Comments for Arachne WWW Browser

13 Jun 2007 02:34 j_ds_au

Re: is ther still life in Arachne ??


>

> % Yes, there is !!!

> %

> % http://www.cisnet.com/glennmcc/

> %

>

>

> Hi,

>

> Ok, I know a few years have passed since

> your post, but... well ;)

>

> So here's arachne, finally a GPL version

> so I could try it out again.

> Origianlly, before I migrated to free

> software, I used arachne for a

> while (in the good old modem-times).

> After trying different

> systems, i've finally choosen Debian

> GNU/Linux where I use w3m (80%),

> dillo (15%) and mozilla (5%) for

> browsing. When I've found your post

> and downloaded the code, I was thinking

> I could replace dillo with

> arachne. However, this turned out not to

> be the case.

>

> In this mail I will criticize the

> software, but not to offend the authors

> but to give (I hope) valuable freedback.

> If the project is not totally dead

> already, I hope these comments would

> help getting developers.

>

> 1. It doesn't compile. I had to spend

> more than a hour to get it to compile.

> Most of the problems are easy to fix and

> obviously caused by the fact

> the packager doesn't really use *NIX. I

> think if a software supports both

> DOS and POSIX (or rather some POSIX

> systems with svgalib installed), it

> should be tested on both. Some of the

> easy problems: Makefile needs to be

> copied (I haven't found a Readme telling

> this), all filenames are

> uppercase in the .zip (which should be

> tar.gz by the way) while all

> references are lowercase, one file even

> lost a character due to file name

> length limit of the packager's system. A

> few not-so-easy problems are

> lack of #ifdefs. It seems the code once

> worked with POSIX systems

> but later features/bugfixes were added

> and noone tried it again on POSIX

> so some of the later changes simply

> don't work.

>

> 2. The source zip lacks config files. I

> had to download a binary version

> just to get some files stored in share/.

> I think it would be nice if

> one could compile and immediatly run the

> software.

>

> 3. Lack of license. The only 2

> references that tells this software is

> GPL

> was your post and your homepage. You

> should at least copy the GPL text

> in the root of the zip.

>

> 4. Lack of Readme/installation files.

> One downloads the zip and he/she

> doesn't know what to do.

>

> 5. Lack of info about version control.

> Is/was there a CVS or SVN or

> whatever-version-control-system-you-prefer

> repository? Michael mentioned

> in his earlier posts that he doesn't see

> open source community would invest

> time in improving the software - which

> is sure a point if you don't

> have version control. Who would spend

> time on creating a patch if

> the above problems (from 2. to 5.)

> exist?

>

> 6. It's _not_ faster than dillo while

> dillo also renders better. I've checked

> only a few pages, and I am sure there

> are cases where dillo is worse

> (probably with frames for example). Ok,

> it's not really something

> you could easily fix, but I had to tell

> about it so the next paragraph

> will be more meaningful.

>

> However, and this why I am actually

> spending my time on writing this mail,

> arachne supports svgalib (and the binary

> version also supports ggi?). Dillo

> doesn't. Actaully I do not know about

> any non-X, graphical, still maintaned

> web browser for *NIX. I think this is a

> gap in the free software market.

> Arachne could fill this gap if the ggi

> version was GPL, the released

> source would really compile and there

> was at least a version controlled

> repository.

>

> This post was not meant to be

> offensive.

>

>

Hi Igor.

Wow!!! For some years we have heard complaints about lack of Linux support, yet nobody ever wanted to assist with this. You at least have tried, so I commend you for that. We have no current Linux developer, but if you'd like to restart the Linux branch, please join the existing developers at groups.yahoo.com/group/ArachneDevelopment.

Cheers,

27 Mar 2007 07:47 igor2

Re: is ther still life in Arachne ??


> Yes, there is !!!

