Hack is the precursor to NetHack, and the follower of rogue. It’s a fun game, however I thought it would be a great addition to my 4.2 BSD project stuff. Thanks to the awesome site NetHackWiki I was able to quickly find Hack 1.0.3, download it, convert it into a tape for SIMH, and get it compiled. In it’s present state it does core dump when exiting, I’m not all that sure as to why, and to be honest I’m not all that good with adb. Perhaps a project for another time.

At any rate, the game is somewhat playable.

GCC is required to compile the source, pcc chokes when trying to build. I have made minor modifications to the source with regards to some variables, and renaming variables called ‘inline’..

If the COMPAT_42 is built with any later BSD it should run the binary otherwise producing your own ought to be trivial.

The binary is located here.

The modified source is here.

I’m sure there are all kinds of mods like PC hack to run it under DOSBOX or some kind of Windows thing, but it’s more fun running it under a VAX 11/780 emulator…

New versions of Qemu!

While I’ve been playing with 386BSD, it seems a bunch of new versions of Qemu have been released. Sadly they all crash at the same point on 386BSD so it’s kind of moot. Also my OS/2 2.0 image doesn’t work on the new Qemu, it hangs at the switch to graphical mode…. So I suspect there will be more quick revisions to Qemu.

At any rate, they have added all kinds of features and stuff to it, I’d say check it out, but hold on tightly to older versions that you have working now…

You can find the source code to Qemu here.

The win32 binary is lagging, so you’ll have to build it yourself. I’ve been using my old MinGW environment that I had detailed it’s setup here.

The new Qemu works with GCC’s greater than version 3 which is a good thing for the many platforms with ONLY GCC 4.

Windows XP Mode in Windows 7

Well it seems to be all the rage in the world of emulation on Windows 7. Windows XP mode, from the user standpoint is just like the old days of WIN/OS2 from OS/2 2.0 and above.

While WIN/OS2 used specialized device drivers that could ‘punch thru’ the virtual machine, and render each window on the OS/2 PM display, Windows XP mode, takes the Citrix like approach of using Terminal Services (RDP) to initiate a remote display to the local desktop.

Since RDP is the mechanism used, only XP and above will work, sorry Windows 2000 users. Another minor (is it?) annoyance is that the new version of Virtual PC has NO floppy driver support! It also seems to not have sound support, although it’s totally unverified at the moment. I’ll have to snag a VHD with MS-DOS pre-installed along with whatever integration tools I have around.

Anyways, the install is a snap, you can find all the components here.

Setup is straight forward, just install the Virtual PC component, then Windows 7 will want to reboot. Then install the Windows XP msi file (it’s over 450MB) and you’ll get a fully installed copy of Windows XP ready to go, and best of all you don’t have to configure anything. Start Windows XP in a “normal” desktop environment, install whatever it is you want to run. Publishing apps to the Windows 7 desktop is easy, just paste a shortcut under the “all users” start menu, and the screen will blink and it’s available.

The down side, is that other OS’s seem to perform poorly under this version of VPC. The mouse is very erratic on RHEL 4 that I had to setup to emulate a production environment. Also you need to have a CPU with the new virtualization extensions. It seems this VPC version is more like the hypervisor in 2008, then like the old Virtual PC we all knew. I almost wonder if there is a way to run VPC 2004 or 5 on Windows 7 natively for running older stuff…

It will be interesting to see where Microsoft goes with this, as this could leave a major rift in their product lineup. And as I’m sure a few people will find out, just because you have a ‘new’ machine doesn’t mean the CPU is up to the task… Not all new CPUs have the virtualization environment built in…

Another issue I’ve been having is that the network from time to time disconnects and will remain disconnected… It seems if you shut down & power the VM on/off (no hibernation!) eventually the NAT adapter will reconnect. Clearly it’s a beta. Also it won’t let you publish solitary, pinball, nor any of the other games. However it will let you publish cmd.exe so you can run them that way.



OS/2 vs Windows 7

I installed the latest RC of Windows 7 x64 today, and while going thru the latest wall papers I saw one that looked surpisngly familiar…..

Then it hit me, this looks a LOT like the old light house from OS/2 2.0! To check I quickly installed a copy of OS/2 2.0 on Qemu 0.90 (which works on Vista, unlike 0.91).

Lighthouses into the new world...


While it may be the same place from a different angle, the similarity is kind of funny. At the time OS/2 2.0 was the new striking consumer 32bit OS, and here I am on the new striking consumer 64bit OS… with more or less the same wall paper from a different perspective.

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

386BSD & Bochs

386BSD on Bochs

While checking around on wikipedia for something related to 4.2BSD, I found out that bochs 2.4 can run 386BSD!

Now the significance of 386BSD is that it was the real first time that BSD had been given to the masses, in that it *could* run on commodity hardware (read 386’s!), come with full source code and be free. It is no wonder that the initial 0.0 release had well over 100,000 downloads!

It is getting harder and harder to track down a download source for 386BSD as it too was swept up in the great lawsuit of AT&T vs BSDI/CSRG although it was never named in the suit. Not to mention it was quickly superseded by the FreeBSD & NetBSD projects. It is very unstable in the 0.1 release, there is clearly some issues with it’s “install” program with regards to allocating swap space, and in general with the OS’s swapping routines. Also because of the overlap any attempt to install on a disk larger then 100MB results in a corrupted file system that will no longer boot after the eventual file corruption. It’s quite sad, but if you search the news group at the time, there was all kinds of issues with the install process, and with it’s stability.

The installation process does involve quite a bit of floppy shuffling, and will almost result in lots of trial & error to get it going. While there is an install guide on the install disk, it isn’t worded into exactly how to do it. Needless to say the Free/Net BSD releases have improved on the install greatly.

On the other hand it sure is interesting to see a Net/2 BSD to see how far we have come, and how so much is the same.

You can find 386BSD on the mirror site oldlinux.org.

Just watch out that the install floppy (dist.fs) is only 1.2MB.. So be sure to alter your bochsrc file accordingly.