DosLynx v0.8 Alpha Release Information

DosLynx v0.8 Alpha Release Information



This is an alpha release of DosLynx for DOS compatible computers written by Garrett Arch Blythe for The University of Kansas.

DosLynx is a distributed hypertext browser with some World Wide Web capabilities.

This file provides information about installing, configuring, and using DosLynx v0.8a.

DosLynx is copyrighted by the University of Kansas and is free for instructional and research educational use. Non-educational use will be licensed at a later date.

DosLynx is available in its source and binary forms.

System Requirements

One of DosLynx's goals is to provide support for as many DOS users as possible. We have scaled DosLynx towards this end.

The known system requirements are:

8086 compatible.
512 kilobytes free or more recommended.
Hard Drive
Required. 2 megabytes free or more recommended.
Monochrome, Black and White, and Color supported.
Graphics capability
None, or Class 1 (ethernet) packet driver connected to a TCP/IP network. You may, of course, emulate a Class 1 packet driver if you have the required software for your particular system (i.e. PPP, ODI, SLIP, etc).
DosLynx is known not to work on the following systems:
Versions below 3.0 will not work properly.
Release 0.7a stated erroneously that computers using Lan Workplace for DOS (or any other comparable TCP/IP stack) were not compatible with DosLynx. See the Installating DosLynx section on how to properly setup your computer when running an existing TCP/IP stack like Lan Workplace but would like to use DosLynx.

If your system is also not supportable, we would very much like to know your system configuration. Please mail the DosLynx developer at this Internet address:

Obtaining DosLynx

DosLynx v0.8a is available via binary anonymous FTP at in the pub/WWW/DosLynx directory. DosLynx version 0.8 alpha will be the file named DLX0_8A.EXE which is a self-extracting archive.

URL notation is

DosLynx will be updated periodically as new changes are made to the application. You will be able to find the new versions via binary anonymous FTP to in the pub/WWW/DosLynx directory under an appropriately named archive.

URL notation for the directory is

Required Files

DosLynx version 0.8 alpha has the following files shipped with it. If you do not have all of the files listed below we suggest obtaining a complete release from the Internet address listed above.

The DosLynx v0.8a executable.
The DosLynx v0.8a configuration file.
The HTML equivalent of this file.
The text equivalent of this file.
The default DosLynx HTML error page.
The default DosLynx HTML hotlist.

Installing DosLynx

This section assumes that you have not already installed DosLynx version 0.8 alpha on your hard drive. If you already have, you may skip this section.

Obtain a copy of DosLynx and place it in an appropriately named directory on your hard drive.

Enter the command "DLX0_8A" from your DOS prompt in the directory which you placed the DosLynx v0.8a archive.

The required files should be written by the self-extracting archive into the directory. You may now remove the DLX0_8A.EXE from the directory if you wish by entering the command "del DLX0_8A.EXE".

For those users with a TCP/IP stack already loaded (such as Lan Workplace for DOS) you will need to configure your computer so that you can unload the TCP/IP stack at your convienience. When you are ready to run DosLynx, you must first unload your TCP/IP stack; for LWP, the command is "tcpip /u". Next, if need be, load a packet driver emulator for your system configuration. You should now be ready to run DosLynx. After using DosLynx, you may want to return your system to its previous configuration. Do this by unloading the packet driver emulator if one was loaded. Load your TCP/IP stack again to finish this process.

Configuring DosLynx

Edit the DosLynx v0.8a configuration file named DOSLYNX.CFG with any text editor. Go through each keyword and provide the appropriate value. Ample configuration instructions are included in the distribution configuration file. Once finished, save the modifed file as ASCII text. If you wish to save your hotlist which was used in your old version of DosLynx, simply change the hotlist keyword in the configuration file to point to your old hotlist file.

Command Line Options

DosLynx has the following command line switches and options. All command line options supercede their configuration file equivalents. All command line options are case insensitive except for URLs.

