DJGPP 1.03 saved thanks to shovelware +

I can’t stress enough just how awesome is for finding ancient stuff!

I’m not sure why I started on this quest but I was looking for some old finicky DOS extender, and started hunting for Go32, the first DOS extender used by DJGPP.  And for the heck of it, I wanted to find the first version, which I pretty much had assumed was lost to the mists of time.

However the CD-ROM shareware collection called MegaROM-1 actually had a ‘full’ copy of one of the first versions of DJGPP, 1.03.

Installation is pretty straightforward, however you have to use pkunzip for all the various old ‘methods’ of storing data in zip files, I found infozip leaves things out..

Also DJGPP 1.03 uses a LOT of environment space.. which is more so a problem for people running real MS-DOS on real machines.. (there are some!)…

Hello World!

It runs in DOSBox, but there is no doubt some stack corruption as trying to run things like dos edit result in:

Packed file is corrupt

But at least we can run more than one copy, or use a native editor.

GO-32 from this era is *NOT* DPMI compliant, nor is it VCPI compliant.  And its based on GCC 1.39, which was a popular level with things like 386 BSD, although it seems early Linux used GCC 1.40 ..  The tool chain by default outputs the GNU a.out format, but relies on modifying the linker that was separately included in G++.  Later versions of GO32 included VCPI support, and near it’s end of life version 1.10 added support for DPMI which greatly simplified things like hooking IRQ’s and doing DMA.

For those who want to play, without the pkzip fun, I’ve slapped it into a single 7zip file.  It’s not even a megabyte.  But it was 1991, when 4MB of ram seemed like an incredible amount of memory!

As part of the retrochallenge 2012, there is a PDP-11 running 2.11 BSD out there!

No, really!

You can get an account, just sign up here!

Sander Reiche has setup a MicroPDP-11/83 with the following specs:

So far there are FOUR users.. which means you can get in on the action for sure!

For those of you who want a sandboxed version at home, you can download my install here, which of course I touched on a while back.

For those unfamiliar, here is what retrochallenge is all about!

  1. RetroChallenge commences July 1st, 2012 and runs until July 31st, 2012.
  2. In order to qualify, computer systems must by approximately 10 years old (or older!)… in general, this means 486 or below, 680×0 and pretty much everything with an 8-bit processor, but we’ll also let you in if you have an old Cray kicking about, and exceptions can always be made for exotica!
  3. Gaming consoles and PDAs qualify if they were made in the previous century.
  4. Where appropriate, replica hardware and emulators may be used.
  5. Entrants are responsible for adequately documenting their projects and submitting occasional updates during the contest.
  6. Projects may encompass any aspect of retro-computing that tickles the fancy of the individual entrant.
  7. Winners will be carefully selected and thoughtfully chosen prizes presented (hopefully before the next challenge commences).
  8. Have fun!

Sadly I don’t have anything physical around here that really qualifies.  A G5 mac is too new, and I recently picked up a Pentium 150 based IBM Aptiva, but its too new apparently….

Running OS/2 1.x on VirtualBOX Intel vs AMD

Well I know this is a limited topic, and my testing is anything but .. thorough.

But for some strange reason I’ve been trying to run OS/2 1.1 under VirtualBOX on Windows, and OS/2 crashes in under a minute all the freaking time.  It really is quite annoying.  Now I wonder if it is because my Windows PC has an 8 core AMD Processor?

Now when I run VirtualBOX (all the same latest version) under OS X, Intel it works fine!

OS/2 1.1 under VirtalBOX Mono EGA mode

Now what I don’t get is that under OS X with Intel Xeon CPUs I’ve been running for over an hour now, without issue!

As for settings, remember to add a floppy controller, remove the IDE CDROM, and remove the sound & networking!  I’m using 8MB of ram, but the glorious 80286 could go up to 16MB of RAM… Even though its virtual address space was 1GB!

I don’t know if anyone has any real insight into this whole AMD vs Intel thing, but from this super minimal testing it seems to me the Intel CPU is the way to go.

Also I don’t know why OS/2 decided to go with some greenscreen EGA.. It is kind of neat in a throwback kind of way, but nonetheless very odd.  I’d have preferred colour EGA but I guess you can’t win them all.

