Old Computer Stuff

This page started out as curious history lessons, then I discovered the joy of running old software on simulated computers like the Atari and Commodore, now I can see myself laborously building boot blocks and such for a simulated PDP-11 in the hopes of maybe one day running Unix in a dos prompt. [done.. way cool! no boot-block labor required] Enjoy...

Historic Computers

If you program or are interested in programming, to appreciate the computers we have today you should try your hand at programming one of the pioneer computers like the EDSAC or manually toggling a machine code program into the IMSAI or Altair. Conway's Game of Life springing to life on the Edsac's monitor would be super-cool... (happened!)


"Retro-Computing" is running old software on simulated old computers like the Atari, Commodore, and even old mainframes and minicomputers. These days computers are fast enough to emulate the stuff as fast or faster than the original machines ran it, and when the old applications are good enough simulation is an attractive alternative to installing native software and all the headaches that causes. Emulated programs are harmless except to the simulated data, once the simulator is installed there is nothing to fear from the software. For the first time in years I can download stuff just to see what it does, no need to examine it, just enjoy it or delete. I love it!

There are lots of sites out there for the Commodore and other 8 bit computers, do a net search or dig around from here. Here are a few links...

If you really want to go back in time (but not as far as the historics!) here are some PDP links. The original RT11 and Unix operating systems are now free for personal use, the PDP11DOS file from the relcom archives runs the "disks" as is in MsDos mode, Erzatz-11 seems to be a better-behaved emulator for Win use but doesn't read those disks... unless you consider booting moldy software like Collosal, Star Trek or early DOSs worth hand assembling boot blocks and other esoteric procedures, these links probably won't mean much...

A note about files and the web

When retrieving software for old computers, try to find ZIP, ARC, EXE, COM, OBJ and other accepted binary files, downloading non-PC files over the web usually doesn't work unless the file is repaired after downloading. Often "the web" decides it must be text and replaces all hex 0A charaters (lf) with the sequence 0D0A (cr-lf). Files with extensions like ATR, BAS, DCM for the Atari, T64 and D64 for the Commodore and even common GZ compressed unix files will be corrupted if downloaded off the web unless downloaded from an FTP site using a client set to binary transfer mode. Fortunately, most of the stuff comes zipped or arced, just watch out with the other file types. The corrupted files aren't permanently damaged though, nothing has been lost but you'll need a filter program or hex editor to change all the 0D0A pairs back to a single 0A character. One day I'll find or make a program that does this automatically, until then it's either avoid or hex-edit.

Retro Notes

These are some of my experiences simulating old computers and operating systems...

In addition to these I also periodically "play around" with Edsac, Pegem (Pegasus), the Cosmac Elf sim, Desktop Cyber (CDC6600), UAE and WinUAE (Amiga500), other SIMH sims including CPM, PDP8 w/TSS8 and NovaDos, and if I want to simply flip switches at random to watch lights blink then I run the graphical Altair and Imsai sims. Here's a link to a really cool java sim of a PDP1 running Spacewars.

Atari Retro Notes

Of the Atari emulators I've found, XL-it! 2.0 and XFormer version 3.6 seem to be the most useful. Both have strengths and weaknesses. I like XL-it!'s joystick support better, XFormer's joystick is too touchy to use, at least with my configuration. Some things run on one but not the other. XL-it! is discontinued and no longer supported. Xformer is not technically supported because it's free, but has a web page and (according to the docs) updated as needed. Xformer has a turbo mode that smokes. Thanks guys for making it free!

To use downloaded software look for Super Unarc (supunarc.com) for extracting archives and Disk Communicator (dskcom32.obj) for extracting disks, both by Robert Puff. Alternatively, you can use dos-mode UnArc and Dcm2Atr utilities. And... don't forget and double-click an 8-bit com or exe...

