copying hybrid bootable ISO images to USB disks on OS X

It really is simple, once you know what to do, of course!

sh-3.2# diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1
Unmount of all volumes on disk1 was successful
sh-3.2# dd of=/dev/disk1 bs=1m if=debian-6.0.6-amd64-netinst.iso
168+0 records in
168+0 records out
176160768 bytes transferred in 84.783919 secs (2077762 bytes/sec)
sh-3.2# diskutil eject /dev/disk1
Disk /dev/disk1 ejected

 

Good times!

Qemu 1.2.2 released!

I’ve just noticed over on the Qemu site, that the 1.2 train has just released a new version, 1.2.2.

I think they backported the PCI bus pass through available on Linux?

The changelog still points back to the 1.2 changelog.

I may have to see about getting access to a Windows machine I can trash trying to get a good MinGW build going…

So .. That means in the meantime, no builds from me.

So a few things …

So after this comment, I decided to put a SIMH VAX running 4.3 BSD.  Back in the day, I used to keep a bunch of legacy systems online for the heck of it.  Although I don’t think it ever really took off.. But yeah I figured I should get something back online.

So this time I thought I’d make it somewhat.. different.. So anyways if you feel so inclined go ahead and telnet to

mud.superglobalmegacorp.com

And from there you can create a user account on the mud, and then it’ll create a user in the operating system.

 

I’ve loaded up a bunch of 3rd party stuff.. And since we are living in the past I managed to get the old news reader ‘rn’ to talk to olduse.net  The first time it runs it’ll complain a bunch but there isn’t much you can do except enjoy the ride.

Lynx is present but.. downloading stuff kind of stalls.

All I ask is you play nice.

I’ve added in the flash telnet app.

Everyone mentioned this yesterday…

275,000 transistors of awesomeness!
275,000 transistors of awesomeness!

Kind of interesting is that Linux has finally dropped support for the 80386 microprocessor.

The 386 is perhaps one of the top ten things that has changed our world, along with 4.3BSD .

No, really!

The 386 microprocessor was the first CPU by Intel that was single sourced.  This means that Intel, and only Intel would fabricate the 386 processor.  Before this time, Intel had licensed their processors to other companies (Siemens, AMD, Harris, IBM etc) So that if there was some kind of production issue at Intel other companies could manufacture 8086,80186s and 80286s.  However this all changed with the 386, as Intel stopped renewing these agreements with other companies (IBM had a license that included the 386, although they were slow in making their own), so now Intel was in charge of its destiny.

The 386 brought three major changes onto the then champion processor the 286.  The first being a 32bit processor where it could handle larger data sizes than the 16bit 286 & 8086.  The 386 also included a larger memory model, the so called “flat mode” where it could directly address 4GB of combined code+data, while the 286 could address 1GB it was limited to 64kb segments.  Lastly the 386 introduced hardware virtualization, the “v86” mode where the 386 could emulate multiple 8086 processors, allowing people to have multiple ‘virtual machines’ on the desktop.

At the time the only consumer grade 32bit processor was the hybrid 32/16 68000 from Motorola.  The 68000 could work with 32bit data, but it was restricted to a 16bit data bus, and only could address 24bits of RAM (16 megabytes).  The 68000 however did not include any kind of memory management unit (MMU) making things like porting UNIX improbable (The SUN-1 workstation included a custom MMU).  Because of the open nature of the IBM PC, clone manufacturers were able to leapfrog IBM, and release 386 based machines before IBM got around to releasing the PS/2 model 80.  It was this that effectively brought 32bit computing to the masses with the Compaq Deskpro.

Compaq's 386 Deskpro
Compaq’s 386 Deskpro

The 8086 processor could address 1MB of RAM, with its 20bit address bus.  However to preserve some compatibility with the 8080 processor it was decided that the 8086 (and 8088) CPUs would work with 64kb segments.  This became a massive headache for years as you could not easily contain more than 64kb of data at a time as you would exceed a segment.  Compiler vendors made some workarounds via the large & huge memory models, but porting a program from a 32bit minicomputer (VAX) would prove difficult if it addressed large amounts of memory, and would require a rewrite.  The 286 increased the addressable memory to 16MB, and included a limited MMU, which enabled an address space of 1GB.  However the 286 was flawed in that again the 286 could only work in 64kb segments, and in order to work with large amounts of memory, the processor had to be shifted to protected mode.  However in protected mode, you couldn’t (easily) switch back to real mode.  This needlessly delayed the adoption of protected mode environments, as you would then lose access to the sizable, and growing, library of MS-DOS programs.  Although workarounds were in place for things like OS/2 and DOS Extenders, they were hacks and couldn’t fix the fundamental 64kb issue.  The 386 built upon the 286’s foundation and included a flat memory model where it could address all 4GB of addressable memory in a single segment.  This meant that you could now use massive amounts of data on a consumer grade machine.

For a while the only 32bit environments were Xenix and MS-DOS via DOS Extenders this proved to be a huge liability and effectively stagnated the industry for a long while.  The 286 was a massive determent.  Making things worse was IBMs insistence that the new OS/2 be able to run on the 286, while Microsoft wanted to create OS/2 to run on the 386, and ignore the IBM AT all together. Basically the 286 was created with the assumption that the 8086 wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it was.

