Next Previous Contents

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 v1.47 system that is capable of accepting or originating "internet" connections, plus inbound AX.25 and TCP/IP radio connections. If the absence of outbound radio connections is a serious limitation for you, it would be better for you to wait a couple more weeks until this support has been added.

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. You can get this from:-

You will need to choose either the MSI or the AS package. My recommendation is that you choose the MSI package and deal with the consequences if your system isn't equipped with support for the latest MS Installer; you'll be better off in the long run. The build 623 download is 7,460 KB, so now is a really good time to have some tea 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:-

Make yourself a convenient directory to unpack all of these zip files into (I put mine in "D:\ppm>") and do the following (the bits you type in are blue ). 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 v1.47 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. Don't confuse this TGZ file with "Downloading from Sourceforge with CVS" - they are two quite different things.

If you went down the CVS route (ie installed wincvs and downloaded from sourceforge), then everything will be nicely set out on your local disk. If you got the TGZ file, unpack it to somewhere convenient. The following examples assume that you put it on drive "C:\", for convenience.

You will need winzip to manipulate the TGZ files (they are bit like ZIP files) if you are not using CVS.

Next Previous Contents