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Internet on older macs

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Hi everyone,

 

the reason I am posting this is because I have seen multiple people express interest in using email/web with older macs, i.e. system 7.

 

I have been working on a project called LegacyWeb that is intended to turn a raspberry pi into a wireless bridge combined with a kind of middle-man that allows you to use email, file sharing and various web services from an older computer. So it assumes you have  your old computer plugged into the ethernet side of the rpi, and the wireless connection is the WAN.

 

The web side of this is still a work in progress. As of yet I have only implemented a stripped down version of google maps and started on one for wikipedia, which is currently really ugly and only does text, no pictures (I intend to change that soon, like in the next couple of weeks or so).

 

I guess the reason I am posting now instead of when it is more "mature" is because:

 

1. A lot of people are interested in using their old web clients with modern email. LegacyWeb includes an stunnel setup that wraps the pop3 and smtp connection in SSL, as well as a postfix setup that will do your SMTP authentication for you in case your client does not support it. So yes, you can use your really ancient version of outlook/eudora that does not support SMTP auth.

2. I would like perhaps some suggestions for different kinds of sites to add as web services for legacyweb. I intend to add weather, news and youtube (basically this will be a web interface for starting the video, and send it to vlc, and the video out of the raspberry pi would have to connect to an apple video system in order to view the youtube video).

3. I would like to see if anyone else might want to contribute.

 

The basic secret behind doing web dev for vintage clients is:

1. For alignment, tables are your friend. Don't use divs.

2. No SSL. If you need SSL, tunnel it.

3. No Javascript. Or very little. Make sure it actually works with your old browser first.

4. Do everything you on the server side (in php). For user input, form submission is your best friend.

5. No new media. Old browsers will choke on pretty much any images other than jpg and gif, for example. What I am doing is either downloading the image from the site, converting it if necessary and then storing it in a ram disk in /var/www/html/images-tmp (I don't want to do it on actual storage, since I don't want to wear out the disk).

 

I have done my testing in Netscape Navigator 4.04.

 

Project site:

https://github.com/justinschw/legacyweb

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You could have a look at my project at http://www.macip.net and see al the possibilities.

Hardware version, the MacIPpi: http://www.macip.net/?page_id=113

Software version: the MacIPgw VM: http://www.macip.net/

 

 

The Web Rendering Proxy is the best choice for old web browsers.
stunnel for email  is also part of the standard setup.

 

For Mac users on LocalTalk only macipgw is a nice add on.

Edited by mactjaap

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I havent played with Web Rendering Proxy at all, but I am curious if interactivity works. 

 

I know alot of websites these days are so javascript heavy, but mostly on the user input/user interaction side. Where you can type into login boxes, search boxes, drop down menus, etc.. I wonder if any of that actually works... 

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@techknight

You are right. Not al sites work. SSL doesn't work anyway. But I'm surprised how many sites work. www.apple.com

... works. Is a heavy site!

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I havent played with Web Rendering Proxy at all, but I am curious if interactivity works. 

 

I know alot of websites these days are so javascript heavy, but mostly on the user input/user interaction side. Where you can type into login boxes, search boxes, drop down menus, etc.. I wonder if any of that actually works... 

I have played with web rendering proxy. I found that most of the links do not work, and I was unable to type anything in to search boxes on most of the sites. So basically it wasn't super useful for me. This is why I was just writing "mini-pages" instead, using php apis for sites like wikipedia and google maps and making fully functional pages that are as light on the client as possible.

 

MacIP looks pretty good at least for the file sharing capability and localtalk bridging. I haven't been able to set up an appletalk file server yet in linux, even after playing around with netatalk for quite some time.

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So, basically, you are implementing web-based clients that read information from these sites and presents it in an ancient format that old Macs understand?

 

That's quite interesting!

 

Though, for OS 9.x.x, Classilla is still viable, and most sites work *okay* on it (though the way it lays out the pages is rather clunky at times).

