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

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.

Re-building old GCC distribution tars AKA patching backwards

AKA for everyone but me, who never read the readme.  For some reason I got pointed back to my old GCC 1.27 on MS-DOS article, and wanted to see when the 386 really did first appear, and after a bunch of messing around it was shipped in GCC 1.25

Sat Jul 16 14:18:00 1988 Richard Stallman (rms at

* *386*: New files.

So there we are, July 16th 1988!

But looking a the ‘old-releases/gcc-1‘ directory there is no gcc-1.25.tar file! So how to get there from here?  Well the simple answer is to take gcc-1.27, and reverse patch it down using the patches in the patches directory.  The only catch of course is to read prior patches to the reverse to see if any files need to be renamed, otherwise there will be failures… specifically in the file gcc.diff-1.25-1.26

So normally I’ve always patched going up, but with the magical -R flag, you can go backwards!  So taking 1.27 you can go to 1.26 by running

patch -p1 -R < ../gcc.diff-1.26-1.27

And this will take 1.27 and downgrade it to 1.26.  As mentioned above the renames for going from 1.26 to 1.25 needs to be done in reverse:

Before installing these diffs, rename files as follows:

mv typecheck.c c-typeck.c
mv decl.c c-decl.c
mv parse.y c-parse.y
mv parse.h c-parse.h

so do the opposite, and then you can reverse diff.

For anyone who cares I put up the tar files on sourceforge here.

PCem v13 released

Lots of new features added into this release!

New systems like:

  • IBM PS/2 Model 50
  • IBM PS/2 Model 55SX
  • IBM PS/2 Model 80

New disk controllers!

  • AT Fixed Disk Adapter
  • DTC 5150X
  • Fixed Disk Adapter (Xebec)
  • IBM ESDI Fixed Disk Controller
  • Western Digital WD1007V-SE1
  • Adaptec AHA-1542C
  • BusLogic BT-545S
  • Longshine LCS-6821N
  • Rancho RT1000B
  • Trantor T130B

And plenty of new fixes!  I just installed Citrix 2.0 with the older OS/2 1.2 based drivers, and it works great!

Citrix 2.0 on PCem v13

The full announcement is here, along with downloads for Windows & Linux.

I built an AROS machine out of scrap!

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.


Intel P4 Mother Board

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.

close up of the D945GNT

Here is a close up, and E210882 is *NOT* the mode number.  Nothing like confusion.

The Intel D945GNT motherboards built in NIC, the Intel PRO/100

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.

Inno3D GTX-460

And looking under AROS, this is how the PCI resources show up for the video card.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460

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.

Sound Blaster Live!

This card is the CT0100 model.  And it works great!


And this is how AROS sees the card

Sound Blaster Live! with EMU10k1 chip

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 have to admit that it’s impressive.  For anyone interested you can find AROS Icarus Desktop here, and here is Stephen Jones’s video that inspired me to see this run in real life!

Started to re-build my MS-DOS machine


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.

Porting Catacomb3D to MS-DOS (DJGPP v1/GO32).

Catacomb 3-D for GO32

No really, it’s Catacomb 3-D: The Descent.  First ported to 32-bit SDL by NotStiller.  Me being the person I am, I fixed a slight bug regarding binary files on Windows, and MS-DOS, then cleaned up some of the C++ syntax (yuck!) making it far more C89 friendly.  And of course, hot off the heels of DooM for GO32 DPMI, I was able to get it to build and run using GCC 1.39 and GO32.

I know most people really won’t care, but I found it kind of interesting.  I should try to see if it’ll run on actual hardware, just as a comparison of tightly optimized Borland C++ / Assembly vs 100% pure C on DJGPP.  The best tech of 1991 for sure!

At current I just put the source up, you can git it here.

Null DooM, GCC 1.39, GO32 and DPMI


DooM via DJGPP v1 GO32

Around the time of the x68000 port of DooM, I was cutting down the DooM source for a null/portable version.  I never could get it to actually run either using EMX or  DJGPP 1.03, as I couldn’t get it to link to save my life with a constant never ending battle of unresolved symbols. After a while I just used what I had towards the x68000 version and concentrated on getting it up and running, and just shelved the null/portable effort.

Later on I wanted to get it running again as part of messing with another cross compiler, as DooM isn’t a trivial application to port and verify correct operation. And in the process of trying to get the null version to build and run on Windows using TDM GCC, I wanted to make sure it at least kept compiling with GCC v1.x.

Once more again I was able to compile individual files but unable to link.  But this time, I just looked at the diffs for binutils, I thought it should be somewhat easy to get hosted on Windows.  Although versions may point to binutils 1.0, I had to use binutils-1.9.tar.gz even though the diffs are against Mar 24 1991, and the source for 1.9 is dated April 17 1991.