Feb 1 98 - it works! Got out my old Atari stuff and much to my amazement most of the disks still read. It took me awhile but I finally figured out how to transfer the software to the PC. What a trip! I'll skip the gory details. Some of my old number graphics programs were the first to come over. They were written using a black and white TV, this is the first I've seen them in color... (updated Feb 10, found a couple more)

Feb 8 - I discovered two things yesterday, down and up... XL-it!'s basic doesn't do exponents (^, ouch) and PC Xformer version 3.6 is now free and its basic works fine - I love it, runs my math art stuff much faster. I've been using batch files associated with ATR and XFD to set up my emulators, but in light of these new discoveries I ripped it all apart and converted it to one batch that keeps track of which emulator and options to use with which disks. If you're not using XL-it! and/or Xformer this batch won't do any good, but the same ideas can be applied to running any dos program by association where different files need different setups.

Feb 11 - Emulator observations... I don't expect everything to run under emulation, only the stuff I like. The good news is most everything I like will run on at least one or the other. Overall, XL-it! 2.0 seems to be the most compatible except for running basic code, the lack of a working "^" is a bigtime minus. XFormer 3.6 works well for basic programs and has a turbo mode that really blisters on my computer, but won't write past sector 720 on enhanced disks (130K) or read double density disks. Spartados won't boot at all on XFormer, runs slowly on XL-it!. XL-it! has a fairly good user interface, XFormer's keystroke interface is faster. Xformer will run in a dos window, XL-it! won't read the keyboard if in a window. Full screen is prefered by both. XL-it! calibrates the joysticks, XFormer seems to run the joysticks wide open making control difficult at best. Xformer allows files to be mounted as 1-file disks and be reliably transfered to single density disks. XL-it! sort-of simulates a hard disk as "H:" but it only works for small files.

Disclaimer, these are the results I get on my 133 mhz Non-Intel clone running Windows 95, results on other machines may vary. While there seem to be some compatibility problems, it's nothing but a thing. It's a miracle they work at all, the problems only illustrate why two emulators are better than one. In almost every case one emulator or the other will work, and once set the shell remembers the settings. I think it's great to be able to run the old stuff at all.

Dec 27 1998... XFormer 3.6 is now 3.8, available from Emulators Online. Still works under Win95 as far as I can tell, works fine with my batch shell. Some of the notes I wrote about 3.6 might no longer apply to the new version, will update if I notice anything different about my observations. Same is great though!

Jan 20 2002... The Emulators Online site now offers XFormer 2000 in addition to the older dos version, the new version runs at a reasonable speed in a window even on my slow machine. XF2000 includes roms for the 800, 800XL and 130XE built into the executable and reads XFD and ATR disk image files. The interface is easy to use and it can save the current configuration for the next run. Installation is not required, just unzip it and put the exe wherever you want. Like the dos version XF2000 won't emulate some things like SpartaDos or double-density disks but it's great to be able to play Star Trek and other favorites in a window while doing other things. Even while editing this html my old "CELLS" life program seems to be running full-speed in the background with no perceptable slowdown in system response.

XF2000 doesn't support command-line parameters (probably because that is what the designers were trying to get away from) so setting it up for my normal habits (I like to double-click an icon and play right now) was a small challenge. All settings are stored in Windows\sf2000.ini (a binary file despite the extension), changing settings is a matter of replacing that file with one containing the desired settings. Complicating things is the need to be able to associate various disk images with different emulators and settings, my existing RunAtari batch does this nicely for XFormer dos and XL-it and having not had to fix anything in a long while I hesitate to change it. I only need to run a few disks on XF2000, mainly text adventures and non-video games. Stuff like RiverRaid is best played full-screen (otherwise it just ain't the same...) so in order to associate xfd and atr files with the new batch it must seemlessly pass anything it doesn't have settings for to RunAtari for appropriate processing. The batch I ended up with, RunXF8.bat, waits about 3 seconds to see if I press Esc to signal I want to run the disk under Windows.. then I have to search for the file using XF2000's interface (no command line parms to tell it). The basename of the file is used to associate and archive the ini file into a zip file when XF2000 is shut down, if I want to remove the setting (to run with my RunAtari batch instead) I have to press D quickly before it saves the settings. Normally I keep RunXF8.bat's properties set to "Run Minimized" unless I'm adding settings so I don't have to see the extra window. Since there is no direct association between the actual file and the results (only the base name is considered to select a ini file), files set up to run from a zip (usually with the disk set up to run from somewhere under Windows\Temp) must always be run from the zip. If there are duplicates I have to set the disk to the real-disk version, if I run the same thing from the zip it'll actually load from disk. Rough but it works. If anyone's interested let me know.

