You wouldn’t immediately think that there would be much of a market for a DOS-based Web browser. After all, as everyone knows, DOS is dead, long live Windows/Linux/BeOS/Whatever. You’d be wrong. For a start, there are hundreds of thousands of 386 and 486 PCs still in use all over the world, none of which is particularly good at running Windows-based bloated browsers. And low-power, thin-client PCs are also growing in popularity, while dedicated devices such as set-top boxes, Web kiosks and hand-held computers can all benefit from running compact yet powerful DOS applications.
Caldera, set up in 1994, has a clever selection of thin-client tools at its disposal, including OpenLinux and DR-DOS. The latter is a 32-bit, Year 2000-compliant version of DOS that includes powerful multi-tasking features and power management tools. It will run happily on a 386 PC, and comes with network drivers and various powerful disk management tools. A copy of DR-DOS is included as part of Caldera’s System Builder Kit, which itself includes the DR WebSpyder component, ROM creation tools and various power management API utilities. If you want to see what the DR WebSpyder package looks like, an evaluation version can be downloaded from Caldera’s Web site. It includes a modem dialer/network layer and TCP/IP stack, and can be run from a self-extracting/executing boot disk. The full version can be purchased either on a per-licence basis or you can go for the DR-SBK that we looked at, which includes powerful OEM customisation tools as well as the source code to all the major components.
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