Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The days of DOS from the web.

Not many people are aware unless you are an old timer, but you could and still can access the world wide web from a DOS (freedos or etc) machine. Myself first access was with Mosaic and Netscape from MSWindows. To access the internet you had to have a network card. Everyone knew about a modem card, but the ethernet network card was something magical. But also back in those days to any anything up you had to deal with jumper switches (possible nightmare) until plug-n-play came along.

Notice the coaxial cable connector. Yes the ethernet cables were not popular yet. You set up your network in a bus rather than the star configuration we use today, If one link of the bus network was not connected right the whole network would be down. Anyway, just like today you have to have special software aka drivers for your computer to talk to the network cards. The network drivers were sometimes known as packet drivers. You sent packets of data on the network is where that idea came from. One of the most popular packet drivers was Wattcp.

When I worked as a tech, we used the drivers mostly for booting up machines to work with the Norton Ghost software. Today of course, you can use such software as Clonezilla and others. But actually there is a lot of software that can take advantage of the drivers such as a dosvnc (remote desktop viewer).You could even get software to be a mail server plus much much more.

Not many people knew that you could actually get a graphical software to view the web. Of course, you still needed to set up the packet drivers before loading in program known as Arachne. There were a few others, but they could not do as well as Arachne. Eventually a Linux version was made of the web browser.

Of course, the complement to the web browser is the web server. There are several out there including Boa which I like for old command line linux machines. Yes and even for the dos based web server you have to set up the packet drivers to get everything to work together. Only recently, did I find out about a dos based web server known as the Rubber Mallet web server. You can find out more about it at:

Actually it is quite good for little as it does. It is a good first start at learning legacy html commands. Had even planned to do some home automation with it, but moved on to other software. One thing to be aware of is all the old dos software is NOT secure. So it is best used on a private intranet. So yes, Virginia, you could set up a dos network like a mini internet!

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