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Inferno Plug-in


A preliminary release of Vita Nuova's Inferno Plug-in for Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows is available for free download. This allows Inferno applications to be embedded in a web page and executed within the browser window.

Go straight to the sample programs.

What is it for?

Apart from its uses in embedded systems, Inferno provides facilities for developing distributed applications which can be run on a wide range of platforms including Linux, Solaris, Plan 9 and Windows. Instead of end users having to install the whole Inferno system, this plug-in enables any Windows user to run an Inferno application by means of a one-off download of less than 1 Mb. Inferno binaries are both compact and platform-independent and can easily be downloaded on-the-fly.


The Plug-in is covered by the Inferno Binary and Limited Source Licence. This licence places no restrictions on how you distribute any software which you develop yourself: you can make such software freely available, or you can sell it for profit.

What Language is Used to Write Applications?

Inferno applications are written in Limbo, a simple, modular, C-like language which (unlike some object-oriented languages) is exceptionally easy to read and understand. Limbo has advanced built-in facilities for string handling, list manipulation and interprocess communication and synchronization.


Some browser plug-ins are notoriously insecure, allowing a rogue application to adversely affect the host PC by installing viruses or other undesirable software. In order to keep the Inferno plug-in secure, in this first version some restrictions are imposed on an Inferno application running as a plug-in. These are:
  1. No network connections can be made
  2. There is no access to local disk files.
Vita Nuova is working on ways of removing these restrictions whilst maintaining security, and a further announcement will follow shortly.

Getting Started

You can download the IE Plug-in now, or alternatively the first time you view a web page which requires the Plug-in, you will be asked if you wish to download it. The Plug-in is around 700Kb in size and may take a few minutes to download if you have a slow link.


A number of sample plug-in applications are provided, complete with all source code, and a full Introduction to the Inferno Plug-in is also available, including information on writing your own plug-in applications.

If you write an interesting program which is suitable for use as a plug-in sample, send it to us and we will include it on our web site. As usual, authors of accepted contributions will receive a free Inferno T-Shirt!

Known Issues with Internet Explorer 5

There are a few minor issues with text windows in IE 5:
  • Carriage Return characters appear in text windows.
  • Pressing the Backspace key in a text window is equivalent to clicking on the browser's Back button. A workaround is to use Control-Shift-H instead. Similarly, use Control-Shift-D for end-of-file.

Will Inferno Plug-ins be Available for Other Browsers?

We are intending to make a similar plug-in available for Netscape under Windows and Linux.


If you find any problems or have any other comments on the IE Plug-in, please email