Three tonnes of mini computers

It looks almost religious doesn’t it?

I just received this note from the HECnet mailing list, and I thought I’d broadcast it out..

This is a shameless plug for something I and the Update Computer Club 
have been working on this spring and opened yesterday.

The exhibition "Three Tons of Minicomputers" at Museum Gustavianum in 
Uppsala, Sweden.

We have collected computers primarily used by the university at some 
point in time. Highlights include a Linc-8 and a DECSYSTEM-2060 with 

Here are some pictures from the opening:

I strongly recommend anyone nearby Uppsala this summer to take a swing 
by Gustavianum. If you want a guided tour, let me know and we'll figure 
something out.

It's only open for a few months, so don't wait to long.


I don’t know when I’ll be in Europe next, but now I really want to go to Sweden!

Triumph of the Nerds

Since it’s summer time, may as well enjoy another olde computer based flick, Triumph of the Nerds.

Granted its pretty revisionist no Commodore or Atari.. I wonder if Apple PR always slipped these kinds of documentaries some uh ‘contributions’ to write out the 80’s and 90’s competition.

[Xen-announce] Xen Security Advisory 7 (CVE-2012-0217) – PV privilege escalation

Xen Security Advisory CVE-2012-0217 / XSA-7
version 9

64-bit PV guest privilege escalation vulnerability


Public release. Previous versions were embargoed.


Rafal Wojtczuk has discovered a vulnerability which can allow a 64-bit
PV guest kernel running on a 64-bit hypervisor to escalate privileges
to that of the host by arranging for a system call to return via
sysret to a non-canonical RIP. Intel CPUs deliver the resulting
exception in an undesirable processor state.


Guest administrators can gain control of the host.

Depending on the particular guest kernel it is also possible that
non-privileged guest user processes can also elevate their privileges
to that of the host.


All systems running 64 bit Xen hypervisor running 64 bit PV guests on
Intel CPUs are vulnerable to this issue.

Systems using AMD CPUs are not vulnerable to this privilege
escalation. AMD have issued the following statement:
AMD processors’ SYSRET behavior is such that a non-canonical
address in RCX does not generate a #GP while in CPL0. We have
verified this with our architecture team, with our design team, and
have performed tests that verified this on silicon. Therefore, this
privilege escalation exposure is not applicable to any AMD

While investigating this, it was noted that some older AMD CPUs will
lock up under similar circumstances, causing a denial of service. See
XSA-9 for details.


This issue can be mitigated by running HVM (fully-virtualised)
or 32 bit PV guests only.


Applying the appropriate attached patch will resolve the issue.

These patches also resolve the issue described in XSA-8 (CVE-2012-0128).

These changes have been made to the staging Xen repositories:
XSA-7: XSA-8:
xen-unstable.hg 25480:76eaf5966c05 25200:80f4113be500+25204:569d6f05e1ef
xen-4.1-testing.hg 23299:f08e61b9b33f 23300:0fec1afa4638
xen-4.0-testing.hg 21590:dd367837e089 21591:adb943a387c8
xen-3.4-testing.hg 19996:894aa06e4f79 19997:ddb7578abb89


The attached patches resolve both this issue and that reported in
XSA-8 (CVE-2012-0128).

xen-unstable 25204:569d6f05e1ef or later xsa7-xsa8-unstable-recent.patch
xen-unstable 25199:6092641e3644 or earlier xsa7-xsa8-unstable-apr16.patch
Xen 4.1, 4.1.x xsa7-xsa8-xen-4.1.patch
Xen 4.0, 4.0.x xsa7-xsa8-xen-4.0.patch
Xen 3.4, 3.4.x xsa7-xsa8-xen-3.4.patch

Be sure to patch up if you run Xen, and I have a feeling the fallout is far from over..

20 year old OS/2 sales video…

lol the fun starts some 3.5 minutes in.

And true to IBM's poor sales skills they go on and on about it, without SHOWING it.. I mean it took up to 8 minutes in to get a glimpse of OS/2.  Its like they were scared of it for some reason.

Maybe OS/2 2.0 would have had a shot, if Windows 3.1 wasn't released on its heels.

(Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).