Yes, I've tried various browsers to load gmail in browser, and none of the Windows 3.1 browsers work properly for that. Links in DOS works beautifully but this is about getting email in 3.1.
For that matter, none of the Windows 3.1 browsers are usable at all on the modern web. They either crash incessantly or don't even have SSL3 security, or both. None of them have TLS. Links is far better; it seems to connect to everything and do its best to render what it can. Gmail renders just fine.
Creating a proxy server for the web and "in-between" mail server is, of course, the best long-term solution. Eventually maybe we will have something that runs on a Raspberry Pi and performs a "retrofication" operation on all the web traffic, turning everything into older standards, maybe also letting you select the standard you want. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
I think the specific question I'm trying to answer is this: Both Outlook Express 5.0 and 5.5 support maximum SSLv3 security. And yet 5.5 works while 5.0 fails to establish a secure connection. Why?
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.