Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd Mar 2014 23:05 UTC
Internet & Networking

I spend a fair amount of time working with legacy operating systems. Apart from being obsolete themselves they suffer from a common problem - the web browsers are simply unusable on a present day Internet. You start by getting JavaScript error on google.com and it only gets worse once you go further. Try going to microsoft.com with IE 1.5 or qnx.com with the last version of Voyager. This just doesn't work. With rapid progression of web standards, the situation will only be getting worse in time. Something had to be done.

This is some really cool stuff.

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That is...
by UltraZelda64 on Sat 22nd Mar 2014 23:30 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

I agree, that is pretty cool. Old web browsers really do have a tendency to crash and burn when trying to render and display the modern web. This should make trips down memory lane with past operating system/web browser combinations much more pleasant. Awesome.

Reply Score: 3

Too old
by Carewolf on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 00:03 UTC
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

He is being extreme. Try 10-14 year old browsers such as NS4, IE5.5 or IE6, they tend to still work for 90% of internet content. Just run it on machine you don't mind being compromised.

So yeah 18+ year browsers are a bit too optimistic,and will need workarounds like this. But that is a rather specific gap of browsers from the 1990s.

Edited 2014-03-23 00:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Too old
by DeadFishMan on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:03 UTC in reply to "Too old"
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

You are talking about browsers that were, at best, available to one or two platforms and therefore completely useless to people wanting to tinker with older, more obscure and/or lesser known platforms.

The availability of IE 5.5 doesn't help people wanting to browse the web from, say, BeOS, IRIX or older Amigas.

Of course it probably won't be too useful on those JS heavy websites the same way that the Opera proxy ain't but that is beyond the point.

This is one of those clever hacks that are just too cool...

Reply Score: 5

RE: Too old
by zima on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:26 UTC in reply to "Too old"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

He is being extreme.

I kinda think he isn't extreme enough - he should try doing a similar thing with WorldWideWeb/Nexus ;) (the first web browser)

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Too old
by judgen on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 15:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Too old"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

It would work just the same if WorldWideWeb supports image formats like gif.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Too old
by zima on Mon 24th Mar 2014 00:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Too old"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

That's the thing, early versions of WorldWideWeb/Nexus don't even support inline images (they display images in separate windows http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/WorldWideWeb.html ) - who knows if later versions support imagemaps, required by the method from TFA. ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Too old
by thegman on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:50 UTC in reply to "Too old"
thegman Member since:
2007-01-30

This is not my experience.

I was on a website just a few days ago (racv.com.au) which could not be made to function on Chrome, but did on Safari.

Perhaps 90% of pages might still work on an old browser (or indeed a current browser), but useful pages and sites which most of us use a lot, I think it's closer to 0% than 90%.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Too old
by woegjiub on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 11:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Too old"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

You think that's bad?
I frequently find sites that don't even work in the *current* firefox, and will only run in chrome.
I tried to book a hotel in melbourne from Accor, and it just wouldn't work with firefox.

The main reason so few websites function across all browsers and old browsers is that they don't code to standards, and they've apparently never heard of graceful degradation.

Reply Score: 4

90% of 0% of 90$ of
by sPAZbEAT on Wed 26th Mar 2014 09:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Too old"
sPAZbEAT Member since:
2009-07-17

I spend 100% of my time on osnews (where's my account deposit for march?)

so what does the real osnews look like in ns4, for example?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Too old
by Morgan on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 02:32 UTC in reply to "Too old"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Try 10-14 year old browsers such as NS4, IE5.5 or IE6, they tend to still work for 90% of internet content.


I'm not sure where you get that percentage, but my experience bringing my two "classic" computers online says otherwise. I've written about this before so I'll be brief, but basically when running IE5 on Windows 98SE, even websites like oldversion.com that you'd think would be supported, will crash the browser. Opera is the only valid option on that old OS, and it has to be sideloaded.

Edit: I just realized I use a ton of commas when commenting from my phone. Sorry about that.

Edited 2014-03-23 02:36 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:06 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Windows 95 users will be delighted to hear this.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by UltraZelda64 on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

There are still Windows 95 users?! Shouldn't they have upgraded to Windows 98 SE by now? ;)

Reply Score: 5

Sweet!
by LaceySnr on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:13 UTC
LaceySnr
Member since:
2009-09-28

I was wondering yesterday if something like this existed. The browser I have on my Atari struggles big time with 99% of the internet, will have to test this out.

Reply Score: 2

Sometimes it improves over time (perhaps)
by zima on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 01:23 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

On an old, dual 266 MHz Pentium 2 PC, I keep an oldish version of Opera: 9.27 (IMHO the finest classic version - very light, and before a small turmoil in Opera releases caused probably by a race to catch up with Chrome js speed).

