Chimera Help

Program Info

This is version 1.70 of Chimera, written and watched over by John Kilburg ( and added to by many others. Chimera 1.70 was put together by Winston Edmond, incorporating contributions from a number of other people. (See the README and CHANGES files in the chimera distribution for more info). It should serve as a stable lightweight browser for daily use in the late 1990s while version 2.* is still in alpha development.

Check out the chimera home page, and find out about known bugs and latest fixes from the Beyond 1.65 site.

Bug Reports

If you think you have discovered a bug, please send email to with a description of the bug, the machine/OS that you are using, the version of chimera that you are using, and one or more URLs that expose the bug.

Mouse Button Usage

If you click on an anchor with the first mouse button then the document will be loaded and displayed (if possible). If the second mouse button is used then Chimera will ask for a filename and save the document to the file.


Clicking on this button causes Chimera to stop execution. It is important that you use this button instead of, say, control-c.


This command tells Chimera to display a requester for a document URL. The cursor automatically warps to the text entry field so mouse movement is not required after the button is pressed. A click on the cancel button of the requester causes Chimera to discard the requester and resume operation as before. A click on the OK button causes Chimera to attempt to load the specified document. If the URL is invalid or the document is unavailable then an error message is displayed. If the document was successfully accessed then Chimera displays the document (in the case of HTML) or executes an external program to deal with the document.

You can also edit the URL display field which is located between the main document window and the document title display.

In both cases, you can use the shortcut to access the URL (This shortcut expansion is applied whenever the string you typed in contains neither a colon nor a slash, so you can still access relative URLs like otherdoc.html by typing ./otherdoc.html; the shortcut expansion feature can be turned off entirely by setting the X resource Chimera*openButtonShortcut to False).


When the home button is pressed the document that was first displayed is displayed. This is the same as pressing Back until the first document is visible.


Clicking on this button causes Chimera to ``back up'' to the previous document. This button will be deactivated if only one document is available.


Clicking on this button causes Chimera to display the HTML source of the currently displayed document.


Clicking on this button causes Chimera to reload the current document. This is useful for a when the original document has changed (you are currently working on a project, for example) and you need to refresh the document.


When this button is pressed a popup window appears which can be used to tell chimera to save or print the currently displayed document.


Clicking on this button causes Chimera to display the document you are reading now.


When you click on this button a list of bookmarks pops up. To view a document which has a bookmark just double click on the bookmark. Along the button of the bookmark list window is a row of four buttons: open, dismiss, add, and delete. The open button opens the currently highlighted bookmark. The dismiss button hides the bookmark list. The add button adds the title of the current document to the bookmark list (the URL is used if there is no title). The delete button deletes the currently highlighted bookmark.


When the search button is pressed a requester appears which allows you to enter a string for Chimera to find. If the string is found then the document position is changed so that the string is viewable and the string is highlighted. Chimera only allows forward, case-insensitive searches. If the search reaches the end of the page, it will wrap to the top of the document.


The cancel button can be used to stop the loading of the currently loading document. Note that cancel doesn't work while chimera tries to make a connection to a remote host. It only works once the transfer has started (most of the time).


This determines whether or not Chimera delays loading non-local images. Click on the button to toggle it on or off. When selected, the DeferPix box will be darkened and Chimera will not show images that require downloading until the user clicks on the icon that is located in place of the image. When DeferPix is not selected, Chimera automatically loads all images. Images that come from local or cached files are always displayed.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Space - scroll forward
b     - scroll backward
h     - home
u     - back
l     - reload
?     - help
q     - quit
d     - source
o     - open
f     - file
s     - search
m     - bookmark
i     - toggle deferpix

Also, cursor up and down keys can be used for scrolling.

Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)

Chimera uses URLs to locate information. Although a discussion of URLs is beyond the scope of this document, here are a couple of examples: - Retrieve a listing of the directory
                                    /pub/chimera on the anonymous
                                    FTP server

file:~john/.mailcap               - Retrieve and display John's mailcap file.      - Retrieve and display the chimera home
                                    page.           - Send email to John, either using an
                                    external mailer or via a form appearing
                                    in chimera's own window.  (This will work
                                    only if you have perl installed.)

Environment variables

Chimera uses the following environment variables

WWW_HOME               This is used to specify the first document to be
                       loaded.  X resource is homePage.

USER                   Used to determine the username of the user running

PRINTER                This is used by chimera to determine the default
                       printer.  X resource is printerName.

EMAIL                  Email address used for anonymous FTP.  This is needed
                       for users of TERM.

HOME                   Used by the mailto helper script to find out where
                       to store a dead.letter if necessary.

MAIL_CLIENT            Used to tell the mailto helper script which external
                       mail program to run, if any.  Could be something like
                       'xterm -e pine'.  The recipient address will be passed
                       to the client as a commandline argument.  If this
                       variable is not set in the environment, the mailto
                       script will bring up a mail composition form in the
                       chimera window itself.

REPLYTO                Used by the mailto helper script to obtain a default
                       value for the Reply-To mail header when it brings up
                       the form.

SIGNATURE              Used by the mailto script to find the user's signature
                       file when it brings up a form.  If SIGNATURE is not set
                       and a file $HOME/.signature exists, it will be used.
                       You can always discard the signature when filling in
                       the form.

http_proxy             This is used to specify the server to use for
                       proxied HTTP requests.  The format is the
                       same as an HTTP URL.  For example,

gopher_proxy           This is used to specify the server to use for
                       proxied Gopher requests.  The format is the same
                       as an HTTP URL.  For example,

ftp_proxy              This is used to specify the server to use for
                       proxied FTP requests.  The format is the same
                       as an HTTP URL.  For example,

wais_proxy             This is used to specify the server to use for
                       proxied WAIS requests.  The format is the same
                       as an HTTP URL.  For example,

no_proxy               This is a comma separated list of domains that
                       should not be proxied.

all_proxy              This is the default proxy host for all protocols.

