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Browsing CURRENT web on 15+ yr old hard / software - Methods to PROXY / convert

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Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
This is no doubt a very niche problem. I often use two older machines for tasks they can preform (to me) as good as my modern system. Light photoshop, reading text, MP3 playback, old games, and on safe-enough pages some web browsing.

For the real purpose of what I'm trying to do, let's focus on the older box.

Windows 95 OSR 2.5
IE 3.0 and Netscape 4.7

PII Celeron @ 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 10 Base Ethernet on modern broadband

The above can be upgraded, but my point is, why?

I'd like to host a proxy or filter of some kind on a modern box. The goal would be to let complicated pages get converted into only simple text and images and be delivered to the old machine in a way that won't make it crash or take forever. Basically something in the middle that opens up the envelope and goes through it. The modern box would pull out all the contents it knows is going to just confuse the old machine, and pass along only what it was capable of reading.

You're all probably wondering WHY?? If nothing else, why I'd be dumb enough to run a Windows 95 box on the modern web. I don't really care. It's obviously for fun, and in my experience you don't get a bunch of viruses for no reason right off, so for me anyway, I'm still letting these machines see the net. They also don't have any non-backed up, mission critical stuff. Nor do they have dangerous access to mission critical stuff on more modern hosts. They're their own sandbox, but it is online.

So the GOAL would be to read current news, weather, and encyclopedia type stuff. IMO, this adds a great deal of utility to a machine which otherwise would be "offline". It would also be nice to be able to pull down images from a google search, and other very basic stuff.

Alternately, if what I'm speaking of is just too hard to do, or can't easily be done.... I'd like to find a list of trusted sites that don't make old browsers go wonky, if such a list doesn't exist, I'd like to help create it!

For all I care, this can be as phony as possible. If performance was better, I'd run Win2003 on a VM, then RDC into it for my retro browsing needs. (Pretty smart, eh?) This may remain my #1 way. I pretty much want a condom between the host and the web that can be breached by the system clipboard, and perhaps a download for a file.

Any ideas appreciated. Before anyone suggests them, I've thought of the following:

Are you crazy? Just use a newer machine.
Dualboot with 2000 / XP for a newer browser
KernelEX with a modern Opera / FireFox
RemoteDesktop / VNC to use a much more up to date machine

All that stuff would be the "Right" answer, But Im too stubborn.

I predict this thread will net zero replies... But I've never been one to not ask a question ;)
 

petteyg359

Likes Popcorn
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Why use Windows at all? Pretty much anything that runs on 95 will run just fine in Wine, and with Linux, you could have an up-to-date web browser and the available security that enables.
 
OP
Ben333

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
With the point you're making, why do any of this?

My goal is to be able to read text and images from the modern web from inside Win 95 on a machine that doesn't have the raw power to do Kernel EX + Modern firefox. This box was built to run Win 95, and is loaded up with great software. Dual booting it defeats the purpose. I have a modern box + SMB between them... So that's how I'd do it if I needed to. But the vintage experience would be oh so much fresher if you didn't need to leave the 95 desktop to hop on the web.

This box has the horsepower to run Windows 2000 or XP no problem at all. But I'm not going for the safest, most stable option. Going for the rat rod, might kill ya but boy does she go fast... kinda vibe.
 

petteyg359

Likes Popcorn
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
And you reinforce the point. If you want fast, pre-NT Windows was utter trash. I wasn't suggesting dual-boot, anyway. Like I said, any software that old is likely to run just fine in Wine, plus a decently configured Linux kernel and applications will do your "fast" much faster. Put Gentoo on the thing like I did with my old Pentium II laptop.
If you really want to translate things for an old-as-crap software set (which requiring a middleman, is necessarily slower and contrary to your desire of "fast"), https://github.com/babel/babel will convert new Javascript to old, and https://danielsaidi.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/automatically-convert-html5-to-html4/ will convert HTML5 to HTML4. Integrate those with Varnish somehow and you'll have your slow rod.
 
OP
Ben333

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
I meant no offense. I grew up using Win 95, so this is more or less for fun. And the machine being Pentium II era? About as important as what color underwear I'm wearing.

If I use Linux instead of W95, then why even use the old box? I have C2D setups gathering dust. Those would also run Linux, Wine, and all my old apps. This setup is essentially my PC time machine. A relic of days gone by.

And I'll have to disagree on Pre NT being trash. NT 4 runs marvelously on this piggy. But Win 9x leaves more retro flavor. Still mighty fast! ;)

TY for those links!! I'll check those out.
 

su root

Senior Member, --, I teach people how to read your
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Location
Ontario, Canada
First thing that comes to my mind is Readability. Readability is the idea of removing everything unrelated to the actual content of the page. There are libraries and services that do this. Could probably use squid's external processor functionality to convert the pages you request. Only problem is that this will also remove portions of the page that contain navigation links, so you won't easily be able to browse around sites.