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f : freedos-devel@lists.sourceforge.net 19 September 2011 • 3:13AM -0400

Re: [Freedos-devel] Freedos and lack of drivers
by Rugxulo

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Hi,

2011/9/18 Aitor SantamarĂ­a <aitor.sm@gmai...>:
>
> 2011/9/13 Jim Hall <jhall@free...>:
>> In DOS, it would be awesome to have true multitasking
>
> Pick the smallest Linux distribution that you know.

These days that would probably be MicroCore (aka, TinyCore w/o X11)
Linux. It's about a 7 MB .ISO download. I think the RAM usage is
pretty low. I haven't tested DOSEMU, but I think nowadays you need
Glibc 2.2, kernel 2.6, etc. (which it has, IIRC). So you can't just
randomly pick any old Linux, sadly.

http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/welcome.html

Some people have suggested Debian in the past as a good stable
starting point. But I remember DeLi 0.7.2 (uclibc-based) had a DOSEMU
package, and that's been resurrected as ConnochaetOS (though I haven't
tested it yet):

http://www.connochaetos.org/wiki/

> Remove X and anything about graphics.

Yes but easier said than done.

> Remove any Unix stuff,

I guess you mean all the unnecessary POSIX tools. At least
substituting Busybox should cover a good deal of it.

The barebones stuff is kernel (vmlinuz), initrd.gz, and root system
(/bin/sh) etc. (I think), and Gujin is a good boot loader (with DOS
version), meant to replace Loadlin / Lilo.

> Wouldn't it be great that you'd have several FreeDOSes running
> simultaneously? (switch with Ctrl+Alt+Fn).

Well, yes, that would be the whole point. But here's a naive question:
can a single DOSEMU session use more than 64 MB of memory? (Newer
GCCs really eat a lot.)

> You wouldn't have the problem of "modern hardware" (Linux does the
> part), but then you have quite other disadvantages (I don't know how
> good would be the drive mapping process that DOSEMU does. Would be
> nice if DOSEMU scanned all the disks and mapped ALL partitions
> automatically).

Well, the only disadvantage isn't really one at all:  it's not perfect
(but no DOS environment, or any OS, is). So there are bugs and
incompatibilities, just like anything. But overall it works quite
well.

> In the meantime, yes, at least task switching would be great.

Old-style real mode stuff should be easy to swap in and out of memory.
(I remember some old swappers from 80xxx snippets, but I don't know
how stable they were.) I imagine that it's when you start adding ten
bazillion memory managers that things get complex.

http://www.filegate.net/pdnasm/

The real problem is trying to determine what apps you want to run.
Personally I'd prefer DJGPP (cmdline, textmode) stuff and similar, but
even that is probably a bit too complex for a simple memory swapper.
Though of course DOSEMU handles DPMI fine.

P.S. Actually at one time I wanted to build pcemu under (DOS) Minix
2.04 to be able to fake multitasking, but ACK didn't like the stock
sources, and I never fiddled with it further.

http://pcemu.sourceforge.net/
http://www.minix3.org/previous-versions/Intel-2.0.4/

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