My first effort gave me a linker that would happily link, but go32 would either refuse to run the executable, or just crash.  I was going to give up again, but I found mention in another file that DJGPP actually uses the linker from G++, the C++ compiler which was a separate thing in the late ’80s and early’90’s.  This time it worked, and I could link a trivial hello world style application!

Now that I finally had a cross linker actually working, I didn’t want to compile under emulation, so looking at the other diffs, they didn’t look too extensive. I went ahead ,and took DJGPP v1.06 and patched up the compiler & assembler to get a full cross toolchain.  And in no time, I had a null version of DooM running on MS-DOS well at least tested on DOSBox.

This was fun, and all but I didn’t see any easy way to do fun things like hook interrupts so I could get the keyboard & clock like any good MS-DOS program.  DPMI greatly eased this kind of stuff, so looking at the DJGPP history, DJGPP v1 version 1.10 actually adds preliminary DPMI support!  And in the next version, DPMI was much more better supported, however the binary format had changed from a.out to COFF as part of the move to v1.11. I was able to take the memory, and DPMI portions from the final v1.12 libc, and manually build and run them against the v1.06 library / dev tools.

And much to my surprise, it actually worked!  At least having the wrong format didn’t have any effect on how GO32 worked for me.

So feeling lazy, I snagged some of the support code from Maraakate’s revamp of DooM, just to make sure of the timer code, and the keyboard code, and again verified that I can build with the keyboard & timer ISR and I’m able to play the v1.9 shareware & commercial levels fine.  I haven’t done a thing to clean up or update the DooM source itself against all the dozens of bugs and issues with Ultimate DooM, or other games like Chex Quest etc.

I’m sure 99% of people wouldn’t care but you can download it here:

Download crossdjgppv1

Although I’m using DPMI to drive realtime events, if I looked further at the GO32 v1.06 environments I could either figure out how it operates it’s timer, or modify the extender directly to drive the PIC timer and keyboard as I need.  But overlooking that, the vintage 1991 software is more than capable of running DooM.

Installing Windows NT 3.1 on a physical computer

I have this P4 I got for super cheap in Hong Kong, that came with Windows 98 of all things. Naturally I want to load something more useful like Windows NT 3.1 onto it, so I did have to do some tweaking first.


The first thing is the hard disk. I was lucky in that this machine came with a 40GB disk, the Hitachi Desktar IC35L060AVV207-0.

HGST Deskstar 180GXP IC35L060AVV207-0

HGST Deskstar 180GXP IC35L060AVV207-0

Now what makes this disk great, is that it can be jumpered down to act like an 8GB disk, so that things like MS-DOS and older OS’s like Windows NT can recognize the disk.  Even nicer that the jumper settings are on the disk!

Disk jumpers

Disk jumpers

My board supports booting from IDE, which is nice as I could paritition and format the disk from MS-DOS 5.00, and make sure things were working fine.

However it really doesn’t matter as over on Beta Archive, The has made an ATAPI driver available for not only Windows NT 3.1, but also various beta versions as well!  You can find the post, and the links to download here! (mirror here).  Now you can install from the boot diskette & a driver diskette and load the rest of the OS from CD-ROM.


You will have patch the INITIAL.IN_ and SETUP.IN_ files to allow installation on any new processor.


STF_PROCESSOR = “” ? $(!LIBHANDLE) GetProcessor


STF_PROCESSOR = $(ProcessorID_I586)

You can leave the files expanded, but this is needed if your CPU is newer than a Pentium (Yes a Pentium 60/66 type processor, so that is Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4 and beyond…).  But yes, this is great!  No need to try to dig up old SCSI cards, SCSI disks, and SCSI CD-ROM drives.


And much like Qemu and VMware, the AMD PCnet is a great go to PCI card, and I was able to find this IBM 11H8130 Type 8-Z 10BaseT PCI Network Card which works!

IBM 11H8130

IBM 11H8130

The card works great with 11265315.exe set of drivers, OR disk image pcnet.7z .  But for sure the key is the in the chipset!


AMD AM79C970AKC PCnet(tm)-PCI II

As this chipset, the AMD AM79C970AKC is the one that is explicitly listed as compatible.  This IBM card provides an AUI port, along with a 10baseT port.

Post install, service packs

Of course when installing Windows NT 3.1, you’ll want service pack 3, the last update to the OS.

Also don’t forget to replace NTLDR & NTDETECT.COM from a later version of Windows NT to allow access to more than 64MB of RAM.


Windows NT 3.1 will allow you to install on FAT, HPFS, and NTFS v1 partitions and disks.  The TCP/IP is a 3rd party, from Spider that does not support DHCP.  Outside of doing it just because, it really is better to go with NT 3.5 or 3.51 as they have better SMP support, are much faster, and have a much more robust network stack.


