So years ago I had won an eBay auction for 3 disks:
But pretty much everything I threw at it emulation wise came up with NOTHING but green bars when trying to enter a virtual machine. I’d always thought it was a video ROM thing but VGA type ROM I put in Qemu it’s always the same thing, green jail bars.
However, I tried it again on 86box, and YES it runs!
You can see VMs running, where they are in memory and all that other fun stuff.
And even better you can run graphical PC programs on your advanced 80386, and seamlessly multitask them all, using the hotkey ALT+PRINTSCREEN to toggle between them all. Surprisingly creating and terminating VMs didn’t really mess with overall system stability. I have to imagine that had this program had a 32bit API, it would have killed OS/2 before it ever got a chance. Considering that version 1.2 is from 1988 there very well could have been a larger possibility.
It does have the ability for individual profiles to specify RAM or even where or how to boot, it has disk drivers for sharing of files (think file locking). It also has the ability to boot from floppy, or even ROM!
The one big drawback is there is no data exchange facilities. The one thing that Windows/386 had bridging the gap between MS-DOS & Windows applications.
So many products like VM/386 ended up finding their niche’s in attaching dumb terminals, and turning 386 classed machines into ‘micro mini’s’ witthout the power of Unix. It’s even out of this environment Citrix was born.
But there was so much potential here to be something so much larger, but sadly that was not to come. Perhaps 1988 was just a little too early in the sense of GNU GCC/GAS/LD and some Xenix COFF help. The world would have been a lot more stranger had Microsoft lost that second vital platform war.
As a quick aside, on my exploring early OS/2 betas I thought I’d try to emulate the machine that I’d clearly lay the blame as to why OS/2 was fundamentally a failure, the IBM PS/2 model 60.
So IBM machines don’t use built in ROM config programs, but rather you need the reference disk. And this being a Microchannel PS/2 machine you also need the config files to support things like more than 2MB of RAM, the ESDI controller, or even an AdLib/SoundBlaster card.
Adding in the RAM card, and a sound blaster adds the following cards:
However it’s worth noting that the default ESDI config/driver on the MCA confg disk won’t work on 86box. You will need an updated version.
So inside the diag disk the config will appear like this:
Unfortunately, at this moment 86Box’s PS/2 model 60 can’t run OS/2. The model 80 however has much better luck. But for anyone who want’s to play Wolf3D on an emulated 10Mhz 286, well this is your big chance.
(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)
I certainly can’t claim to be the first as this has already been done by our friends at OS/2 Museum. However with low vanilla VGA resolution and no networking the results were unsatisfactory. Having so much success with 86Box I decided to try to do a little better.
I bought my UnixWare 1.0 media kit years ago on eBay. Unlike the tape set owned by OS/2 Museum mine had CDROM as install media. Unfortunately despite many many tries with different types of cdrom/bus/ide/scsi card I could never get the OS to see it. The cdrom/iso image is just a typical set of sysv packages. As such I wanted to see if it would be possible to convert it to a set of floppy disk images and install this way. Attached the iso image in UnixWare 7.1.4 VM and did a pkgtrans like so:
pkgtrans -s cdrom1 diskette1
From there I created a bunch of floppy disk images, which I later used for installation. Thanks to Plamen I was also able to get TCP/IP disks which I added to the install set.
Update: thanks to ArtiomWin I also got a BusLogic HBA driver disk, which allowed me to see the cdrom attached over SCSI. As such I decided to remaster the original iso image with added TCP/IP set, Update package and bash+gzip. The iso image is here.
Upon first boot after install from CDROM you get prompted to choose a NIC driver:
Unfortunately none of them really worked in 86Box for some reason. They get detected and you can see the MAC Address but not much after that. 3C503 and NE2K freeze the system, WD works bit better but you can’t really communicate with anything. Maybe it’s just my PCap configuration.
After installation I mounted the cdrom again and added TCP/IP set:
One of main issues bugging me was lack of proper resolution. UnixWare 1.0 has a high resolution mode for Tseng ET4000 card which is supported in 86Box. You can change the resolution using /usr/X/adm/setvgamode as root. It worked perfectly, except for fonts, which required some surgery in /usr/X/defaults/Xwinfont (remove everything after 75dpi font path). This is how it looks like fixed up:
UnixWare comes with Merge DOS emulator. It can even run graphical applications in windowed mode for CGA and HGC. VGA is only possible in full screen mode.
All this cool stuff before Linux was even born!
DOS Menu is invoked by Scroll Lock. You can switch consoles between text and X11 by pressing CTRL+ALT+SYSRQ and ‘p’. I have also added bash and gzip binaries.
The ready to run 86Box image is here. Virtual Box OVA here. Install media here. Login with user/user, root/root.
Technically the competition has been won by Crazyc who was the first to submit disk images with copy protection worked around. He however waived his monetary prize and did not do any further work on making whole system bootable from hard disk.
