Programs for Internet access


The programs in this list are at the moment the most popular programs for accessing the various Internet services. There are already several programs available for both Unix and MS-Windows. For (text-mode) MS-DOS, there is only PC-Gopher.

To find the latest versions of these programs, refer to

A program for reading Usenet news, works on every type of Unix, text mode only. It knows only the NNTP protocol. It assumes that all articles are ASCII text; in other words, it does not yet support MIME.

Is very much like rn, but works under the X Window System.

A program for reading Usenet news under MS-DOS. There is also an MS Windows version.

A mail interface for Unix, works on all version of Unix. It can deal with messages in MIME format, though the interface is still clumsy.

Pine (`Pine Is Not Elm') is supposed to be easier to use than elm.

Another mail interface. Some people say it is easier to use than Elm. There is also a graphic user interface for the X Window System: xmh

A Mail client for PC's in Novell networks. Can send Internet mail via a gateway.

The X interface to WAIS. Can be used to search several databases at the same time. A powerful tool, but it could be easier to use.

gopher is a text-only Gopher client for Unix.

A Gopher browser for MS-Windows. Easy to use and works quite well. The only remaining problem is the difficulty of installation, but that is hardly the program's fault.

Another Gopher browser for MS-Windows. Very simple and also very easy to use.

Not much more than a shell around the FTP protocol. Versions exist for all types of computers. Some versions have added functionality, such as automatic (de)compression of files and recursive directory copying.

Lynx is a WWW browser that works in text-mode under Unix.

A World Wide Web browser, one of the best around. Works under the X Window System, Macintosh and MS Windows and knows several protocols. Apart from HTTP on which WWW is built, it also knows FTP, Gopher, Z39.50 (WAIS) and NNTP. Other protocols are available via gateways. Since Mosaic can display images, play movies and sounds, it is very close to a full hypermedia interface (see the illustration).

The Mosaic interface, showing a page from O'Reilly's electronic magazine

A WWW browser for MS Windows. It has some features that Mosaic lacks and vice versa. It also has a different look. But any feature that appears in Cello is likely to end up in Mosaic as well and vice versa.

PC Gopher
A Gopher client for DOS text-mode.


There are several servers for each of the protocols. For gopher there is the original Minnesota gopherd (`d' is for `demon'). For HTTP there are servers from CERN, and NCSA. John Franks has created a server gn that can respond both to Gopher and HTTP requests. WAIS servers (called waisserver) are published by Thinking Machines Corporation and CNIDR. Both are free. The Ftp server is called ftpd. All servers are available from several Ftp sites.