Arachne Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Why did you write Arachne ?
  2. Is there any Arachne mailing list around ?
  3. Is Arachne the same program as Caldera Webspyder ?
  4. Do you plan Linux (Windows (R),ZX Spectrum (R), Macintosh (R), ...) port ?
  5. When Linux version of Arachne will be released ?
  6. Do you plan to support Java and JavaScript in Arachne ?
  7. Do you plan to support Hercules, joystick, PDP-11, my old notebook, etc. ?
  8. Why is Arachne so slow on my PC ?
  9. Why Arachne doesn't dial with my modem ?
  10. Why I cannot connect to my provider using PPP ?
  11. Why Arachne converts JPEGs to Bitmaps ?
  12. Where is e-mail addressbook ?
  13. How do you pronounce Arachne and xChaos ?
  14. Who or what is NAF ?

  1. Why did you write Arachne ?

    In 1996, Internet was not well integrated with everyday computing at all, and I had many ideas which I considered original; at the same time, it looked like Microsoft wants to have total monopoly in all categories of software - especially the general purpose software for end users. Major web sites suddenly started to attract millions of visitors, while web pages of normal internet users had little chance to become popular without advertising - it seemed like Internet won't be this wonderful free place where people can share ideas and emotions (and it isn't, BTW ;-) I was simply student with insufficient funds to upgrade my PC - if someone had given me something more powerful than 386 with 5 MB of RAM, I would had probably installed Linux and spent rest of my life trying to compile Enlightenment windows manager ;-)


  2. Is there any Arachne mailing list around ?

    Yes. Send an e-mail to listserv@arachne.cz, saying either "subscribe arachne" or "unsubscribe arachne". Once subscribed, you can post messages to arachne@arachne.cz - address of the mailing list. If you want to receive only official announcements, subscribe to "arachne-announce" (arachne-announce@arachne.cz). If you want to join development of Arachne (especially Arachne for Linux), subscribe to "development" (development@arachne.cz). There is "arachne-digest" available - it is digest form of main Arachne mailing list.


  3. Is Arachne the same program as Caldera Webspyder ?

    Yes. xChaos software licensed full source code of Arachne to Caldera UK. People from Caldera added animated GIFs and Novell dialer, completely changed the design of the browser, implemented their own support for frames, and succeeded in compiling all this stuff as 32 bit application, while Arachne is 16 bit application.

    Caldera doesn't have exclusive access to Arachne in any way, so you can choose from two DOS browsers. xChaos software welcomes Caldera's DOS and Linux activities.


  4. Do you plan Linux TM(Windows (R), ZX Spectrum (R), Macintosh (R), ...) port ?

    We are currently porting Arachne to Linux (first SVGALIB, later maybe also X11 or new graphical standard called GGI), Once the port is completed, Arachne will be the first multi-platform fullscreen graphical web browser. As web design is becoming more and more fullscreen-oriented (see all those pages designed for resolution 800x600 or more), this is interesting challenge for windowing enviroments generally: will future Internet surfers prefere fullscreen, or windows based design ?

    Once Arachne is rewritten to be more portable, it shouldn't be problem to compile it also on any other platform, if it is compatible with DOS or Unix.

    Development of DOS version of Arachne will continue even when Linux version is finished.


  5. When Linux version of Arachne will be released ?

    Anyone can tell me when SVGAlib will be able to use 800x600xHiColor mode on my S3Virge chipset ? ;-)

    Arachne for Linux should be available until the end of 1999.


  6. Do you plan to support Java and JavaScript in Arachne ?

    DOS version of Arachne will probably never support binary Java applets (<APPLET> tag), but it will support JavaScript (<SCRIPT> tag) - we are working on it.


  7. Do you plan to support Hercules, joystick, PDP-11, my old notebook, etc. ?

    We are planning to add Hercules and full CGA support later, because it is essential for compatibility with hand-held devices and Personal Digital Assistants, which usually use monochrome graphics.

    However, our ability to support nonstandard hardware is limited. We suggest you to buy (or rather find in trashcan ;-) some second-hand ISA SVGA card with 512 or more KB of memory - Arachne would look just terrible on monochromatic screen anyway. You can check experimental CGA support if you don't believe me.


  8. Why is Arachne so slow on my PC ?

    There's a long list of methods how to speed her up - that list is part of documentation distributed together with Arachne. Because the list is quite long and confusing, let's summarize it: You need at least 33 Mhz processor to anything useful with Arachne. This usually means 386 or 486 compatible CPU. You have to use some kind of disk cache (SMARTDRV, NWCACHE) or run Arachne from some kind of virtual disk - "RAM disk". This totaly disqualifies PCs with less than 2 MB of memory - on such hardware, you can use Arachne to occassionaly view short HTML pages with few images, but don't expect anything more. If you have only 2 MB, dedicate 512 KB for EMS or XMS, 512 KB for disk cache, and pray. If you want rather to read mail than view web pages, you should maybe allocate as big RAM disk as you can, point your %TEMP% enviroment variable to it and let Arachne "swap to disk" and cache local objects to %TEMP% directory. Of course, it is optimal to have all three accelerators: lot of free XMS, enabled disk cache and TEMP enviroment variable pointing to RAMdisk.

    Arachne eMail reader is simply not really usable without at least 4 MB of memory used for heavy disk caching (1 MB DOS/1 MB XMS/1 MB disk cache/1 MB for %TEMP% on RAMdisk). If you don't have 4 MB, you can try to use text mode Pegasus mail for DOS to read and compress messages downloaded by Arachne.


  9. Why Arachne doesn't dial with my modem ?

    Our dialer setup screen is not able to deal with some extremely non-standard modem configurations. (for example, with modem on COM4 and with no COM3 device, you may have to pretend it is on COM2 and manuly select correct base address and irq which belongs to your COM4; you can also try to manualy enter your parameters to ARACHNE.CFG)

    xChaos software is not responsible for any included or recommended PPP dialer: we only wrote user friendly HTML setup screens for the DOSPPPD. This DOS port o Linux pppd seems to work on many typical DOS based PCs. Plug your external modem to COM2 (mouse on COM1) or internal modem to COM3, irq 4 (mouse on COM2), and everything's gone be all right.

    Many problems are with Windows-specific internal devices - Winmodems. They require specific drivers to be used, and if such driver is not available for DOS, you are lost. When buying internal modem, always make sure that it will be visible for your BIOS/DOS as third serial port - otherwise you won't be able to use it with operating systems like Linux or DOS.


  10. Why I cannot connect to my provider using PPP ?

    Some PPP implementations are more standard, some less standard. DOSPPPD dialer included in Arachne package should be able to manage both PAP and CHAP password authentication. But there can be other problems, eg. dynamical assignment of DNS server. Arachne needs to know IP of at least one fixed DNS server to run.

    Another problem is, that the fact that MINITERM managed to tell your modem to connect with your provider's modem doesn't automaticaly mean, that the DOSPPPD will accept the same port settings as MINITERM dialer. They are two different programs...


  11. Why Arachne converts JPEGs to Bitmaps ?

    JPEGs images are very slow to decompress - well, there are some ultrafast JPEG viewers, but usually viewing BMP is much faster than viewing JPEG. Imagine that on PCs, which are not able to handle Virtual Screens, Arachne would have to decompress all JPEGs each time you scroll the page! And even on PCs with Virtual Screens enable, Arachne would have to decompress JPEGs each time you return to previous or cached page.

    If you prefer images in CACHE to be stored as GIFs, rather than BMPs, you can do some changes to your MIME.CFG (you will find some tips how to do it in this file). It will occupy less disk space, but it will be also much slower. The image quality of GIFs may be better for 16 color modes - but you will loose quality if you are using HiColor modes.

    Mayne in futur, Arachne will convert JPEGs "on fly", while downloading them - but they will be always converted to some faster image format.


  12. Where is e-mail addressbook ?

    It is part of Hotlist ! You add any mailto: type URLs to hotlist, either when writing e-mail, or manually, or you can right-click the mailto: type links before actually clicking "Add to hotlist" icon.

    Merging of "bookmarks" and "addressbook" to one simple HTML file is my invention; I believe that it may be useful to be able to very easily transfer your "Personalized Internet" on floppy or by e-mail in single file.

    Of course - if you don't want your Hotlist to look too messy, you have to use Hotlist manager regularly...


  13. How do you pronounce Arachne and xChaos ?

    In Czech, I prounounce Arachne as "ur-uch-nae", where "ch" sounds the same ways as in German word "Ich" ("me") and "u" sounds the same way as in "under". xChaos sounds like "iks-chu-os", with the same "ch" and "u".

    But in english, most people usually pronounce Arachne as "A-rak-ne", where "a" sounds the same way as in "about" and "e" sounds the same way as in "eat". xChaos is usually pronounced like "iks-keios".


  14. Who or what is NAF ?

    NAF - Network and Fiction is network company running the web server www.naf.cz. xChaos software was not able to handle growing demand for support and information, so NAF became also main distributor of Arachne in 1996-1998. Now Arachne has it's own web server, and Arachne is again exclusively distributed by xChaos software.


Write mail to xchaos@arachne.cz to contact author of the browser. Arachne is trademark of Arachne Labs (xChaos software).