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DR-DOS Enhancement Project (Announce)

posted by lproven(R) Homepage E-mail, Prague, Czechia, 09.12.2017, 18:54

> Okay, I'm assuming you mean EDR-DOS here (although Udo too didn't call
> 7.01.06 "Enhanced", for whatever reason).

I have not seen your term "EDR-DOS" anywhere else, and to be honest, I am not keen on it. I think it would confuse people. Yes, I do mean Udo Kuhnt's Enhanced DR OpenDOS.

Of all the names, DR-DOS (with or without the hyphen) seems the easiest and best-known to me.

> "
> Enhanced DR-DOS 7.01.07 (6.3.2005)
> The latest stable version with support for the FAT32 disk API, improved
> memory management and many other enhancements!
> "
> That says "stable", so did you try that specific one? Did it not work as
> well for you? Because only "Enhanced DR-DOS 7.01.08 WIP (21.7.2011)" says
> "work-in-progress ... unstable".

I've gone and looked at's mirror of the site and you're right. I must have misread it. That's a bit annoying but should be easy enough to fix. I'll get on it soon.

> But maybe he only focused on FAT32 (etc.) and not so much multitasking.

I think so -- AFAICS he only worked on DRBIO/DRDOS/COMMAND.COM and only a few supplementary commands: TASKMGR, SHARE, SYS, XCOPY. Most of the OS remains unchanged.

> > I have this working well with
> > TaskManager and ViewMax 2, so I have a working FOSS DR-DOS with FAT32,
> > multitasking and a GUI.
> It's not FOSS. If you say "FOSS", you basically mean
> four freedoms. At
> best, EDR-DOS (kernel + shell only) are (AFAIK) "sources available,
> non-commercial only".

I do not currently have access to the source CD that Caldera/Lineo provided to me personally -- it's in Brno and I now live in Prague. But I must check it and look at the licence. I thought that Caldera did release 7.01, sources and all, under a permissive licence, but I could be wrong.

Even if it's just freeware/non-commercial, it's still a good step, surely? But you're right, I need to clarify this.

> TaskManager (TASKMGR.EXE)? IIRC, they supported task swapping (286+) and
> pre-emptive multitasking (386+). The latter needs its (closed source,
> proprietary) EMM386

Yes, it does.

I am in parallel also working on a similar version (VirtualBox + bootable USB key) using IBM PC DOS 7.1. I have this working now, but IBM's HIMEM/EMM386 are giving me problems. I cannot get Quaterdeck QEMM to start successfully on any modern hardware at my disposal; it locks the machine or reboots it.

So I have to use the DOSes' bundled memory managers, and so far, DR's is proving a lot less troublesome.

> (with bundled .VXDs or whatever,

There is no Windows on any of my text machines, so no VxDs.

> and its DPMI server
> enabled).

AFAICT, it's built in and automatic.

> Not sure how well it will work for your uses. (Remember, it's
> always limited to 64 MB per task, and the DPMI is buggier than with DR-DOS
> 7.03.)

The later versions do have desirable improvements, yes, but including them would violate DeviceLogics' IP, AIUI.

Currently, I have it working, and can concurrently load DR DOS Editor, MS DOS Editor, MSD and a few command prompts and switch between them.

On PC DOS 7.1 I have DOSShell swapping MS Word 6 and WordPerfect 6.2 but I can't redistribute any of them, sadly.

> ViewMax/2? Isn't that just
> OpenGem?

No. ViewMax 1 was in DR-DOS 5; ViewMax 2 was in DR-DOS 6. Both are based on GEM, but heavily cut-down. They're graphical file-managers and app-launchers and not much more.

Both were separately open-sourced by Caldera, independently of DR-DOS. It's GPL.

So I have extracted a copy from DR-DOS 6 and included it.

The main reason is that it provides not only a graphical front-end, but also a GUI to TaskMgr.

> I still say DOSEMU2 + FreeDOS (+ whatever slim Linux distro, Puppy?) is
> better, obviously.

I have DOSemu on all my Linux machines, and I love the easy access to the host's filesystem -- but I find it quite easy to crash, so I don't trust it not to lose my work.

VirtualBox still gives near on-the-metal performance, and the screen can be resized more smoothly. I've also found it _very_ stable, although playing with DOS memory management and multitasking can kill my VMs sometimes. Once I have stable working combinations, though, this is not unpredictable -- e.g. Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn't work but the VBox Reset command does. With a write-through disk-cache, this is not a problem.

Also, I'm afraid I just don't like FreeDOS very much. It doesn't behave as I expect. I spent a decade working with MS & DR DOS on a daily basis and have expectations of what it will do. Even 4DOS broke those expectations and some of my batch files failed.

FreeDOS is a great piece of work, and I hope that people use it and it thrives. However, I prefer "the real thing" and as such my interest is reviving PC DOS for my own personal use, and DR DOS for more general use.

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