Arachne (web browser)


Arachne in VESA mode

Arachne in CGA mode
Arachne GPL web browser using its VESA and CGA display modes, respectively.
Developer(s) Michal Polák and contributors.
Initial release December 22, 1996
Stable release 1.95  (November 12, 2008; 3 years ago (2008-11-12)) [+/−]
Preview release none  (n/a) [+/−]
Written in C
Operating system DOS, Linux
Type Internet suite
License GPL

Arachne is a full-screen Internet suite containing a graphical web browser, email client, and dialer.[1] It primarily runs on DOS based operating systems, but includes builds for Linux as well,[2] but should not be used with X.[3] Arachne was originally created by Michal Polák (under the label xChaos software, later renamed to Arachne Labs[4]) in the C language and compiled using Borland C++ 3.1 compiler, but since been released under the GPL as Arachne GPL.



Arachne is currently the most advanced graphical web browser available for DOS as it supports many file formats, protocols and standards. It is also capable of displaying between CGA 640×200, two colors and VESA 1024×768, high color modes (65536 Colors). Arachne is designed for systems which do not have any windowing systems installed.[5]

Arachne has image support for JPEG, PNG, BMP and animated GIF. It contains a subset of HTML 4.0 and CSS 1.0, including full support for tables and frames.[6] FTP, NNTP for USENET forums, POP3, and SMTP are a few protocols which Arachne can handle. Arachne includes a full-fledged TCP/IP connection suite, which has support for some dial-up and Ethernet connections. However, Arachne currently has no support for JavaScript,[7] Java[7] and SSL. Arachne can also be expanded with the use of addons for such tasks as watching DivX movies, playing MP3 files, IRC chat, RSS, and viewing PDF documents.

The first release of Arachne with a known release date was 1.0 Beta 2 which came out 22 December 1996. The final official version by Arachne Labs was 1.70R3 for DOS (released 22 January 2001) and 1.66 beta for Linux (released 20 July 2000). While there have been several DOS versions[8] Linux development lay dormant until May 24, 2008 when a (still beta) version, 1.93, for Linux[9] branch was released.


Arachne supports a limited subset of stylesheets and HTML. Known support as of version 1.93, GPL:[6]

Style Aliases Options
color #rgb or #rrggbb or a color name
background-color background #rgb or #rrggbb or a color name
font-size  %, px, pt
font-style i[talics]
font-weight b[old]
text-decoration font-decoration u[nderline]



xChaos software licensed full source code of Arachne to Caldera UK in 1997. People from Caldera UK added Novell's dialer and TCP/IP stack, animated GIFs, printing on a multitude of printers, JavaScript (beta), completely changed the design of the browser (customizable), implemented their own support for frames, and succeeded in compiling it as a 32-bit protected mode extended DOS application (utilizing DPMI using DJGPP, GNU compiler for DOS),[10] while Arachne is a 16-bit application at the moment. This program was sold as DR-WebSpyder; the name was to associate it with DR-DOS, which Caldera owned at the time. Later, when Caldera had transferred DR-DOS to its branch company Caldera Thin Clients, which became Lineo, the browser was renamed Lineo EmBrowser.[11]

See also


External links

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