 

What you're proposing would be primarily useful for 68ks, I would think, as virtually any PPC Mac can run at least 9.0, and therefore Classilla. However, having the ability to viably use an older, lighter browser and an older, lighter OS on a PPC Mac (particularly pre-G3 ones), would be nice.

 

c

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I have never heard of Classilla. Is it actively supported? How does it handle SSL sites?

 

I remember iCab used to do a lot for me on my old 68k/PPC ten years ago, but the classic versions became unsupported a while back.

 

It's kind of silly, but for me using the same browsers that I used in the late 90s early 2000s is part of the nostalgia. Granted the sites probably don't look the same, but they have the same "retro" plain html style

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Classilla (for MacOS 9) and TenFourFox (for Mac OS X, particularly 10.4.x) are Mozilla/Firefox web browser backports for PPC macs running the respective OSes by Cameron Kaiser (floodgap.com). They are both kept reasonably up to date afaik (I use them occasionally), albeit with some caveats as to sites and technologies they can handle.

 

http://www.floodgap.com/software/classilla/

http://www.floodgap.com/software/tenfourfox/

 

They're both nice, but don't let that keep you from exploring other options/solutions.

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This is a nice idea! I'll be following your progress. Sure there are other tools that already do some similar things, but if this is an idea you're passionate about then go for it! Everyone would benefit from having more options to approach the "old computer, modern internet" problem in different ways.

 

No offense intended to mactjaap, but I've always struggled to understand exactly what MacIPgw is or does, and I think it could benefit from a 1 or 2 paragraph top-level summary. I'd always thought it was primarily a LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge for AppleTalk traffic, and wasn't needed or useful if your Mac has an ethernet card and you're not using LocalTalk. The web site seems to reinforce this idea: "The MacIPgw virtual machine is way of connecting your old Macintosh to the Internet. You will need a LocalTalk bridge connect the Macintosh to your network in combination with this virtual machine."

 

I see now there's a "proxies" section way down near the bottom of the page, but it's not clear whether that's a feature that's tied to being a LocalTalk gateway or is independent, and the proxy summaries are jargon-heavy descriptions of the technology used rather than an explanation of the benefit they provide to the user. E.g. "The stunnel program is designed to work as TLS encryption wrapper between remote clients and local (inetd-startable) or remote servers. The concept is that having non-TLS aware daemons running on your system you can easily set them up to communicate with clients over secure TLS channels." I think it would be helpful to explain this differently, like "stunnel email proxy: makes it possible to communicate with email servers that require an authenticated and encrypted connection, using an old email client that lacks authentication and encryption capability."

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This is a nice idea! I'll be following your progress. Sure there are other tools that already do some similar things, but if this is an idea you're passionate about then go for it! Everyone would benefit from having more options to approach the "old computer, modern internet" problem in different ways.

 

No offense intended to mactjaap, but I've always struggled to understand exactly what MacIPgw is or does, and I think it could benefit from a 1 or 2 paragraph top-level summary. I'd always thought it was primarily a LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge for AppleTalk traffic, and wasn't needed or useful if your Mac has an ethernet card and you're not using LocalTalk. The web site seems to reinforce this idea: "The MacIPgw virtual machine is way of connecting your old Macintosh to the Internet. You will need a LocalTalk bridge connect the Macintosh to your network in combination with this virtual machine."

 

I see now there's a "proxies" section way down near the bottom of the page, but it's not clear whether that's a feature that's tied to being a LocalTalk gateway or is independent, and the proxy summaries are jargon-heavy descriptions of the technology used rather than an explanation of the benefit they provide to the user. E.g. "The stunnel program is designed to work as TLS encryption wrapper between remote clients and local (inetd-startable) or remote servers. The concept is that having non-TLS aware daemons running on your system you can easily set them up to communicate with clients over secure TLS channels." I think it would be helpful to explain this differently, like "stunnel email proxy: makes it possible to communicate with email servers that require an authenticated and encrypted connection, using an old email client that lacks authentication and encryption capability."

 

Are you the big mess o' wires that makes the floppy 2 emu? I bought one earlier this year and it works great!

