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Compatibility woes / deprecation (Miscellaneous)

posted by marcov(R), 15.02.2009, 12:44

> > - Before Giulio, FPC had no dos maintainers for a long, long time (say
> 5-7 years). Nobody contributed a single line of Dos related code, fixed
> bugs
> > etc.
> How long has FreeDOS been stable? (I can only guess beta8 in 2003 or so.
> Before that, I'm not sure it was good enough for everyday use. But that's
> just a guess since I never tried earlier versions.) How long has QEMU and
> BOCHS been stable? DOSBox?

If you not use it daily, and have to keep up your knowledge of this stuff, and Dos for an occasional bugreport it is a problem.
This makes "Dos" expensive for devels. The low feedback and patches ratios further fuel its unpopularity.

Moreover keep in mind that the main purpose (my case as example) to run it is FPC, something that takes 1-2 mins on a Core2 2.4GHZ. Working in VMs is annoying.

Keep in mind that those devels are not unsympathetic per se. But if you have to find out everything yourself for something you are actually not interested in, that is very demotivating, and something totally different from working with a dedicated dos-maintainer. Then the LFN issues etc get bearable.

> All of that makes a difference, esp. when your
> OS isn't DOS friendly any more (NT). I've heard many people say, "I don't
> have a DOS setup anymore." And modern installs of Windows using NTFS,
> hogging the whole drive, doesn't help.

Well it is less that, than that there are a lot of OSes that want a slice. And some have booting/primary partition limitations. I have two harddisks (and way more space than I actually need) due to this. Double the number of primary partitions. (and x86_64 platforms make this a lot more complicated)

On laptops (nowadays half of the computers sold), it is even worse, hidden vendor partitions make it even more difficult. Then there is the issue of how to get data on them (network, SVN), all other stuff (binutils, GDB) being typically old and odd.

> > They have to keep wrestling with 8.3 support, memory limitations,
> thread
> > support limitations, unicode deficiencies of that one platform _every_
> > day.
> 8.3 can be easily worked around (ROM-DOS, DOSLFN, StarLFN, Win9x, Win2k).

All can be worked around. But that is what the above sentence says, lots of special stuff that must be worked around. And note btw that LFN is as much max-length of a path as much as 8.3.

> Memory limitations? Not in flat model.

DPMI 64MB limit in w9x iirc.

> Thread support? No standard method,
> too many hacks.

No support is actually a feature, since it is assumed all OSes have it. Same goes for network support and IPC.

> Unicode? Even Win9x didn't barely support that, so you
> can't complain there (since nobody cared back then anyways).

Even WinME is near 10 years old. The world has moved on. The push to unicode (and the pressure behind it) is massive in Open Source projects. The w9x phasing out has already started here and there.

Sure there are ways around (MSLU and the like, and there is even a GNU substitute), but that is another DIY job to figure everything out.

> Let's face
> it, even GNU proposes all comments in code be in English, so that proves
> the English bias in the world.

No it doesn't, since their stance on user interfaces is totally different and they actually lead the way there.

> Not saying that's ideal, but seriously,
> saying Unicode is a deal breaker is a bit exaggerated. (Besides, Win32s
> didn't have threads or Unicode either except latter via wimpy codepage
> conversion.)

Yes, and PDPs neither. But they are also old and killed off.

> Not true. Win2k was pretty light on resources (comparatively) unlike
> Vista.

The ratio XP(org)/2k(sp3) was not that different from Vista/XPsp2

I ran w2k on a 128MB machine, using Outlook,word (2k), Mozilla milestones and adobe acrobat. Later when I got 192MB I could even run them concurently.

> Heck, even XP is so much lighter that it's the newest OS that MS
> could cram on a netbook (until Win7 is finalized).

Yes, and 2k (and one more back, NT4 which could run happily with 32MB before they brought in IE) were such magnitudes further down. IMHO you are idolizing XP. And unfairly so. For most XP is mainly so great because it was their first oasis of stability after w9x. But compared to 2k, XP wasn't that great, slightly better maybe, if you could afford the resource usage increase, but not THAT much. The w95->w98 change was bigger.

> And XP -> Vista broke
> some things ... unlike 2k -> XP,

That's partially true. XP couldn't run some 2k drivers, and there were some apps broken early on when run in Themed mode (the early Teletubby mode was full of bugs), but it was relatively minor. Still that is not what the outrage about Vista (which is IMHO exaggerated) is about.


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