(note this is a guest post from Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)
I have been working with Linux since around 1992, both at home and at work. I have probably seen it all with exception of item in the title. Lurking around my files, I found screenshot of a beta version of Caldera Linux. For some odd reason I somehow managed to never actually see it with my own eyes back in the day. The supreme Linux desktop was always matter of just myths and legends.
Recently I came across install media for the Caldera Open Linux 1.3 and decided to take it for spin and see how it really measures to it’s hype. The system installed just fine with dialog based setup steps. However as I wanted to see the GUI in action there was a problem – 640×480 VGA mode, or rather lack of better video mode to work with.
Unfortunately neither VMware nor VirtualBox do not support anything better than the crippled VGA mode. They do it for all other devices, like network card, mouse, ide and atapi cdrom. But somehow not for graphics. Fortunately the other virtualization engines are bit better. QEMU supports Cirrus Logic and Virtual PC supports S3 Trio.
I have spent several hours trying to convince the ancient Xfree86 to work with QEMU, to no avail. All I managed t o get was this:
Out of options I have decided to try Virtual PC. Unfortunately the system would not install due to disk errors. Upon some research I’ve found the issue was IO-APIC which I promptly disabled in the kernel (noacpi). It did not help the install much, but allowed me to run a qemu-installed and converted disk image. This is a bit of shame that the best virtualization engine to run ancient Linux was Microsoft VPC. Anyway to my amusement I’ve got this:
And I was able to explore the GUI a little bit more:
Apart from that Caldera is loaded with tons of ancient software. Pretty much everything there was available on Linux these days and all working out of the box. Neozeed will be happy to see Neko in action (see the last screenshot)!
You can download install media and ready virtualized images here.
Michal Necasek of OS2 Museum has fixed XF86_SVGA so that it works correctly with Virtual Box in higher resolutions as well. “You’ll have to set up the X so that it uses the XF86_SVGA server and tell it to automatically detect the graphics hardware. Then it should be just a question of selecting some sensible monitor and creating a few modes. If things are configured properly, you’ll see something like “SVGA: chipset: boxv” in the X server output.“. Download it here. (It’s binary only, no source).
Above screenshot is Caldera 1.3 under Virtual Box with SVGA driver from Michal Necasek. Network also work with PCnet III adapter in bridged mode. The IP address is hardcoded for 192.168.1.111. You can download OVA here.
Update: Recently I have installed Caldera 1.3 on 86box. Unlike most hypervisors, this provides excellent emulation of various video and network cards. I have picked S3 and NE2000. Everything installed and worked out of the box. While emulation is generally slower it provides accelerated video making everything working smoothly including games.
A pre-installed Caldera 1.3 for 86box is available here. Login with root/root.
Also check out WABI running on Caldera.