back to article No JavaScript, no trackers, no SSL security: Retro computing boffin gives Google News a Netscape 1.1 makeover

With enough love (and isopropyl alcohol), you can make even the oldest computer feel like it came straight from the factory. But when the restoration is done, vintage computing restorers are left with a difficult question: What next? While old machines are handy for the odd bit of word processing and retro gaming, they're less …

  1. xyz

    Thank christ...

    What we need is a cleaned out internet where advert singers are hunted down and shot ... OK, maybe a bit extreme but you know what I mean.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank christ...

      !extreme.

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "... with modern websites throwing SSL errors and rendering glitches in the path of older systems"

    A business critical portal I have to use for some of my international work is progressively becoming inaccessible. It has a login followed by a menu of half a dozen services. Not so long ago they all worked fine on a secured mainstream browser (although not at the bleeding edge - for good reason). But recently, first one, then another service and finally today the login itself failed to work having downloaded a bucket load of javascript.

    I can't understand why a system that works perfectly has to be "upgraded" so it doesn't work any more on anything except the newest and least well secured kit.

    As I can't verify (and therefore trust) any of this scripting but have to use the portal, I'm now forced to use an unsecured "dirty" laptop that I can wipe if it gets contaminated, and can't attach it to our LAN.

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    Gosh this site is really useful. I was starting to give up on lynx for quick info but this site alone might revive it ;)

    irssi and lynx feels so homely. Like a good old BBS.

    Why don't we as the technical community simply refuse to engage with broken technologies?

    For example a forums just for i.e FreeBSD / Linux nerds really doesn't need to be fancy. To be far we could even actively block full featured browsers as a statement. Make it only work with i.e Lynx, links, netsurf, dillo and just make the font appear transparent of use a Javascript blocking div on anything else.

    The web is only going to get worse, perhaps we should stop playing ball? It would only take a number to reach critical mass and we could almost divide the internet. Especially since so many of use really do think browsers suck.

    Anyone interested on working on a lynx-only forum with me?

    Then we can scale it up to Facebook / GitLab for the next project ;)

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Why don't we as the technical community simply refuse to engage with broken technologies?

      Because pointy hair bosses, arse-lickers who toady up to them and ignorant punters who want to be fleeced, that's why.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Why don't we?

        As least as likely is the possibility that web developers delight in using broken tech because it's "the way forward", and their otherwise perfectly intelligent clients aren't informed enough technically to challenge them.

        Almost every flat page web site on the planet these days expects the user to browse with all cookies accepted, javascript enabled for any old source domain and using the latest 6-week lifespan release of their browser on a machine with at least four cores, not to mention memory and processor speed. There are flat page web sites with CSS that crashes the browser or brings it up standing even with scripting turned off.

        These features are not desired by clients - they're handed out regardless by providers, part of the relentless churn that simply writes off anyone who doesn't "keep up". We're just told it's our fault - "you must enable javascript to use this site"; "Your browser is obsolete and not supported".

        My usual response is something on the lines of "arrogant sh*t - I'll go somewhere else". Unless of course its mandatory for work or to satisfy legal obligations, when there's no damned choice.

        The most important original principle of the world wide web was client agnosticism - the ability to get at the important content of a page regardless of the client in use - i.e. you should be able to read the text in Lynx. Long forgotten principle, sadly, although I have to note that in many cases the content is less and less worth reading anyway.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Why don't we?

          A beer to Mike 137 for stealing the rant out of my mouth.

          It doesn't help that the browser designers have either removed all the "WTF?" widgets or hidden them away behind "You know how to use it" touchscreen swipes that, ahem, don't work on a desktop monitor.

          Maybe we need a GWW (Geek-Wide Web) consortium to recover the web's sanity.

        2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: Why don't we?

          I have to note that in many cases the content is less and less worth reading anyway.

          Except on here, matey. Well said.

      2. karlkarl Silver badge

        Ah good point. My mistake. I forget about... them XD

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Boffin

      > For example a forums just for i.e FreeBSD / Linux nerds really doesn't need to be fancy.

      Usenet is still a thing. Use https://www.eternal-september.org if your ISP doesn't handle UUCP.

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        It is very true. Ideally it would be great to "weaponise" the solution slightly.

        By that I mean write and use sites that us enthusiasts like and appreciate but stay enough in the limelight that we can tempt a few curious casual users to join the workflow.

        So perhaps Linux, retro, warez, bitcoin and other categories that are by definition quite nerdy but also slightly more inviting to casual users.

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    has anyone compared load times yet?

    Has anyone compared load times between the "vintaged" versions and the *ahem* "modern" web pages?

    Captain Obvious says "you already know what the results will be like"

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: has anyone compared load times yet?

      Not a real load time check, but I tried 68k.news with dillo whose claim to fame is that it renders html very quickly. And indeed, for those news links that worked -- which was most of them -- the rendering was lightning fast and far more readable than using links or w3m on google news.

  5. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Unhappy

    1995

    first released in mid-1995 – when your correspondent started his first year of primary school.

    ye gods. I was just wrapping up my PGCE that year Never to go near a classroom ever again!! I feel very old!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. cantankerous swineherd

    stableTwitter would be good.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Joke

      "stableTwitter would be good."

      You seemed to have spelt nullTwitter wrong.

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Retro?

    Despite being a visually minimalist static page, the Action Retro ("builder" of 68k.news) front page seems to use wordpress components and the source contains quite a bit of javascript. Not quite as retro as we thought?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Retro?

      I don't see any javascript and certainly no Wordpress. You on the right page? Each link is to a php handler but I assume that's just what processes the source page to be delivered cleanly.

  8. HKmk23

    Wonderful....no rubbish...no crap.....

    All we need now is F#ckbook andTw@tter to copy this example and the internet will regain sanity perhaps.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Why can't all news sites

    be like this?

  10. Muskiier

    Just finished a refreshing read of 3 articles; what a joy without the clutter. I remember the reason I originally started to use Google vs. Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and other search engines was Google was clean and fast-loading. We need some alternatives. Clearly Microsoft doesn't get it, as evidenced by MSN and it's click-bait.

    1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Ditto - at first I jumped a bit when the page came up so fast. Much better than most news sites where they seem to have taken the "a picture is worth a thousand words" a bit literally.

  11. Muskiier

    Just finished a refreshing read of 3 articles; what a joy without the clutter. I remember I originally started to use Google vs. Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and other search engines was Google was clean and fast-loading. Not so much now. We need some alternatives. Clearly Microsoft doesn't get it, as evidenced by MSN and it's click-bait.

  12. AMBxx Silver badge
    Joke

    Echo

    Just finished a refreshing read of 3 articles; what a joy without the clutter. I remember I originally started to use Google vs. Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and other search engines was Google was clean and fast-loading. Not so much now. We need some alternatives. Clearly Microsoft doesn't get it, as evidenced by MSN and it's click-bait.

  13. RyokuMas
    Thumb Up

    Time to crack the Atari ST out of it's box on top of the wardrobe that it's lived in the last couple of decades!

  14. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Windows

    "mid-1995 – when your correspondent started his first year of primary school."

    ODFO

  15. dlc.usa
    Thumb Up

    Nobody Mentioned Gemini

    The TechRights website is pushing the Gemini facility/protocol (much like Gopher) and I think this is an alternative technology to pay attention to as it's attracting mindshare. Most browsers don't speak gemini so you need one that does, with bollux (a bash script) preeminent. It's like using lynx or links2 to a large extent. To get it:

    cd ~/my_git_tree

    git clone https://tildegit.org/acdw/bollux

    cd bollux

    cp -p bollux bollux.sh

    chmod a+x bollux.sh

    man -l bollux # to read the man page

    man -l bollux.conf # to read about configuration

    ./bollux.sh gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2021/02/28/gemini-ddos-protection/index.gmi

    To open a link, type a lowercase o and type the note's number.

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