This was the first version of Watcom that included the much beloved DOS4/GW dos extender. Funny enough it doesn’t bind in a stub for running DOS4/GW by itself, you have to do it manually or I guess write the stub for yourself. Another fun feature of Watcom C/386 8.5 is that it includes the win386 windows extender.
Basically it does to Windows 3.0 what DOS4/GW does to MS-DOS. Now I’ve never messed around with win386 that much because by the time I did have a 386sx processor with more than 1MB of ram, Win32s & OS/2 2.1 were all the rage. But in the world of VM’s I thought I’d give it a shot.
The default example is the game of life. It compiles trivially, but the moment you got to run it you get this fine error:
It turns out that it is a timing loop error, and effects of all things Microsoft FoxPro! The solution is provided by Microsoft, in the form of IPatchFP.exe. Naturally it is a console Win32 executable. But with enough of the HX DOS Extender‘s runtime I can run the patch inside of MS-DOS.
With my executable all patched up, I can now run the game of life!
Which is all very exciting.
Win386 was very cool for the time, taking the Win16 API and making their own Win32 set out of it. Another cool thing is that there wasn’t a separate runtime to repackage, as Win386 was just bound to the executable. I’m sure it didn’t fall on deaf ears at Redmond with the disillusion of Cruiser, that Win16 could have a brave new future in Win32.
And I should mention I’ve gone over a lot of the Win32s versions here.