Dialup-era developer writes ChatGPT client for Windows 3.1

Next on the agenda: ClippyGPT, because why not?

An anonymous developer has created a ChatGPT client for Windows 3.1, because some people like to keep one foot firmly in the past even as they explore the future.

WinGPT was written in C, using the standard Windows API and compiled with Open Watcom v2. It runs on any 16-bit or 32-bit version of Windows from Windows 3.1 onward, so should get you all the way from Windows 95 to Windows 7 – including Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows XP.

One proviso is that it won't run without Winsock – the dialup-era essential that teaches Windows how to speak TCP/IP.

"WinGPT connects to the OpenAI API server natively with TLS 1.3, so it doesn't require a proxy on a modern machine to terminate TLS," wrote the tool's developer, who goes by @dialupdotnet on Twitter. He also added a warning that the program is not secure – but if you're still running Windows 3.1 you laugh in the face of danger.

WinGPT screen shot

WinGPT in all its glory - Click to enlarge

The medium is the message with this one: the dev wrote that he or she "was surprised that the set of standard controls available to use by any program with Windows 3.1 is incredibly limited" and didn't allow the inclusion of a status bar. A little time using ChatGPT yielded pointers to a UI library that included a workaround.

Designing an icon for the app also required a trip down memory lane – all the way to Borland's Image Editor, which the anonymous coder described as "really just a clone of Microsoft Paint that happens to make ICO files instead."

In a Hacker News thread about the app, a commenter suggested "Maybe you could incorporate it into a version of MS Office from that era as well. You could even give it an anthropomorphized personality embodied by a skeuomorphic element of IRL office supplies more common in that era, like a rubber band … or … a … paperclip."

To which Wingate’s developer responded: "Good idea :) Clippy is Office 97 and later though, so I'll need to make a version that fits in with the Windows 95/98 (or even Windows Me) look!"

The same retro-loving developer is also responsible for Windle – Wordle clone for Windows 3.1. ®

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