win86emu: the greatest thing for Windows RT that Microsoft should have made.

While I’m writing this, I’m listening to Neuromancer via WinAmp & the ancient Speex plugin I had updated about 8 years ago.

x86 node running on Windows RT

I took my Surface, and downgraded it to the North American 8.0 version without updates, added my MS ID, and from there ran the jailbreak and win86emu (sometimes called x86node) and from there I was able to run some simple Win32 exe’s.

Even though I had done a simple cut down QuakeWorld port with the GDI only display, using win86emu it’ll run the 80386 build as well.  while I haven’t thrown much at it, I’m just amazed that so far things are working.

When you think that between the jail-break to unlock the ability to run programs combined with a CPU translator, and Win32 to Win32 thunk / translation program, why on earth did this thing ship without it?  It’s amazing that between trying to launch a platform with no inertial for applications after Android &  Apple were selling millions of hardware units, and billions of software units, and cutting the past applications.  It’s just crazy.

And then Microsoft did their normal thing when something goes wrong, which is basically end it, and destroy all evidence it existed.  There is no Windows 10 upgrade for the Surface, even though Windows 10 IOT has been hacked to run from a USB stick on the Surface, but it’s insanely slow.

I figured since this is kind of hard to find I’ll just mirror it on Source Forge… along with the source.

WineVDM 0.5.0 released!

This version has MANY issues fixed, and is capable of running more and more Win16 software on Win64 based OS’s.

Printing on paper!

One of the more exciting things is that as long as I do a print setup first, I can actually print on a new printer from MS Word 2.0c!

You can download it from the releases page here:

https://github.com/otya128/winevdm/releases/tag/v0.5.0

Unloading some BSD/OS CD’s

I was kindly sent these a while ago from an avid reader, and I tried to get them to boot up into anything useful and didn’t get anywhere.  I’m sure emulators of today are probably up to task, be it Bochs/PCem/86Box or even Qemu.

So they are now up on archive where I also found version 4 up there so I may as well flesh out the collection.

Enjoy!

Windows/386 v2.0(3)

Unknown disk on Ebay…

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.

Windows/386 v2.03

Once installed it reveals itself to be version 2.03 of all things.  While I was hoping for some kind of retail version of 2.00/2.01 this appears as close as it may get as it has more in common with the PCjs version of 2.01 (which you can try live on his site!)

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.

Windows/386 2.03 in CGA

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)

No mixing drivers!

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.

Memory trouble in Windows 2.x

 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:

BattleTech CGA in a Window

To this:

Windows is out of memory!

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).

WineVDM is improving at a dramatic rate

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:

del windows\system\*.drv
del windows\system\*.exe
del windows\system\*.mod
del windows\system\WIN87EM.DLL

Since these files are most certainly going to be emulated by WineVDM.  After that it’s time to run stuff!

130 KLOC!

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.

And yes, it does in fact run SkiFree 1.0

SkiFree on WineVDM

So no need to wait for Win3mu, there is WineVDM which is being developed RIGHT NOW, and the source is already available.  You can see my notes on building it here.

2ine updated to have preliminary 16-bit .exe support!

From icculus’s patreon

This is nothing short of amazing.  In the last update, 2ine was running simple 32bit programs on Linux, and providing a portable API set to allow strict OS/2 API based programs to run on Linux.

And now Ryan has turned his focus onto 16bit support for 2ine, which you can read about here:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/2ine-16-bit-exe-19337541

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… 🙂

Anyone in need of bash?

I found this post the other day, and thought it was interesting.

Date: 13 Apr 91 18:17:44 GMT
Organization: University of Helsinki
Lines: 18

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    [email protected]

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.

2ine the OS/2 emulator

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:

./lx_loader CL.EXE
not an OS/2 LX module

But let’s try my crazy Win32 hosted EMX 0.8h cross compiler!

C:\emx\demo\dhry>gcc -v dhyrstone.c -o dhyrstone.exe
gcc version 2.5.8
cpp -lang-c -v -undef -D__GNUC__=2 -D__GNUC_MINOR__=5 -D__32BIT__ -D__EMX__ -Di386 -D__32BIT__ -D__EMX__ -D__i386__ -D__32BIT__ -D__EMX__ -D__i386 -Asystem(unix) -Asystem(emx) -Acpu(i386) -Amachine(i386) dhyrstone.c C:\Temp/cca13032
GNU CPP version 2.5.8 (80386, BSD syntax)
#include “…” search starts here:
#include <…> search starts here:
/usr/local/include
D:/pcem/building/MinGW/msys/1.0/local/emx/include
/emx/include
/usr/include
End of search list.
cc1 C:\Temp/cca13032 -quiet -dumpbase dhyrstone.c -version -o C:\Temp/ccb13032
GNU C version 2.5.8 (80386, BSD syntax) compiled by GNU C version 5.1.0.
as -o C:\Temp/ccc13032 C:\Temp/ccb13032
ld -o dhyrstone.exe /emx/lib/crt0.o -L/emx/lib C:\Temp/ccc13032 -lgcc -lc -lgcc -lemxst -los2 -lemx2

And now running that on Linux…

[email protected]:/usr/src/2ine-4a8318f4056f# file dhyrstone.exe
dhyrstone.exe: MS-DOS executable, LX for OS/2 (console) i80386, emx 0.8c
[email protected]:/usr/src/2ine-4a8318f4056f# ./lx_loader dhyrstone.exe
Dhrystone(1.1) time for 5000000 passes = 3
This machine benchmarks at 1666666 dhrystones/second

You’d never know that this was an OS/2 program, if I didn’t tell you.

I tried the old 87 Infocom interpreter, and it’ll run great too!

[email protected]:/usr/src/2ine-4a8318f4056f# file infocom.exe
infocom.exe: MS-DOS executable, LX for OS/2 (console) i80386, emx 0.8c

[email protected]:/usr/src/2ine-4a8318f4056f# ./lx_loader infocom.exe advent.z3

At End Of Road Score: 36/0
Welcome to Adventure! Do you need instructions? (y/n) >n

ADVENTURE
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
others
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:

  • doscalls.dll
  • kbdcalls.dll
  • msg.dll
  • nls.dll
  • quecalls.dll
  • sesmgr.dll
  • tcpip32.dll
  • viocalls.dll

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 Pro

Out on the course

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.

Links 386 installer

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.

Don’t copy that floppy!

Although for me, I really bought it for the manual.

Pebble Beach

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!

Citrix Multiuser 2.0

Back before selling auto insurance
Citrix Multuser 2.0

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.

IBM OS/2 ad

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.

Citrix multiuser 2.0 boot

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
Type 0
Current CSD level: XR02000
Prior CSD level: XR00000

So clearly this is not in sync with the General availability of OS/2.  What this is closer to sync with is the OS/2 LA – Limited Availability release.

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:

Citrix Internal revision 2.053 6.177H base
LA Internal revision 6.167 91-10-08
GA Internal revision 6.307 92-03-01

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.

Windows for OS/2

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.

Going Multiuser

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.

com1: enabled=1, mode=socket-server, dev=localhost:8880

And then it’s a matter of running CFGTERM, and adding in the Async module.

Citrix add in Async

With the module added you then just have to assign a port.

ICA profile

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

CML modem settings

In the modem settings I had to set this to Forced connect, otherwise it’ll never see the server.

CML dialup profile

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.

Logging in to 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.

MS-DOS over the serial port

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:

No graphics over the serial line

And that is where I’m going to have to leave this adventure for now.