Jan 5 2005... Lately I've been using Linux on my 900mhz machine as my "play" environment, and I found a program called "atari800" that works great! It reads my existing rom, ATR and XFD files and seems to be more compatible than the various dos/windows programs. A certain amount of setup is needed to get it working but the docs are decent, just edit the config file as needed and make sure it knows where to find the roms.

To make it easy to use (and learn bits of bash) I wrote a shell script that runs a select command that displays all the available disk files, if one is chosen then asks to select a configuration, then runs atari800.x11 using the selected parms, and when done reenables key repeats (atari800 kills autorepeat on my system) and kills any atari800 tasks that might have been left hanging by an unintended exit (crash) then redisplays the disk selection menu. Here's the script...

while true; do
echo ---------- Atari Disks ----------
select fname in *.atr *.xfd *.ATR *.XFD
do break; done
if [ -z "$fname" ]; then exit
echo $fname
select parms in "-xe -nobasic" "-xe -basic" "-xl -nobasic" \
"-xl -basic" "-b -nobasic" "-b -basic"
do break; done
if [ -n "$parms" ]; then
atari800.x11 $parms $fname
xset r
killall "atari800.x11" &> /dev/null

Not bad, I have a feeling bash will become a good friend. It needs to run in a terminal large enough to accommodate the number of disk files to prevent scrolling, under KDE I use another script to cd to the directory containing the disks, then launches the pickatari script in a terminal using something like: konsole -vt_sz 80x36 -e pathto/pickatari &

C64 Retro Notes

Wow, seems this retro-computing phenomena is bigger than I thought. After showing off my Atari stuff to a friend he asked if there were any Commodore 64 simulators out there, so I investigated. I went through half a dozen simulators searching for something useable, most of the dos-based programs wouldn't run under 95 or had other problems. One program for Win95 turned out pretty neat, the Win64 beta 0.31 by Ralph Mason. The speed is lots faster than the Atari simulators for Windows. It doesn't support real joysticks, but otherwise works great.

Works great and emulates everything isn't the the same, but from the perspective of easy install (only one file, put it somewhere), ease of running programs (after associating click on a disk, up pops a directory, chose, hit load or run) and just that it even works, I like Win64. It doesn't run everything, but it runs. The other two Windows-based C64 emulators I tried either would not run at all or ran poorly because of my disfunctional direct-X setup. I chose the wrong card...

12-27-98... Trying Frodo again... installed the frodo_pr1 beta preview (from Jason Olsen's Frodo download page) and it now works on my X-unfriendly system! And it's got real joysticks! It's been a long time since I played classics like Pole Position and Spy Vs. Spy like they should be played. Although Frodo can't directly run T/D64 files via point and click (Win64 handles that), once a program is loaded it can save it to a snapshot file, which can be run by double-clicking. A welcome addition.

Win64 is now at beta 0.40... I'll keep my .31 version. While the pro-version with the CD full of games is probably worth the $30 asking price, the download has turned into a commercial sales pitch. The "About the pro version" help option is plenty enough enticement without having frequent pop up ads and reminders about how buggy the beta is, deleted within minutes. Go for the CD if you like it and have the bucks.