Since some time ago, when occasionally using it, I think I notice that websites work better than they used to in the past - perhaps because websites are becoming more standards-compliant, and adherence to standards (even to a fault) was one of Opera's characteristics... (for example http://blog.chromium.org/2010/03/does-your-browser-behave.html )

Reply Score: 7

opera 9.x
by sPAZbEAT on Wed 26th Mar 2014 09:29 UTC in reply to "Sometimes it improves over time (perhaps)"
sPAZbEAT Member since:
2009-07-17

about 5 years ago, I briefly ran opera@usb 9.x on celeron 440mhz. it had 128mb ram or less. i think early sdram. 17"crt. opera seemed to run ok, but I never opened many tabs.
k-meleon ran ok, too. might have been version 1.4
kerio 2, and possibly avast 4.x
win98se and gui looked cruder than i recalled from 1999ish.

Reply Score: 1

No Love for DOS?
by ml2mst on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 04:50 UTC
ml2mst
Member since:
2005-08-27

I'm a huge fan of Arachne GPL on FreeDOS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachne_%28web_browser%29

Reply Score: 4

RE: No Love for DOS?
by ReeBop on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 21:13 UTC in reply to "No Love for DOS?"
ReeBop Member since:
2009-03-01

Thanks for mentioning that one. I clearly remember checking out arachne.cz for a new version to play with and what new features were added. Ah, those were the days...

But then again, Compuserve on a Atari 800 with a 300 baud modem were too, but I digress...

Reply Score: 2

Cool but ..
by acobar on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 04:55 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

OK, it seems cool to be able to use old browsers on old systems but, really, with hardware being dirt cheap and, much more important, way more efficient on power consumption, what is the point?

I understand that some of us may have old scanners, printers, signal analysers and things like that with drivers unsupported by modern systems, at least I have some, and may be obligated to use an old OS.

But I see no point to use an old browser, they are clumsy, insecure and run on OS with more holes than a swiss cheese. It is cool as an experiment but with all inherent trouble it is also unpractical.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Cool but ..
by Lennie on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 09:59 UTC in reply to "Cool but .."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

This is OSNews, some people like to play with old hardware/software.

I guess it's kind of like having your own Computer History Museum.

Sometimes it's also just amazement of what old software on old hardware was already possible.

Or a few years ago it was also amazement how little things have advanced since these old systems.

Recent developments with mass production of mobile devices have changed that, at least for me. Still surprised how many gadgets can fit in such a small package.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Cool but ..
by acobar on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 16:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Cool but .."
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

My argument is not that it is not worth to use old systems, it is about the use of them to browse the Internet.

Edited 2014-03-23 16:28 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Cool but ..
by Lennie on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Cool but .."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Seems to me, it's mostly a convenience thing.

They probably just want an easy way to quickly look up something while they are using such an older system without having to deal with browser issues.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Cool but ..
by Morgan on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 13:45 UTC in reply to "Cool but .."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I keep an old computer around for running DOS and Win9x games. It's a laptop, so power consumption is less of an issue, and it was a lot of fun maxing out its capabilities (newer, faster hard drive, max RAM, etc).

Reply Score: 4

Or you could just use Kmeleon..
by bassbeast on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 10:03 UTC
bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

And call it a day. In their documentation they tell you how (as well as provide links to the files) to use it on a system as old as Win9x.

Lets be honest, with today's bloated web pages surfing on anything older than a Win98 system with 384Mb of RAM would probably be so painful as to not be worth the effort, especially when anybody geeky enough to be able to hack a browser most likely has the web on their phone.

That said a few months back a 500MHz P3 with 128Mb of RAM plopped in my lap so I slapped on Kmeleon and...well it works, although I had actually forgotten what it was like to actually watch a screen draw when fetching a web page. Reminded me of the days of Geocities and waiting for a strategy guide to some game I was playing load ever so slowly thanks to the owner of the page deciding his page just wouldn't be complete without Comet Cursor turning your mouse into a little ST:NG Enterprise..wow I had forgotten how badly things sucked back then!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Or you could just use Kmeleon..
by judgen on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 13:32 UTC in reply to "Or you could just use Kmeleon.."
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

300mhz p2 system with 256mb ram running windows 2000 can still listen (yes only listen not watch as the computer is too slow) to youtube when using the QtWeb browser. I have it out in the workshop to listen to talkshows whilst i work.

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

You DO realize that all you are doing is wasting power, yes? those old chips had exactly jack and squat when it came to power management and for you to listen I bet you are just keeping that chip at close to 100%! When you then figure in the lousy PSU, lousy HDD, and lousy NIC what you end up is a waste for little benefit.

