I stumbled onto these three disks, seemingly out of place in history. Windows/386 version 2.0 is a strange one in that it shipped to OEM’s in late 1987, making it & Xenix part of the initial 386 wave of Operating Systems/Environments and beating out not only the OS/2 launch in 1988, but taking advantage of the 80386’s v86 mode, something that OS/2 wouldn’t be able to do in a shipping product until 1992.
This version itself appears to be a retail version of Windows/386 lacking any clear OEM identification that was so prevalent for the era. Indeed setting it up it offers a few interesting platforms:
Getting this to run was a little bit of a challenge as much as I prefer Qemu, these older 2.0x versions of Windows/386 have a BIOS/disk incompatibility with the hypervisor resulting in errors reading the hard disk. Although PCem/86Box have no such issues. I think it’ll run off floppy/CD-ROM/Network without any issue though.
The PCjs version of 2.03 has 138 setup files (not counting the PIFs), compared to the eBay’s 141, while the PCjs 2.01 has 59 files.
That said, well it’s Windows/386 mostly from 1987 with slightly updated EGA/CGA VMM drivers from early 1988 that just didn’t quite make the cut. To me what is confusing, is that it identifies as 2.03 while it’s closer to 2.01 in file count and functionality, unlike 2.03 it really ought to have been a 2.02, if there even was such a thing.
Otherwise it’s really not all that interesting short of the timestamp. It’ll run on CGA/EGA *IF* you have the proper adapter in place, although VGA is compatible, the environment will detect that it’s not actually the proper card and refuse to run. I tried to put in the 2.01 CGA/EGA drivers, but that resulted in an OS version mismatch (I didn’t check if 2.01 was locked to the Compaq OEM of MS-DOS)
I installed the infamous pair Word & Excel. Despite Word 1.1a demanding at least Windows 2.11, it appears to run okay. Excel 2.1d loaded without complaining. There isn’t very much convential memory for either, but they both can use expanded memory, which the hypervisor can create and share out without any emm386 or any equivalent driver. I can only imagine the incompatibles of trying to balance these drivers at the time, and how much the coming DPMI specification was needed.
And as the old saying goes the three top problems in Windows version 2 is memory, memory and memory. Trying to run anything graphical will exhaust convential ram, forcing you to single task anything graphical which kind of defeats the whole point of Windows. You go from this:
Oh well it’s 1987, and users were kind of used to being disappointed as such. It’s really no wonder why Windows 3.0 became the smash it it was.
And of course you can't talk about Windows/386 without this gem. (Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).
It’s incredible how much it’s improved since I last touched on WineVDM, the port of Wine to run on Windows using the MS-DOS Player (and Mame 80386 emulation) at it’s heart.
The latest source build WineVDM_2018_07_30b.7z is now capable of loading and running Sim City for Windows 1.0.
I found it best to install Windows 3.0 into DOSBox, and then your application. After the install I copy the application so the physical drive of the hosts matches where it was installed, and then unpack the 7z build archive into that directory. There is a ‘WINDOWS’ directory and I xcopy the installed Windows directory into there so it has all the INI files, fonts and all that jazz. To make sure it doesn’t conflict I delete the following from Windows 3.0:
Since these files are most certainly going to be emulated by WineVDM. After that it’s time to run stuff!
I should also add that I’ve been able to use QuickC for Windows, and build a ‘non trivial’ program, the Fortran f2c compiler weighing in at 104,245 lines , and use that to compile 16,182 lines of Fortran 77 into C, and then compile the resulting C + the Fortran runtime library a staggering 130,405 lines of code, and the resulting binary works, just like it did on Windows 3.0!
I’ve also been able to print a text file using Microsoft Word 2.0 much to my amazement, although anything involving fonts just locks or crashes. I can’t say I’m all that surprised.
As you can read right now It’s running a simple OpenWatcom 16bit hello world based program. The 16bit OS/2 and 32bit OS/2 API’s ended up having different calling sizes, among other issues which had complicated the bridge program. However Ryan’s newer use of scripts to generate the required glue for the API’s at least mean that adding the 16bit/32bit calling conventions & required bridges/glue is at least now automated.
This is super cool, as this will eventually open the door to Watcom C/Fortran, Zortec C, Microsoft Basic/C/Cobol/Fortran and of course many other languages that burst out into the initial OS/2 scene before the eventual weight of the SDK & associated costs doomed OS/2 to failure.