>

> http://www.cisnet.com/glennmcc/

>

Hi,

Ok, I know a few years have passed since your post, but... well ;)

So here's arachne, finally a GPL version so I could try it out again.

Origianlly, before I migrated to free software, I used arachne for a

while (in the good old modem-times). After trying different

systems, i've finally choosen Debian GNU/Linux where I use w3m (80%),

dillo (15%) and mozilla (5%) for browsing. When I've found your post

and downloaded the code, I was thinking I could replace dillo with

arachne. However, this turned out not to be the case.

In this mail I will criticize the software, but not to offend the authors

but to give (I hope) valuable freedback. If the project is not totally dead

already, I hope these comments would help getting developers.

1. It doesn't compile. I had to spend more than a hour to get it to compile.

Most of the problems are easy to fix and obviously caused by the fact

the packager doesn't really use *NIX. I think if a software supports both

DOS and POSIX (or rather some POSIX systems with svgalib installed), it

should be tested on both. Some of the easy problems: Makefile needs to be

copied (I haven't found a Readme telling this), all filenames are

uppercase in the .zip (which should be tar.gz by the way) while all

references are lowercase, one file even lost a character due to file name

length limit of the packager's system. A few not-so-easy problems are

lack of #ifdefs. It seems the code once worked with POSIX systems

but later features/bugfixes were added and noone tried it again on POSIX

so some of the later changes simply don't work.

2. The source zip lacks config files. I had to download a binary version

just to get some files stored in share/. I think it would be nice if

one could compile and immediatly run the software.

3. Lack of license. The only 2 references that tells this software is GPL

was your post and your homepage. You should at least copy the GPL text

in the root of the zip.

4. Lack of Readme/installation files. One downloads the zip and he/she

doesn't know what to do.

5. Lack of info about version control. Is/was there a CVS or SVN or

whatever-version-control-system-you-prefer repository? Michael mentioned

in his earlier posts that he doesn't see open source community would invest

time in improving the software - which is sure a point if you don't

have version control. Who would spend time on creating a patch if

the above problems (from 2. to 5.) exist?

6. It's _not_ faster than dillo while dillo also renders better. I've checked

only a few pages, and I am sure there are cases where dillo is worse

(probably with frames for example). Ok, it's not really something

you could easily fix, but I had to tell about it so the next paragraph

will be more meaningful.

However, and this why I am actually spending my time on writing this mail,

arachne supports svgalib (and the binary version also supports ggi?). Dillo

doesn't. Actaully I do not know about any non-X, graphical, still maintaned

web browser for *NIX. I think this is a gap in the free software market.

Arachne could fill this gap if the ggi version was GPL, the released

source would really compile and there was at least a version controlled

repository.

This post was not meant to be offensive.

16 Jan 2004 22:16 ldbest

Arachne for DOS now GPL
Keep your eyes open ... when you least expect it
there can be a new 'find' for Arachne.

16 Jan 2004 20:23 glennmcc

is ther still life in Arachne ??
Yes, there is !!!


http://www.cisnet.com/glennmcc/ (http://www.cisnet.com/glennmcc/)

14 Nov 2000 13:06 xchaos

It is not very different from my plan
I definitely don't expect you or any other regular Linux
user to pay for Arachne. But forget about end users of personal computers. Only very small percent of population
is actively using their PCs, using other productivity software than which comes pre-installed, and this gap is going to grow in future. I am definitely not concerned about those few end users, but about companies who are going to sell hardware with pre-installed software and about future application providers, who will replace current software vendors. Are they willing to support open source - or just take advantage of its existence ?

There are two more reasons. My contracts prevent me from
releasing Arachne source code for certain period of time. If there are no new contracts signed, I am going to open the code of course. But I am still not convinced, that people will actively contribute to such open source project. Arachne source code is currently open to small group of Arachne users, who I can trust completely, and contribution
from this user group is in fact quite confusing. One good programmer, who is actually submiting his changes to him, always focus on different problems, than I would like to solve, there is problem with code forking, with his understanding of my code and my understanding of his code, etc. Now imagine if I had to receive more contribution to Arachne codebase! I would totaly lose control, and numerous new bugs will be introduced. Some of them may got fixed too, thats true.

