[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
lynx-dev Graphics for Freenet Lynx
lynx-dev Graphics for Freenet Lynx
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 12:23:42 +0100 (BST)
> Our arrangement with the Provincial Department of Education limits us to
> providing member clients text based dial up access only (although we do
> have a regular WWW Graphical presense.
> Our members are demanding graphics! 'Text is anachronistic,' I hear. Be
I suspect they are demanding graphics for the reasons that the Department
of Education doesn't want to provide graphical access, i.e. to access
entertainment (/advertising) sites. (Another reason for the rule may
be to avoid overt competition with commercial ISPs and web cafes, although
it still must be based on the premise that most valid educational material
is viewable in text mode.)
Your real problems are that: some useful resources, like search engines,
are paid for by advertising and therefore only really interested in
maintaining glossy presentations on the big 2; quite a few people with
real information either use tools that do things like GIF the text,
through ignorance, or are also playing around with following web fashions
at the same time as providing their information; and, with commercial
sites that include valuable technical information, you usually have to
fight your way through the graphical bits done by their marketing people
before getting to the real content. Such problem sites are also likely
to use active content, and may be unuseable without it.
> that as it may, it raises the question, what sort of server side
> improvements can be made to gussy up the appearance of Lynx? We have a
I'm not clear whether you are talking about desiging pages so as to
improve their appearance when viewed with Lynx, or about providing access
to the graphic content of third party pages.
For your own pages, good design should produce a clean presentation on
Lynx without any special provisions.
For third party pages, if the users have suitable viewers, they have
been able to download the graphical content individually for a long time
with Lynx, but only in full screen mode. Anything else would be most
easily implemented by running a PPP service and letting them use IE!
Generally commercial sites with high graphic content will never look good
in anything except one of the big 2 browsers.
I think you need to accept that:
- if the users can afford to go to competition, or the competition can
afford to give away the access, there is no role for public service access;
- if the content providers are not interested in communicating with your
users, that is their loss; unfortunately many of them would see no commercial
justification in serving a market that can only afford to use a freenet
service and would probably consider any reformatting of their information
content, by you, as a breach of copyright, but it is worth trying to tell
non-commercial content providers that they are failing to get their message
across, as they are probably more worried about lost minds than lost
PS I'm somewhat curious about the public service access to the internet
in North America. My impression in the UK is that it is mainly limited
to a few libraries using GUI browsers, although many schools also provide
such access, again I suspect with GUI tools. It seems strange that you
have large numbers of users operating text only at the same time as probably
having the largest number of content providers only interested in rich
people with lots of bandwidth, GUI browsers and fast machines.
Looking at the squid list, ones sees another aspect of this in poor
countries, where the net is sufficiently new that the users of commercial
access have jumped straight in with current GUI tools. There the ISPs
are fighting a hopeless battle against the profligate use of bandwidth
(particularly non-cacheable pages) by the content provides most of their
customers want, namely the US commercial ones.
PPS you might consider converting images to ASCII art for those without
the tools or understanding to download and view. However, relatively
few images real pictures, most are purely cosmetic items, or are bitmaps
of text. I doubt that your users would consider this more than a token
move, so wouldn't really reccommend it.