This is confusing. w3m.el is part of emacs-w3m.
- w3: a text-mode web browser completely written in elisp
- w3m: a standalone text-mode browser much like lynx. Not related to Emacs.
- emacs-w3m: an Emacs interface to the w3m browser. Includes w3m.el, not w3.el
The w3 homepage says "Development has been dormant for a couple of years, so expect bugs due to bit rot."
w3m.el is in the emacs-w3m package, available from the emacs-w3m homepage. This requires w3m to be installed. See the emacs-w3m page for details.
Note: Emacswiki:emacs-w3m states "Using the Emacs interface to w3m is much faster than using w3, since the parsing and displaying is done by the external w3m process." And Emacswiki:w3 says "For most users who want to browse the web from within Emacs, emacs-w3m will be a better solution, not least because it is quite a bit faster, and as as of May 2010 probably offers a more bug-free browsing experience."
Note: At this time, getting w3m to run on Windows XP is difficult without Cygwin. The only binary I could find produced a termcap error.