Feb 05 2005 - I've been trying out a new (for me) emulator called VICE, version 1.16. The Linux version of VICE is able to remap the keyboard so that a quote is really a quote and not a bracket, fixing my main gripe with C64 emulators. On my 900mhz machine VICE is rock steady, it feels like a real C64 right down to the 1541 drive which almost seems to grunt in my head as I watch it move track to track. Program load times are just like they used to be (slow...) unless true drive emulation is turned off or "warp mode" is enabled. Snapshots load instantly, best for things that don't need further drive access. VICE simply needs the filename on the command line to load and run a file so C64, D64, T64, P00, VSF etc files can be associated to the X64 program for point-and-click loading of disks, tapes, programs and snapshots. Supports a real joystick or can simulate one using the number pad. Very cool, this one blows away every other C64 emulator I've seen.

Using VICE I've rediscovered my favorite C64 game - Elite c 1985 D Braben and I Bell. VICE can autoload elitedp2.d64 from Ian Bell's Elite pages and the TCS "version" that I got from somewhere, but other disks containing commanders would not auto-run using my normal defaults. Fortunately there's the C1541 program which allows manipulation of C64 disks so I copied a working Elite disk and copied over commander files from the other disks, pretty slick. It's slowly coming back to me, thankfully there's an html version of the manual on the Elite site (I seemed to have lost my copy). The original Elite used simple vector graphics to represent ships and other objects, despite the simplicity it gives a good illusion of flying around shooting at other space ships. The turn rate roughly matches the other ships for evenly matched dog-fighting, and although it isn't exactly proper physics, you go in the direction you're pointed in which makes it feel "normal". I didn't get the same feeling with the various (old) PC versions of Elite, the graphics get progressively better (especially for 1995) but they aren't as easy for me to control as the original. A new version from Frontier Software is reportedly in development. A couple of "tribute" ports are available including Elite The New Kind which I managed to get going in full-screen under Linux after a bit of ldconfig and fooling with a wrapper script - this one looks fabulous! Flies like an Elite ship should with keyboard control but I really wish the joystick would work, if I can fix that it's probably a keeper.

2-19-05... of course I'd pick a controversy to be impressed by, The New Kind is apparently no more. In the span of a couple of weeks I've 1) rediscovered one of my favorite C64 games of all time 2) found a wealth of Elite stuff on the web, much to my enjoyment 3) read about all this bickering between the Elite authors in times past, then a few minutes ago discovered 4) the TNK site now redirects to Karate lessons. Somehow I'm not surprised.

2-20-05 - I rescued this listing from old stuff and got it working, it's a simple version of Conway's Game of Life. The original apparently has a bug, I had to change the PRINT#15 in line 160 to PRINT#8, this baffled me for a bit until I realized that the data being written was the 1st 2 bytes of the file containing the starting address. Perhaps that was the listing I was using while trying to figure out why all it did was make the drive led flash, too long ago to recall. I found other listings including one called "cluster" which plots the motions of stars in a star cluster.

4-8-07 - VICE (x64) can directly load files with extensions C64, D64, T64, P00 and others, but some programs are posted as SFX files which are LHA archives with a built-in decoder. For single-file archives probably the easiest way is use the c1541 utility to format a temp disk using a command like 'format temp,0 d64 temp.d64' and copy the SFX file to the disk using a command like 'write FileName.SFX file.sfx' (under Linux case matters, filenames with spaces must be quoted), exit c1541 and run VICE with a command line like 'x64 -8 temp.d64', enter LOAD "*",8 then RUN after it loads, select drive 0 unit 9 and the file will be decoded to the host file system with a P00 extension which can be loaded and run directly by VICE. Filenames with spaces will be affected, this only works if there's a single file. If filename must be preserved on disk or multiple files are involved then use c1541 to format another blank disk, say progname.d64 and run VICE using 'x64 -8 temp.d64 -9 progname.d64', LOAD "*",8 and RUN, select drive 0 unit 9 to decode the files to the progname.d64 disk.