While the copy protection turned out to be quite easy to circumvent and several people did it independently, installation on a hard disk proved to be quite impossible. You can fdisk, create partitions, lay out file system, mount and copy files to hard disk. However there is no way to install a boot loader and the kernel. QNX 2.x and above provide a way of doing it but unfortunately not version 1.x. Many people including various QNX gurus looked at it and we all gave up at this point.
Probably the only reasonable way of using hard disk with QNX 1.x is to copy all files from all the floppies to the hdd. Then use the boot floppy disk for booting and the rest from hard disk. This is likely why the disk set came with a backup copy of boot disk. This is what Forty eventually did in effect winning the competition. Forty supplied a 86Boxready to run configuration with patched and modified boot floppy to mount and use the hard disk image. I have buffed it up a bit to a faster XT and EGA video for better resolution. This is how it looks like during boot:
You can safely ignore date/time prompt with enter. To login to the system just enter slash ‘/‘ as the user name:
You can find all the binaries in /cmds directory. The system does have some sort of networking facility but I have not figured it out yet. Probably a good candidate to explore in another post.
QNX has a super cool editor which is basically ed on steroids. Documentation for it can be found in 2.x manuals.
Also working C compiler:
Finally QNX has some sort of a DOS emulator or hypervisor called QDOS:
Unfortunately I don’t know how to exit that. There is a little bit information about QDOX in expl inform section about other QNX products:
Congratulations to Forty for winning the competition and gettin $100 via PayPal. Thanks to his time and work you can boot and play the system yourself. 86Box files are here.
(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)
In a recent few virtualization projects, such as QNX 1.2 (and demo disk), Interactive Unix (also older post) and Caldera (and older post), I have tried the 86Box emulator. Unlike typical hypervisors, 86Box emulates a wide variety of video and network cards. Everything I tried simply worked out of the box, so instantly fell in love. 86Box is now my daily drive for running old PC operating systems. I have decided to revisit some of previously half assed virtualization attempts with the awesome new emulator.
I have virtualized Dell Unix back in 2012 using Bochs and QEMU. Even with the community support, we have struggled to get a decent video resolution and had to resort to use of SLIP for networking. Today let me reintroduce Dell Unix more properly! With 1024×768, 256 colors video and proper networking using emula NIC.
The journey started with allsoft.img which is an image of the OS and all packages installed from a tape on Bochs. I have disabled a few services in /etc/rc2.d namely mouse daemon (mse), sendmail, uucp, lp, etc.
For X Window I have edited /usr/lib/X11/Xconfig, enabled serial mouse (Microsoft) and 1024×768 mode. I have used Tseng ET4000AX VGA which is recognized by Xmach server. This allowed X / xinit to run correctly. However for startx to work you also need to edit /usr/lib/X11/xinit/xserverrc, as it seems to be using slightly different configuration. For graphical login you can add something like x:3:respawn:/usr/bin/X11/xdm -nodaemon to /etc/inittab. However I have noticed that when ran from init, xdm seem not to pick up the Dell customized config files. Perhaps rc startup script should be created instead.
As a final note on X, the system has virtual consoles. Like other SVR4 you access them by pressing SYSRQ and F keys. F1 is a text mode console, F2 is Xserver. This is my Dell Unix hero shot:
Networking was even easier. Dell Unix supports WD8003 and 3C503 NICs. Firstly I wanted to try the WD. In /etc/conf/pack.d/wdn/space.c you can find the predefined hardware probes. I have picked one of supported modes and the card was detected on subsequent reboot. That’s it. No need for kernel rebuild or any configuration. I have not tried 3C503 yet, but if you want the driver for it is named ie6. For TCP/IP configuration you set your IP address in /etc/hosts and gateway in /etc/inet/rc.inet file.
I was able to quickly compile Mosaic, which curiously had Makefile settings for Dell Unix. Took it for a spin on the web with help of WRP:
One could probably want to compile more recent version of Mosaic with PNG support or maybe some more recent browser all together.
The system comes with a bunch of open source software in /usr/dell, however suprisingly there is no bash or even gzip. I have compiled some essentials. They are available here and as a /usr/local tarball.
For the lazy, as usual you can get a complete os image for 86Box here. Make sure to attach pcap to your local network interface and set IP address / gateway / dns server accordingly.
If you port some cool software or find any interesting gems in Dell Unix please comment!
Have fun with virtualization!
Update: I been looking at contents of various distribution media for Dell Unix that have surfaced here and there. On a DAT tape I bought on eBay a few years back I found this file:
Whoa! Of course I want to install all of it! This is how FrameMaker 3.0 looks on Dell Unix:
I have updated the disk image for 86Box to have this included. You can run demo mode of FrameMaker by executing /usr/frame/bin/demomaker. I also imagine that this can be installed on pretty much any x86 SVR4 and above, maybe even Linux. If anyone has a license code / serial number please let me know!