If you were my customer I would tell you go one of two ways, 1.- If you have to have X86 support? get an AMD Bobcat, it uses less than 18w under load and for a job like Youtube uses less than 9w on average. Oh and it'll do 1080P over HDMI for those 18w. This is what I use to replace those power hog P4s and in those cases you can keep the rest of the system, simply grab a $10 IDE to PCI adapter and for less than $100 you have a nice new dual core that barely sips power while giving you a nice experience.

2.- From the sounds of it you are just using it as a media tank, in that case head over to ChinaBuye or similar and grab one of the Android mini-desktops. less than 6w for the dual cores on average and will let you surf, play youtube, etc and depending on the model can be had for as little as $47 for a nice dual core with a Gb of RAM. If you don't mind a little slower or a single core I have seen them as low as $18 on chinabuye, prices in USD.

So do yourself a favor and lose the junker. while I'm all for saving old gear from the dumpster there are exceptions to any rule and I really wouldn't be surprised if you slapped a Kill-A-Watt on that thing you are probably puling a good 50w+ for a system that can't even render video, whereas an Android single would be puling less than 6w and you could actualy watch the video as well as hear it. And PLEASE tell me you aren't using the CRT that came with it? those thing were insanely wasteful when it comes to power! Heck grab one of those ultracheap Android netbooks or just grab one of those ultra cheap tablets and call it a day.

Reply Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

For just listening to Youtube podcasts, there's no need for even all of that muscle. A Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone Black would be a better solution, I would think; less power usage and you don't even need a case for it. Just bolt it to the wall or underneath the workbench.

Reply Score: 4

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

For what it is worth, a Pentium II Deschutes @ 300Mhz uses less than 20 Watts.

The old "if it ain't broken don't fix it" may come into play here. Specially given how those supposed "power savings" come at the expense of creating more landfill pollution, which is far more problematic (and usually conveniently ignored) than a couple of watts saved over long periods of time ...

Edited 2014-03-23 19:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1

ReeBop Member since:
2009-03-01

That was just one of the things that came to my mind too when reading these comments. I didn't think they drew enough energy either to be of concern to society. You were much nicer about it than I would have been though.

It is a fun hobbyist project that someone put together and decided to share with others; there is no need to make any more of it than what it is. Computers, old radio restoration and classic cars may no appeal to everyone, much like this project, but there are plenty of people that do find such things fun and rewarding.

Personally, I'll keep track of this project as I like to play with some older laptops (such as this circa 2001 HP N5450). I hope the project progresses further.

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

You are making a VERY common mistake I'm afraid and that mistake is simply looking at the spec sheet of the CPU itself and ASSUMING that a similar low number applies to the rest of the unit....hint: it doesn't.

The reason why your assumption doesn't work is that the boards with their lousy liquid core caps, along with the always spinning HDDs of the day, the insanely inefficient PSUs of the time, and finally the old cruddy CRT I'm sure she is hooking it to? Add up REALLY quick.

Slap a Kill-A-Watt on that PII with 14in CRT and be ready for a shock, because even if she is using an LCD (which is frankly unlikely as I've found few people are gonna hook up an old junker to a much nicer monitor) and you would be quite amazed how much power those old boxes go through, back then nobody cared about power, it was all about the MHz race.

As for the other poster that suggested a beagleboard? Most folks don't want to mess with a bare board and daughterboards and all the maker junk, the premade Android mini-desktops give you the same low wattage with 1.- Better performance, 2.- better software support, 3.- more memory, 4.- more connection options 5.- Android preloaded and ready for use, 6.- a nice case with no risk of damaging pins or dealing with extra boards.

So I would say that one of the Android minis would be the best bet, its cheap, plays media and surfs well, and uses like 6w for the dual core version. And as a nice bonus with so many apps on Android it can be used as anything from a media tank to a mini emulator box for old games to a netbox, heck you can even use something like GoToMyPC and use it for a thin client, they are very versatile and cheap, what's not to like?

And for those stil using old Netburst Pentiums? Please look into the AMD Bobcat boards, for less than $100 USD for the board, APU and 2Gb of RAM you can turn that power sucking P4 into a very nice dual core that will use less running 1080p video over HDMI than the P4 does simply idling. We are talking less than 9w for most tasks and less than 20w going full bore. You can even keep your old drives even if they are IDE by using an IDE to PCI adapter, I have done this to several office boxes and its the dirt cheapest way to upgrade a piggie P4 into a modern power sipper.

Reply Score: 5

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

You are making a VERY common mistake I'm afraid and that mistake is simply looking at the spec sheet of the CPU itself and ASSUMING that a similar low number applies to the rest of the unit....hint: it doesn't.


I was just pointing out that a PII chip does not use that much power, that's all.

