Copyright © 2015-2017,2023 by Thomas E. Dickey
I got involved with Lynx development by working with Jim Spath on an auto-configure script for Lynx. I have also made changes for Lynx that allow you to build it using the color support in the ncurses library. Since the release of Lynx 2.8 in early 1998, I have been acting as the patch coordinator for a group of people (including myself) doing ongoing development on Lynx. Besides ongoing support for the configure script, etc., I have done work to make lynx more robust (e.g., secure).
See the changelog for details:
Very early development of Lynx (during the 1990s) used no source control. You may find old tar/zip files, e.g., on public servers:
Over most of its development, Lynx's sources were stored on isc.org in PRCS archives. Klaus Weide set up PRCS 1.1.1 in 1997 on a previous host (slcc.edu). Jim Spath and I migrated this to isc.org in 1999 (using PRCS 1.2.15).
Each commit in PRCS became a patch-release for Lynx.
Our version numbering for Lynx has confused some people. PRCS provides for having a non-numeric portion of a branch identifier. We used this for cycling through the development, pre-release and release versions. The first patch towards the next release would be marked with that target release's version. Thus
Since starting work on Lynx in 1997, I have also maintained my local archives in RCS. Originally, this recorded only the patch-releases of Lynx in PRCS. There were a few reasons for this:
However, since early 2004, I committed most changes first to RCS, then applied the current change-set to PRCS. The end result is much the same; PRCS assigns the patch-version number in a few files, while most are marked with the "LynxId" RCS-tag. It allows me to keep closer track of individual changes.
Further (as of 2015), since we left isc.org, I make patches and releases directly from my RCS archives, rather than using PRCS as an intermediate step. I dropped PRCS because its developer has not maintained it for several years, and the published source does not build or work with current C++ compilers. A few others have worked to revive PRCS, but in the process have lost compatibility with older versions of the tool.
Currently (as of 2023), I am simplifying the versioning by eliminating the PRCS-dependent dev, pre and rel tags, because the user community views each phase of Lynx's versions as stable (see mailing list comment).
Initially of course Lynx was developed (and hosted) at the University of Kansas.
It had moved to Salt Lake City College by the time I started working on Lynx, early in 1997. Its unofficial sponsor was Scott McGee, a systems administrator.
Paul Vixie offered support early in 1999, when asked by Jim Spath. Quoting from Jim Spath's mail to the "list elves" group:
On Tue, Jan 19, 1999 at 06:01:32PM -0800, Paul A Vixie wrote: > we would LOVE to do this. you want a web page as well or just ftp? do > you have your own domain name or do you want to use ours and have us get > you one? > > no charge for any of this of course. i use lynx every day and i love it. > > > I help maintain the Lynx software distribution (a text-based web > > browser). We are looking for a generous host who could provide space for > > copies of the latest version. Right now, the tar.gz file is under 2MB, > > and we have also build .zip, .bz2 and tar.Z copies. If you can make some > > space available, plese write back. > > > > Thanks! Terrific! Some background in case you're not subscribed to the lynx-dev list. We store our distribution at Salt Lake Community College as guest of the system administrator (www.slcc.edu/lynx). Sometimes their bandwidth is poor, and as guests we can't complain about their support. We use PRCS as software checkin repository. One of our contributors (Rob Partington) has registered lynx.browser.org as our "parent" domain. That basically hosts a vanilla page that points to Lynx resources. Other contributors include patches on their own sites. Ideally, it would be great to use one of your servers as the central Lynx repository, both web and FTP. Other sites could mirror from you (I know you're well connected :-). This would alleviate us out-staying our welcome at SLCC. Perhaps we could add to the browser.org domain with something like ftp.lynx.browser.org? If this is too much to ask, we could certainly use one of your servers as a FTP mirror. Again, thanks for your offer!
The support was good, though Lynx was not as large as some of the projects which ISC hosted.
Early on, Lynx was mentioned on ISC's home page (see archive for March 3, 2000).
Later, the list of supported projects was moved to a separate page (see archive for April 2, 2003).
However, things change. Paul Vixie left ISC in mid-2013 to form a new company. At the time, that did not affect Lynx—from ISC's standpoint Lynx was just a box in a rack of servers. For the last four years of Lynx's stay at ISC, I did all of the software maintenance for the project. Still, a box in a rack costs money for electricity. Late in 2015, ISC shifted away from this style of project support, to reduce costs. I expanded my website to incorporate Lynx (roughly doubling the size of the site).
ftp://ftp.invisible-island.net(ending January 2023)