The HISTORY of Arachne at version 1.5
Copyright (c)1996,1997,1998,1999 xChaos softwareTM All rights reserved

Welcome to the UNOFFICIAL Arachne UK Website maintained by
Mel Evans, in Peebles, Scotland.

This page contains HISTORICAL data of the Arachne web Browser as it was at version 1.5, and some weblinks may not work, or may connect to slightly different pages. The page is retained for reference purposes and fault reports are NOT required!

The ARACHNE WWW browser was written and the distribution package was created by xChaos software, using third-party freeware components (see the Arachne file README.TXT for details). The browser itself is proprietary software and you will have to license it if you  want to use it for other than  private non-commercial or evaluation purposes.

Some links in this document work only when you are connected to the Internet. The most important online link for you is the Arachne online homepage, where you will find the latest version of Arachne. More information: Distribution and licensing:

About the Authors of the Arachne WWW browser:

  • xChaos software (CZ)
    • Michael Polak - author of most of the code (including HTML rendering and xSwap (TM) memory manager) and of all documentation. Designer of user interface (including all animations, icons and the "error message skull" ;) Inventor of  the DOS Gateway Interface (DGI). xChaos software is orientated on developing component-based, highly customizable applications. Visit the homepage of xChaos software for more information, or e-Mail to:
    • Ing. Zdenek Harovnik - X_LOPIF, DOS graphics library for EGA, VGA, SVGA and VESA cards (including HiColor modes), animated GIFs, XMS and EMS memory management, conversion of TTF fonts to DOS enviroment, virtual screens, code optimizing. e-Mail:
    • Vitex - author of Arachne installation program. e-Mail:

Arachne is partly based on the work of the following companies and individuals:

  • IBASE group (CZ)
    • Ing. Ivan Polak - color palette optimization algorithm (for 16 and 256 color modes), images in 16 color modes. e-Mail:
    • Ing. Jan Vlaciha - memory management.

    IBASE is a powerful database capable of keeping multimedial data, which has currently been ported to Unix (Linux) and can output data stored on server to the World Wide Web - if you are online, see demo.

  • Erick Engelke (Canada)
    WATTCP - free TCP/IP library sources
    Copyright (c) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 Erick Engelke
    [Used with permission]

    Portions Copyright (c) 1993 Quentin Smart
    Portions Copyright (c) 1991 University of Waterloo
    Portions Copyright (c) 1990 National Center for Supercomputer Applications
    Portions Copyright (c) 1990 Clarkson University
    Portions Copyright (c) 1983, 1986, Imagen Corporation

  • Antonio Lopez (E)
    PPPD.EXE - port of Linux PPPD to DOS, see details in Arachne.
    [Used with permission]
  • New Wave Microtechnology (CZ)
    Portions of WWWMAN.EXE - utility for surfing local drives. Portions of INSIGHT.EXE - utility for converting e-mail messages to HTML. Both utilites were developed directly for xChaos software. e-Mail:
  • Krysztof Zietara (Poland)
    Author of the excellent ISO-Latin-1 and ISO-Latin-2 version of fonts used by Arachne.
  • Vasily Zatsepin (Russia)
    Author of Cyrillic support for Arachne (CP-1251 and KOI-8R).
  • Independent JPEG group (USA)
    DJPEG.EXE - public domain convertor of JPEGs to GIFs, see details in Arachne.
  • xChaos software NL (NL)
    • Cliff Albert - BBS2HTML.EXE, conversion of FILES.BBS files to HTML, Dutch version of Arachne homepage
    • Tim VanPelt - Dutch version of Arachne homepage
  • Jan Patera (CZ)
    JPNG2BMP.EXE - fast decompression of JPEGs and PNGs to bitmaps.
    [Used with permission]
  • Bill Neisius (USA)
    PLANY.EXE - public domain sound player,see details in Arachne.
  • Dev Anand Teelucksingh (Trinidad)
    For simple ideas on how to use COMTOOL.COM to autodetect modem
  • K.H. Weiss
    COMTOOL.COM - public modem tool, see details in Arachne.
  • Clarkson University, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (USA)
    TELNET.EXE (CUTE) and FTP.EXE - public domain telnet and ftp programs.
  • Bernhard "Bernie" Eriksson (Sweden)
    Bug fixes and improvements on some of the free source code.
    Also made it easier to translate Arachne.


  • All registered users of Arachne.
  • All members of the Arachne mailing list - without their bug reports, Arachne would be just another NCSA Mosaic or Arena.
  • Linus Thorvalds - author of my favourite operating system.
  • The Authors of Fast Tracker II - the program with the best graphical user interface in DOS. I would never even have thought about writing Arachne without experiencing Fast Tracker II.
  • Authors of GIMP - the "GNU Photoshop"
  • Caldera, Big Electronics, Patrick Sim, H.W.Wilson, TeleMED , GE Capital Bank - for licensing Arachne
  • NAF - for 2 years of internet connectivity, online disk space and providing online support
  • Tim Berners-Lee - inventor of World Wide Web.
  • Hynek Med - for numerous comments about Arachne (in)compatibility with RFC documents, for administration of our server (without knowing root password ;-).
  • Countless registered and unregistered fans of Arachne, who keep on flooding me with tons of enthusiastic e-mails ;-) Let's hope we will manage to survive in competition with those two huge dinosaurs, MSIE and Mozilla


The LZW algorithm used to decompress GIF files is implemented in IBASE group graphics library X_LOPIF since 1992.

Arachne was written in C language and compiled using Borland C++ 3.1 compiler. Development started in 1996. At that time, I was using my old "noname" computer, which had a minimal configuration of:- 386DX/40, 8 MB, 600 MB HDD, Trident 512 kB SVGA, 14" color monitor, 14400 "noname" faxmodem, MS-DOS 6.22, and Desqview. Windows 95 with Netscape were painfully slow on this hardware, so I decided to delete them and started to write my own browser.

Development of Arachne now continues on my new "noname" AMD K5/133, 32 MB, 2.5 GB HDD, S3 Virge 2 MB and OpenDOS 7.02, but we are still testing Arachne on slower PCs with 386 CPU. We are not ourselves testing Arachne on 286 based PCs and XT compatible PCs, but Arachne is reported to work even in this enviroment, although perhaps is not very fast due to the limitations of the  machines and the hardware.

In the Greek language, Arachne means spider. According to ancient Greek legend, Arachne was the name of a woman, who dared to compete with the goddess Athena. Arachne won, but then Athena punished her - by turning Arachne into a spider.

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Ver. 1.01c 19/09/03