This option will hide the clock, socket activity, free free temporary disk space, free heap space, and message window for the duration of the current DosLynx session. This option was added to not clutter the screen for blind users as this causes some problems with screen readers, but makes for an all around cleaner display for all users if you wish to use /B.
This is the most important command line option. If you will be executing DosLynx from a directory other than the one you installed DosLynx in, you must use the /P option. /P specifies the directory in which DosLynx may find its configuration file DOSLYNX.CFG and the errorhtml file ERROR.HTM. If you installed DosLynx in the directory C:\DLX then you should use the /P option as follows:

doslynx /PC:\DLX

To avoid having to retype the /P option every time you wish to use DosLynx, create a DOS batch file automatically specifying the /P option for you and place the batch file a directory specified in your DOS PATH environment variable.

This option specifies the temporary directory where DosLynx will create its temporary files. If you wanted to use the directory C:\TEMP as the place to store temporary files, then you would use /T in the following manner:

doslynx /TC:\TEMP\

This option tells DosLynx how many loaded documents to keep in memory before it starts releasing the oldest unviewed file. If you wanted DosLynx to keep the last 5 ready in memory, then you would use the /L option in the follwing way:

doslynx /L5

This option tells DosLynx what text mode to begin in. /VLOW tells DosLynx to use the 25 row text mode. /VHIGH tells DosLynx to attempt to use the 43 or 50 row text modes available to EGA and VGA compatible video adapters.
This option tells DosLynx if it should load the home page you specified in the configuration file. /HON tells DosLynx to load the home page on startup. /HOFF tells DosLynx to not load the home page on startup. /HOFF is automatically assumed if you also use a URL on the command line unless /HON follows the command line URL.
This option tells DosLynx if it will allow network access. To turn off network access, use /NNO. To allow network access, use /NYES.
This command line option is actually any URL that you would like DosLynx to load from the command line. It can be any valid URL or it can be a DOS path to a file. Once a URL is specified on the command line, your home page will not be loaded unless you also append the /HON to your command line following the URL. To have DosLynx load this document on startup, execute one of the following commands from the directory in which you installed DosLynx:

doslynx readme.htm

doslynx file:///readme.htm

Using DosLynx

DosLynx is a straightforward menu driven application.

A user has several ways to activate the DosLynx menu; pressing F10, pressing ALT and one of the highlighted menu letters, and by a single left button mouse click.

Following are a listing of all menu items and their functionality. Menu titles and the appropriate menu choice are presented side by side with the '|' character as a separator.

File|Open URL
Allows you to enter a user specified URL. Once entered, DosLynx will attempt to load the URL.
File|Open Local
Allows you to select a local file from an available DOS path. DosLynx will convert the file name into a URL and attempt to load the file.
When this menu item is selected, DosLynx will close the currently active window so that it is no longer viewable on your display.
File|Save Rendering
When selected, DosLynx will prompt you for a local file name in which to save the document in the currently active window as ASCII text exactly as seen on your display.
File|Print Rendering
When selected, DosLynx will prompt you for a DOS device to which to print the rendering. The appropriate DOS device to enter is the one to which your line printer is connected, such as LPT1.
File|Dos Shell
DosLynx spawns your command interpreter so that you may take action outside of DosLynx while it is still running. After selecting this item, you should always exit the command interpreter and return to DosLynx after you are finished.
This will cause the DosLynx application to exit therefore ending your session inside DosLynx.
Allows you to enter a search string that DosLynx will find in your currently active window.
Navigate|Find Again
DosLynx will again find the last entered search string from the find command.
Navigate|Next Anchor
This will move you to the next selectable anchor in the active window.
Navigate|Previous Anchor
This will move you to the previous selectable anchor in the active window.
Navigate|Activate Anchor
This will cause DosLynx to attempt to load the destination URL of the currently active anchor.
Navigate|Prior Document
This will cause DosLynx to attempt to load the last visited URL in the currently active window.
Navigate|Search Index
Some loaded documents are searchable indexes. To cause DosLynx to search the index of the currently active window, select this command. This command will not be active if the window contains no searchable index.
Navigate|Show Destination URL
Select this if you desire to view the URL of the currently active anchor.
Options|Toggle Low/High Text Mode
Allows you to switch back and forth between the default 25 line text mode and the 43 or 50 line text mode of EGA or VGA video adapters.
This will cause the window containing all DosLynx message to appear as the active window.
Window|Clone Window
Use this if you wish to create a duplicate of the currently active window. The window should be the same in every respect except for window number and size.
Use this command to switch a window to its maximum possible size and its previous size before Zoom.
Use this command to organize all open windows in a cascading arrangement on your display.
Use this command to organize all open windows in a tiled arrangement on your display.
This command causes DosLynx to load the user specified HotList file for easy access to anchors which you speicify.
Hotlist|Add current to Hotlist
This command will add the URL of the currently active window to your hotlist file and then prompt you for a name by which to remember the URL.
Hotlist|Home Page
Use this command to open a new window with the user specified home page loaded within.
Help|About DosLynx
Miscellaneous information regarding DosLynx.
Help|Mail Developer
Use this command to send a suggestion or bug report to the developer of DosLynx if you are connected to a network.
DosLynx also has many other ways of obtaining user input.

