Microsoft Windows Installation

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Microsoft Windows Installation

Introduction

IMPORTANT:

What you'll be left with once you've followed these instructions is (hopefully) a working DX Spider v1.55 system that is capable of accepting or originating "internet" connections, plus inbound and outbound AX.25 and TCP/IP radio connections.

Whatever, this document is intended to get you started with DX Spider in a Microsoft Windows (TM) 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.

The requirements

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

  • A supported Windows platform with an internet connection so you can download the necessary software bits and bobs directly to it. There are other ways, but this is preferable.
  • If all goes according to plan, about an hour to spare
  • Plenty of good Belgium beers

The system

Dx spider should run on Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000 (x86), Windows XP and 2003 (x86 and x64) because Perl is running on these platforms. I created this manual on a Windows XP Professional SP2 install. If Vista is supported is not clear. The software is not demanding any high-speed hardware but, as with all operatings systems, enough memory is more important that fast CPU.

Perl

Install your chosen Perl environment. Unless you have a very good reason for not doing so, I strongly suggest that you use ActivePerl v5.8.8. You can get this from https://www.activestate.com/activeperl/downloads/

The link takes you to a page where you can buy the DVD or download the program for free. Be forewarned, you will have to reboot your PC at the completion of the installer's installation.

It has been reported that ActivePerl-5.8.9.826-MSWin32-x86-290470.msi and ActivePerl-5.10.1.1006-MSWin32-x86-291086.msi) have some issues with Windows 7, but version ActivePerl-5.8.0.802-MSWin32-x86.msi (available at http://downloads.activestate.com/ActivePerl/Windows/5.8/) installs as expected.

On a Windows XP pc you can download the MSI version of the file. On older platforms you probably need the AS package.

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 > cmd (command on W95) 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 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.

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.

Perl has a special tool do download and install those packages: PPM. It has a GUI, but from the command prompts it is easy as well. If you dont like command prompts, you can always try the gui version, but I did not try that as the ppm command prompt suites me well.

Just type:

ppm install net-telnet

ppm install timedate

ppm install db_file

If all that seemed to work OK, time to move along.

Getting Spider

Get the current version of the DX Spider distribution. This needs to be v1.55 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:

http://www.dxcluster.org/download/index.html

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

http://www.dxcluster.org/download/CVSlatest.tgz

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.