4-12-07 [updated 5-6-07] - Another handy use for VICE's c1541 program... a directory lister for .d64 files using a command line like 'c1541 [filename] -list'. For my Ubuntu Linux system I made a script called d64list containing...

gnome-terminal -x d64list1 "$1"

...and another script named d64list1 containing...

echo Disk File: `basename "$1"`
c1541 "$1" -list | grep -v "L1: "
echo === Press Return ===
read nothing

Since upgrading to VICE 1.21 the c1541 program returns extra lines beginning with L1: so this updated script trims them out using grep. The line before the c1541 displays the name of the disk file minus the path. For Windows, only a single batch file should be needed, something like @echo off followed by c1541 %1 -list followed by pause. If the extra lines need trimming replace grep -v "string" with find /v "string".

Another VICE trick.. to more easily use 2-disk programs that load from another then require a disk change, make a snapshot after making the swap, then make a script or batch containing x64 -8 [2ndDiskFilename] [SnapshotFilename]. Linux users may need to include a cd to the proper directory or otherwise make sure the files can be found... for Gnome I put a script in my nautilus-scripts directory containing bash "$1" to use whenever I need to run a script with the current directory set to where I am. Almost any VICE setting can be specified on the command line to override defaults that have been set using the GUI, such as -truedrive to enable true drive emulation, +sound to turn off sound effects, -joydev1 3 -joydev2 0 to put the joystick on port one, -autorun imagefile:progname to autorun something besides the first file on the disk/tape imagefile, and many other options. One thing I haven't figured out is how to autorun something using just ,8 without the ,1 but the need to do that is very rare, easy enough to use a x64 command line that doesn't autorun and just type LOAD"*",8 etc.

4-14-07 - In addition to not autorunning, often I need to load something else besides the first file. To avoid having to open a command window to issue 'x64 -8 file.d64' I added the following bash script to the right-click actions for .d64 files...

if [ -e "$1" ]; then {
bn=`basename "$1"`
pn=`dirname "$1"`
cd "$pn"
x64 -8 "$bn"
} fi

This could have been just x64 -8 "$1" but added a check to make sure the specified file exists, then changed to the file's directory first to avoid navigation if additional files need mounting [figured out how to make the file dialog page up - right click Under the scroll bar.. odd but functional]. Usually this isn't a problem for Windows [automatically changes to directory of right-clicked files], an equivalent batch file could contain just x64 -8 %1 but might need platform-specific stuff [cls, properties, etc] to keep the "dos" window from remaining open.

5-6-07 - a recent X11 security update broke VICE under Linux. Version 1.22 should include the fix when available, until then the only option is apply the patch to the source and compile. For me this was easy.. removed the broken vice package, downloaded source for v1.21, made the indicated source changes, entered ./configure to see what it wanted.. said I needed "xaw" headers so installed libxaw7-dev, reran ./configure, no complaints so ran make, gave me warnings but it made so did sudo make install to put under /usr/local. Seems to work :-)

PDP-11/UNIX Really Retro Notes

Digital and others have made available free of charge (with reasonable restrictions) the original RT11, Unix and other system software, very kind of them. The Ersatz-11 PDP-11 simulator is really nice and runs in a dos window, but doesn't read "rk" format disks that the software is distributed on, at least I haven't figured out what it would take. The file PDP11DOS.ZIP in the relcom archives contains a version of Supnik that will run them, at least in dos mode. I haven't messed around with it much because of the inconvenience, but it does work, played Hunt the Wumpus and other games I found in usr/games of the Unix5 pack. Having to run without handy notes and gadgets is probably more authentic, but I think I'd rather get it going in a window. Bound to be more fun! TBC... (one day)