All hotkey equivalents are listed beside the menu choices while running DosLynx.

In addition to the listed keys, you can use the UNIX vi keys (HJKL) or your numeric keypad with your number lock on for anchor navigation. This differs from the 0.7a release of DosLynx that allowed the user to use the Lynx arrow keys for anchor navigation which is no longer supported as the arrow keys are reserved for scrolling only.

Page up, page down, the arrow keys, and the space bar allow you to look through a document that is longer than your display itself. Further, if you utilize a mouse with DosLynx, you can select an anchor by using a single left button click, and activate an anchor by using a double left button click. A special case arises when attempting to select an inline image which also is has a destination; see the Special Notes section.

Items contained in the status bar (the bottom line of your screen while running DosLynx) correlate directly with items in the navigate menu which are selectable by the mouse only. In addition, the right mouse button is the same as issuing the Window|Clone Window command.

Special Notes on Usage

As of the DosLynx v0.8a release, only the following URL types are supported:
If you notice extremely poor system performace, such as the hard drive being continually accessed, install a disk cache such as SMARTDRV.

When attempting to select an inline image with a mouse, it may not work as you expect. Some inline images also have destinations, in which case you will be taken to that destination. Use the keyboard to specifically select an inline image which also has a destination.

For the best DosLynx performance, specify the temporary file directory in your configuration file or on the command line to be a directory on a RAMDRIVE. See your DOS documentation for setting up a RAMDRIVE specific to your system.

DosLynx is a MDI (multiple document interface) application. This may confuse new users that are used to other World Wide Web clients. As a rule of thumb, when you open any URL or document through DosLynx's menu or equivalent hotkeys, then it will exists in it's very own window. Windows are numbered in their upper right corner and you can switch between windows by pressing the ALT key and the window number simultaneously.

Each window represents an open file at any given time. If you open more windows than you have FILES specified in your CONFIG.SYS file then DosLynx may crash. Increase the number of open files your machine can have if you plan to use multiple windows a lot.

When DosLynx has used most of your computer's memory attempting to use the File|Dos Shell command will not work. Your computer simply does not have enough memory to execute your command interpretor.

When you ftp a file or activate an anchor that DosLynx cannot display as text, you are asked to give a file name to save the information in; a filename is now suggested by DosLynx. These files are not removed by DosLynx when you exit the application. This allows you as the user to do what you will with such files after exiting DosLynx. If you are prompted to save a file that is already on your hard drive (such as a local image) do not use the same name in the same directory. This option is being left in since some users may wish to use DosLynx on a LAN and copy the selected files to their workstation's hard drive.

DosLynx has been known to crash when it encounters a file containing a large number of selectable anchors in it. This is due to an unavoidable memory limitation. Large files with few anchors will be loaded fine. Future releases of DosLynx will address this problem in a more stable manner.