Also note, that Arachne has to be backward compatible with
DOS, as it was intended to bring Internet to people not able to upgrade their PCs. Few open source programmers can imagine, how hard is to write well behaved DOS program, as there are many limitations (which doesn't exist in neither Linux, other POSIX like systems or Win32). I am almost sure that opening Arachne source code would result in something, which won't be backward compatible with DOS.

I was quite surprised, that huge applications and libraries like StarOffice, libQt, Mozilla or MySQL have moved from their special licenses to GPL. Now I understand, that I will have to release Arachne under GPL one day, if I the project to continue. But it is question of timing. I won't do that until I know, that many people are waiting to say "Wow! So even *Arachne* is now available under GPL!". This is exactly
what StarOffice, libQt, Mozilla or MySQL were waiting for. Maybe that these applications would never exist without initial phase of commercial development. GPL is maybe better license for abandonware, rather than for phase of active development of the project, where one or more full-time programmers have to outline shapes of entire project.

13 Nov 2000 23:49 fredlwm

Re: About Arachne from Arachne author
OK, sorry about some parts of my comment. BTW, SVGAlib really bugs me and many others.

I was thinking about Arachne as open source, but I cannot afford it. Income from licensing Arachne source code is enough for me not to have any other job, I have my own company where I can spend all my time doing projects I like.

So, why not release the sources but still maintain the free for non-commercial use. That's what ssh did. Most people don't care if you license it like that, but do if you don't release the sources. Think about Linux. Personally, I don't care about the licenses, but like to build everything, and would for sure pay for anything I like.

13 Nov 2000 15:56 xchaos

About Arachne from Arachne author
Some comments. I am not author of Arachne browser record
at Freshmeat - I was suprised to find Arachne already submited to Freshmeat database. I wanted to add it when I found that MPEG TV, another shareware for Linux, is also listed on Freshmeat. Before that, I thought that Freshmeat is only for open-source software announcements, so I haven't
announced Arachne for SVGA-lib/GGI myself. I am going to request change, because current version for Linux is 1.66
beta. There was no stable release for Linux yet, BTW.

I am quite diappointed by the comment above. The README fragment is misleading: I wanted to let people know, that I am not yet ready to receive Linux bug-reports or help requests, because Arachne for Linux is beta release, and I know about way too many bugs myself. The notion about buying
Microsoft products was ironical - I am developing only DOS
and Linux software, I just want to avoid spending all my time receiving bug reports. Arachne for Linux is in fact
quite stable, but in most Linux distributions, SVGAlib is shipped, but it is not configured for any special video card
or monitor, only for 320x200x256 VGA mode used by games.
Arachne starts in 800x600xHiColor, which results in black
screen on most systems, or even in SVGAlib freezing entire
system. This is not Arachne fault, and I just wanted to warn people.

I was thinking about Arachne as open source, but I cannot afford it. Income from licensing Arachne source code is enough for me not to have any other job, I have my own company where I can spend all my time doing projects I like.
I am writing some small projects under GNU license, but I am not ready to release everything as open source. I am not Sun. I am not living from my shareholders money, I am living from my customers money. I hope that they will ask me to release source code one day, and that they will prefere to buy services rather then source code. So far, there is little interest in my services, companies want rather to license the source code or to make me their employee (directly or indirectly). And I don't want to be their employee, I want to be my own boss.

Parts of Arachne (eg. mail manager) were released under LGPL
license, but there is very little interest in porting them from DOS to Linux, or rewriting them. I also don't expect
people being interested in keeping Arachne backward compatible with DOS, which is on other hand very important,
because of all those old PCs which cannot be expected to
be upgraded to Linux.

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