1-17-02.. lately I've been fooling around with mini-sims again, this time using the very nice SIMH simulations from The Computer History Simulation Project. These are distributed in source form and includes a batch file that compiles the entire package using the Mingw C compiler and utilities, a couple didn't compile (probably my old compiler) but the rest including the PDP-11, PDP-8, NOVA and HP2100 function very reliably in my experience (except for formating disks in many-most cases it seems unless I'm just doing it wrong.. I just downloaded some dos utilities I hope will help with that). I still haven't really seen Unix in action but now it's just a matter of figuring it out, SIMH runs it. What's Really Nice is you can telnet into it.. I haven't tested this on the PDP-11 but the PDP-8 sim running TSS8 allows multiple users to telnet into it and login to the system. "Mini" windows! Useful too.. since that is the only way I've found so far to copy a basic file from one user's account to another... cut and paste from one terminal to the other terminal (if only they could do that back then:) but there is probably a proper way I haven't figured out yet.

Figuring out these old systems is a very inspiring experience... it brings back a sense of what is lost in today's computing environments - the ability to have total mastery over the computing system. When there is only 32K of core to deal with and disk space is measured in hundreds of kilobytes to a few megabytes, one can figure it out mostly in a few evenings (the PDP11 software will take more than just a few evenings though...). Instruction manuals are essential.. random commands didn't get me anywhere except in basic. Fortunately most of the documentation is available from various old-computer sites. Some info can be hard to come by... the hardest kind to find is when you don't know exactly what you are looking for.. like a disk operating system for the HP2116. The closest I've found is a time-sharing basic in assembler format (from The HP2100 Archives) but it contains a few instructions hpasm.exe cross-assembler doesn't understand (nor myself but working on it). I could not find any disk images for that machine.. it seems like it was mostly a paper-tape thing with the operater loading the paper-tape that is needed at the moment. In effect the environment is the OS.. under SIMH the load and run commands do nicely. Lots easier than loading paper!

10-14-04 - What a difference time, knowledge, and better software can make! I can now run Unix V7 in a SIMH window under Linux and it actually makes sense, and I didn't have to construct a bootblock - the instructions on the SIMH site worked first try. Most Linux commands come from Unix so much of what I've learned about the Linux environment is applicable: cd, mkdir, cp, mv, rm, chmod, ls, etc work as expected and the shell sh looks like it has all the normal flow control features. After booting V7 I had to "mkdir tmp" to make the man command work, still trying to get ps to work so I can explore running processes. Copying rl2unix to unix got rid of name-space complaints but now it complains about no /dev/swap when I run ps. It's probably a little risky running a 256Kb system with no swap but I'm not crazy about attaching (and wasting) a 60meg drive file just for swapping, would rather give it a few hundred K in a file on the existing 10M volume but I don't know if that's possible. No luck making V7 come up with more than 177K free mem but perhaps that's enough to run "old stuff". I'm very interested in using the C compiler cc to help me understand and use that language... the weight of modern implementations push me away but perhaps I stand a chance of learning the old version without having to constantly avoid window fluff. Maybe, we'll see, but chances are if I can make C programs that compile and run under V7 I can make them run on any modern machine and get out of the QBasic trap.

11-21-04 - UnixV7 seems to work better under the SIMH Interdata 32 simulator, swap is enabled, ps works and comes up with a bit more memory. The reversi game is missing and not much source code is included, but the disk images have lots of free disk space. Still just as hard to use with no real command line editing.