BSDI BSD/386 1.1

So this crossed my desk, from an anonymous source:


For those who like this kind of thing, here is a dmesg:

BSDI BSD/386 1.1 Kernel #0: Wed Mar 3 16:23:55 GMT 1999
cpu = Pentium (unknown speed) model 6, stepping 3
delay multiplier 8663
real mem = 68153344
avail mem = 65589248
buffer cache = 6774784
isa0 (root)
pccons0 at isa0 iobase 0x60 irq 1: color, 8 screens
com0 at isa0 iobase 0x3f8 irq 4: buffered
lp0 at isa0 iobase 0x378 irq 7
pe0 at isa0
xir0 at isa0 on lp0 (at 0x378)
fdc0 at isa0 iobase 0x3f0 irq 6 drq 2
fd0 at fdc0 slave 0: 1.44M HD 3.5
wdc0 at isa0 iobase 0x1f0 irq 14
wd0 at wdc0 slave 0
wdc1 at isa0 iobase 0x170 irq 15
npx0 at isa0 iobase 0xf0
vga0 at isa0 iobase 0x3c0 maddr 0xa0000-0xaffff
ne0 at isa0 iobase 0x300 irq 9: NE-2000, address 52:54:00:12:34:56
changing root device to wd0a
wd0: format error in bad-sector file

Yes it’s real!  For those who don’t remember history, after the Net/2 release there was a company called Berkeley Software Design Inc (BSDi) that provided a commercial port of Net/2 that also included source.  Add in the infamous 1-800-ITS-UNIX ad, and as they say the rest is history.

BSD/OS 1.1

BSD/OS 1.1

During this time frame it does get hard to track down as the name was in constant flux. BSDI, BSDi, BSD/OS, Internet Server…  Mix in the fun with 386BSD and you get all around naming confusion.

This version, 1.1 is from 1994.  The version timetable does get a tad bit confusing so here we go from what I can find:

1992, April – BSD/386 (BSDi) 0.3.1, first version
1992, June – BSD/386 (BSDi) 0.3.2
1993, March – BSD/386 (BSDi) 1.0
1994, Feb. – BSD/386 (BSDi) 1.1
1995, Jan. – BSD/OS (BSDi) 2.0
1995, June – BSD/OS (BSDi) 2.0.1
1996, Jan. – BSD/OS (BSDi) 2.1
1997, Feb. – BSD/OS (BSDi) 3.0
1998, March – BSD/OS (BSDi) 3.1
1998, Aug. – BSD/OS (BSDi) 4.0
1999, March – BSD/OS (BSDi) 4.0.1
1999, Dec. – BSD/OS (BSDi) 4.1
2000, Nov. – BSD/OS (BSDi) 4.2
2002, March – BSD/OS (Wind River) 4.3
2003, May – BSD/OS (Wind River) 5.0
2003, Oct. – BSD/OS (Wind River) 5.1

One can only hope that 0.3.1 from the apparent “300 customers” may eventually surface.

Fun source of the lawsuit meltdown C/O Computerworld 1992:

C/o Computerworld

C/o Computerworld

C/o Computerworld

C/o Computerworld

For anyone who want’s to relive the glory days, there is a qcow2 disk image suitable for Qemu floating around..

Word is you’d want to run it like this:

qemu-system-i386.exe -L pc-bios -net nic,model=ne2k_isa -net user -hda “bsdos-1.1(repack).qcow2” -redir tcp:4423::23

Virtualization Challenge Part II – WYSE Unix

(this is a guest post from Tenox)

The second virtualization contest is now on! Similar to the previous one, the winner receives $100 via Paypal and the submission is posted on this blog! Hopefully this one will be little bit more challenging. 🙂

The subject is the rarest of the rare WYSE Unix!

The progress so far: A few years ago I came in to possession of a set of floppy disks pictured here:

Wyse UnixThanks to Al Kossow from the floppy disk content has been recovered. Michal Necasek of OS/2 museum successfully converted them in to an usable format and made some modifications to get them to boot on VirtualBox:

Wyse Unix in VirtualBoxCouple of years later, thanks to Andrew Gong, a WYSE Unix tape has been found on eBay:

wyseunixMore recently Al Kossow was able to read the tape in to an image, which now I have uploaded to my web server:

The next step is yours! Install the whole system on to a hypervisor of your choice, document the process and supply a vanilla boot image or VM.

The winner shall be the person who will first post a comment declaring success including a screenshot and can further prove it by emailing emailing me the submission shortly after. If the comment gets blocked by spam filter, don’t worry the original submission time will of course count. Oh and almost forgot: I also need aclock binary for it, however if there is no compiler and the standard SysV binary works fine, you are exempt from the requirement.

The catch? Looks like floppy disk trouble. The boot disk is fine after it has been fixed up by Michal. The Base floppy looks like has same content as boot. Copy Tools is very small. Looks like it may be truncated. Hopefully not, but if yes I count on your creativity. Remember that Dell Unix is an exactly save release of SystemV/386 and did not have or needed copy tools to install.

Good Luck!

Update: Looks like the contest has been won by Mihai! Congratulations!