Seriously, for those among us who love OS/2 and have like $5 to spare, send some encouragement to Ryan… 🙂
Date: 13 Apr 91 18:17:44 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki
I've recently ported bash to minix-386 (nice, but takes about 300kB of
RAM). It's been "tested" by me using it all the time (good editing and
history - couldn't live without it any more), but I won't make any
guarantees. If anybody is interested in cdiffs against bash-1.05, please
mail me (I'll post if there is enough interest).
The port definitely needs GCC, and 386-minix. ST-minix will probably
work as well (I've sent it to one ST-minixer), after changeing a #define
LITTLE_ENDIAN to BIG_ENDIAN. If the port already has been done by
someone else - just ignore this message.
Linus Torvalds firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. I've hacked the kernel to accept gcc-compiled programs directly
without going through gcc2minix, but I haven't tested it very much yet
(bash works though, so most things probably will). Changes are trivial,
mail me if interested. (And yes - it accepts old minix format too - you
don't have to recompile everything :-)
Naturally it’s about the impending birth of Linux. First he needed to get GCC running under Minix 386, but I didn’t know at the time that he had patches floating around to allow Minix to directly run the GCC A.OUT format executables.
Scary to think that if Minix had allowed submissions and ‘bloat’ that Linux would have never been.
On the other hand, much like 386BSD the backpressure of having some kind of free BSD/UNIX system which did take in submissions was overwhelming, with the false start of 386BSD going the route of Minix and in that first critical year not pulling in any of the additional patches, while Linux grew by leaps and bounds. By the time the AT&T vs BSDi lawsuit hit, well the game was already in Linux’s favour, even with it’s already fragmented distro base.
So this is really super cool! Ryan C. Gordon has written a Wine like program to run OS/2 programs!
Using 32bit Linux, and some native libraries, 2ine can load up an LX (32bit) executable and try to run it under Linux, much in the same way that Wine can run Windows programs. And yes it’ll run EMX built stuff. Although keep in mind the original Microsoft based languages, programs and tools is all 16bit. After the whole Windows 3.0 thing and the split of Microsoft from the OS/2 project all their tools are either 16 bit, or 32bit LE format, which IBM had dumped for the LX format once OS/2 2.0 had shipped.
You can read about his incredible progress, and all the trials and tribulations of running OS/2 programs, along with the craziness that is thunking back and forth to the 16bit space for the old VIO calls that had never were updated to 32bit in that transition phase where a good chunk of OS/2 never was updated from 16bit, over on his patreon page here.
Attempting to run anything 16bit or LE will give you:
At End Of Road Score: 36/0
Welcome to Adventure! Do you need instructions? (y/n) >n
A Modern Classic
Based on Adventure by Willie Crowther and Don Woods (1977)
And prior adaptations by David M. Baggett (1993), Graham Nelson (1994), and
Adapted once more by Jesse McGrew (2015)
Release 1 / Serial number 151001 / ZILF 0.7 lib J3
At End Of Road
You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you
is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.
At End Of Road Score: 36/0
Again it’s works so well it’s amazing!
You can find the 2ine source over on icculus.org here. I had to tweek the heck out of the CmakeList.txt to get it to build, and since I was interested in the command line, I ended up disabling all the SDL / PM stuff, and make sure I had the ‘wide/unicode’ version of ncurses installed.
I don’t think there really was any killer 32 bit OS/2 applications, but with clean room versions of:
Not to mention being able to call into Linux DLL’s and using ‘clean’ OS/2 DLL’s would let you embrace and extend OS/2.. Or maybe even let you build the proverbial fantasy of both RISC & 64 bit OS/2. …..
Links 386 is one of those programs that is very easy to love to hate. It was 1992, and PC’s were mostly being used for business, and high powered 32-bit machines were still insanely expensive. And then Links 386 happened. Before there was DooM, Links 386 was the ‘must have’ executive ball clacking device. And the specs that you needed to run this game were really over the top. At it’s heart was the Phar Lap 386 Dos extender, along with the virtual memory module.. Which most people would have to rely on. Links 386 really needs over 8MB of RAM to run. Yes, that is correct, in 1992 you were recommended to get 8MB (which should have been about $400-800 USD) So you can golf at your desk. But as the name implies you also needed a 386 classed computer, although ideally you would have one of those new 486’s! Links 386 also pushed the edge by wanting a VESA capable SVGA card that could use mode 101, 103, or 105. Although the higher resolutions modes just ended up with logos everywhere, it really didn’t take enough advantage of the higher resolution modes.
