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1.  DOS browsers and related products

There exist many web browsers and Email products for DOS. Nowadays some of them are historical, abandoned, or no longer well usable with recent web pages, a few however are still under development, and can - to some degree - compete with the mainstream represented by Mozilla Firefox. The most painful limitation of all DOS browsers is the lack of JavaScript support - pages requiring it most likely won’t be usable at all.

2.  List of programs

2.1  Arachne (browser/E-Mail/Newsgroups/IRC)

See separate page Arachne

2.2  DOSLYNX (browser)

This is a text-mode browser, which uses Turbo Vision as text-user-interface-library. Origins are very old, started in 1992 at the University of Kansas, in 1994 it split from the “other LYNX” (see below, before it became GPL’ed) , and since 2000 it is maintained by Fred C. Macall . At that time it had a 16-bit real mode version only, later a 16-bit DPMI version was added, in 2008 September 0.36b was released adding a 32-bit DPMI version, keeping the 2 other 16-bit versions as well. It is free for personal use but source code is not available, there are many ancient contributors and its copyright status is “complicated” .

It is the smallest and simplest browser for DOS, but also it is the most limited one. It supports HTTP, Mail SMTP-Client, Cookies, and Login/Post, can be used to post in phpBB2 forums (to some degree ?), but can’t edit Wikipedia (causes massive truncations or crash) , and no HTTP upload (forum attachments) is possible. Since 0.38 HTTPS (encrypted pages, SSL) is supported, so such pages can be viewed and even some interactivity is possible, however incomplete/buggy cookie handling was a problem limiting the usefulness, this was fixed in 0.39 .

Version history (most releases include “various minor fixes” as well, note that compile date may be several months behind release date) :

  • 0.43b 2012–06 (compiled already 2012–02) : fixed some bugs (?), “Wiki-BUG” still in
  • 0.42b : not released
  • 0.41b 2010–12 : fixed some bugs (??)
  • 0.40b : not released
  • 0.39b 2009–05 : fixed Cookie handling, can login into SourceForge
  • 0.38b 2009–03 : added HTTPS support to the 32-bit version
  • 0.37b : not released
  • 0.36b 2008–09 (compiled already 2008–05) : added 32-bit version

Since 0.36b every release includes 3 versions:

  • 16-Bit real mode (should run on 8086)
  • 16-bit protected mode
  • 32-bit DPMI

Features and positive observations:

  • Very small
  • Has an 8086 version
  • HTTPS support in the 32-bit version

Flaws and known problems:

  • Can’t edit Wiki pages > 32 KiB (problem is not clicking “Save”, but already “Edit” - it crashes (if you have edit permission), even in the 32-bit version)
  • When editing smaller Wiki pages, it causes undesirable percent sign “%” conversion (breaks links, code, …)
  • When accessing HTTPS pages, it doesn’t evaluate certificates - you can use the page, even interactively, but you are not protected from fraud

Early LYNX and DOSLynx history :

Download :

(unfortunately the page is frequently “partially dead” - accessible for some people (some IP’s) but inaccessible for others)

Mirror (0.39 and 0.41) : dlx41.zi7

Screenshots: see GallBrowsers ;-)

2.3  Dillo (browser)

Lightweight graphical browser, development started in 1999 by Jorge Arellano Cid as a portable browser for Linux and other OS’es. Later it was ported to Win32 by Benjamin Johnson AKA obeythepenguin, and then from Win32 to DOS by Georg Potthast (earliest experimental release 2011-Nov-13) with help of Benjamin. Original project developers unfortunately didn’t cooperate well with Benjamin so ey declared the Win32 port as dead with version 3.0p9 on 2011-Dec-05 (original project having version 3.0.2 at that time), but development of the DOS port should (??) continue. Updated 2013-Mar, added HTTPS/SSL support, fixed bugs (??), version is 3.0.2. This is so far the latest DOS version, while the original project meanwhile has 3.0.5 from 2015-Jun-30.

Features and positive observations:

  • Graphical web browser
  • Tabs

Flaws and known problems:

  • no JavaScript
  • Image scaling uses a “simplified resampling strategy”, gamma (see below “Test pages”) is bad in version 3.0.2, fixed in 3.0.4 but no DOS binary

Details and usage:

Compiled with DGJPP using the Nano-X AKA NXlib GUI library.

2.4  OWB - Origyn Web Browser

Open source portable web browser based on SDL and Apple WebKit, an experimental Win32 binary runs with HX-DOS , is interesting but for now also full of flaws, see BTTR forum.

2.5  Elinks & Links (browser)

Development of Links started in 1999 by Mikuláš Patočka and still continues in 2016, there are many further contributors (Karel Kulhavý, Petr Kulhavý, Martin Pergel and more).

Project has had a Wikipedia page since 2001 or 2002.

DOS support is not being heavily advertised in the included documentation or on the page, but it is there, the DOS binaries are hosted on the main project page too.

