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31.01.2009, 09:09

(c. 1996) MOSS DOS extender + Inner Worlds game (DOSX)

Bryan Ford released MOSS 0.90 on 31 January 1996.

MOSS is an ELF-based DOS extender written with an early version of the Flux OS toolkit, bits of Mach OS, and libs of FreeBSD. It was used in cross-compiling from either GNU Linux (libc5) or FreeBSD (pre-existing compiler binaries available). The extender itself is mostly written in C, fully GPL, and fully compilable with GPL tools (GCC, BinUtils) although I haven't rebuilt it myself so YMMV. However, for convenience I did build a "cross"-compiler with DJGPP, so host is DOS/COFF and target is DOS/ELF. I used GCC 2.95.3 and BinUtils 2.16.1 out of simplicity, but any BinUtils (e.g. 2.19) and GCC up to 3.3.6 can supposedly work too. I did not recompile any libs, only binaries, so the libs themselves are directly from the Linux-hosted version (GCC 2.7.2, BinUtils 2.6). moss-dj.7z is a 3 MB DOS 7-Zip sfx archive with everything you need to test it out (including MOSS sources and 7zdecode as simple example), needing 13 MB of space and LFNs to run correctly. Sources for GCC and BinUtils are also available in order to comply with the GPL. Discussion a few weeks ago between me and Rod P. is available on the Google Groups archives for comp.os.msdos.djgpp.

Inner Worlds is a formerly shareware (now freeware) side-scrolling DOS game similar (IMHO) to Shadow of the Beast. It uses MOSS and needs a 486 + 8 MB RAM + VGA and 20 MB for a full install (plus 10 MB temporarily for installer).

N.B. DOSBox 0.72 can run Inner Worlds well. If you have trouble on real hardware, try configuring or even disabling all sound via SETUP and also manually unset your BLASTER or ULTRASND environment variable. Also, the extender has some DPMI issues, so Windows or other native DPMI hosts may conflict. In fact, both JEMMEX/JEMM386 and HIMEMX seemed to have issues under most circumstances due to reasons beyond my knowledge (although raw / clean boot or FDXMS works okay). Inner Worlds itself took (more or less) 24 people three years to develop, but sources are not available (which is old C++ anyways, probably wouldn't compile easily). This is the only pre-existing MOSS app that I could find, but it's pretty impressive.

P.S. Happy 13th Birthday to MOSS! Oh, and try to have fun! :-D

Know your limits.h

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