Harold A. Driscoll (
Fri, 17 Nov 1995 17:08:05 +0000

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 1995 17:08:05 +0000
From: "Harold A. Driscoll" <>
Subject: Re: DOS==>>UNIX HTML Pages & PERL

At 07:55 17/11/95 -0600, you wrote:
>We are taking our current Web site from an Intel platform and moving it
>to a UNIX platform; <RISC 6000- running IBM's AIX software.>
>1. Will it be a problem to transfer my current DOS HTML pages over to
>the UNIX system as they are? Or...

I do it all the time, developing pages under Windows 3.x via Quarterdeck's
WebServer, and then moving them over to BSDI and Sun servers. There should
be no problems, but there are a few gotchas.

>2. Will I have to convert the HTML pages to save them on the UNIX box?

Unix names are case sensitive, while MS-DOS lacks such smarts. If you've
been well-behaved about use of path and file names in URL's, you'll be okay,
if not then a PERL or AWK script may be needed to come to your rescue.

File names for pages are typically goodies.html under Unix, and goodies.htm
under MS-DOS. I'd suggest always using goodies.html, nameing the files as
such under Unix, and relying on MS-DOS to just truncate. If you plan to be
updating via ftp from a MS-DOS/Windows system (with eight-dot-three-itis),
then you might want do do something like give hard symbolic links on your
Unix box between goodies.html and goodies.htm (ln goodies.htm goodies.html)
so you can continue to ftp updates from MS-DOS, and not have to hassle each
time you do. (but you will have to do so whenever you add a new file page.

Going the other way (Unix to MS-DOS) has other gotchas, such as names
needing to be unique within first eight letters, problems with multiple dots
within a Unix file name, and file namess needing to be unique without regard
for case. You are spared those hassles, but might keep them in mind if
future portability both ways is a consideration.

If you've got any CGI-BIN, coming into or out of an MS-DOS or Windows
platform to Unix is something else. At best, you've a porting exercise, but
don't be surprised if you end up using the current implementation as a
prototype, and find it best to recode the thing.

>3. What about our graphics? Will I need to convert them into the
>xwindows format or some other type.

File formats are the same, the browser worries about that quite nicely. An
http server is really a very simple "engine," it gets and processes file
requests. Has a little bit of smarts to parse the requests, and otherwise is
just a data retrieval engine. And, if you've got the appropriately-balanced
hardware to back it up, it should hum along quite nicely. You might want to
take a look at the HTTP specification document, still in IETF draft format,
available from the InterNIC (and the "usual suspect" mirrors). It'll give
you a good sense of what your Web server is actually doing.

One consideration is file allocation. If you've lots of small thumbnail
icons of a few hundred bytes each, they might take multiples of several kb
(8k each on one server I use, 1kb on another). That can cost a lot of hard
disk space, but otherwise no big deal--as long as you have enough available).

>4. Different Topic: PERL Language.
>Where can I find the "PERL" Language? I have found scripts and bits of
>code, but no compliers, shells or places to find PERL. Can you point me
>in the right direction?

Get the two fine books on PERL from O'Reilly and Associates
(, or from any good bookstore. They have detailed
information about various sources, pretty much all the "usual suspects"
archives have a PERL directory, at least those I'm familiar with. I've been
lucky, with Unix administrators who have woried about that. I do know that
SimTel ( and mirrors) has quite a collection of MS-DOS
PERL goodies).

Good luck. Murphy will no doubt keep you company along the way. You'll
likely trip over any sins of the past you inherited (I shudder to even
suggest created yourself, grin). Other than that, should be an interesting
and maybe even rewarding experience.

ps. As a personal note, the best of luck to you in sidestepping the
cross-fire over political issues such as who is "essential" or who got to
sit where on a long airplane flight and other exercises deemed appropriate
only at nursery schools and within the Capital Beltway.
Harold A. Driscoll             
#include <std/disclaimer>