launching executables through HTML files

Marc Andreessen (
Sat, 19 Jun 93 21:50:04 -0500

What's the current status on the idea of allowing hyperlinks in HTML
documents to cause executables to be launched?

For various reasons, we're about ready to give into our previous
resistance to this whole idea and try to allow, under some
circumstances, local executables to be launched via hyperlinks in

Didn't someone suggest an exec: URL type, or something like that?

Some users I have talked to in the past have suggested allowing
another application to actually control the launching of a specified
command: the browser would fork off this (more or less trusted)
application which could perform verification, testing of pathnames, or
whatever before giving the user a dialog box that would allow the
command to actually be launched. Would this be a widely applauded
idea or should the browser just handle things itself (throw up the
command in a dialog box and say, "OK buddy, yes or no?")?

Also, there was the idea that maybe executables should only be allowed
to be launched from documents residing on the local host (not over
ftp, http, or anything else). This seems like a pretty much useless
restriction with the current state and expansion of transparent
networked filesystems, though.


Marc Andreessen
Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications