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Encyclopedia > Minnesota Internet Users Essential Tool
Screenshot of Minuet Version 1.0_BETA_18A

Minnesota Internet Users Essential Tool (Minuet) is an integrated Internet package for DOS Operating Systems on IBM-compatible PCs. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (840 × 630 pixels, file size: 1,023 KB, MIME type: image/png) This is a foto of the Minnesota Internet Users Essential Tool (Minuet), a TCP/IP application for DOS. The software was created at the University... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (840 × 630 pixels, file size: 1,023 KB, MIME type: image/png) This is a foto of the Minnesota Internet Users Essential Tool (Minuet), a TCP/IP application for DOS. The software was created at the University... This article is about the family of closely related operating systems for the IBM PC compatible platform. ... IBM PC compatible computers are those generally similar to the original IBM PC, XT, and AT. Such computers used to be referred to as PC clones, or IBM clones since they almost exactly duplicated all the significant features of the PC, XT, or AT internal design, facilitated by various manufacturers...



Minuet was created at the University of Minnesota, in the early days of the Internet (1994-1996). At that time, Internet software for the PC was not well-written- the only programs available were NCSA Telnet and NCSA FTP. Both were glitchy, hard to configure, and TTY-oriented. This article is about the oldest and largest campus of the University of Minnesota. ... TTY is a short form of several things: Short form of Teletype, in turn short form of Teletypewriter. ...

The microcomputer support department at the university decided to come up with something better. Their design goals were:

  • Runnable on any PC with at least 384k of RAM, even an original 4.77Mhz PC.
  • GUI interface
  • Would run under DOS; not requiring Windows
  • Easy to use
  • Little or no configuration needed
  • Multi-tasking

The result was "Minuet". Minuet was quite successful, being used at many colleges and institutions. Usage probably peaked around 1996, going down as Windows 95 and its free e-mail and web browser proliferated.


The program was written in Turbo Pascal, using the TurboVision GUI. This base was a good match for the PCs of that time. TurboVision in its early incarnations used the IBM 25x80 character set, meaning very speedy screen updates, even on slow PCs.

A homebrew multi-tasking kernel allowed users to have several Minuet windows active at the same time. An FTP session could be transferring files, while in another window one could be composing E-mail. All the parts of Minuet used multi-tasking, so you never got hung up waiting for some slow operation to complete.



E-Mail in Minuet resembles most standard e-mail programs- From:, To:, cc:, Bcc:, and Mesasge body fields. Attachments use the Binhex and UUCP encoding schemes, which predated MIME types and were popular in Minuet's day.


Newsgroups appeared much like E-mail folders. An innovative concept was included- Minuet would not attempt to download the whole newsgroups file, which even then included thousands of newsgroups. Instead, a Perl server was contacted to search for interesting newsgroups. This cut down the newsgroup searching startup time from many minutes to a few seconds. Wikibooks has a book on the topic of Perl Programming Perl is a dynamic programming language created by Larry Wall and first released in 1987. ...


Minuet was one of the first programs to have a graphical tree-structured approach to FTP. At the time, most FTP clients required an almost endless sequence of "cd", "ls" commands to browse the server. cd, sometimes also available as chdir (change directory), is a command line command to change the current working directory in operating systems such as Unix, Windows and DOS. It is also available for use in Unix shell scripts and in batch files on Windows or DOS. CHDIR() is also a... For other uses, see LS. ls is a command specified by POSIX and the Single UNIX Specification, and is thus implemented in Unix and Unix-like operating systems. ...

Web browser

In later releases, Minuet included a rudimentary Web browser- a challenge to implement on a 640K real mode PC. If a graphics card was available, Minuet could display web pages containing GIF or JPEG images. Real mode (also called real address mode in Intels manuals) is an operating mode of 80286 and later x86-compatible CPUs. ...


At that time most computer users were using modems for communications, so a good modem-capable driver was required. Unfortunately SLIP drivers were poor- hard to configure, difficult to test, missing important features, like dialing, and often not using all of the buffering features of the serial port chips. There was not much point in releasing an easy-to-use Minuet if the modem access was lousy, so the same team developed a better SLIP driver and dial-up program.

External links

Download site

See also

  • Lynx (text-based)
  • Arachne (graphical)
  • SPIN (graphical)

This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL. DosLynx is an MS-DOS port of the Lynx Web browser. ... Arachne is a full-screen Internet suite containing a graphical web browser, email client, and dialer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... “GFDL” redirects here. ...



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