Google, Wikipedia directly on ASCII terminal?

Tapley, Mark mtapley at
Tue Jan 16 09:06:41 CST 2018

On Jan 16, 2018, at 4:38 AM, Peter Corlett via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:

> On Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 08:19:34AM +0000, Martin Meiner via cctech wrote:
> [...]
>> Does anybody know if there exists such anaccess-number where this conversion
>> is already made, or is there a small deviceon the market that allows on one
>> side connect to a dial-up modem and on theother side to the terminal and
>> doing the ASCII conversion stand-alone?
> I do this routinely, albeit with a terminal emulator and ssh session rather
> than a physical terminal and modem.
> My "small device" is a Debian Linux box in Germany on which I read mail and
> Usenet, do IRC, etc. I wrote a trivial Perl script called "google" that
> inspects its arguments, and constructs a search URL which it passes to elinks,
> a text-mode web browser. A similarly-trivial "wikipedia" script could be
> written. Some web sites such as Twitter recognise the elinks User-Agent and
> switch to a non-Javascript "mobile" site. FaceBook doesn't work, but there's
> nothing of value there anyway.
> A physical serial connection is simpler than a pair of modems, so start with
> that. Run a null modem cable between your terminal and COM1 on the Linux box,
> edit the inittab to add a getty for /dev/ttyS0 with the appropriate terminal
> type (there's usually a commented-out example) and reload init. A similar
> principle applies to USB-serial dongles, but they're a bit unreliable so try to
> use a proper onboard serial port if possible.
> Linux's "vt100" terminal type differs somewhat from DEC's in that it includes
> command sequences that an original VT100 does not and some full-screen
> applications will render incorrectly, but a VT220 worked OK when I last tried,
> back in 2003-ish. If the render is occasionally off-by-one -- you'll know it
> when you see it -- it means that the terminal is configured for 24 lines and
> the Unix box for 25 lines or vice-versa. Use the terminal's settings menu
> and/or tweak $LINES/$COLUMNS on the Linux box.
> Dialup is a refinement of this. You will need to use "mgetty" instead which
> understands Hayes commands and other modem control signals, but it might not be
> installed by default.
> Note that 15 years ago we were running sysvinit, and now we have the Brave New
> World of systemd, which is overcomplicated GUI junk and probably doesn't
> support serial terminals. If you decide to build this, find a Linux
> distribution without systemd, or use something like FreeBSD.

I’m not even that advanced, I’m just trying to get OmniWeb on my NeXTStep 3,3 machine to hit wikipedia. Wikipedia seems to have gone to https, and for some reason that is not working. I can do ssh and sftp from that machine, so I must be doing something wrong with the Omniweb settings.
								- Mark

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