Another interesting thing is not only does Links 386 have sound drivers (which means you need a sound card!) but it’ll do voice through the AdLib card. Also it has a driver model, the WLZ, which I don’t know if they ever published or if people wrote additional sound drivers.
The installer is kind of cute, in that it’s flat shading is so old it’s now modern. How’s that for crazy?
Installation is a snap, at only four diskettes. They sold additional courses, and I only have one additional course, although oddly enough finding others online is pretty trivial. However I had far less luck finding the program. One nice tip to Infocom is that the courses include a score card, like the ones you would get on actual courses. It really tied the package together.
Although for me, I really bought it for the manual.
And I have to admit it, Access Software did a great job. Even all these years later, it looks great. But no doubt scaling and placing all the textures is SLOW. Incredibly slow.
Back in the 90’s I had a lowly support job, and I’d get flown all over the country to help out with issues, and it’d never fail that the regional director would have ‘issues at home’ and amazingly they’d always ask about running Links 386 Pro. No doubt a lot of people upgraded machines, and got to brag to their buddies on how fast Links would now load. Running at actual 386 speeds will take nearly a minute to render the screen between shots.
The DOS Extender was forever very touchy. It took a bit of work to get around it’s issues, with the continuous conflicts with TSR’s, drivers, sound cards, video cards.. It was a nightmare of compatibility issues. Not to mention that although Phar Lap 4.1 was DPMI compatible, it really didn’t play that nice with OS/2 or Windows. Microsoft would later come to the rescue for this costed gamer market in the form of buying Links away from Access software, and putting out Microsoft Golf. And much like SimCity, being able to run this under Windows make it immensely popular in the workplace, as all you needed to find were Windows drivers for your hardware, which vendors did actually support, unlike games.
It’s amazing how companies like Phar Lap, or Rational never did try to make an actual gaming platform for their extenders, leaving it all up to individuals. My older self says that Microsoft’s rise to prominence in the 90’s was mostly due to their competitors incompetence, rather than their brilliance.
Although DOS Extenders like Phar Lap have been around since the introduction of the 80386, Links 386 Pro is the oldest one I know of. If you like programs that try their best to bend the limits of what you can or should do, certainly check out Links 386 Pro!
Nothing like a little vintage advertising to try to re-capture the feel. But don’t let the colorful lizard fool you, this certainly was a dark time for Citrix. Firs they had tooled a product around the future of the PC market, OS/2 to only have Microsoft pull out of active development just as they were launching Multiuser 1.0. And to be fair it wasn’t just Citrix, the whole industry including Microsoft was in turmoil as people were pulling away from IBM and selecting Windows on MS-DOS of all things!
Citrix, like a lot of vars were caught in this lurch between OS/2 and the forthcoming NT OS/2 3.0, which of course ended up becoming Windows NT. During this time even Microsoft had to keep selling it’s SQL server on OS/2, along with it’s LanManager file & print server. Although they had a solution for the end user in the form of Windows they didn’t have any server platform. That left Citrix chasing the tail end of the application wave again as although they could now finally use OS/2 2.0, with it’s 32bit/16bit hybrid kernel, there remote user solution was still terminal based.
As IBM & Microsoft had split up the direction of the OS/2 project, IBM was running with version 2 as a platform for running DOS & Windows applications. Which ultimately lead to the major problem that OS/2 ran Windows apps better than native Windows thanks to it’s ability to run isolated Windows VM’s using paravirutalized graphic drivers. It wasn’t until Windows NT 3.5 could Microsoft meet this feat with it’s new platform. Suddenly Citrix had access to tonnes of MS-DOS based applications, much to my surprise there is even a DPMI driver on the disks I have, meaning that Windows 3.0 standard mode can run, along with DooM! But for Citrix this would be another one of those ‘not good enough’ moments where PC Servers were just high end workstations that could easily be maxed by one user, commodity multiprocessor machines were years off, and of course everyone was jumping to Windows 3.0.
But this did at least you run MS-DOS applications remotely, over dialup.
Installing Citrix Multiuser 2.00 starts looking very much like one of the 1.x versions of OS/2 with a far more busier screen featuring the Citrix tree. However from this point onward it feels a LOT more like IBM OS/2 2.00. Citrix interestingly enough has two disk 1’s, one that features newer LADDR drivers, and another with the older 1.x drivers. Although under bochs, the older driver disk crashes out. The entire OS fits on 8 high density 5 1/4″ diskettes. As teased before this post, I saw this on eBay, ordered it immediately to only discover that I don’t have the needed drive, and had to order one from pc-rath_de, and I wanted to give a shout out, as he made sure that I had the proper floppy ribbon cable, so I could go ahead with this fun project.
Although I had been expecting this to be inline with the never released Microsoft OS/2 2.00, it clearly has a lot of IBM vestige, even though the OS/2 source code license agreement was between Citrix and Microsoft.
Indeed, even checking the OS level:
IBM OS/2 Base Operating System
Standard Edition 2.00 Component ID 560109001
Current CSD level: XR00000
Prior CSD level: XR00000
Compare this to the OS/2 2.00 GA:
IBM OS/2 Base Operating System
Version 2.00 Component ID 562107701
Current CSD level: XR02000
Prior CSD level: XR00000
IBM OS/2 Base Operating System
Standard Edition 2.00 Component ID 560109001
Current CSD level: XR00000
Prior CSD level: XR00000
Well isn’t that interesting?
Having had the misfortune of crashing all three we can look at the internal revisions:
So this make the BOS (Base Operating System in IBM speak) newer than the OS/2 LA (Limited Availability) kernel, however quite a few revisions behind the GA (General Availability). This of course means that Citrix Multiuser 2.0 is basically incompatible with any 32bit OS/2 software. I was unable to run anything EMX based, nor could I run the vast majority of the 32bit TCP/IP stack for OS/2 2.00. The best I could do was have it load the drivers, to where I could setup and ping the loopback, but the route command crashes the system, and any of the commands simply refuse to run. Not being able to run 32bit OS/2 applications greatly reduces the usability of the system, and falls further to the OS/2 trap that it really just excels at running MS-DOS apps.
It was a bit of a surprise to find out that even though Citrix had their source license through Microsoft, the 2.0 components turned out to be the upstream components from IBM. Just as the included Qbasic is the IBM version, along with the other components. The terminal support is naturally more robust than version 1, although I think the larger problem I had trying to run OS/2 programs it that many terminals are hard coded for 24 lines, and I don’t think you can change that in Citrix. And it does mention that if you do try to run on a 24 line terminal that DOS won’t run.
Much like 1.0, all the administration is done via text tools. It feels weird at first as even on the console there doesn’t seem to be any mouse integration, although the installer does ask if you do have a mouse on the system.
And like 1.0 there is no Presentation Manager, so no graphics on the console. HOWEVER you can run MS-DOS graphical stuff on the console. Although today I have no real need for it, but I went ahead and setup the included Windows support.
What is interesting is that you are expected to supply your own retail version of Windows 3.00, and Citrix has some updated drivers, along with OS2K286.EXE, and updated program manager, control panel, and print manager. While IBM included a full copy of Windows 3.00 at this point, this feels like the beginning of OS/2 for Windows – AKA the Borg.
First I just setup a COM port on Bochs to Listen on port 8880. Unfortunately this isn’t resilient, as Bochs will wait for a connect before actually starting, and if you drop off, it won’t let you connect back in.
And then it’s a matter of running CFGTERM, and adding in the Async module.
With the module added you then just have to assign a port.
I didnt’ do anything special other than telling Citrix that there is no modem, it’s a direct connect, and to use the ICA terminal profile.
Using the Citrix MultiLink program, and DOSBox I was able to add an ICA terminal. On DOSBox I had to specify a modem with an IRQ in the config like this:
serial2=modem irq3 listenport:5001
In the modem settings I had to set this to Forced connect, otherwise it’ll never see the server.
And here is how I ‘called’ the Bochs VM. And then after ‘dialing’ in Bochs will start up the Citrix VM, and then you’ll get the simple Login prompt. Login and you’ll get pselect.
Pselect the the text based UI tool to get around your OS/2 sessions. It’s a little cumbersome at first, but once you get used to it, it’s just like OS/2 1.0 … Or Multiuser 1.0 for that matter, nothing really changed, except you can start MS-DOS Sessions now.
And yes, you can run Qbasic. But you can’t do anything graphical. Not even DooM. Although after loading the VDPMI device driver, DooM v1.1 will run, but then it’ll give you this fun error:
And that is where I’m going to have to leave this adventure for now.
