Microsoft Editor

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

In a recent blog post Wanted: Console Text Editor for Windows I lamented the lack of a good console/cmd/PowerShell text editor for Windows. During the process I made a rather interesting discovery, that in a fact there IS a “native” Windows, 32bit, console based text editor and it was available since earliest days of NT or even before. But let’s start from…

…in the beginning there was Z editor. Developed by Steve Wood for TOPS20 operating system in 1981. Some time after that, Steve sold the source code to Microsoft, which was then ported to MS-DOS by Mark Zbikowski (aka the MZ guy) to become the M editor.

M editor

The DOS-based M editor was included and sold as part of Microsoft C 5.1 (March 1988), together with the OS/2 variant, the MEP editor (perhaps M Editor Protected-mode). The official name of M/MEP was simply Microsoft Editor. The same editor was also available earlier (mid-1987) as part of the  MS OS/2 SDK under a different name, SDKED. Note that normally SDKED insists in operating in full screen mode. Michal Necasek generously spent his time and patched it up so that it can be run in windowed mode for your viewing pleasure.

SDKED on OS/2

However my primary interest lies with Windows. The NT Design Workbook mentions that an early days self-hosting developer workstation included compiler, some command line tools and a text editor – MEP.  In fact these tools including MEP.EXE can be found on Windows NT pre-release CD-ROMs (late 1991) under MSTOOLS. It was available for both MIPS and 386 as a Win32 native console based application.

MEP on Windows NT Pre-Release

MEP.EXE was later also available for Alpha, i386, MIPS, and PowerPC processors on  various official Windows NT SDKs from 3.1 to 4.0. It survived up to July 2000 to be last included in Windows 2000 Platform SDK. From time perspective it was rather unfortunate that it was buried in the SDK and overshadowed by Visual Studio instead of being included on Windows NT release media.

MEP from NT SDK on Windows NT 4.0

The Win32 version of MEP also comes with an icon and a file description which calls it Microsoft Extensible Editor.

Z editor Icon

But that’s not the end of the story. The editor of many names survives to this day, at least unofficially. If you dig hard enough you can find it on OpenNT 4.5 build. For convenience, this and other builds including DOS M, OS/2 MEP and SDKED, NT SDK MEP can be downloaded here.

Digging in through the archive I found not one but two copies of the editor code are lurking in the source tree. One under the name MEP inside \private\utils\mep\ folder and a second copy under name Z (which was the original editor for TOPS) in \private\sdktools\z folder. Doing a few diffs I was able to get some insight on he differences. Looks like MEP was initially ported from OS/2 to NT and bears some signs of being an OS/2 app. The Z editor on the other hands is a few years newer and has many improvements and bug fixes over MEP. It also uses some specific NT features.

Sadly it looks like the Z editor for Win32 was never released anywhere outside of Redmond. All the versions outlined so far had copyrights only up to 1990, while Z clearly has copyright from 1995. Being a few years newer and more native to NT I wanted to see if a build could be made. With some effort I was able to separate it from the original source tree and compile stand alone. Being a pretty clean source code I was able to compile it for all NT hardware platforms, including x64, which runs comfortably on Windows 10. You can download Z editor for Windows here.

Z editor on flashy Windows 7 x64

Last but not least there is a modern open source re-implementation of Z editor named K editor. It’s written from scratch in C++ and LUA and has nothing to do with the original MEP source code. K is built only for x64 using Mingw. There are no ready to run binaries so I made a fork and build.

K editor on Windows 10 x64

The author Kevin Goodwin has kindly included copies of original documentation if you actually want to learn how to use this editor.

Building MAME 0.1 for MS-DOS / DJGPP

So as promised, a while back I had built a GCC 2.7.2.3 / Binutils 2.8.1 cross compiler toolchain suitable for building old Allegro based programs, such as MAME.  Of course the #1 reason why I’d want such a thing is that being able to do native builds on modern machines means that things compile in seconds, rather than an hour + compiling inside of DOSBox.

Why not use a more up to date version of both GCC/Binutils?  Well the problem is that the pre EGCS tools ended up with macro and inline assembly directives that were dumped along the way so that later versions simply will not assemble any of the later video code in Allegro, and a lot of the C needs updating too.  And it was easier to just get the older tool chain working.

It took a bit of messing around building certain portions inside of each step of the tools, but after a while I had a satisfactory chain capable of building what I had needed.

So for our fun, we will need my cross DJGPP v2 tool chain for win32, MAME 0.1, Allegro 3.12 and Synthetic Audio Library (SEAL) Development Kit 1.0.7 .

