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posted by Rugxulo(R) Homepage E-mail, USA, 20.02.2012, 20:09

(part one):

> > Define "simple". FALSE? PL/0? Oberon/0?
>
> For any somewhat normal procedural or OOP language. You can try to find
> extreme cases of course, but that doesn't really say anything.

Wirth's goal has been to keep the EBNF short, able to bootstrap itself in a minute (even on very slow hardware of the day). Granted, he seems to prefer one-pass, only minimal optimizations when needed, and semi-direct binary output.

Modula-3 intentionally kept their report in 50 or so pages (vs. much more complex ISO Modula-2, Ada, C++). They meant to keep it orthogonal and heavily used it on-site at DEC.

However, neither were really interested in 16-bit at all, and Modula-3 admittedly seemed too heavily POSIX-oriented (plus Win32, natch).

> > Heck, Wirth's ARM compiler for 32-bit OberonSA (-07 variant?) is
> > only 61 kb.
>
> Minimal language, minimal compiler. God knows how much effort. Irrelevant.

Not irrelevant, but admittedly he's experienced, educated, hard-working. So I can't compete with that. :-P

> > So FreeDOS trumps them all.
>
> Well, I couldn't get 1.1 to install, so leave the trumps away ;-)
> It couldn't find the cdrom it booted from :-)

<sarcasm>
That's your problem, not ours. If you can't be bothered to read a manual or learn how to install it properly from experience, you'll get left behind. We can't cater to those who refuse to adhere to 30 years of experience.
</sarcasm>

> > But stuff still gets done. Granted, some people
> > prefer newer things.
>
> If it was, freedos would have superseded them all by now, based on an own
> dos-only toolchain.

I just don't get it. People adore the "classic" (piece of crap) NES that had barely any RAM or capabilities, but a semi-modern DOS machine is considered useless. What gives?

> > (BTW, speaking of that, shouldn't you be busy porting
> > Lazarus to WinRT/Metro?
>
> No. You still don't get the base premise of this subthread. One is supposed
> to develop for what you use. I don't have winrt

Well, you seem to be more biased towards "modern" than I am. It's just so many things appear as "latest greatest" or (worse) "a better xyz than abc" to replace "legacy" things. Too many moving targets, no stability.

> > It's hardly inertia. Software isn't easy to rewrite.
>
> Why does nearly every niche community then have more to show for it than
> Dos?

Politics. Laziness. Ignorance. Lack of time. Preference for fancier things. Inability to minimize dependencies. Real life. Lack of money. Less support that previously existed.

> > Yes, I should just use FPC on everything 100% of the time.
>
> Of course! Have I ever said anything else? :-D

FPC does have serious advantages over others, but most of that is from hard work and not relying too much upon GNU / POSIX stuff (thankfully).

> I never cared much for either M3 or Oberon. At least for normal usage,
> they might have been great experiments in the past.

They are quite good, but I can see where FPC (mostly) negates the need for them.

(part two):

> I can remember being significantly underwhelmed by what was presented
> by specially M3.
>
> Oberon I only got in the earlier mentioned Dos Oberon environment
> emulation.

Some of the advantages are behind the scenes and not as obvious as other, flashier features. I.e. Oberon seems to have one-to-one translation for a lot of things (e.g. BIFs, low overhead). Modula-3 was considered extremely typesafe and well thought out. Both had freely available, portable implementations.

> IIRC one of them also missed unsigned types, making hardware interfacing
> harder than necessary.

Even Ada83 and Java lack unsigned, IIRC. (The guy who ported DOSBox to Java whined about that too, heh.) The only reason Modula-2 had CARDINAL was because of 16-bit memory limits (and also because the hardware supported it separately), but it complicated the type compatibility, so Wirth simplified for Oberon. Modula-3 also simplified by having FIRST(CARDINAL)..LAST(CARDINAL) = 2 GB (aka, positive subset of INTEGER and subset of typical native wordsize 4 GB unsigned integer, which was only accessible via the Word.T interface).

So in short, it probably isn't needed much and can be worked around in low-level ways if direly needed.

> > Specifically, I meant several things here:
> >
> > * Their OSes never supported 16-bit (or at least not recently or
> directly,
> > e.g. Win64)
>
> In that specific (win64) case: not even reasonably possible

Sure it's possible. If Alpha can emulate x86, then Win64 can too. If DOSEMU x64 can do it, so can Win7. Heck, Microsoft had a 486 emulator for non-x86 WinNT machines already. But anyways, it's moot, they consider 16-bit not worth the effort, and that's the "real" reason.

