View Full Version : This posting is coming to you from (pure) DOS

Terry Porritt
08-09-2002, 02:06 PM
Thought I may as well try out the DOS web browser I mentioned in a posting
Gee, it installs easily, complete with PPP dial up wizard, full graphical
screen etc.

It is called Arachne, anyone wanting to play can get it from

The executable download is less than 1MB.

08-09-2002, 02:25 PM
Hi TP,

Please excuse the ignorance,but is the idea of using

this Browser for those with older computers with small

CPU's and low on memory resources?

Also assume you must run it in DOS Command mode!

Seems to" do a bit"for an app so small!


Graham L
08-09-2002, 02:27 PM
It's nice isn't it? It hasn't been featured enough to become bloated. I have it on my laptop (4MB ram, 60MB disk, 10-20 MHz 486DLC). I recommended it here last year ... it's about time someone tried it. ;-)

Terry Porritt
08-09-2002, 02:48 PM
Back in Windows mode now :) It is nice isnt it Graham?

It's a case of small is beautiful. The download file expands to create a directory (as it is DOS we now have to talk of directories, not folders!!) of 3.24MB, and an email client also comes with it within that size accessible from the browser.
The hardware requirements are minimal, a 386 with a few megabytes of ram and a 20MB hard drive, an external modem or full ISA internal, and you would be away surfing and emailing.

I havent tried it yet from within windows, only from booting into dos.

From the C:\ prompt you just type arachne, and the rest is a full graphical interface.
But then again, it's always taken megabytes of windows program to do what 500k of dos would do.

Graham L
08-09-2002, 03:01 PM
Have a good look at the documentation Terry. They say if you have "lots" of memory, by which they mean "more than 2MB", use a "ram disk" to speed up the operation. The method is given: make a zipped copy of the running system, and copy that and command.com to the ram disk ... It gets a bit involved, and I never fully implemented it. Having command.com on a ram disk was a good trick in the old days -- speeded work up a lot.

08-09-2002, 03:44 PM
I found it disturbingly good. It also supports add-ons thru its own package format, and has a reasonable file manager.

I was running it on my 286, although it was a bit slow at rendering pages because of the lack of memory (4min w/o pics, 15min with pics).

You would have been disapointed if you had tried to post to the old PressF1, it worked perfectly except for the missing "post" button when you replied. :-(

08-09-2002, 09:04 PM
> few megabytes of ram and a 20MB hard drive, an
> external modem or full ISA internal, and you would be

So I guess my PCI HCF Winmodem is out of the question? :(


Terry Porritt
08-09-2002, 10:37 PM
Yes Mike, unfortunately or otherwise, the modem has to be a real one to work with dos ;)

08-09-2002, 11:21 PM
> > few megabytes of ram and a 20MB hard drive, an
> > external modem or full ISA internal, and you would
> be
> So I guess my PCI HCF Winmodem is out of the
> question? :(
> Mike.

It will if you use it through VM Ware. But if you're already running an OS you might as well just use the browser that is handy. :D

Terry, what happens in the way of ads with that browser?

Terry Porritt
08-09-2002, 11:34 PM
Well, JM, I saw all the ads that I havent seen before on Press F1 :)
You wouldnt really know that you werent in Windows, just a bit different layout as regards tool bars etc. During setup the screen resolution can be selected, you are not limited to 640x480.

I also had the impression that maybe pages loaded a little more slowly than with IE, but not sure of that.

I dont know of any dos firewalls, or whether such would be advisable or not, neither do I know of a dos AV scanner that could run in the background, but then dos is not multitasking.

The email client worked well too, sent myself a few test emails, left a couple on the server, than went back into windows to check them.

This program would be good with a low spec cheap laptop like Graham has, if you are travelling around, and need to communicate.

08-09-2002, 11:38 PM
what do you think if freeDOS and dr-DOS as operating systems?

