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Links Web Browser Community Edition for DOS with TLS 1.2


Wunderbar98
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Hmm.:dubbio:

SMARTDRV.EXE cannot speed up write operations ´as such´ for unique files like a download, so a slowdown is possible because of the ´overhead´ Smartdrive needs.

In my experience ´best´ is to disable writing from the cache of Smartdrive with the /X-switch, and speed up reading operations with maximum Read-ahead buffer. In Windows 3.1 MS-Smartdrive documentation I found that the max Read-ahead buffer is 57344 bytes, works with later versions too.

Also: if SMARTDRV.EXE is loaded high, the Read-ahead buffer should be in conventional memory, same for BUFFERS in CONFIG.SYS. This because UMB´s can notable slowdown read/write operations. So DOS=HIGH,UMB,NOAUTO is also needed (if a Upper Memory-manager is installed, of cause).

Further it´s a good idea to experiment with number of buffers and with all combinations of double buffering (for details see my thread ´SMARTDRIVE Revisited´ on MSFN).

It would be interesting if there is still such a notable difference in download speed with following entrances in CONFIG.SYS:

DOS=HIGH,UMB,NOAUTO

BUFFERS=10

INSTALLHIGH [station:][path]SMARTDRV.EXE /X /L /V /B:57344

Smartdrive can loaded in AUTOEXEC.BAT instead, with LH [drive:][path]SMARTDRV.EXE /X /L /V /B:57344

At the moment I have no time for experimenting. :no:

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Thanks for your input @Deomsh. Although i'm not a DOS expert, your suggested configuration was trialed without noticeable benefit. I'll let it go, SMARTDRV.EXE does not appear useful for Links, probably best to keep the config simple.

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Wow. I was just about to have the quickest internet experience in my life. With a DOS browser!? No kidding! The path of progress is... the past itself? Old DOS computers with no mouse and no cooling are quicker than quad-cores super gaming water-cooled Windows 10 machines with a 20-button-mouse? I'm losing faith in computer scientists... no, in fact I've lost that long ago, but this is just another example, how web design should be and how efficent programs can be if intelligent people are behind it.

Two things to critisize: The name "Links" is problematic. As it was already said, it can be confused with hyperlinks. Also, it means "left" in German, which will disturb me every time I open the browser. I propose this thing to be called "Megalynx".
Secondly, it's not beautiful, that the first screen you get to see when starting an unconfigured Links, is just a blinking cursor. The top bar should be there, like when pressing ESC for example. That will make the user feel, that something is there actually. Else it looks like a stuck BIOS...

One last thing to say:
COMMENT WRTITTEN WITH LINKS ON MS-DOS
ONLINE IN 2020

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Hi Gansangriff. Yeah it's fast and efficient. Recommend using it in GNU/Linux or BSD where performance isn't bottlenecked by a (slow) packet driver. It's been called Links for years, you could appeal to the developers but it's unlikely they will change the name. At least it utilizes internet-related nomenclature. Maybe it's too short, easily misconstrued for general usage of the word.

The LINKS.BAT section of the first post already loads DuckDuckGo at startup as an example, so users unfamiliar with the browser won't get a blank screen. Don't think there's any way to permanently activate the menubar. Sometimes it's annoying but i believe intentional to provide a minimal, distraction free browsing experience. IMO once you learn the keyboard shortcuts, there's little reason to have the menubar always displayed. If someone finds a way to activate permanently i can update the first post.
LH C:\DOS\LINKS\LINKS221.EXE -MODE 1024x768x16M32 https://lite.duckduckgo.com/lite

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  • 5 weeks later...

Believe Links is included in FreeDOS full fat releases. I've used both Links and FreeDOS, just not together. There is a recent quickie FreeDOS review in the 'Running vanilla Windows 98...' thread. Hyperlink below shows Links is referenced in FreeDOS' networking software section, their users must be utilizing the browser. The nice thing about Links is that it's still receiving periodic updates, even DOS ports.
http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/distributions/1.2/repos/pkg-html/index.html

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I have a working FreeDOS installation on a bootable USB flash drive, so I could've tried Links with the old SMC EZ Card 10/100 (SMC1255TX), for which a packet driver exists, but the card died in a short time frame after being installed.

PC went to sleep one day and didn't wake up, didn't respond to reset button, didn't POST after power cycle, no signs of life, just fans spinning. Thought that was it and that motherboard went kaput until I removed the card.

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Hi UCyborg. Yeah having a compatible network card with a good packet driver is probably the biggest limitation today. On one Windows 98 system i had to swap out an otherwise perfectly working network adapter because it was causing a shutdown hang. Went through all the troubleshooting steps, just something about the card Windows 98 didn't like.

Just an aside, FreeDOS links to Links v2.18.
http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/distributions/1.2/repos/pkg-html/links.html

... but v2.21 is available, last updated August 2020.
http://links.twibright.com/download/binaries/dos/

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  • 3 months later...

Version 2.22 is now available as of March.  Just updated all my DOS/Win31/Win9x machines to it.

I actually use Links a lot over my cell phone hotspot using one of 4 various NEC Versa laptops I own with Cisco Aironet LMC-352 16-bit PCMCIA cards in them, 2 of which share a working battery.  For security, the hotspot only allows one device at a time.  It's also what I use from Windows For Workgroups 3.11 as Opera 3.62 is kind of dead in the water when it comes to TLS 1.2/1.3 - I just run it from a DOS window.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the good news @creepingnet, like your setup! Updated this afternoon, runs well. The first post was edited to reflect:
- New Links release
- New Changelog link
- Screenshot changed to hyperlink for non JavaScript users
- Footnote [1] links Lynx web browser alternative

Edited by Wunderbar98
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Links v2.23 for DOS is available, download and changelog links on first post. New cookie options via Setup dropdown -> cookies. Options include enable, save, duration and clear. Briefly tested, seems good, fast as ever, a go to DOS browser.

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Hi @seahorser. I'm not aware of a standalone libpng port to DOS, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Maybe i misunderstand your question, the Links browser ported to DOS was compiled static and has the necessary dependencies. Links can view and download *.png files. Just set it up as described in the first post of this thread, including the -mode switch for preferred graphics mode. The Links download link utilized contains library sub-directories with png data if this helps any.
http://links.twibright.com/download/binaries/dos/

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Links v2.25 for DOS is available, download and changelog links on first post, OpenSSL related. Briefly tested, seems good. Last two releases incrementally smaller (7318528 -> 7309824 -> 7309312 bytes), sweet.
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