Arachne. Graphical web browser for DOS
Arachne is a full-screen graphical web browser for DOS on PC computers. Originally developed by Michael Polák. First release - 22th December 1996. The last Arachne version by Arachne Labs was released on 22th January 2001. Arachne source code was opened in November of 2003 and the subsequent versions are released under GNU GPL license.
Arachne is distributed as a software suite containing, besides web browser, built-in e-mail client, FTP, internet connection wizard, WAV files player. More add-ons are available: image viewer, PDF, file managers, mplayer, Telnet client, IRC and more.
Arachne supports Windows-1251 and KOI8-R Cyrillic after additional packages are installed. Internet connection is via serial ports (COM) and Ethernet.
There are also Arachne for Linux / SVGAlib.
GPL versions of Arachne. The main line of Arachne development. Major changes and updates take place within its framework. Maintained by a group of enthusiasts who also develop GPL version for Linux / SVGAlib.
Arachne Labs versions. Arachne Labs, xChaos software initially, were the main structure engaged in development of Arachne until 2003, when Arachne source code was opened and the GPL versions of the browser became the main line. The last Arachne Labs version was released on 22th January 2001: Arachne 1.70 Release 3.
Ray Andrews version. A GPL Arachne variation.
PTS-DOS version. Similar to the corresponding versions of Arachne, but to some extent integrated with the PTS-DOS distribution.
DR-WebSpyder. Based on Arachne. Basically - different web browser, for which Arachne is just an ancestor. Later the browser was renamed as Lineo EmBrowser.
Arachne web browser was created in DOS and for DOS (the Linux version stands somewhat apart). Therefore, even though Arachne will run under many versions of Windows, Windows XP for instance, it is working under DOS when Arachne qualities are revealed best.
Arachne web browser works in all major DOS variants, for example MS-DOS, FreeDOS or PTS-DOS.
System requirements are low. The minimum: 80x86 CPU, 500 KB DOS base memory, 1 MB XMS/EMS memory, 512 KB SVGA video, 5 MB HDD space. Although requirements for using maximum screen resolution, maximum color depth are higher. But in this case too they are extremely small by today's standards - 486, better Pentium I computer, 640 KB base memory, 8+ MB XMS/EMS memory, 2+ MB SVGA video. Yet it depends - using 640x480 screen resolution, installing Arachne on RAM disk let to have Arachne running quite well on 386 CPU computer; if only there are enough of RAM and video adapter capabilities.
Besides traditional hard disk installation, DOS LIVE CD by Roman Karpach may be used (www.fdd5-25.net/doslivecd), where Arachne web browser is among the software present.
The characteristics of Arachne web browser installation process make the main settings be set right from the beginning. These settings for the most part are the responsibility of operating system on computers running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, but in DOS Arachne browser takes care of everything itself. So at the end of installation Arachne web browser is ready for use right away - in a specific, selected during installation process mode: for internet connection via COM port, for internet connection via network adapter, for browsing local files only.
Later, after installation is complete and settings are set, Arachne web browser can be reconfigured into any possible mode. But at first, Arachne is configured for either internet connection via COM port or internet connection via network adapter or the function of connecting to internet is turned off. Therefore further discussed:
- Installing and setting up Arachne web browser for dial-up internet connection.
- Installing and setting up Arachne web browser for internet connection via Ethernet.
The case when Arachne web browser is configured for browsing local files only is not discussed, since it is a simplified form of the first two.
When a widescreen LCD computer display (a LCD with aspect ratio more than 4:3, like 16:9) is used, one needs to know if the display supports aspect scaling / pillarboxing. If yes - how. The maximum screen resolution normally supported by Arachne web browser is 1024x768. So, to prevent image to be distorted in LCD, aspect scaling / pillarboxing has to be employed.
- GPL versions of Arachne: www.glennmcc.org
- The last Arachne Labs version: www.kompx.com/soft/dos/browsers/arachne/1.70/arachne.1.70.full.zip
- Ray Andrews version: www.glennmcc.org/rayandrews/
- PTS-DOS version (a part of PTS-DOS 2000 distribution - a commercial DOS): http://phystechsoft.ru/pts-dos-2000
- DR-WebSpyder (demo version, to be installed on a floppy and work from it): http://browsers.evolt.org/browsers/archive/dr-webspyder
- MS-DOS 6.0+
- FreeDOS 1.0+