OS/2 4 on Virtual Box…

Looking at hup.hu, it’s a pretty popular subject (hit wise)…

I’d imagine it ought to be as simple as slapping in some diskettes and away you go.  But personally I find the video speed of OS/2 on virtualbox to be horrific.  But at the same time it runs all the 386 friendly versions so…. It’s the ‘best’ and only solution for OS/2 1.0 onward….

I would imagine you guys could post issues…?

I’ve run it on Virtual PC 2007 ‘ok’ although the combination of SIO & Hyperterm uploading or downloading from a ‘shared drive’ always leads to Hyperterm crashing like crazy.

I’m not sure if that is even anything to really write home about.

But don’t write off using Qemu to run OS/2.

3 thoughts on “OS/2 4 on Virtual Box…

  1. The video speed of OS/2 on VirtualBox is only horrific when both of the following is true: You a) use plain 16-color VGA (which is pointless with Warp 4 and later where a VESA driver is included), and b) use one of the previous-gen Intel CPUs where VT-x performance isn’t all that great. With plain VGA and a latest gen Intel processor (or an AMD) the video speed is merely bad but not horrific. With a VESA driver, video speed ranges from good to blazingly fast.

  2. I think it’s more so something about Microsoft’s video drivers from that era. Windows/386 is dog slow redrawing windows, as is the early Windows NT pre-releases from 1991… Even OS/2 1.2 can really dog running a command box in a window and dragging it around.

    The commonality of Microsoft and dragging windows seems to be quite painful….. But I recall it kind of dogging on hardware as well back then. Of course I may have thought my ‘awesome’ 16Mhz machine with my memory and all peripherals on the glorious ISA bus….

    • It’s not so much Microsoft’s drivers as VGA. The trouble with VGA is that it’s almost, but not quite, unaccelerated. The general lack of acceleration means that the guest CPU has to do quite a few memory accesses to shuffle pixels around. But the “acceleration” means that the VGA memory does not behave like typical memory at all, and both reads and writes have side effects. That means all VGA memory accesses generally have to be trapped, and the overhead of that is significant, especially with older VT-x systems.

      The irony of entirely unaccelerated VESA software (where the graphics card is treated like a dumb framebuffer) is that it’s actually ridiculously fast in a VM. The graphics memory works just like regular RAM and the guest can access it without having to go through a slow bus. It can easily run much faster than on a physical system.

      You can try something like OS/2 1.3 in VirtualBox both with and without VT-x. You’ll likely find that the VGA performance with VT-x is noticeably slower, even though most other operations are faster.

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