The browser can run in text mode, then it is somewhat similar to Lynx and DOSLynx, or in graphical mode, then it can somewhat compete with Firefox.

Features and positive observations:

  • Graphical web browser
  • Text mode or graphics mode (VESA), mouse control
  • HTML
  • GIF JPG PNG images
  • HTTPS / SSL / TLS / encrypted connections (problem: doesn’t evaluate certificates, and whines about them)
  • Interactive pages (forum posting, Wikipedia editing, …)
  • HTTP file downloads and uploads
  • Single standalone binary (compiled with DGJPP), no extra support files needed, no installation
  • Fonts with many special characters (fonts are built-in in the binary)
  • User agent and referrer tuning (Firefox needs hacky addons for this)
  • Image scaling correct with respect to gamma (see below “Test pages”), almost no other browser does this right

Flaws and known problems:

  • Mouse wheel not supported
  • Whines about certificates (can be disabled)
  • Editing boxes behave in a strange way
  • Pages not refreshed after editing or logging in or out (can be enabled ??)
  • No CSS support (especially HTML files converted from PDF look very badly)
  • JavaScript not supported (there used to be some “experimental” support long ago, but was removed as it was buggy and outdated)
  • Rare crashes

Details and usage:

The DOS port is a DGJPP binary, so it needs at least 80386 CPU (and FPU ??) and a DPMI host ( HDPMI32 -r ). By default in runs in text mode, to run in graphics mode, use something like:

LINKS -g -mode 800×600×16M

Old ports of Links and Elinks from 2008:

By default Links is a text browser. To run Links in graphical mode run GLINKS.BAT. Available (no longer) from :

2.6  Lynx (browser)

This is a DOS port from the Unix platform. The latest DOS port of Lynx is 2.8.5rel.1 and is ported by D. Kaufman . It is a text-mode browser and includes support of SSL.

Download :

2.7  NetTamer

Shareware product (35$), still available for download (demo with minimal restrictions only ??), it is unknown whether registration is still possible, no screenshots found. Frequently exits with “internal error”, can only use dial up, if you are connected by NIC you need a packet driver and an emulator for dial up. Tested by mr .

2.8  Caldera DR WebSpyder

Caldera DR-WebSpyder is based on an old version of Arachne (1.40 ??) . Caldera bought the license from Arachne’s author in 1998 (??) (before Arachne went GPL), and they added some features (as limited JavaScript support and some improvements in HTML rendering), but the most important update was compiling CORE.EXE (see Arachne) with DJGPP and using Allegro for graphics. The demo makes a good impression, rendering offline HTML is faster then with Arachne, even faster then Lynx, Firefox or Opera. Compared to Arachne, the package content as well as user interface are very similar, just icons and fonts (WebSpyder has ISO-8859–1 only, while Arachne comes with several internationalization packages) are different. Nowadays WebSpyder’s JS “support” is useless, also the HTML support is less good than later versions of Arachne provide.

Download: (use with care, read license, newest version ??)

Historical review:

BTTR forum thread:…id=10630

Historical screenshots:

2.9  Breadbox Ensemble (browser/E-Mail)

Breadbox Ensemble? and NewDeal Office includes a good graphical webbrowser (WebMagick or Skipper 2000) and an e-mail-client! It is a fantastic GUI with office etc. Is Breadbox Ensemble under development anymore?

2.10  WebBoy

2.11  mTCP (multiple Internet programs)

A set of DOS Internet tools (DHCP, FTP client, FTP server, Telnet, IRC, Ping, SNTP, Netcat, but no browser) by Michael B. Brutman . All applications are 8088/8086 compatible and will run well on the oldest/slowest PC hardware too. Written in C / C++ (many .CPP files, one .ASM file) and (no longer ??) open source (GPL3). mTCP is still (2015) in active development.

2.12  CHASE (E-Mail)

An open-source DOS e-mail client by Mike Chambers supporting POP3 and SMTP. Supports AUTH PLAIN authentication on SMTP servers. Runs on an 8088 or better. Has a pretty nice interface with separate inbox, outbox, sent mail, and trash mail lists. Supports printing e-mails. Probably (one of) the best e-mail client for DOS. Updated in 2009.

2.13  MUTT (E-Mail)

Mutt 1.5.5 for DJGPP / DOS is available at . It is a port of a small but very powerful text-based mail client for Unix operating systems.

2.14  Mercury (E-Mail)

Mercury is the smallest (78Kbyte) text based mail client.

2.15  Pine (E-Mail)

Old version available from . But it supports IMAP! A documentation is available here: !

2.16  FreeXP (E-mail, no relation to WinXP ??)

It is an open source client and is available at: , or in German: .

2.17  WGET (commandline downloader)

1.11.1 ported by Mik

3.  Test pages

Here you can test functionality of DOS browsers and compare them against other browsers.

4.  See also

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Page last modified on August 14, 2016, at 07:20 AM