Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Jul 2011 21:46 UTC, submitted by mpxlbs
OSNews, Generic OSes No, your eyes aren't deceiving you - we have actually have not one, but two news items on hobby/small operating systems on the same day! You thought the day would never come again, but hey, here we are. You're welcome. Now, what are we talking about? FreeDOS - a test release has been, uh, released for FreeDOS 1.1.
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Rugxulo
Member since:
2007-10-09

I appreciate the work done on FreeDOS, but I am disappointed that the community hasn't given us a way to run DOS games on modern OSes, without having to take the DOSBox speed penalty.


They did, way back in 1986 with the introduction of the 386: V86 mode! That's why NTVDM worked at all. Unfortunately, MS didn't keep it up or fix bugs, so it's basically (half) dead these days. And AMD64 just gave them a reason to completely drop it. (And before you ask, no, 64-bit doesn't compensate for the huge speed loss of using a full emulator.)

See, DOSBox aims to run even on non-x86 systems, so a complete emulation is needed, which is slow for 3D DOS games, even for Core/Phenom processors.


Yes, it's slow, basically "fast" 486 speed, at best. You need 1+ Ghz just for that! But it works pretty good for sound and graphics (unlike NTVDM).

Actually, check your dosbox-0.74.conf file, you should be able to (sometimes) enable dynamic core for a partial speedup. Or adjust your fixed cycles. Unfortunately, I was told that a 64-bit compile of DOSBox was even slower (ugh).

BTW, DOSEMU under Linux uses V86 and is fast (and LFNs!) but not nearly as good for games as DOSBox. DOSBox is "officially" only for games, not other DOS stuff (e.g. compiling). Unfortunately, DOSEMU x64 has to jump through hoops just to work half as good as 32-bit (and still fails on lots of stuff, sadly).

I was hoping for a DOS execution layer (for x86 systems), so that we can run DOS games the way we did on Windows 9x (disclaimer: i am not saying windows 9x was good). Make it Windows-only if needed, just make it!


Your only hope these days is virtualization (VT-X), e.g. paged real mode (AMD's SVM) or unrestricted guest execution (Intel, 32nm Westmere). I've not really tested, but various tools (Xen, VirtualBox) claim to support these now.

EDIT: Obligatory DOS (video) gaming reviews link (often with DOSBox setup tips):

http://www.pixelships.com/adg/

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