Lib Allegro is already pre-built in my cross compiler tool chain, all that I needed to add was SEAL, with only one change, 1.0.7 is expecting an EGCS compiler, which this is not, so the -mpentium flag won’t work, however -m486 will work fine.

Otherwise, in MAME all I did was alter some include paths to pickup both Allegro and SEAL, and in no time I had an executable.  And the best part is checking via DOSBox, it runs, with sound!

MAME 0.1 on DOSBox PACMAN hiding

Thankfully MAME has been really good about preserving prior releases, along with their source tree, and it’s pretty cool to be able to rebuild this using the era correct vintage tools, and I can’t stress how much more tolerable it is to build on faster equipment.

Wanted: Console Text Editor for Windows

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

Since 2012 or so Microsoft is pushing concept of running Windows Server headless without GUI and administering everything through PowerShell. I remember sitting through countless TechEd / Ignite sessions year after year and all I could see were blue PowerShell command prompts everywhere. No more wizards and forms, MMC and GUI based administration is suddenly thing of a past. Just take a look at Server Core, WinPE, Nano, PS Remoting, Windows SSH server, Recovery Console and Emergency Management Services. Even System Center is a front end for PowerShell. Nowadays everything seems to be text mode.

This overall is good news and great improvement since previous generations of Windows, but what if you need to create or edit a PowerShell, CMD script or some config file?

Oooops, looks like you are screwed. Seems that Redmond forgot to include most crucial tool in sysadmin’s job – a simple text mode editor. WTF Microsoft?

So, are there any 3rd party alternatives? Yes, and there are and quite a lot of them! Unfortunately none are perfect and most are old and unmaintained. This article aims to be a grand tour of whatever is available out there.

Note that throughout the article I will be repeatedly referring to a “portable” editor, that for me means single .exe file that can be carried around on a USB pen drive or network share. I also cry a lot about 64-bit Windows builds because I work a lot in WinPE and other environments where syswow64 is not available. 

First lets start with most obvious choices well known through intertubes. If you search for a Windows Console Editor VIM and Emacs will naturally pop up first.These editors don’t need any introduction or praising. I use VIM every day and Emacs every now and then. These two had ports to Windows for as long as I can remember and in terms of quality and stability definitely up top. The problem is that both are completely foreign and just plain unusable to a typical Windows user and learning curve is pretty steep. Also portability suffers a lot at least for Emacs. Both editors come with hundreds of supporting files and are massive in size. Emacs.exe binary is whopping 83 MB in size and the zip file contains two of them just in case. Whole unpacked folder is 400 MB.

Emacs on Windows Console

VIM is fortunately much much better you can extract single vim.exe binary from the package and use it without much complaints.

VIM on Windows Console

When talking about about VI and Emacs hard not to mention some more historical versions. Emacs’ little brother MicroEmacs has been available for Windows since earliest days. I’m not going to attempt to link to any particular one since there are so many flavors.

MicroEmacs

VIM little brother VI also comes in different shapes and forms. Lets take look at a few.

Elvis

Elvis on Windows

XVI

XVI on Windows

Stevie is a very special case. Rumor has it, this editor played crucial role in development of Windows NT itself or has been used since earliest days of NT as part of the private SDK. If you could ever look at Windows source code I’d bet you could probably find it buried inside. Because it was ported by folks at Redmond the quality should be pretty good. Unfortunately README states “this is an incomplete VI that has not been fully tested. Use at your own risk.”. For a historical note according to Wikipedia, Stevie port to Amiga has been used by Bram Moolenaar as a base source code for VIM.

Stevie for Windows aka NT VI

One particularly interesting case is VI editor from Watcom compiler suite. It has very nice TUI known from MS-DOS editors, syntax highlighting and online help. One of nicest versions of VI available for Windows. Small portable and just all around handy editor. This is probably my main to go text editor when working on WinPE or Server Core. Unfortunately not very well known. I hope it can gain some popularity it deserves.

OpenWatcom VI Editor

Thanks to Federico Bianchi just learned that there is a BusbyBox port to Windows having both 32bit and 64bit builds, 100% portable as just a single exe file! Most importantly it contains a working vi editor that understands window resizing and Win32 paths. I’m going to be keeping this one around. Awesome job Busybox! As a last thought I wish they also included Nano.

BusyBox Win32 VI Editor

I don’t want this article to be all about VI and Emacs clones. Let this nice color menus be a segue to more native Windows / DOS editors at least departing from hardcore keystrokes and Unix.

For a change in theme lets look at SemWare TSE Pro, the editor that originally started as QEDIT for DOS and OS/2. It has most advanced features one could ever imagine for a text mode editor. Including resizable windows, hex editor, macros and spell checker. I really wish I could use it in everyday’s life. Unfortunately TSE has some drawbacks, it lacks portable version and install is little cumbersome. Currently no x64 build but the author is working on it. TSE is not free, the license is $45 but it allows to install on as many machines as you need.

SemWare TSE Pro

Next one up is Brief. It used to be very popular in it’s own time and sparked quite bit of following as there are numerous of editors being “brief style”. It’s a nice and small console based text editor. It comes in two versions basic (free) and professional (paid). The pro version supports splitting in to multiple windows regexp and unicode. Unfortunately it runs at $120 per user and there is no 64bit build or a portable edition.

Brief

There also is an open source clone of Brief called GRIEF. Flipping through the manual it has very impressive set of features including $120 windowing feature and macros. Unfortunately it’s rather unportable due to large amount of dll and other files. 64bit build could probably be made if someone wanted.

GRIEF free Brief Clone

As we talk about less costly options there is Kinesics Text Editor aka KIT. It’s more well known if you search on google, completely free and after installing you can find and a x64 binary file! This makes it somewhat portable and able to run in WinPE for instance. Until recently the editor did not have 64bit version so I did not have chance to use it much in practice but the TUI appears to have a well rounded easy to use (F1 or right mouse click brings menus). It does’t seem to have any advanced features but it’s very stable and actively maintained. And frankly this is what matters for editing on the console. It may actually be the right missing Windows console editor.

Kinesics aka KIT

Another one is Minimum Profit. It’s fully open source and it supports a lot of platforms in both windowing and text mode. It has a lot of interesting features such as syntax highlighting, spell checked and menus. It can’t be easily made portable as it needs a lot of files of it’s own scripting language. There is no Win64 build by default but one could probably make it with Mingw64. I also find that screen refresh is somewhat funky.

Minimum Profit

Lets look at somewhat well known FTE. It’s a very nice text editor available on many platforms such QNX, OS/2 and of course Windows. It has nice TUI, split windows, syntax highlighting, folding, bookmarks and tools for HTML authoring etc. Overall awesome editor falling short only to TSE. Support for NT console has been available since 1997. I have recently fixed couple of bugs and built a 64bit portable version.

FTE Editor

One could also not forget Borland Turbo C IDE. Apparently there is an open source clone of the IDE as a regular editor called SETEdit. It’s multi platform editor with MS-DOS style windows and menus. Syntax highlighting macros and all regular amenities. Looks like DOS version can play MP3 songs while you code. There is a native WinNT build made with BCPP. To run on Windows you install the DOS version then overwrite dos exe file win NT exe. The editor is absolutely awesome, unfortunately currently doesn’t work in a portable manner and there is no x64 binary. However as it’s open source it could be probably made.

SETEdit a Borland Turbo C IDE Clone

When talking about MS-DOS style windows, Norton Commander like file managers come to mind. There is one particular built specifically for Windows – FAR Manager. Written by author of WinRAR, originally shareware, but since 2007 it has been released under BSD license. FAR does come with a built in text editor hence it’s featured here. It’s actively supported and developed, and because it’s designed from ground up for Windows, it’s probably most stable and trustworthy of all applications in this post. I normally don’t use it that much, but I do keep a copy of it lying around when I need to do some more heavy lifting from Windows console. There is a 64bit binary by default but unfortunately FAR can be hardly made portable as it comes with 400 files.

FAR Manager Text Editor

When talking about Norton Commander clones lets not forget Midnight Commander, which does have an unofficial native Windows console build called mcwin32. Similar to FAR, MC has a very nice built-in text editor. MC overall seems far nicer than FAR but because it’s multi platform rather than WIndows specific and not officially supported I don’t trust it as much for day to day use.

GNU Midnight Commander

When on topic of Unix, lets talk about GNU Nano. In it’s native habitat, it’s very popular and stable editor making it a perfect choice for a text mode console. Unfortunately Windows port is lacking quite a lot, especially for things like resizing Window or handling file names. The official build looks like a fusion of cygwin, mingw, pdcurses and other horrible stuff. Version that comes with Mingw/MSYS is not portable and so far I failed in attempts to build a static windows binary by hand. Nano predecessor UW Pico unfortunately never did have console terminal Windows port. Authors of Pine decided to make it semi graphical application with it’s own window, menus and buttons. Sad story for both Pico and Nano. Hopefully one day someone will make a 100% native Windows port.