With the ability to address large amounts of RAM programs only seen on minicomputers and mainframes were finding their way to the microcomputer such as AutoCAD, Oracle, Links 386 Pro, and of course many in house programs where departments now wouldn’t have to pay to run on then ‘big’ minicomputers.  Combined with the 386’s MMU it was also possible to use more memory than was available in the computer, also known as virtual memory.  The 386 made this transparent to the program, only the 32bit environment needed to handle the swapping.

Finally the last big feature of the 386 was v86 mode.  V86 mode in short is a hardware virtualization platform where the 386 can emulate multiple 8086 processors in hardware.  Each virtual machine can get its own isolated memory space, virtual hardware.  Effectively 8086 programs (such as MS-DOS) can run unaltered inside of v86 mode, with the added benefit of being able to run more than one at a time. Windows/386 lead the charge into this new world of virtual machines for the end user.  Before this point, the only wide scale virtual machine environment was the IBM 370 mainframe which could also create virtual mainframes within itself allowing groups to share a single mainframe, but run incompatible software platforms all at the same time.

Thanks to its capabilities the 386 also brought UNIX to the end user.  First with Xenix, then Microport SYSV, and with the removal of AT&T code BSD was able to be released on the 386 via 386 BSD (and later BSDi’s BSD/OS).  During this timeframe the research OS, Minix was extended by Bruce Evans to be able to use some of the 386’s features which then gave rise to Linux.

Thanks to cheap commodity based 32bit computers, and the GNU projects development tools (binutils, gcc, bash) people could then finally realize GNU’s dream of bringing a free and open UNIX like operating system to the masses.

Needless to say, a lot has changed since 1991, and Linux now moving beyond the 386 processor is no surprise.  The rapid adoption of 64bit computing via AMDs extensions, and the new forthcoming 64bit ARM processors do signal the eventuality that one day Linux will even drop support for 32bit processors… Although I wouldn’t expect that for another 20 years.  Even Intel has ceased manufacturing the 386 processor in 2007.

So it is now time to say good bye to the 386 processor.  At the same time thanks to full software emulation, you will never truly be dead. And as always you can check out Linux’s early versions.

Good Old Games has feee duke nukem 3d!!

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 10.26.56 AM
Hail to the king, baby!

There isn’t any excuse not to own one of the greatest games of all time!  But get it while you can!!!!!!  I’m not sure how long this special will last, but what can I say, it’s Duke when Duke was well.. the Duke of Duke Nukem!

The best part about gog, is that their games are DRM free, meaning you don’t really have to run it under DOSBox, you could say run it on Qemu, or even a real PC for the daring!

Some minor work on SIMH

So it’d been a while since I’ve booted it up, and I just went with the 3.8-2 rc2 release (I forget did that version ever get released..?) Anyways since I wanted to run my SIMH instance under a Linux VM..

Soooo I went through some fun to recompile it as a 32bit binary, as the slirp doesn’t work on 64bit machines..

I just built the 11/780 emulator as I wanted to run 4.3 UWisc on my VM (in a VM)..

You can download the build here.

As a reminder the installation instructions for 4.3 BSD Uwisc can be found on gunkies, and all the files needed are on sourceforge.  Also the 4.x BSD if_de.c driver errors out on receiving packets, and I’ve found it easier to just remove the error checking from the driver, and recompile the kernel and just boot that up.

I’m thinking of rebuilding the login process on 4.3 BSD to bring back AberMud, and self service user creation.  Years ago I used to host all kinds of ancient UNIX, and I’d like to bring back at least one..

Frontier Dangerous – update

Part one

Part two

Another update by David Braben about the future of Frontier Dangerous and Chris Robberts of Wing Commander fame.

Interesting take on one project that met its goals, and another that is half way in terms of time and ‘donations’ …  Or more importantly the return of the space combat genre, and of course the ultimate ‘sandbox’ being in the scope of an entire galaxy.

Fun times.

Wyse Unix Lives Again! (sort of)

I was waiting for this for a long time. Recently I came in to possession of a box of 5.25″ floppy disks, among them following find:

Thanks to efforts of Al Kossow of bitsavers.org and Michal Necasek of OS/2 Museum we got the system to boot on VirtualBox!

Unfortunately we are missing the rest of the system which was distributed either on 15 floppy disks or a tape. If anyone has it, please let me know…

Little bits of information I have found on the web about Wyse Unix:

Interestingly Wyse Unix is a supported os emulation for iBCS.

Update: A full install tape has been found and the system has been fully installed

Compiling Duke Nukem 3D from source

Well most of it anyways….

I mashed in all you need to build it for MS-DOS under MS-DOS here.

It should be really simple, just run the Watcom C’s setvars, then go into the duke3d\source directory and run ‘wmake’ … All being well it’ll output some exe’s.  I’ve also included the shareware data files so you can test your executables.

Watcom C/C++ 10.0 on DOSBox
Watcom C/C++ 10.0 on DOSBox

Not bad for being under 10Mb, compressed.