carbonyl - Chromium running inside your terminal

Created at: 2023-01-20 18:58:22
Language: Rust
License: BSD-3-Clause

   O    O
    \  /
O —— Cr —— O
    /  \
   O    O


Carbonyl is a Chromium based browser built to run in a terminal. Read the blog post.

It supports pretty much all Web APIs including WebGL, WebGPU, audio and video playback, animations, etc..

It's snappy, starts in less than a second, runs at 60 FPS, and idles at 0% CPU usage. It does not require a window server (i.e. works in a safe-mode console), and even runs through SSH.

Carbonyl originally started as html2svg and is now the runtime behind it.


# Watch YouTube inside a Docker container
$ docker run -ti fathyb/carbonyl


Know issues

  • Fullscreen mode not supported yet



Lynx is the OG terminal web browser, and the oldest one still maintained.


  • When it understands a page, Lynx has the best layout, fully optimized for the terminal


Some might sound like pluses, but Browsh and Carbonyl let you disable most of those if you'd like

  • Does not support a lot of modern web standards
  • Cannot run JavaScript/WebAssembly
  • Cannot view or play medias (audio, video, DOOM)


Browsh is the OG "normal browser into a terminal" project. It starts Firefox in headless mode and connects to it through an automation protocol.


  • It's easier to update the underlying browser: just update Firefox
  • This makes development easier: just install Firefox and compile the Go code in a few seconds
  • As of today, Browsh supports extensions while Carbonyl doesn't, although it's on our roadmap


  • It runs slower and requires more resources than Carbonyl. 50x more CPU power is needed for the same content in average, that's because Carbonyl does not downscale or copy the window framebuffer, it natively renders to the terminal resolution.
  • It uses custom stylesheets to fix the layout, which is less reliable than Carbonyl's changes to its HTML engine (Blink).

Operating System Support

As far as tested, the operating systems under are supported:

  • Linux (Debian, Ubuntu and Arch tested)
  • MacOS
  • Windows 11 and WSL


Few notes:

  • You need to build Chromium
  • Building Carbonyl is almost the same as building Chromium with extra steps to patch and bundle the Rust library. Scripts in the scripts/ directory are simple wrappers around gn, ninja, etc..
  • Building Chromium for arm64 on Linux requires an amd64 processor
  • Carbonyl is only tested on Linux and macOS, other platforms likely require code changes to Chromium
  • Chromium is huge and takes a long time to build, making your computer mostly unresponsive. An 8-core CPU such as an M1 Max or an i9 9900k with 10 Gbps fiber takes around ~1 hour to fetch and build. It requires around 100 GB of disk space.


Fetch Chromium's code.

$ ./scripts/ sync

Apply patches

Any changes made to Chromium will be reverted, make sure to save any changes you made.

$ ./scripts/ apply


$ ./scripts/ args out/Default

Default is the target name, you can use multiple ones and pick any name you'd like, i.e.:

$ ./scripts/ args out/release
$ ./scripts/ args out/debug
# or if you'd like to build a multi-platform image
$ ./scripts/ args out/arm64
$ ./scripts/ args out/amd64

When prompted, enter the following arguments:


# uncomment this to build for arm64
# target_cpu="arm64"

# uncomment this to enable ccache
# cc_wrapper="env CCACHE_SLOPPINESS=time_macros ccache"

# uncomment this if you're building for macOS
# use_lld=false

# uncomment this for a release build
# is_debug=false
# symbol_level=0

Build binaries

$ ./scripts/ Default

This should produce the following outputs:

  • out/Default/headless_shell: browser binary
  • out/Default/icudtl.dat
  • out/Default/
  • out/Default/
  • out/Default/v8_context_snapshot.bin

Build Docker image

# Build arm64 Docker image using binaries from the Default target
$ ./scripts/ Default arm64
# Build amd64 Docker image using binaries from the Default target
$ ./scripts/ Default amd64


$ ./scripts/ Default