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"A" Desktop

(For Arachne 1.71UE)

Arachne desktop?

 The latest (Jan 2, 02) Arachne is HERE , version 1.71UE   Feel free to place it on your site for download.

The latest ctmouse.exe is HERE  Version 2.0 Alpha3 allowed me limited use of the wheelmouse in Arachne.

A desktop makes NO changes to Arachne. 

Several features made Arachne my choice for a GUI/desktop. It has never made sense to me for a GUI to open a web browser (which is actually another GUI) when the browser (Arachne) can open and run just about anything in the computer, including Windows 3.1! Many major manufacturers are again supplying their products with DOS drivers, so you can use your digital camera or scanner in DOS. 

Since the files are already on your hard drive, you can make an elaborate and beautiful desktop(s) that would be prohibitive on the Internet. A 1.5 megabyte wallpaper loads in a fraction of a second on a modern machine. Add animated gifs, or animated icons if you are artistically inclined. In fact, one of the first desks I made was the red/blue anaglyph type. Even the animated icons were 3D. It was spectacular, but not very practical. If you want to give it a try, go HERE

Since everything is HTML, your desktop can be multiple pages, or scroll down or sideways. Icons (or hypertext if you prefer) are linked to ".OOK" files, which are actually DOS batch files to run whatever application you wish. When finished, you are returned to the desktop.

Once Arachne was set up, I didn't need the dialer page, because [alt+d], [alt+h], and [alt+x] handle dial, hang-up and exit respectively. 

If people who are used to Windows are to be enticed back to DOS, then some of the things they are used to will have to be provided. With this in mind, I wrote STARTUP.HTM which displays a stormy beach scene complete with thunder (soundcard required) and animated GIF lightning as a splash screen . It looks like this:

Startup screen

See:  for a swell butterfly logo, and look over his site for DOS applications and tips.

After 3 seconds, this line <META HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" CONTENT="3; URL=file:/c:\arachne\desk.htm">   re-directs the splash page to:

Desk DESK.HTM.  

It has two trout that leap out of the water and a flock of geese that fly by periodically. Zipped file is HERE.

Optional: I changed the Homepage in Options; Personal Settings to C:\desk\desk.htm That way I can click the little house icon to return to the desktop.


atom This is one of my icons, made slightly larger for 1024 x 768. Your only limit is your imagination.

To link an icon to a DOS file for execution:

<a href="c:/desk/OOPS/MEM.OOK"><img border="0" src="buttons/atom2.gif" alt="atom" width="60" height="59"></a>

An .OOK file is merely a DOS batch file. For example C:\DESK\OOPS\NOTEPAD.OOK might contain:


It can be created with any text editor.



The Tripod banner messed me up, so you will have to imagine the trout leaping and the geese flying over.

Hints and Tips

A new mail client page


My newest machine

Even though I had an 800 MHz Celeron and motherboard on the shelf, I bought a 350 MHz Pentium II motherboard and processor on E-bay. The Pentium II was chosen because of its excellent track record with Beowulf clusters. 

I already had:

    CT2770 Value 16 bit Soundblaster card (meant for DOS, but drivers came out later for WIN31 and WIN9x.)

    S3 Virge/DX video card (has drivers for DOS, WIN31 and WIN9x)

    56k Conexant hardware modem (NOT plug 'n pray) The Netscape dialer and Arachne find it in a split second!

    12 Gig Quantum Fireball

The drive was partitioned into six 2 Gig parts, and I told the DM.EXE that comes on the drives "Quantum Go!" floppy that I was going to use Windows 98 (I lied).

In CMOS configuration all relevant IRQs are set to legacy instead of PnP.

MS-DOS 6.0 was installed because I have WIN31 on partition C: . FreeDOS is much faster, though. I used Selectit by Quarterdeck as a boot manager, but others would work as well. WIN95 resides on D:, but Windows 3.1 can't see it. Any APPS that I add to WIN95 are installed on E: or F:

Netscape 2 is installed in WIN31 as the dialer and mail service, Netscape 4.08 is used for the Internet, but will be removed as I get my Arachne desktop finished. FreeDOS will replace MS-DOS. Of all the machines I have had, this is the first one I really like.