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/

Reply Parent Score: 1

andermetalsh Member since:
2011-07-06

DosBOX is ideal for old DOS games until 1995-1996 , and XDosEMU runs very intensive games like Fallout or Blood .

It emulates a Sound Blaster , a GUS and a Midi synth , and , for graphics , a VGA or a Vesa card, and ¡¡¡¡ you could map REAL hardware devices, PCI devices, even access your video card !!!!

As I said, if you have a little Linux setup, you should have both . My Core Duo is not fast enough with DosBox running these Pentium 2 / DOS era games .

Reply Parent Score: 1

Rugxulo Member since:
2007-10-09

DosBOX is ideal for old DOS games until 1995-1996 , and XDosEMU runs very intensive games like Fallout or Blood .

It emulates a Sound Blaster , a GUS and a Midi synth


I'm not saying you're wrong, but in all my recent Linux attempts, sound doesn't work at all in DOSEMU, and I have no idea why. (I'm not savvy enough to understand how to fix it either, meh.) I've just always found DOSEMU sound support buggy or incomplete whereas DOSBox always works. But yeah, if speed is important, DOSBox ain't for you!

P.S. Check this out (Java):
http://jdosbox.sf.net/
http://www.classicdosgames.com/online.html

Reply Parent Score: 1

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

But why would you go through all that trouble when old boxes are practically (or even) free? I don't know how it is there but here in the USA one can find plenty of give away 700MHz and less which are just perfect for DOS gaming. You can get a 2 port KVM for less than $20 and more importantly for DOS you can pick up an old school Soundblaster card for a couple of bucks. Finish up with a cheap early Nvidia or Voodoo card (The one I have for mine is an old Riva TNT2 which I got for 25c out of a pile at Goodwill) and you have the ultimate Win9x/DOS gaming machine!

So while I'm grateful for FreeDOS and wish them nothing but luck for really old games one can't beat Win9x installed on actual hardware.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Rugxulo Member since:
2007-10-09

But why would you go through all that trouble when old boxes are practically (or even) free? I don't know how it is there but here in the USA one can find plenty of give away 700MHz and less which are just perfect for DOS gaming.


More clutter, which I don't need. But yeah, real hardware always beats emulation.

You can get a 2 port KVM for less than $20


I need to get one sometime soon for other reasons (but first reconfig my router, meh).

So while I'm grateful for FreeDOS and wish them nothing but luck for really old games one can't beat Win9x installed on actual hardware.


Win9x chokes when you have gigs of RAM anyways. There are hacks to use 2 GB (and the rest for a big RAM disk), but that's not ideal either. Even though Win9x is better than WinNT for DOS stuff, even it doesn't run everything that plain DOS does (and its DPMI leaves some things to be desired). Anyways, you can use up to 4 GB of RAM in DOS with the appropriate DPMI server (CWSDPMI r7 or HDPMI32), though I think RAM disks typically are only <= 2 GB (and even FreeDOS still has the 2 GB file limitation, even for FAT32, oh well).

The main advantage to FreeDOS is ... it's free! ("BASE" is GPL, not that Debian or Fedora agree [re: DOSEMU] ... "uses non-free tools", ugh, only because OpenWatcom [OSI] offends them.) In other words, you don't need a proprietary OS to run or develop DOS apps, which is an advantage, esp. when Windows (mostly) doesn't support DOS anymore.

Reply Parent Score: 1