Re: Conbsider Non-GUI browsers

Subject: Re: Conbsider Non-GUI browsers
From: Dave Whelan <dwhelan -at- PANGEA -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 1998 09:50:52 -0500

Katav writes:
>when it occured to me that one thing overlooked by most (many) html
>coders is the poor person who depends upon a Lynx (or similar) text

I agree that this audience is increasingly being forgotten and I think it is
a mistake. I have seen estimate that 5% of web users use text browsers such
as Lynx -- I suspect the real percentage is higher than that. Until
recently, I had 2 Internet accounts, one with a commercial ISP on which I
used a graphical browser and other with a freenet ISP on which I used Lynx.
I used the freenet Lynx for much of my Web access because I preferred its
speed, and generally, although I find graphics useful, I get much more of
the information I am looking for from text rather than from graphics. I
suspect there are other people who have the choice of using both text and
graphical browsers, who also prefer using a text browser.

I think the use of text browsers might even increase in the future for two
reasons. The access to information and people that the web offers has the
potential of empowering individual human beings like nothing else before it,
and as more people are connected to the internet, the more its power grows.
But, if the Internet is to become available to more people in the world than
the privileged few in the rich countries, the cost of access must come down.
Computer equipment capable of exchanging text is cheaper than that capable
of exchanging graphics, and transmission of text requires much lower
bandwidth than transmission of graphics. Using text browsers is therefore
cheaper than using graphics browsers so, as the Internet widens, the use of
text browsers should increase.

The other reason I think the use of text browsers might increase is simply
the danger of running out of finite communications resources. The exploding
demands placed on the Internet communications infrastructure by transmitting
increasingly sophisticated graphics will, sooner or later, hit the wall of
an exhausted finite resource. When this happens, usage sensitive pricing in
the form of a price-per-bit charge is one way to reduce consumption: this
will tend to favor the transmission of text over graphics.

Actually, the reason I replied to this post in the first place was not to
champion text browsers over graphics browsers, but to ask a question. When I
code HTML, I use a text editor and check the code using different browsers.
I used to use the freenet Lynx to check my code in a text browser, but
recently the local freenet closed down. I have not managed to successfully
install a Lynx browser compatible with Windows 95 on my PC, has anyone
downloaded and successfully installed and used such a browser?


David P. Whelan, Whelan Technical Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (204) 334-1339
mailto:dwhelan -at- ieee -dot- org

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