X Resources

Here is a list of Chimera-specific X resources. Default values for these and many more internal ones can be found in Chimera's app-defaults file and in the Common.tmpl file in the source tree.

homeURL                URL of the first document to load.

helpURL                URL of the help document.  Defaults to this page
                       (if it was installed where we expect it to be).

convertFiles           A colon separated list of files that describe the

path                   A colon separated list of directories to search
                       for viewer and conversion programs.

showTitle              Boolean variable used to specify whether or not
                       the status/title display should appear on the screen.

showURL                Boolean variable used to specify whether or not the
                       document URL display should appear on the screen.

showLiveAnchors        Boolean variable used to specify whether or not the
                       HREF contents of hyperlink anchors should be displayed
                       on the fly as the mouse moves over them.  The display
                       will also show ALT strings and ISMAP attributes of
                       delayed images.  These three default to True.

button1Box             A comma separated list of buttons to appear on the
                       first button row.  Possible button names are quit,
                       open, home, back, source, reload, file, help,
                       bookmark, search, cancel, and deferpix, all of which
                       are used  (in this order)  by default.

button2Box             A list of buttons to appear on the second button
                       row.  Defaults to empty.

openButtonShortcut     Boolean variable used to specify whether user input
                       in the URL field or Open Document box should be assumed
                       to refer to a WWW site if it contains neither a slash
                       nor a colon.  Defaults to True, so you can go to
              by typing
                       (but take care:  when typing in a filename as a relative
                       URL you must then precede it with ./).

localIndexFiles        A colon separated list of files which Chimera should
                       try to display in this order when pointed at a directory
                       via a file:... URL.  When empty or when nothing matches,
                       a directory listing will be generated.  Defaults to
                       index.html .

printerName            Used to specify the name of the default printer.

cacheOff               If True then chimera will not cache documents.
                       Performance falls way off if you set this to true.

cacheDir               This is used to specify the directory of the default
                       cache.  Chimera will not create the directory if it
                       does not exist and caching will then not occur.

cacheTTL               This specifies the time-to-live for the default cache.
                       If a document is accessed and the cache entry for that
                       document is more than cacheTTL seconds then the
                       document is reloaded from the source.  If zero then
                       documents are never reloaded (unless the reload
                       button is pressed).

cacheSize              This specifies the maximum size of the default cache
                       in bytes.
                       If the maximum size is exceeded then the least
                       recently accessed cache document is removed
                       to make room.  If zero then the cache is allowed to
                       grow to any size.

cacheClean             If True then chimera will remove the files from the
                       default cache that it creates when it exits.  Defaults
                       to True.  If several chimeras are running at once, and
                       some of them have been pointed at the same documents,
                       each upon exiting will happily purge these common
                       documents from the cache behind the others' backs.

cacheInfoFiles         It is a colon delimited list of cache info files.

cacheIgnoreExpires     If this is set to True then chimera will ignore
                       'expires' data from the information server.  Defaults
                       to False.

mimeTypeFiles          A colon separated list of files that map file
                       extensions to MIME content-types.

mailCapFiles           A colon separated list of MIME mailcap files to be used
                       by chimera.

protocolFiles          A colon separated list of files that describe the
                       programs to be used for handling protocols.
                       These three have compile-time defaults.

bookmarkFile           The location of the bookmark file.  Defaults to
                       ~/.chimera_bookmark .

statusUpdate           The number of times to update the download status
                       per read (or something).  Setting this to 1 gives
                       the most frequent updates while higher numbers give
                       fewer updates.  (Default is 10.)

html.truncateALT       Long ALT strings will be truncated to at most this many
                       characters before displaying them  (so the HREF if any
                       is still visible to the right of them).  Defaults to 60.
                       When set to 0, it will act like 1024  (effectively no
                       truncation),  when set to anything else less than 7,
                       it will be increased to 7.

html.htmlErrorMsgCutoff    If negative, never display the "# HTML errors
                       found in document" message.  If non-negative, only
                       display the message if the number of errors found
                       is greater than this cutoff.  (Default value: 0)

html.useBodyColors     If True (the default), color attributes of HTML BODY
                       tags will be honored;  otherwise we'll stick to our
                       default color scheme.

html.delayImageLoads   This determines the initial state of the DeferPix
                       button.  Defaults to False  (images not delayed).

inPort                 The port number that chimera listens on for
                       incoming information from other programs.
                       By default, this is set to zero which disables
                       the feature.

languageDB             Specifies the language database file.  The language
                       database is a file with a name/value pair per line.
                       The name and value are separated by a colon.  By
                       default, Chimera uses the built-in English database
                       which you'll find in src/lang.c  (the names are all
                       there, but note this is in C, not in the language
                       database format).

httpProxy              HTTP proxy URL.

gopherProxy            Gopher proxy URL.

ftpProxy               FTP proxy URL.

waisProxy              WAIS proxy URL.

nntpProxy              NNTP proxy URL.

newsProxy              News proxy URL.

urnProxy               URN proxy URL.

noProxy                Domains with no proxy.

allProxy               Used to specify the default proxy for all protocols.

maxColors              Specify the maximum number of colors that a single
                       inline image can have.

gammaCorrect           Set the gamma correction for inline images.  Default
                       is 0.0 (gamma correction turned off).
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