When DosLynx terminates unexpectedly, the temporary files it creates remain in the temporary file directory you specified in the configuration file or on the command line. The temporary files follow the pattern of DLX*.$$$. You will have to remove these files yourself if this occurs. As DosLynx is improved upon you can expect it to become a more stable application and prevent you from having to worry about this temporary file problem.

If you are wondering, the menu bar contains the current time in the upper right had corner. In the status bar are three numbers in the lower right corner. The numbers are from left to right the current network activity in bytes, the size in bytes of the temporary drive you specified, and the amount of available heap memory in bytes. These were originally run-time debugging tools for the developer of DosLynx but were left in as they are harmless and give the user some information of what is currently happening when DosLynx is at work. They can be turned off with the /B command line option.

If your computer does not use a packet driver, which DosLynx requires, to access the network, ask your local network administrator if there is a packet emulator available for your particular workstation configuration. For instance, if your computer utilizes an ODI driver for network access, in order to use DosLynx you will need to install the a packet driver emulator if one is available to you.

Once one program is utilizing your computer's packet driver, like DosLynx, no other program may do so at the same time. If you have need to run more than one packet driver utilizing program at the same time, we suggest asking your local network administrator if your computer can be configured to use a packet multiplexor. If so, you will need to find a suitable packet multiplexor and install it on your computer.

To correctly view the ISO Latin I characters supported by HTML, you must configure DOS to use multilingual code page of 850. Consult your DOS manuals on how to specify the appropriate code page for your computer.

To force DosLynx into a supported black and white video mode, type "mode BW80" at your DOS prompt. Consider doing this if you monitor is black and white but DosLynx considers it a color monitor (monochrome EGA monitors).

If you are interested in registering with the DosLynx development listserv group, send a mail message to Please do not send subscribe requests to the doslynx-dev list directly. In the body of the message, send only the following information where username@node is your internet mailing address:

		subscribe doslynx-dev Your Name Here
Remember that this version of DosLynx is an alpha and has been released as a feedback tool only. Expect problems, and when you encounter one please mail the developer at the following address and inform the creator of the problem you encountered and your system configuration.

New DosLynx Features

The following new features were added in this release of DosLynx:
Inline Images
DosLynx can now download any inline image and display inline GIFs.
Blind Support
The /B command line option was implemented to aid blind users using DosLynx with a screen reader.
Mail Developer
The mail developer command now takes much less time to send the message you enter, and no longer hangs your computer.
Local GIFs
Local GIFs will now load correctly.
Suggested Filenames
DosLynx will now suggest a filename when prompting the user to save a file.

Distributing DosLynx

You may distribute DosLynx version 0.8 alpha at your convenience so long that you distribute the orignal self-extracting archive obtained by the means listed in the Obtaining DosLynx section of this document.


The University of Kansas would like to thank the following organizations and people for their aid in the creation of DosLynx.
	Generous financial assistance given by O'Reilly and Associates
		and Intel Corporation.
	Fundamental GIF display routines by David Koblas
	GIF support and dithering routines by Thomas Boutell
	World Wide Web Source Library by CERN
	Waterloo TCP by Erick Engelke
	FTP code from James W. Matthews, Dartmouth Software Development
	Borland C/C++ and TurboVision by Borland International
Further, The University by Kansas recognizes the following:
Borland C/C++ and TurboVision
Trademarks of and Copyright by Borland International.
World Wide Web Source Library
Copyright by CERN, Geneva, Switzeralnd.
Waterloo TCP Library
Copyright by Erick Engelke.
FTP code
Portions Copyright 1994 Trustees by Dartmouth College.
GIF display routines
Copyright by David Koblas along with the following notice:
/* +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ */
/* | Copyright 1990, David Koblas.                                     | */
/* |   Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software   | */
/* |   and its documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby | */
/* |   granted, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all | */
/* |   copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission  | */
/* |   notice appear in supporting documentation.  This software is    | */
/* |   provided "as is" without express or implied warranty.           | */
/* +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ */
Last Modified: 08-11-94 by Garrett Arch Blythe

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