Terry Porritt
08-09-2002, 11:57 PM
Hi tweak'e, Arachne say it will run on DOS compatible systems like MSDOS 3.3+ and DR-DOS 7.0+, so it may also go with FreeDos. I have played with 4dos in the past, but not Freedos.

09-09-2002, 10:38 AM
I am not sure whether to be impressed or sympathetic.

Do you guys really have 286s running out there?

I thought I was sad holding on to a P200. As much as I hate bloatware, I don't want to go back to juggling all that rubbish in expanded memory and extended memory. Ugh. Don't miss that all. Spent half my life running memmaker when it arrived.


09-09-2002, 11:38 AM
yes robo there are people who still use XT"s 286's etc. in fact a garage i know still uses an amstrad. green sceen.......ewwwwwww!

however if it still does the job why not use it till it dies.

theres still quite a few people useing 486's p1's etc which is why i'm looking around for an operating system to replace windows 95 on them.

Graham L
09-09-2002, 02:52 PM
I like hardware and software which work reliably, robo. ]:) When I see the "joy" :_| people have with modern stuff, I think that I am well off. :D

Graham L
09-09-2002, 02:55 PM
Free Dos looks fairly organised ... I picked up the base the other day, and haven't got around to trying it. I have an idea that DR Dos is free now. (BTW tweak'e, DRDos has a "graphic" task monitor on the second 5.25" floppy)

Terry Porritt
09-09-2002, 03:03 PM
Reading your postings again Tweak'e, I see what you're after is a legal OS and software that can be loaded onto older computers. I mean, it is not very good of MS to cling onto copyright of old software, with no support given, not even being able to buy it any more, when perfectly good older computers could be re-cycled if only the software were available.

I'll try looking at Freedos, from what Ive read it sounds good. 4dos was really just a different command.com from memory, and one still needed the external dos command programs, so it wasnt completely stand alone.

09-09-2002, 05:47 PM
terry you have the idea.

linux would be ok but i need something with a gdi that will work on low ram machines.

i thought there would be heaps about, mayby old win95 is not really that bad seeing it works and nothing esle seems to come close to it......yet.......

Terry Porritt
09-09-2002, 06:21 PM
FreeDos is looking more and more interesting, here is a news snippet:

Dell Introduces N-Series

The PC maker will begin shipping a new line of PCs next month without any operating system installed. The new n-Series machines will come with a boxed version of the free operating system FreeDOS uninstalled in the box. The move is designed to appeal to business buyers who might want an operating system other than Windows. But it also complies with new licensing terms from Microsoft that requires its computer-making partners to ship their machines with an OS of some kind.

From this site (http://www.techtv.com/news/newsbriefs/story/0,24195,3396065,00.html)

Graham L
09-09-2002, 06:36 PM
I bet that Microsoft would find a way to punish any small "partner" who decided that Linux would be suitable. (IBM are big enough to get away with it ... they are doing it).

09-09-2002, 06:49 PM
when i finnsh downloading free dos i'll give it a blast.....tho i'm running out of hardrives to put OS's on.....mmmm <goes off drive hunting>

09-09-2002, 07:46 PM
i just downloaded the cd .iso for freedos and installed. It seems alright, though I haven't done any intensive work on it yet... the free GUI "SEAL" was included in the iso. it looks quite nice. only problem is that there isn't a lot to do with it... the biggest problem I find is trying to get useful apps that run on alternative OS's. I'm sure that they ARE out there, but they are sure hard to find sometimes!

09-09-2002, 08:08 PM
Make sure you read any reaease notes and the errata before you install FreeDOS.

When I installed it (~6 months ago) the current release had a bug that would trash drives that had a partition < 128mb.

I got a copy of the fixed kernel, but I forgot to reboot before starting the installer . . . oops.

I didn't keep FreeDOS because it didn't leave as much free memory as MS and PC-DOS, but I still use a few of the other FreeDOS programmes.