Another non-vi and non-emacs Unix editor with Windows console port is JED. Frankly I have not used JED that much in the past although I did play with it in the 90s. This is the original web page of Jed editor. It does seem to have menus and multi windows. Unfortunately doesn’t look like it can be easily made in to a portable image.

JED Win32 Port

Yet another more obscure editor is ED-NT which is DEC EDT clone. Unfortunately seems to be completely dead an unmaintained. Sources are still available through archive.org so perhaps it could be still looked after if someone wanted EDT editor on Windows.

ED-NT

When going through obscurities via archive.org one can also mention ZABED and more specifically Z95 which is a 32bit console version. I don’t know anything about the editor and I’m little too lazy to play with it extensively although pdf manual is available. Probably little too old and too obscure for every day use.

Z95

Perhaps even more obscure to a mere mortal is The Hessling Editor aka THE. It’s based on VM/CMS editor XEDIT. I did briefly use VM/CMS and XEDIT in early ’90 but I never liked it so much. THE comes in as a native Win32 binary. Not easily portable as it requires some additional files. Also no 64bit binary but source code is available.

THE aka The Hessling Editor

Thanks to Andreas Kohl I have learned about X2 Programmers Editor which also has NT console version. The editor seems very nice and has extensive help, syntax highlighting, etc. Unfortunately I have never used this editor before. Last version has been released in 2008 which is not loo long ago but sadly there has been no update since. I hope the author will continue to maintain it.

X2 Programmers Editor

Andreas also brought up Personal Editor, which comes as PE32 and PE64. Looks like really well maintained and stable editor designed and developed specifically for Windows. 64bit bit version is really cool however the editor doesn’t seem to be portable and $40 license will probably prevent me from using it professionally in environments where I would need it. Never the less looks like a very fine editor!

Another find is e3 editor. Pretty interesting stuff. It’s written in assembler and available on many operating systems including DOS and Windows. Looks like it’s still maintained as last version was released in 2016. It supports multiple modes, Wordstar, Emacs, Vi, Pico and Nedit by renaming or linking the main executable. It’s definitely portable as it doesn’t need any extra files and the exe is just 20KB (take that emacs!). Unfortunately because of assembler I don’t think there will be a 64bit release any time soon. Overall seem to be really cool to keep this one around.

e3 editor

A really cool last minute find is public domain TDE – Thomson-Davis Editor. Released not so long ago in 2007 it has 16, 32bit DOS and 32bit Windows console executable. It has DOS style menus,syntax highlighting, resizable windows and bunch of other features. Looks like a very handy editor. I don’t know how did I miss it. Since source code was available so I was able to make a x64 build. This is really untested so use at your own risk!

TDE

Also a recent find – shareware editor called Aurora. I never had a chance to use it in the past but after taking it for a quick spin I fell in love. The text mode UI it feels like it’s own windowing operating system! Originally for DOS, Unix and OS/2, Win32 port is relatively new. Unfortunately it’s no longer maintained or even sold. This is very sad because the editor is extremely cool. I hope the author may be willing to release the source code so it could be maintained.

Aurora

Thanks to Richard Wells I have learned about OSPlus Text Editor. It’s a really cool little editor with Borland style TUI and multi windows. It doesn’t seem to have any advanced features but it does have a built in calculator and allows background play of WAV and MID. Also allows format conversion of various formats like Word, Write or RTF in to text using Microsoft Office converters. Pretty cool if you need to read Word based documentation on the text console. Sadly looks like the application is no longer maintained. I guess with little bit of luck a 64bit version could be compiled using Mingw64 or MSVC.

OSPlus Text Editor

Also recently learned about HT. This is more intended as a binary/exe/hex editor and analyzer. However it seems to have an excellent plain text editor with HTML and C syntax highlighting. It doesn’t have very advanced features but one that stands out is a very detailed change log, much like Photoshop History. It shows you what exactly has been changed and in what order. This is pretty cool when doing heavy editing of some important files. The latest version is from 2015 and it’s 100% portable single exe. Unfortunately no x64 but I guess it should be easy enough to build one with Mingw64.

HT

Just in freshly “re-discovered” – Microsoft Editor. This editor is a Win32 port of Mark Zbikowski’s port of Z editor to MS-DOS. It has been widely used with Microsoft C as M, MEP and and OS/2 SDK as SDKED. Shockingly looks like Windows NT did actually have a console mode text editor since it’s earliest days or even earlier. Included in Windows NT pre-release CDs and later on the official Windows NT/2000 SDKs, hiding in plain sight, was a Win32 console mode MEP.EXE. Only if Microsoft included this editor with Windows itself the world would be a different place. I have recently dug it out of SDK and made available here. There also are additional builds (including x64) here. There is a dedicated blog post about it.

Microsoft Editor aka MEP aka Z

As with many commercial editors there is an open source edition of Z named K_Edit. It is a modern re-implementation from scratch written in C++ and LUA. It builds only on 64bit Windows and there probably is no chance for any other version. As of today author of K doesn’t provide ready binaries but I was able to make one myself.

K editor on Windows 10 x64

Reader brdlph pointed me to a pretty fresh editor named Textadept. It’s a cross platform, both GUI and TUI editor. Windows console version uses Curses, but it performs remarkably well. It has a look and feel of a modern programmer’s text editor with syntax highlighting, line numbers, etc.  The zip archive comes with over 400 files so it’s rather not portable. Also there seem to be no Windows 64bit build although there is one for Linux. The application seem to be very well maintained and the latest release is from January 2018!

Textadept

Reader Andreas Kohl mentioned SlickEdit, which was a text mode editor for DOS, OS/2 and Windows console (before Visual SlickEdit stole it’s name). According to the company’s employee an OS/2 version of the editor was used by some Windows NT team members to develop their operating system. In early days, SlickEdit CTO traveled to Redmond to port the application to a barely yet functioning NT console system so that the developers could use native dev environment. SlickEdit was most likely the very fist commercial application for Windows NT. It was available in 386, Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC editions. I’m hoping to obtain old evaluation copies. So far I was able to get this screenshot:

SlickEdit on Windows 10

Last but not least, a new kid on the block, is Micro. It’s a modern times editor for all platforms including Windows. It looks really cool and seem to have all recent amenities from editors such as Sublime Text or Atom. Multi windows, syntax highlighting and even it’s own built in terminal emulator for running a subshell. Micro is 100% portable and comes in as a single x64 exe file. It’s 10 MB size but I think well worth keeping around. Unfortunately it doesn’t have built-in file browser. Yes, there is a plugin for it but I don’t know how to use it. Also seems to have issues with Windows style path names. However I’m really happy that a new editor has been developed in recent times. It has a great chance of becoming the missing Windows text mode editor for the future! Definitely worth keeping an eye on it.

Micro Editor

With this positive news it’s time to wrap up. To summarize there currently is no perfect text mode editor for Windows. I hope that Microsoft can one day step up and provide one. In the mean time I usually stick around to OpenWatcom VI and FAR Manager. For people who do not wish to learn VI, Kinesics KIT may probably be the most perfect editor in short term and Micro in the future. I also hope someone can make a good GNU Nano port using native Win32 APIs without going to pdcurses and cygwin.

Thank you for all suggestions! Have I forgotten or missed any editor? Please let me know and I will promptly add it to the list! Note: please do not include editors that work under Cygwin.

BoxedWine

Not this kind!

I got a tip in another post about this fantastical project, boxedwine!  It’s Wine + a 386 processor emulator, and it’s been targeted to SDL.  What does this mean? Wine on Windows!

Sim Earth for Windows 3.0

I went ahead with one of the oldest Windows games I have around, SimEarth, for Windows 3.0.  I don’t have Balance of Power, although I guess I may procure a copy one day.  Anyways it’s Windows in it’s 1990 glory 16bit, 286 protected mode, and sure as heck won’t run on Win64.  Oh sure you can run this on MS-DOS + Windows, but where is the fun in that?

Now that’s all good fun, sure Wine can run stuff, sure, but it’s still wine.  Well remember all that noise about android running Wine?  Yeah, well here we go.

Wine + x86 emulation +SDL in javascript!

Here we go.  Games, and the BoxedWine project page.   And yes, it can run stuff like Quake 2, and other far more intense applications.  Just like Wine.  It’s really great stuff, check it out, if only in a browser.

If you want to run ancient Win16 stuff in a pinch, it may actually run.  I had issues with win87em.dll stuff, but just like Wine it’s a moving window of compatibility.

26th anniversary of Linux!

As the joke goes:

Happy 25th birthday, Linux! Here’s your f-ing cake, go ahead and compile it yourself.

So it’s always a fun time for me to push my old project Ancient Linux on Windows.  And what makes this so special?  Well it’s a cross compiler for the ancient Linux kernels, along with source to the kernels so you can easily edit, compile and run early Linux from Windows!

As always the kernels I have built and done super basic testing on are:

  • linux-0.10
  • linux-0.11
  • linux-0.12
  • linux-0.95c+
  • linux-0.96c
  • linux-0.97.6
  • linux-0.98.6

All of these are a.out kernels, like things were back in the old days.  You can edit stuff in notepad if you so wish, or any other editor.  A MSYS environment is included, so you can just type in ‘make’ and a kernel can be built, and it also can be tested in the included Qemu.  I’ve updated a few things, first with better environment variables, and only tested on Windows 10.  Although building a standalone linux EXE still requires a bit of work, it isn’t my goal here as this whole thing is instead geared around building kernels from source.  I included bison in this build, so more of GCC is generated on the host.  Not that I think it matters too much, although it ended up being an issue doing DooM on GCC 1.39.

So for people who want to relive the good old bad days of Linux, and want to do so from the comfort of Windows, this is your chance!


Download Ancient Linux on Windows
Download Ancient Linux on Windows

Setting up Windows environment variables for DJGPP (& other GCC based compilers)

DJGPP & other compilers, such as EMX require that you set needed variables with a UNIX style slash convention.  Also it is a pain to hard code the entire path into a command shell.  I know this works on Windows 10, although I’m not sure about earlier versions.

The %cd% variable contains the current directory, so it makes it easy to do something like this:

@echo.
@set tmpdir=%cd%\tmp
@set path=%cd%\bin;%PATH%
@set C_INCLUDE_PATH=%cd%\include
@set _LIBRARY_PATH=%cd%\lib
@echo.
@echo finished.

Which is great, but of course all the paths are MS-DOS style.  There now is the ability to replace strings!

@set _tmpdir=%cd%\tmp
@set tmpdir=%_tmpdir:\=/%
@set _tmpdir=

So in this example I set a temporary variable to the MS-DOS style path, and then using the pattern :(match)=(replace) it will then replace \ with /, giving me the UNIX style path.  I then just set _tmpdir to nothing, unsetting the variable.  So this way I don’t have to hard code any paths, and I can flip the slashes as needed.

Another fun thing is you can do logic blocks..  A simple one if a file doesn’t exist then compile it:

IF NOT EXIST dhyrst. (
echo.
echo Executable missing attempting to compile….
@make -f makefile
echo.
)

I’m sure most people knew about this, but for an old guy used to doing things the hard way, it was nice to see that there finally was some way to do this kind of thing.

Getting the first side of Dark Side of the Moon onto a floppy diskette

Back in 1995, 2 really neat things happened.  First is that 32bit computing to the masses finally happened.  The second is that lousy audio compression started to really really take off.

And like many other people, who weren’t lucky enough to have a SUN or NeXT workstation, we got our first taste through Real Audio.

Back in the day, I was lucky enough to have a ST4766N 676MB SCSI disk, that was actually large enough to decompress a CD-ROM audio disc to, which in the mid 90’s was a rarity!

Big disks making transcoding possible

So with enough disk space, I was able to rip the CD-ROM to uncompress WAV files.  Oddly enough today, this is a trival thing to do.  In this day and age to re-create it, however I’m going to take a FLAC, and downsample it to a 44100Hz WAV file using Audacity.

Once you’ve opened up your source material, in the bottom left drop it down to 44100…

And this will let you start the export process

And this let’s you set it to a signed 16-bit PCM WAV which Real Audio can happily transcode.

437MB of uncompressed audio

And this is why for most people transcoding a CD-ROM would be out of reach, as ripping a CD-ROM would require an enormous amount of hard disk space for someone circa 1995.

Using the encoder, it’s a simple matter of opening up the WAV file, select a destination name, and set the encoder.  In this case I want the smallest file possible, so Im using RealAudio version 2, suitable for 14.4 modem.

And just hit the ‘Start Encoding’ button, and you are good to go!  In the day this whole process would take HOURS and HOURS… I think the encoding ran over night.  But today this only takes a few seconds.

And now it’s super easy to load it up on a player, and listen to it’s…. semi awesomeness.

Side 1 in under 1.44MB

And just as I recalled, I was able to transcode the first 5 tracks in under 1.2MB, enough to fit onto a 5 1/4″ diskette, or a 3 1/2″ disk.

Once Windows 95 was a shipping thing, things like the media player started to get better and more versatile codecs to support u-law, a-law, MPEG-2, and even MP3.  But thanks to an early start Real Audio was up there with flash as one of the first ‘must have’ programs to unleash the new and exciting.  Real couldn’t make the jump to mobile devices, and once MP3 streaming via shoutcast and other ‘DIY’ free solutions took over the market and obliterated the very expensive and proprietary RealAudio servers.  While progressive networks is still around, they are the Yahoo of audio.

One minor thing of interest is that VLC, can play RealAudio files.  I thought it was interesting, although I guess not all that practical.

For anyone who wants to play along, you too can try these files:

4.3BSD syslogd for Windows

Continuing from my TACACS adventure, I also thought it would be nice to capture syslogs, and save them. Oddly enough this is a big business, with even low end products like Kiwi Syslog server costing some $295 USD!

Well that’s too much for me, so I figured that the most wide spread at the time must have been the 4.3BSD syslogd, so I’ll start with that.

Just as before this was a pretty straight forward port, I had to remove all the /dev/kmem and UNIX socket stuff, as they obviously don’t exist on Windows.  Just as the same, you can’t “write to users” to send messages, so by default output is a file.  I suppose I could use the net send functionality to pop up a message, but I find it just as annoying today as it was then.

At any rate in no time I was able to setup a simple config file, and then get my router to turn on full logging & enable full debugging to get a continuous stream of messages.  The only ‘gotcha’ is that this sylogd wants to be able to do reverse lookups, so you really ought to have a DNS with reverse entries, or a good hosts file.

syslogd_win32 -d
off & running....
init
cfline(*.emerg;*.alert;*.crit;*.err;*.warning;*.notice;*.info;*.debug log.txt)
7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 X FILE: log.txt
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNUSED:
logmsg: pri 56, flags 8, from jaderabbit, msg syslogd: restart
Logging to FILE log.txt
syslogd: restarted
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2458: 00:24:19: SNMP: HC Timer 619E3D1C fired
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2459: 00:24:19: SNMP: HC Timer 619E3D1C rearmed, delay = 5000
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2460: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2461: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2462: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2463: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2464: 00:24:22: SNMP: HC Timer 61875370 fired
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2465: 00:24:22: SNMP: HC Timer 61875370 rearmed, delay = 20000
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2466: 00:24:22: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=192.168.254.255 (FastEthernet0/0), len 159, rcvd 3
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2467: 00:24:22: UDP: rcvd src=192.168.254.1(17500), dst=192.168.254.255(17500), length=139
Logging to FILE log.txt
cvthname(192.168.254.10)
logmsg: pri 277, flags 0, from testcisco, msg 2468: 00:24:22: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=192.168.254.255, len 159, dispose udp.noport
Logging to FILE log.txt

As you can see, running it in debug mode tells me what is going on.  And the log.txt file contains a nicely formatted log file, just the way that it was done on BSD:
Apr 13 13:11:04 jaderabbit syslogd: restart
Apr 13 13:11:17 testcisco 2458: 00:24:19: SNMP: HC Timer 619E3D1C fired
Apr 13 13:11:17 testcisco 2459: 00:24:19: SNMP: HC Timer 619E3D1C rearmed, delay = 5000
Apr 13 13:11:27 testcisco 2460: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Apr 13 13:11:27 testcisco 2461: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Apr 13 13:11:27 testcisco 2462: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Apr 13 13:11:27 testcisco 2463: 00:24:21: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=239.255.255.250, len 202, dispose ip.hopcount
Apr 13 13:11:27 testcisco 2464: 00:24:22: SNMP: HC Timer 61875370 fired
Apr 13 13:11:27 testcisco 2465: 00:24:22: SNMP: HC Timer 61875370 rearmed, delay = 20000
Apr 13 13:11:34 testcisco 2466: 00:24:22: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=192.168.254.255 (FastEthernet0/0), len 159, rcvd 3
Apr 13 13:11:34 testcisco 2467: 00:24:22: UDP: rcvd src=192.168.254.1(17500), dst=192.168.254.255(17500), length=139
Apr 13 13:11:34 testcisco 2468: 00:24:22: IP: s=192.168.254.1 (FastEthernet0/0), d=192.168.254.255, len 159, dispose udp.noport

 

I’m sure it’s full of other bugs, but all I tested was that I could log to a file, and it’s doing that much just fine.  If you feel so inclined you can download & compile it, the source is: syslogd_win32.c

TACACS for Windows

So, in my fun and excitement I was putting together a ‘cisco’ network using dynamips that spans a few sites across the world.  I’m using ancient copies of NT for some servers, although I plan on adding in some 386BSD, SunOS SPARC, and maybe even 68010 based, along with other stuff.

I have the routers running fine, but I felt like adding some kind of external authentication service, and TACACS certainly fits the bill!  And to be all vintage as usual, I’m not going to use TACACS+ as it’s simply too new, and too big.  So first things first, I need a copy of the source to TACACS as I’m certainly not going to write my own!  I found this directory on ftp.funet.fi which has a bunch of old cisco related material, and sure enough there is a tacacsd.c

Even better it’s from 1989 which suits my need for something positively ancient, and simple enough to be a single C file.

/*
* TACACS daemon suitable for using on Un*x systems.
*
* Janruary 1989, Greg Satz
*
* Copyright (c) 1989 by cisco Systems, Inc.
* All rights reserved.
*/

Porting it to run on Winsock, really wasn’t all that hard, I had it running as a standalone program within a few minutes, however there is no password file in NT, so as a simple test, I had simply short circutied the username lookup to always suceeded, along with a password compare.

Since I have VMWare Player installed on my machine, I can use the VMNet 8 connection to talk to my host computer.  The hard part of course is trying to figure out which NIC is which, but dynamips -e will give you a list like this:

Cisco Router Simulation Platform (version 0.2.16-experimental(merge uppc smips)Build-1-x86/MinGW stable)
Copyright (c) 2005-2011 Christophe Fillot.
Build date: Dec 15 2016 04:20:41

Pcap version [WinPcap version 4.1.3 (packet.dll version 4.1.0.2980), based on libpcap version 1.0 branch 1_0_rel0b (20091008)]
Network device list:

\Device\NPF_{D3DF08C4-7A33-4FE2-9351-000153705A30} : VMware Virtual Ethernet Adapter
\Device\NPF_{3FB194EF-F3A4-45F2-AFAB-A4ABA98E8FF7} : Qualcomm Atheros Ar81xx series PCI-E Ethernet Controller
\Device\NPF_{C46B48B8-74E1-4938-9BFE-E407949A7940} : Microsoft
\Device\NPF_{F72C65CD-C6BC-44FE-9019-C5057DB1D9AB} : VMware Virtual Ethernet Adapter
\Device\NPF_{CE75B9C1-8189-4C8F-8EF6-6CEB0C6D0329} : Microsoft
\Device\NPF_{737A8B62-9A87-4739-9CC2-BF05CDC315D0} : Microsoft

And with that information, we are good to go!  Since I’m doing a simple test here, I don’t need anything other than a single ethernet to talk to my host, so here is a VERY simple cli to run dynamips:

..\dynamips.exe -P 7200 ..\c7200-is-mz.19991126.bin -t npe-200 -p 0:C7200-IO-FE -s 0:0:gen_eth:\Device\NPF_{D3DF08C4-7A33-4FE2-9351-000153705A30}  –idle-pc 0x604f1da0 -X

And I’m off booting!

Cisco Router Simulation Platform (version 0.2.16-experimental(merge uppc smips)Build-1-x86/MinGW stable)
Copyright (c) 2005-2011 Christophe Fillot.
Build date: Dec 15 2016 04:20:41

Pcap version [WinPcap version 4.1.3 (packet.dll version 4.1.0.2980), based on libpcap version 1.0 branch 1_0_rel0b (20091008)]
Idle PC set to 0x604f1da0.
IOS image file: ..\c7200-is-mz.19991126.bin

ILT: loaded table "mips64j" from cache.
ILT: loaded table "mips64e" from cache.
ILT: loaded table "ppc32j" from cache.
ILT: loaded table "ppc32e" from cache.
vtty_term_init
CPU0: carved JIT exec zone of 64 Mb into 2048 pages of 32 Kb.
C7200 instance 'default' (id 0):
VM Status : 0
RAM size : 256 Mb
IOMEM size : 0 Mb
NVRAM size : 128 Kb
NPE model : npe-200
Midplane : vxr
IOS image : ..\c7200-is-mz.19991126.bin

Loading ELF file '..\c7200-is-mz.19991126.bin'...
ELF entry point: 0x80008000

C7200 'default': starting simulation (CPU0 PC=0xffffffffbfc00000), JIT enabled.
mips64_test.s ROMMON emulation microcode.

mips64_test.s Launching IOS image at 0x80008000...
Self decompressing the image : ####()## [OK]

Restricted Rights Legend

Use, duplication, or disclosure by the Government is
subject to restrictions as set forth in subparagraph
(c) of the Commercial Computer Software - Restricted
Rights clause at FAR sec. 52.227-19 and subparagraph
(c) (1) (ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer
