Using Graphics in ur Shell A/c


For those of you who surf the web using Lynx must have got pretty bored seeing that unformatted plain text and the cute selection bar, even in graphical intensive sites. Well here a way to change all that. Yes , you can view the original webpages ( graphical) with your shell A/c ,though in a limited way.

The software to accomplish this Slipknot, a SLIP emulation browser. Slipknot is a Shareware and can be downloaded for a limited trial from

The latest version is 1.5 which is by the filename SLNOT150.ZIP


Slipknot is an integrated host dialer, terminal emulator and equipped with a graphical viewer.

It requires Lynx version 2.4.2 and above. Slipknot uses two UNIX scripts .slipcommand and .slipgeturl which are uploaded and made executable by Slipknot itself. Using special Lynx parameters and file redirection slipknot brings the graphical files of the web page (JPG/GIF) to your home directory where using sz they are downloaded to your computer and displayed along with formatted text.


Unfortunately Slipknot cannot be used in VSNL's shell A/c. This is because VSNL gives the Restricted Bourne Shell ( Rsh ) which does not permit redirection of I/O operations using the '>' and '<' switches. These are used by slipknot to create temporary files. Another reason is that the scripts have to made executable by the chmod' command which is not provided in the usr/rbin' the default file directory path.

So how do we go about it ?


VSNL offers the Telnet facility which is to be made use of. There are many Freenets over the Internet , which are basically UNIX based servers offering limited services for free. Two popular ones are "" and "cyberspace. org", though the former is much faster. One has to make an A/c there which can be done online. Telnet to ,to create an A/c there. If you get a free port you will be asked for a login. Enter 'newuser' and your registration process will start. Answer all question as you like, but when asked for shell type choose the Bourne UNIX shell (sh). Registration is a lengthy process so be patient and see that there is a stable connection.

After registration you will be asked to login again in your new A/c. After doing so you can come back to VSNL by typing 'exit at the prompt.


The next step is in setting up Slipknot.

Download SLNOT150.ZIP and unzip it.Run SETUP.EXE from Windows. This will install Slipknot and create a program group.

Next Click on the Slipknot icon. When you come to the main screen click on the setup option and choose host.

Enter your Host Name which is just a reference name and can be anything. Enter Comment and your ISP's local telephone number.

Slipknot supports both manual and script based login but it is better to choose manual login first. Rest of the settings should not be changed. Slipknot can also be used to send mail so setup your Mail option if you want to.

Now choose Save and come to the main menu. Select files and choose Connect to Host. This will dial to VSNL. Enter Login and Password. Choose 3 to Telnet where you have an account. When you get the '$' prompt in, from Setup option choose 'Initialize Host Now'. This is the basic process which installs the scripts and verifies them. A window will display Slipknot current job. If any problems are encountered check your host settings and see that there is some free disk space.

After Initializing you will get a message "Host Initialized succesfully". Cheers , now you are ready to explore the Web so click on the "World Wide Web" button on the bottom. This will load SNWEB, the program to Browse the web. When you enter here for the first time, the fonts will be initialized. ( They can ofcouse be changed at later time ). The Webpage of Slipknot is then displayed. This is the default page saved in the folder. Surfing is done by the "Retrieve from Web" button. The Web Page thus accessed will be saved, including the image files as folder for viewing at a later date.

To close SNWEB ,from file menu select 'Exit' which will bring you back to the Terminal Emulator SNTERM.

Next time when you log in again to the freenet one can directly proceed to the Web renderer without re-initializing the host.


One of the greatest limitation is speed. Since all graphical files are downloaded to your computer, so getting a full page really takes time. Using a freenet on the other part or the world does not help either. But Graphics can be disabled,which renders the Webpage tasteless but there are color fonts and mouse can be used, which scores above than using Lynx.

Another is that Freenets like arbornet dont allow Ftp and Telnet unless you pay them a fee. But if you have got a friend abroad who has an Internet shell A/c, you can use that for Slipknot ( if he obliges ).

On the whole it is not a bad idea to have a freenet A/c. One can occasionally use it for Email.

Copyright(c) :Chaitanya Belwal

No part of this article can be printed/posted without exclusive permission of Mr.Chaitanya Belwal ( )

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