage release. To start off, go to the official Otter browser download page, and scroll all the way down to find “AppImage for Linux.” Clicking this link will take the user to a SourceForge download page. From the page, get the newest Otter AppImage.
Once you’ve downloaded the latest AppImage, open up terminal and use it to create an AppImage folder.
Move the Otter AppImage from ~/Downloads to the new folder.
mv ~/Downloads/otter-browser-*-x86_64.AppImage ~/AppImages
Using the chmod command, update the AppImage permissions so that Otter will run correctly.
sudo chmod +x ~/AppImages/otter-browser-*-x86_64.AppImage
Use Wget to get an icon image for Otter to use. Be sure to download it to the ~/AppImages folder.
wget https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/Otter_Browser_Logo.svg/2000px-Otter_Browser_Logo.svg.png mv 2000px-Otter_Browser_Logo.svg.png otter-icon.png
Open the Nano text editor, and create a new shortcut icon for Otter.
sudo nano /usr/share/applications/otter-browser.desktop
Paste the following code into Nano (with Ctrl + Shift + V).
Note: change * in the “Exec” line to the exact name of your Otter AppImage.
Comment=Browse the Web
Save Nano with Ctrl + O, and close the tool with Ctrl + X. Once closed, update the new Otter desktop shortcut’s permissions using chmod.
sudo chmod +x /usr/share/applications/otter-browser.desktop
With the Desktop icon in place, and the AppImage ready to use, Otter is executable. To open the browser, look in your application menu under the “Network” section. Please keep in mind that AppImages do not update automatically. Each time you update the Otter browser, you’ll need to download a new version of the AppImage and replace the old one. Additionally, you’ll need to follow the process above to update the Desktop icon to reflect the changes.
For best results, follow the Otter development by regularly visiting their website. It’s also a good idea to email the creators of your Linux distribution and convince them to package Otter, for easier installation.