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Holmes Net Search Tool v0.1b2
(c) 1999 Technical Alchemy, Dave Fletcher

What is this?

Holmes is a tool to help you get quicker results when searching the internet. It runs as an applet in the GNOME toolbar. Searching is painful enough already without that darn search engine front page with seven hundred advertisements...

How Holmes came to be

This is the project which I used to familliarize myself with the GNOME environment. The latest source code can be accesed from:

A similar tool exists called "websearch" available at:

and within the GNOME CVS distribution as "websearch". I've decided to continue Holmes development because I feel it is a more user friendly approach than "websearch" because it requires no external compiled binary resources. Also, the "Web Update" feature makes obtaining the latest greatest search engine list extremely easy.

Warning this is a BETA release

Please remember, this is a beta release of this tool. Although such a situation is highly unlikely, Technical Alchemy and Dave Fletcher cannot be responsible for any damages which use of this software may incur, including the occasional crash, loss of data, destruction of the Earth, etc.


A linux box running X windows and the GNOME desktop environment. As of this writing, RedHat 6 is the only linux distribution which installs and activates everything necessary to run Holmes, but it should work fine on any system with the latest stable versions of the following libraries installed:

        libglib         available at
        libgtk          available at
        libgnome        available at

Also, an active internet connection and "libghttp" are required in order to use the "Web Update" function which dynamically updates the list of search engines and the application itself.

Further, gcc, the GNU c compiler, is required for platforms other than i386 linux.

If there is sufficient interest, I could fairly easily create a gtk version of Holmes which doesn't require gnome. Please send mail to if you are interested.

OK, so what does it cost

Nothing, it's free! Enjoy. The source code is freely distributable under the GNU public license. (see COPYING)

Plea for internalization help!

Please, if you speak another language and have an hour or two to spare, consider contributing. Please email me at if you have prepared an internationalized distribution. I am fairly certain the properties scheme will work for all roman language variations, but I know nothing about asian languages and multibyte char support. Please send an email to the above address with any successes, failures, or suggestions on the subject.

things to internationalize:

[ivar] variables in "holmes.txt"

                holmes_applet.desktop (blatently stolen from "modemlights" and
                badly needs help!)
                this README file

things not to internationalize:

                LICENSE (it's probably already been done by the Free Software
                source code

Statement on RPM

I'm just learning about developing in the linux environment and expect to have to have RPM installers "real soon now" which means in about 8 months. In the meantime, you have to deal with the GNU style installer.

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