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No offense intended to mactjaap, but I've always struggled to understand exactly what MacIPgw is or does, and I think it could benefit from a 1 or 2 paragraph top-level summary. I'd always thought it was primarily a LocalTalk to Ethernet bridge for AppleTalk traffic, and wasn't needed or useful if your Mac has an ethernet card and you're not using LocalTalk. The web site seems to reinforce this idea: "The MacIPgw virtual machine is way of connecting your old Macintosh to the Internet. You will need a LocalTalk bridge connect the Macintosh to your network in combination with this virtual machine."
 
I see now there's a "proxies" section way down near the bottom of the page, but it's not clear whether that's a feature that's tied to being a LocalTalk gateway or is independent, and the proxy summaries are jargon-heavy descriptions of the technology used rather than an explanation of the benefit they provide to the user. E.g. "The stunnel program is designed to work as TLS encryption wrapper between remote clients and local (inetd-startable) or remote servers. The concept is that having non-TLS aware daemons running on your system you can easily set them up to communicate with clients over secure TLS channels." I think it would be helpful to explain this differently, like "stunnel email proxy: makes it possible to communicate with email servers that require an authenticated and encrypted connection, using an old email client that lacks authentication and encryption capability."

 

 

 
Point taken. I see it as a challenge to make clear what you can do with a MacIP.net solution.
 
In the basics it is simple. You have a really ... really old Macintosh, let’s say a Plus, a SE or a Classic without Ethernet. You connect it to your local network with a hardware LocalTalk bridge. Now you can share files or access a printer. But what you cannot do is connect to the Internet. On LocalTalk there is no way to connect over TCP to the Internet.
 
Therefor If you would like to telnet the services of telehack.com (see http://telehack.com/how it looks) or you would like to run a web server on your Plus you need a device or peace of software to help you with the TCP part.
That’s where you could use a MacIP.net solution, like the MacIPgw VM, the tinyMacIPgw iso or the MacIPpi (you could buy a FastPath router, but they are scares and expensive…)
 
I hope it is more clear now.
 
Version 1.0 was only this "macipgw tcp/ip software". I started adding more "nice to have things" to the project, like:
 
- AppleTalk file sharing
- A HTTP 1.0 proxies. Some browsers are so old that they don’t understand the nowadays only almost used HTTP 1.1 protocol
- Web Rendering Proxy (WRP). Web sites are made to clickable image maps. You can use Netscape 1.1 to surf to www.starwars.com… Not possible without the WRP
- ftp server
- stunnel.
 
I try to explain what these services on my web site. (BTW The text about stunnel is not mine. It is directly from the stunnel site. I agree this is not simple, but so is the use of these special software....)
 
So in the basics it is simple software. You can use it for more purposes, like the proxies if you like.
 
 
I ones made a joke about the possibilities on MacIPgw products
 
"I think there is a world market for about five MacIPgw VM’s." 

 

 

 
This is after the quote of

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

 

 

 
I hope I’m as wrong as he was. But I’m afraid my prediction is a better one.
 
Now about the legacyweb project. My experience is that interest in this kind of solutions is not so great. Even people who are willing to test it are not widely spread.
I hope you don’t get demotivated and just go on. I will certainly test it!  
 

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We now have four posts who handle a little bit about the same. Two are discussing what could be made, one is almost finished with a product (mozilla for PPC) and one is offering something; legacyweb.net. These are the posts:

 

Internet on older macs

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/topic/30760-internet-on-older-macs/

Old Mac, Modern Internet

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/topic/30767-old-mac-modern-internet/

MLA Forum Access from Older Macs

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/topic/30806-mla-forum-access-from-older-macs/

Building First Mozilla for PPC (and maybe eventually 68k)

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/topic/30826-building-first-mozilla-for-ppc-and-maybe-eventually-68k/

 

I posted that I would like to test legacyweb.net and I will start a new topic for it. Maybe more people would like to test and respond.

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/topic/30827-testing-the-legacywebnet-project-use-modern-web-on-older-softwarehardware/

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