I'm trying to get BSD 4.3 running on the Vax simulator, got it to boot but when I got to the games found most were redirected to "dm" which fails to find a config file, and when I tried zork it dumped with an unimplemented instruction. This thing is huge with a 600 meg disk image, so for further experimenting I banished it to my XP partition and symlinked it, that's better (600 megs of waste is nothing for Windows, now I don't mind:) Ok... according to man looks like dm is a game manager, echo >dm.config and things work normally, the real games are in /usr/games/hide with only root permissions (then again root's all I have at the moment). Trek etc work normally, zork still dumps and now the system keeps typing out the (wrong) time and date at my prompt, guess it's trying to tell me something. Setting time/date didn't stop it, printed date again right in the middle of typing a command... that's gotta go! Can't have ghosts in the (simulated) machine! found in crontab, removed all entries. The system won't shut down fully (something won't die) but enough to save the default boot device and date. Upon reboot went back in time. Part of the problem might be it's expecting ethernet and that's not enabled in the SIMH vax binary I'm running, for that matter might not even have the right vax. Sounds like it's time to recompile and hope I have the right binaries. I'm running SIMH under a Damn Small Linux 0.8.2 hard-drive install, so far DSL is been doing a remarkable job keeping up with my antics. Now if I can just find my yacc.

1-5-05 - no matter... I crashed my DSL install and installed Knoppix, which comes with a more complete toolkit for compiling stuff without complaint. All my old-comp stuff runs pretty much the same or better, nothing lost, lots gained. The vax sim running BSD 4.3 enough it seems to have found its happy spot and is working fine. I don't bother to shut it down via command, a ctrl-D seems to be sufficient to keep it from complaining too much the next time it's booted. I think I prefer V7 running on the Interdata, despite the lack of real command-line editing. What I really would like to do is import the adventure, reversi and trek sources and modify/recompile them for the Interdata V7 environment.

HP-IPL/OS and HP MiniComputer Stuff

6-10-04 - I haven't found an existing dos for the HP21xx yet, but I finally have simple disk software running under HP-IPL/OS under SIMH. At the moment it supports 32 files on a 7900, each up to 32KW long and refered to by number. No file length information or directory structure, each file is like a papertape and the dir command lists data from the file itself. Crude but it sure was nice to see a directory, even if under simulation.

What is HP-IPL/OS? Hewlett Packard Interpreted Programming Language / Operating System, a threaded programming system invented by Bob Shannon for the HP21xx series of minicomputers.

  • The HP-IPL/OS page
  • 6-19-05 - the disk software has really come around, now I have XDOS with volumes and files with real names and room for hundreds of files on a simulated 7906 drive. The new SFS file system allows programmable access to disk files using existing HP-IPL/OS Mass Storage words. A new library system keeps up to 32KW of definitions handy for running without consuming dictionary space, this part might be too slow on real hardware for pain-free use but under simulation on my 1.4GHZ machine I don't notice any delay [until the library starts filling up... there's probably a better way to implement this].

  • The HP-IPL/OS Disk page

  • Dos and Windows Emulation under Linux

    11-20-05... These days Dos and (older) Windows programs are becoming "Old Comp", no longer directly runable under the operating system at hand but often can be emulated. I now mostly use Knoppix Linux on my "fast" machine but I didn't have to give up my dos and qbasic stuff, instead I installed DosEmu, FreeDos and DosBox, making it possible to run most of the dos programs I use from icons or command line. I can run some Windows programs using "wine" and figured out how to use bash scripts to associate file extensions with wine-emulated programs by converting the Linux-style path to something a Windows program can digest. Another solution for running Windows programs is to emulate an entire PC in a window using QEMU and install the needed OS from CD, eliminates having to reboot into XP to run most of the stuff I want to run. Emulation helps me avoid subjecting my XP install to random programs just to "see what they do", if something blasts the emulated environment all I have to do is restore the disk image file(s) and it's right back where it was. Backing up XP is a bit more involved.

  • Dos and Windows Emulation under Linux
  • 3-5-06... recently I began using a new Linux distribution called Ubuntu, it runs all my OldComp stuff and a whole lot more, much better than Knoppix on HD but I still have that too if I need it. The Linux-specific portions of these pages work pretty much the same so no editing needed, putting Ubuntu-specific stuff and further explorations on the following page...

  • Ubuntu Notes

  • Page created January 1998 (thereabouts)
    Links verified/removed/fixed April 14 2007
    Last modified May 6 2007