If you were broke in the 90’s, you may want to say thanks for Trumpet Winsock now: https://thanksfortrumpetwinsock.com/
Purchased a license last night! I hope others do the same.
I would have gone for Ethernet, personally. I’ve definitely had to do SLIP before, on a laptop where I didn’t have a PCMCIA ethernet card; I set up an NT 4 VM to do it. Once I got the Ethernet card, I decided to use ZModem to transfer the drivers for it over.
I picked up an old ethernet card that was new in box, but it expected Windows for Workgroups. This machine only had the standard home edition of 3.1. I never was able to get the card running, which is unfortunate given the slow speeds of the serial line.
Now that you do have Internet, you could transfer windows 3.11 to the machine.
I would suppose you had trouble loading any HTTPS sites? IIRC, IE5 and Win 3.1 don’t support the minimum protocol version that most sites/servers require these days.
Hell, fairly recent versions of OS X (10.8 I believe? ) can’t connect to a lot of new sites because the top level CA certs aren’t updated anymore and new certs are signed off a different base for the most part.
Granted I’m pretty sure the OS X issue could be fixed by hand
Setting up the serial line as a separate network adapter on the laptop and setting up IP forwarding in the kernel is probably the “right” way to do it, but it’s generally a lot easier to run a getty on the serial port (to ask for login/password and launch a shell), and then have Trumpet just launch SLiRP, a userspace implementation of SLIP/PPP and NAT.
Aha! I wish I knew what SLiRP was a month ago. I will give it a try on my next project.
I had so many failed attempts with PPPD that I gave up.
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!