If we're going to highlight other people's partial analysis and a faulty assumptions, there's plenty to nit pick from your part: Your analysis does not include the energy costs and resources needed in order to design, manufacture (and that includes raw material extraction BTW), and distribute the products you're recommending as replacements.

Those boards, as energy sipping as they may be, required plenty of resources to be manufactured and to reach the customer half a world. So yeah, you now get a lower reading from your kill-a-watt. But you could end up in a situation in which overall, you end up making things worse. This is the problem with people not understanding the metrics they parrot.

It's silly to think that environmental protection as yet another product/commodity, because the environmental disaster was created mainly by productivization(sic) to begin with. Einstein said something about trying to solve problems using the same mindset that created them being a silly thing.

Sometimes an old 'puter used to listen tunes a few hours a week really is something that ain't broken and does not need fixing, or at least is the "least bad" alternative. I understand that line of thinking does not bode well with an economic system which needs constant increasing consumption of goods... which ironically is a big contributor to our current predicaments.

Reply Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Now you are just making excuses as 1.- Most cities now have recycling of e-waste, heck even my little town of 15k has an e-waste recycling center, and 2.- the new power sipper should last every bit as long if not longer (thanks to solid versus liquid caps and the lack of heat lowering the risk of power cycling failure) so not only will the old one be recycled but the new one will more than make up for any materials (which considering that we are talking a box smaller than a pack of smokes for the Android, less than a small cereal box for the AMD its not much to begin with) with the MUCH lower power usage.

In this particular case an android dual core with 15in LCD monitor would literally suck less power than the CRT does by itself without even counting how much power is being blown by that junker P2. I bet if we were to kill-a-watt her system we could run 3 or 4 android desktops with small LCDs for the amount she is wasting on that one old junker. As a nice bonus instead of only being able to listen she could actually have the video to go with her audio, which the P2 will never be able to do.

Better performance, lower costs, environmentally friendly, what is not to like?

Reply Score: 2

3 lcds died
by sPAZbEAT on Wed 26th Mar 2014 09:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Or you could just use Kmeleon.."
sPAZbEAT Member since:
2009-07-17

and the circa 2000 crt still works

Reply Score: 1

Now, if only text...
by tomz on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 14:13 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

I need to try this with Lynx or a text browser. They often support image maps in some way.

It doesn't say how it handles javascript.

The problem is I use a portable-router (now my Raspberry Pi) that roams quite well, but has no automated way to get through the bounce page.

You know, the page that comes up instead of the really complicated URL you spent 10 minutes finding, didn't bookmark and is deleted and all the history trashed with the "Welcome to Motel Hell0, please click I-Agree to continue".

It would be nice to be able to recognize and click through.

Javascript is important since I have a JetPack that uses some stupid javascript so I can't just put in a password and click Login, it has to do something with a hash and nonce (which doesn't help security, merely requires me to use a big browser).

Reply Score: 2

what a great article for this site
by Jondice on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 19:27 UTC
Jondice
Member since:
2006-09-20

This is possibly the greatest boon to OS hobbyists in quite a while, and it is amazing that the solution is relatively simple.

To clarify, not only is this great for old operating systems, but also for any operating system that doesn't suppose modern Firefox + Chrome, or as is typically the case, either of them.

Reply Score: 3

This has potential beyond legacy
by Dasher42 on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 19:58 UTC
Dasher42
Member since:
2007-04-05

I would love to see this integrated into a proxy like Squid. Simultaneously gaining caching speed, filtering, security, and legacy compatibility is awesome.

Reply Score: 3

This is not a new issue
by Bengar on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 22:40 UTC
Bengar
Member since:
2009-07-30

Before the viability of open source browser code-bases the WWW was pretty unusable for many alternative operating systems.

One of the reasons I never used BeOS 4/5 as a daily OS was due to its poor web browser support with Netpositive.

Reply Score: 2

Except the fact....
by Raffaele on Thu 27th Mar 2014 02:12 UTC
Raffaele
Member since:
2005-11-12

Except the fact that we Amigans use new browsers...

But those of us who have old machines and 68040 or 68060 CPUS and OS 3.9 simply could get installed Netsurf that is, honestly speaking. a modern browser and it can be installed also on that ancient hardware with good results.
A quick porting of Netsurf on all those of the above OS could made the trick of letting these old Operating Systems continued to be still used nowadays. I am talking of MacOS or BeOS or RiscOS as past versions of Windows have so many big security bugs that make risky just only connecting it to web.

Perhaps, just FYI some weeks ago it was updated an ancient Amiga browser, AWEB, capable to surf Web 3.2 and some minor compatibility with a few 4.0 sites.

[url=http://amigaworld.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=38782&fo...]AWeb Update announced Feb 26, 2014[/url]

Reply Score: 2