Installing Heavy Metal on Windows 95

We will be using the ActivePerl 5.6 environment for Windows by ActiveState.  You can purchase a CD from ActiveState for convenience containing their Perl environment, but ideally you can just download it for free.  The general installation instructions are on ActiveState's download page here.

Installing on Windows 95 appears to be the messiest of all the platforms.  There are two little nits to deal with:

  1. There is a choice of two installation bundles.  The first, "Windows MSI", requires you to install a new Microsoft Installer.  The second, "Windows AS Package", does not require the new installer - but after installation does not allow for an uninstall.  Normally I would recommend the first choice, but several people have reported problems installing the new Microsoft Installer.  No one has yet reported a problem with the second method.  Therefore, I'd recommend downloading "Windows AS Package". Go to the ActivePerl 5.6 Download Page, and select the "AS Package" of ActivePerl
  2. ActivePerl relies on another Microsoft library, MSVCRT.DLL, that didn't start shipping by default until Windows 98.  If you've installed many programs on your Windows 95 system, chances are you already have this.  Still, to be sure go ahead and download and install it.  To do so, click here.

When you have completed these two download, install them (Microsoft library first, Active Perl second - being sure to reboot in between).   Note also that the Active State folks have run into some virus detection software detecting a false positive on one of the files in the package.  See the release notes for more detail, but you may also just delete the offending file if you'd prefer - it isn't needed for our purposes.

Reboot your system after installing, and then when it comes back open up a MS-DOS prompt window.  To make sure things worked ok, type:

perl -v

This should result in a version message being printed out.

Next, we need to install some additional perl packages that Heavy Metal relies on, as well as the Heavy Metal program itself.  First, download the following onto your desktop.  To do this, click your right mouse button on the following links and "Save target as:".  Be sure to save the files in a place you'll be able to find later.

bulletThe heavy metal program,
bulletThe Serial Port control package,

Unzip  It will create a folder on your desktop called SerialPort-0.19 (or something similar - depending on which winzip or unzip method you use).  Open up a MS-DOS prompt window and "cd" into the new SerialPort-0.19 folder.  On most systems, this will involve typing:

bulletcd desktop
bulletcd  SerialPort-0.19

So far, this step is the one that has caused folks the most trouble.  There are two general problem areas.  The first is that you must "unzip" the file.  This means you need to have a copy of winzip, unzip.exe or similar extractor.  You almost certainly have one somewhere - and if you are running Windows ME it is built into the system.  Email me here if you are having trouble getting past the "unzipping" step, and I'll walk you through it.

The next problem area is that after is unzipped, you may have trouble finding where the unzipped files ended up (and with some unzip programs, you may have click through several folders deep to find the right files).

If you have trouble finding the directory where everything got saved, do a "Find File" searching for "Makefile.PL".  When you figure out where the file is, cd until you get into the same directory.  Do a "dir" once you get there to make sure, and you should see a file named "Makefile.PL".  To repeat, before continuing you must have "cd" into the same directory as the file "Makefile.PL".  Now, type the following:

bulletperl Makefile.PL

When you do the "Perl Makefile.PL" is will mention a test you can run, but at this point it's best to skip and and only run the tests later if we run into problems communicating through the serial port.

If you've gotten this far, you've put the hardest part behind you.  The rest of the packages we need to install will largely be done for us by ActivePerl's "ppm" utility.  "cd" back up to your desktop (cd c:\windows\desktop).  Now, type "ppm".  You should get the ppm interactive shell prompt.  Now type the following commands, waiting for one to complete before typing the next.  Note that you should have an active internet connection before you start this process, and depending on your connection speed this could take a few minutes.  In particular, "Tk" will take about 5 minutes to download and install using a 28k baud modem.  Note also that some of the commands are case-sensitive, so type exactly what you see here:

bulletset repository b
bulletinstall CHack
bulletinstall Finance-YahooQuote
bulletinstall Win32-API
bulletinstall Mail-Sender
bulletinstall Net-Telnet
bulletinstall Tk

That's it - you should be ready to roll.  Type:


Once the Heavy Metal window appears, drop the Config menu and set up your serial port parameters. Then, click in the small narrow window at the bottom and start typing.  You should see the characters appear in the small window, and when you hit return they should show up in the big window (and on your teletype machine, if it's hooked up).

Finally, if you're interested in surfing the web with your TTY or running the simulated AP newswire, you'll need to install the Lynx text-mode browser.  See installation instructions here, and how to surf here.

Of course, things do go wrong.  If you have any problems (even if you overcome them yourself), please contact me so that I can either help you through them or document the workaround for others.  Click here to reach me.

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