Got to say it’s really cool that it works with hardware 3D acceleration.
I may want to try to do something with it later on, however I’ll need to get it a case.
I have a cold, and yeah sound like crap. I’ll add specs later as I think my fever is kicking back in. Sigh. But yeah basically
P4 board / CPU / RAM $150 HKD
GTX-460 card $180 HKD
Sound Blaster Live! $20 HKD
37GB IDE disk $20 HKD
PS/2 Keyboard $20 HKD
PS/2 Mouse $10 HKD
700 Watt Power Supply $150 HKD
So yeah ~550 HKD or $70 USD. Not bad.
So a little closer look at the hardware. I’m lucky that there is an active used hardware market here in Hong Kong, elsewhere in the world you either have HAM radio events, ‘boot sales’, garage sales, or for the truly desperate, eBay, Yahoo auctions, and AliExpress. My go to place here is of course the Capital Computer Centre, where they at least will test stuff before selling it. I know I’m old fashioned but I like buying in person.
I had originally chosen this board to mess around with Darwin. I wanted something new enough to have a P4, but old enough to still have an older ‘parallel’ EIDE controller port. And the Intel D945GNT, board certainly was up to that task. Like ancient Darwin, AROS works best with either parallel disks, or SATA disks in older parallel emulation. The markings on this board are a little hard to read as the bigger numbers are the product testing/radio compliance numbers, and the model number is a bunch of possible models as I guess they like to make so many variations on a single board.
Here is a close up, and E210882 is *NOT* the mode number. Nothing like confusion.
One of the big reasons for using the Intel board, is that it has an onboard NIC, and Intel of course uses Intel NIC’s so it has the very compatible Intel PRO/100 VE Desktop Adapter.
While you can get these on PCI cards, and use other boards, I figured since I was going to buy a board anyways, and once things get this old the people selling them really don’t care who made the board, but rather that this is an old P4 board, they all sell for the same price.
Another plus about this board is that it is new enough not to have AGP, but rather the new and exciting PCI Express. This board as the Express x16, which of course is perfect for a ‘large’ GPU. AROS has a port of the Gallium3D nouveau driver, making this perfect for a super cheap GTX 460.
I shopped around for a while and I found this accelerator, that although has no apparent labeling at least on the flip side it has the identification. I really don’t know what is the fastest GPU you can get for AROS, but this one seems to work just fine, and it’s what Stephen Jones is using so that is what I went with.
And looking under AROS, this is how the PCI resources show up for the video card.
This was an old card, and it looked like either the OEM didn’t put any stickers on it, or someone had taken them off. Either way I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter as it works just fine. Sure the GTX 1080 is over five times faster, but the open Gallium driver won’t work with it as Nvidia has done their best to break open stuff, and even if it did, you can’t buy a 1080 for less than a pizza. At least not yet.
For some reason, I had begun collecting older and cheap Sound Blaster cards when I see them. I wasn’t going to spend more than $50 HKD ($7 USD) for them, so I don’t have an Audigy cards yet, but I did have this Live card. At the time I didn’t think it was anything special, although the EMU10k chip is desirable, and popular for much older systems.
This card is the CT0100 model. And it works great!
And this is how AROS sees the card
The AROS HCL is a little confusing to me, but it all seems to work. If it weren’t for the Stephen Jones video I wouldn’t have tried as it implies it won’t work.
I’ve only just received notification of this, and had to post it forward. All I know is that you’ll need Borland C++ 3.1 along with Borland Brief to re-build the system. I haven’t tried it just yet, but I most certainly will!
For those unaware, PC-MOS is a multi-user multi-tasking MS-DOS like Operating System. I looked at this some years ago.. More so interested in seeing if and how various MS-DOS like OS’s could run under modern emulation.
It may be interesting to pit FreeDOS vs PC-MOS/386.
On a personal note, it’s great to see that PC-MOS won’t just end up a minor footnote in wikipedia until it gets pushed off, instead it can live on
Good news, it actually works! I was using the version 1.1 WAD, so honestly weird crashes really aren’t unexpected. I haven’t looked much at what to do with audio, but I was really impressed compared to the Qauake II wars, it was really surprising to not only see DooM run on the first shot in real metal, but the keyboard works as well. Well enough for me to pick a level, and get killed.
Naturally it doesn’t work under Windows, however it runs fine with MS-DOS mode.