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UNIX Implementation for MSX

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UZIX 1.0 FudeBrowZer

Introduction:

      With UZIX TCP/IP Stack you can make dial-up connections with your MSX. It means that you can access Internet from your MSX just dialing to your ISP.
      Well, so what most people do with Internet? WWW! And WWW means graphics, colorful pages. A text-based web-browser, like Lynx, can navigate through web pages with success, but a graphical web-browser, like Netscape, can do it with much more fun and pleasure to the user.
      But parsing HTML is not an easy task, even for a text browser, in a machine that don't have thousands and thousands mega of available RAM and CPU clocks. And decoding JPEG and GIF graphics is really a hard job. So, what to do?
      The solution is simple: why spending MSX CPU parsing HTML pages when you can let another machine do it? Let another machine make the hard job! The MSX will get the HTML page in a more suitable format and will easily render it in the screen to the user. Easy and fast graphical WWW access!

How it works:

      There are two separated applications involved: the client application, called FudeBrowZer, running on MSX, and the server application, called WILD (WWW Intelligent Lowsizer Daemon).
      WILD runs on a powerful machine (a PC, a workstation, etc) and acts like a proxy: it receive requests, renders normal HTML pages to the MSX format and send them to the requester. The WILD server will be running on a machine in somewhere in the world, and will be accessed using a normal Internet connection.
      For example, suppose that a WILD server is available at www.foobar-net.org. You go to your MSX, connect to your ISP and start FudeBrowZer. You request the site "http://uzix.msx.org". At this moment, FudeBrowZer connects to www.foobar-net.org and requests the site "http://uzix.msx.org". The WILD server at www.foobar-net.org will contact the site uzix.msx.org, get the entire page, convert and send it to your MSX.
      This approach is faster than downloading and rendering a pure HTML page. An example: the UZIX site index page, including graphics, has about 15kb. The same page, after converted by the WILD server, has only 2,5kb! The download time is 6 times faster, and presenting the page to the user is instantaneous. There's no need to convert GIF / JPEG / PNG / HTML files or whatever. And a little remark: the time spent by the server to convert the HTML pages is zero, when compared to the necessary download time by MSX.
      Finally, many WILD servers can be running around the world. If a server is down at the moment, FudeBrowZer try another one.

FudeBrowZer features:
  • Almost full HTML 2.0 standard compliance;
  • Support to JPEG images;
  • Support to GIF images (and also transparency);
  • Support to PNG images;
  • Mouse support;
  • MSX1 graphic mode;
  • HTML page anchors support;
  • Kanji support (requires Kanji ROM);
  • Strange HTML elements ignorance (scripts, non-HTML2.0 tags, etc);
  • Pseudo-support to frames (treated as hyperlinks, as Lynx does);
  • Pseudo-support to tables (background color support);
      The feature "MSX1 graphic mode" means that FudeBrowZer can run on a MSX1 machine (as long as UZIX runs on a MSX1 machine), since it doesn't use an exclusive MSX2/2+ video mode. The reason for using a MSX1 video mode is explained in the "Acknowledgements" section.

Known bugs and missing features:
  • Images with more than 16 lines can't be in the same line of text;
  • No forms support;
  • No multiple fonts support;
  • No animated GIF support;
  • Font size is limited to 3 types;
  • No download support;
  • No mail hyperlink support ("mailto:");
  • It's not possible to check links addresses;
  • No support to the following HTML 2.0 tags: META, BASE, ISINDEX (obsolete), LINK, NEXTID (obsolete), ADDRESS, OL, DIR, MENU, EM, KBD (obsolete), SAMP, VAR, ISMAP, FORM, INPUT, SELECT, TEXTAREA;
Screenshots:

      Refer to the Screenshots page to check some screenshots of navigation through the web with FudeBrowZer.

WILD server around the world:

      These are the sites who are currently hosting WILD servers:
  • 37-97-217-173.colo.transip.net (37.97.217.173)
Downloads:

      Refer to the Downloads page to get UZIX installation program or diskimage, that includes the TCP/IP Stack and FudeBrowZer.
      Is also available, as separate download:
  • FudeBrowZer 1.1 (30kb);
    FudeBrowZer web-browser. UZIX executable file. Requires network support on UZIX and fb.conf file in /etc directory. Use the mouse to control the cursor or use cursor keys with GRAPH key pressed. Press RETURN, SPACE or mouse button to select. Cursor keys up and down scroll one line. Cursor keys up and down with CONTROL key pressed scroll one page. HOME key goes to page top. ESC key stops page loading or exits program/URL typing. BS key loads previous page. SELECT key changes cursor speed. Execute "fb -check" to check the available WILD servers around world.

  • FudeBrowZer configuration file (1kb);
    Configuration file for FudeBrowZer. Contains the list of WILD servers in the world. Should not be edited by the user. Must be put in /etc directory.

  • WILD server 1.1 source (446kb);
    Source code of the WILD server, used by FudeBrowZer. Released under GPL license. Successfully compiled under SunOS 5, Debian, Linux RH 6.2 and FreeBSD systems.
Source code, copyrights and acknowledgements:

      The WILD server and FudeBrowZer client were implemented according to the "FlyBrowser" protocol, created by Ricardo Bittencourt and available at http://fly.to/flybrowser (in Portuguese). Due to the fact that the FlyBrowser protocol is targeted to the TMS9128A video processor (the MSX1 VDP), the FudeBrowZer web-browser uses MSX1 video mode. This mode has the advantage of causing a better image data compression.
      The WILD server was written from scratch by Adriano Cunha. No proprietary code was used and the source is released under the GPL license. If you want to host a WILD server on your machine, fixed a bug or improved WILD, please, tell this to adriano@uzix.org.
      The FudeBrowZer web-browser source code can't be released yet since it contains copyrighted material. Only the binary distribution is available now. As soon as a free implementation be made, it will be available here.
      Thanks to Ricardo Bittencourt for the help with routines and the understanding of FlyBrowser protocol. Also thanks to Marco Antônio Simon Dal Poz, Sean Young, Sandy Pleyte and Sander van Nunen for their precious help and to Giovanni Nunes and Raul Tabajara for the fonts and icons of the original FlyBrowser client.