> That's not strange, cygnus being owned by Redhat.

It's not strange at all, but let's face facts, GNU (FSF) cares heavily about Linux and ELF but very little about other stuff. GCC isn't the uber-portable do-everything compiler anymore. It's becoming more only about FSF than just a simple compiler (for good or bad).

BTW, DJ Delorie works for Red Hat.

> > > > I'd rather not install Oberon OS just to learn Oberon.
> > >
> > > IIRC there was an Oberon environment that ran on top of Dos? Called
> > > "SYSTEM" or something.

V4? System 3? Yes, there was a (barely) DOS-hosted version, but it was (AFAIK) superceded by "Native" Oberon.

> > Last updated in 1999 or 2001 or such. You really think it'll work on
> modern
> > machines?
>
> Dos is very compatible I'm told :-)

I'm not talking about DOS, I'm talking about bad assumptions in old software that assumes you don't have 6 GB. :-) A lot of stuff chokes because it never thought we'd see the day.

Windows stuff breaks too, esp. 'cause of old installers or stuff you can't rebuild. But there you're just out of luck without similar workarounds. Linux doesn't care if old stuff works, and even if you're allowed to rebuild, it doesn't always work (stupid GCC or similar bugs).

> But did you even try? It could be it requires special videocard drivers,
> maybe it already uses vesa.

No, I didn't try because I didn't "need" it that badly. Plus I'm very skeptical. But sure, maybe?? it works? ;-) Honestly, I'd be better off running it under VirtualBox. Heck, I'm even too skeptical to try the Win95 plugin version because Win64 is so annoying, meh.

> Well, you are probably the only one in the world with that [DOS]
> preference. So the answer is in what you make of it :)

I know, and it's a self-imposed difficulty. My problem is that I expect old stuff to keep working and continue to be available, but it doesn't and won't. I disagree with that.

> No. It is that they are the boss of their own time, and you can't
> willy-nilly commandeer that.

Don't want to commandeer them, but if it used to work, it should still work. Or at least old version should be available. But it's not.

> yes. And you require effort from others to keep it working for you, and you
> expect them all to stand up and bow at your call, and are frustrated if
> they aren't.

They can't even host online an old .ZIP file. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

> Of course they don't. Most of them haven't cared for 10 years. [DOS]
> is dead and buried with a ten ton tombstone on top.

So is C (according to C++) or both according to Java and C#. MS wants WinXP dead too. Mac OS X can't even support things for more than two years, barely. It's just weird, everything modern is such a moving target.

> The question is why that surprises you still after all this time doing
> dos.

I don't know. I just always read about, "Our project xyz is so great and portable", but it's not portable, it's just for "modern" big three OSes only. I always falsely get my hopes up.

> either adjust your preferences and requirements (and use what is there
> ... or make a choice, and stick to it for a non trivial amount of time,
> and simply hit it so hard, and so long till it does what you want.

Easier said than done.

> Maintenance costs time.

They have plenty of time to port to Android or iOS or other dumb things that are so gimmicky and new and unstable that it's not worth using (IMO). They also waste time on other similarly unfinished things like HTML5 or constantly upgrading their software (Firefox 10? downloading ...) ad nauseum, i.e. making yet another distro release or packages in xyz format that nobody but a few support.

> The compatibility is what keeps Windows afloat. Exactly the problem you
> describe for dos, but then applied to nineties and turn of the century
> win32 software. Microsoft has made a business model out of it.

Not anymore, not in a long time. XP was the last of that. Now everything is all about new software, new drivers, etc.

> All the
> "new" stuff is just to avoid the competition getting so big it hurts the
> core business. (though admitted, they failed horribly at that wrt Apple)

Nah, MS always wants to copy or compete in everything technology-based. Sometimes I wonder why they bother in some fields. They're weirdly unpredictable.

> Flaming here isn't going to solve anything, except feeding your own
> frustrations.

It's not just whining, I have often tried rebuilding some "modern" things with DJGPP, but it almost never works. Sad, really. I wonder how I ever have the nerve considering all the failures.

> it's a lot easier to just stick with what you've got.
>
> well, spoken as a real DOSSer :-)

In other words, the easy way out is "just use C", which is freakin' everywhere, or maybe something well-supported like Ada or FPC. I just can't resist looking into niche things sometimes. So it's old and barely used, so what? It might be cool! ;-)

 

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