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5. Microsoft Windows Installation

5.1 Introduction


What you'll be left with once you've followed these instructions is (hopefully) a working DX Spider v1.50 system that is capable of accepting or originating "internet" connections, plus inbound and outbound AX.25 and TCP/IP radio connections.

On the other hand, you may have an enquiring mind, or better yet, may be looking for a useful way of connecting your current (perhaps) AK1A cluster "to the internet" via some networking mechanism (BPQEther, etc) or other. I won't be producing instructions for the latter case, because I don't have an AK1A to play with. But someone might ...

Whatever, this document is intended to get you started with DX Spider in a Microsoft Windows ™ environment. It's not intended to teach you anything other than how to perform a minimum configuration of a DX Spider installation and have it able to connect across "the internet" to other DX Clusters, while accepting inbound TELNET and radio connections.

5.2 The requirements

The very first things you're going to need are (in order of importance):-

5.3 The system

The platform I used to generate these instructions was a "vanilla" Microsoft Windows Me 4.90.3000 system, with a 700MHz AMD Athlon processor and 96 Mb memory. I've also personally verified that it runs on my laptop (Pentium 266MHz, 32 Mb memory, Windows 98 SE v4.10.2222 A) and a computer that I assembled from a random pile of junk (AMD K6-2 333MHz, 64 Mb memory, Windows 98 v4.10.1998). As a result, I have reason to believe that what I'm about to describe will perform equally on any 32-bit MS Windows environment with 32 Mb of memory.

Because of the changes that have recently been made to the core "" module and the introduction of a very lightweight "", I have a sneaking suspicion that this will now run on any platform that has reasonably complete support for Perl. Is there someone out there with both an enquiring mind and (say) a Macintosh, for instance?

Please bear in mind, though, that my instructions relate solely to how to get this going under a Microsoft Windows environment, and I have zero intention of trying to make them say otherwise.

5.4 Perl

Install your chosen Perl environment. Unless you have a very good reason for not doing so, I strongly suggest that you use ActivePerl v5.6. For my testing & development, I used build 623. (A recent installation used the newer ActivePerl v5.6.1, build 633 without any noticable difficulty.) You can get this from:

The link takes you to an initial page of System Requirements and Software Prerequisites. If you do not have it already installed, you can download and install the Windows Installer 2.0 for a Win98 installation. Be forewarned, you will have to reboot your PC at the completion of the installer's installation.

If you already have the installer on your PC, simply click on the Next arrow at the bottom of the page. Two clicks will finally get you to the actual download page. The MSI version of Build 633 is now 8.6MB in size, so make that a big cup of tea or coffee if you're on a slow dial-up connection.

During installation, please ensure that you do choose the options to "Add Perl to the PATH environment variable" and "Create Perl file extension association"; it will make your life so much easier. Once the installation is finished, be sure to reboot your PC. You probably won't be told anywhere else that this needs to be done now, but it does. Really.

Once you've rebooted, open a "DOS box" (Start > Run > command might do it, if you can't find it elsewhere) and from wherever it lands, type PERL -v <ENTER> (it's better if that's a lower-case 'v', because an upper-case 'V' means something else. You should be rewarded with some interesting information about your Perl installation. If you're not, you must go back to the beginning and discover what went wrong and fix it. It's pointless to proceed unless this simple check is passed. Assuming it did work, you may now move on.

5.5 Additional packages

Some extensions ("packages") need to be added to the base Perl distribution, and we'll do this next. If you're using the Perl I recommended, and don't know any better for yourself, then just blindly following these instructions will work just fine. If that didn't describe you, then you're on your own.

Visit the following URL:

and download the following files:-

If this is a new installation, now would also be a good time to install a copy of WinZip on your PC. Make yourself a convenient directory to unpack all of these zip files into (I put mine in "D:\ppm>" but "C:\ppm" works just as well.) and do the following (the bits you type in are blue ). You can upzip all of the files into the same directory. When prompted, simply overwrite the Readme file from each zip package. Note that where these files land will be directly related to where you chose to install your ActivePerl (mine, as you can probably guess from what follows, went into "D:\Perl"):-

D:\ppm>ppm install Data-Dumper.ppd
Installing package 'Data-Dumper.ppd'
Installing D:\Perl\site\lib\auto\Data\Dumper\
Installing D:\Perl\site\lib\auto\Data\Dumper\Dumper.dll
Installing D:\Perl\site\lib\auto\Data\Dumper\Dumper.exp
Installing D:\Perl\site\lib\auto\Data\Dumper\Dumper.lib
Installing D:\Perl\html\site\lib\auto\Data\Dumper\Dumper.html
Installing D:\Perl\site\lib\Data\Dumper\
Writing D:\Perl\site\lib\auto\Data\Dumper\Dumper.packlist

I'm not going to bother you with exhaustive details of the rest of them, but suffice it to say you need to:

ppm install DB_File.ppd
ppm install Net-Telnet.ppd
ppm install TimeDate.ppd
ppm install Time-HiRes.ppd

If all that seemed to work OK, time to move along. Before anyone who is familiar with PPM tells me that we didn't need to download and keep those files locally, I knew that. I also knew that PPM is sometimes awkward to configure via firewalls, and that sometimes the repositories don't always work the way we'd hope. I do it that way because it suits me.

5.6 Getting Spider

Get the current version of the DX Spider distribution. This needs to be v1.50 or later. You've got two ways (currently) of getting this; either get a CVS update from sourceforge (if you don't know what this is, then it isn't for you) or get the latest "official" release from:

or if you want the lastest snapshot of CVS version (which is produced every night):-

This is generally the best one to go for as it is completely up to date. However, there is always the very slight chance that it might unstable. Generally, there will be a note on the website if this is the case.

The only difference between "CVSlatest.tgz" and the latest "official" release version is that it is more up to date. Do not confuse the "CVSlatest.tgz" file with "Downloading from Sourceforge with CVS" - they are two quite different things. "Downloading from Sourceforge with CVS" is explained in a section within the Admin manual.

If you go down the CVS route (ie installing WinCVS as explained in the Admin manual and downloaded from sourceforge), then everything will be nicely installed on your local disk. If you got the CVSlatest.tgz file, unzip ( winzip) it to "C:\". This is an important point since paths are included within the .tgz file. Make sure you unzip to the root directory of whichever drive you use... "C:\" or "D:\" or .., not "C:\spider." If you double click on CVSlatest.tgz, WinZip should open with a dialogue box that says the Archive contains a single file (CVSlatest.tar) and asks whether WinZip should decompress it to a temporary fold and then open it. Say "Yes" and then you will get the typical Classical WinZip listing of files ready for extraction. Remember, extract them to your desired root directory ("C:\" or "D:\" or ...). The following examples assume that you put it on drive "C:\", for convenience.

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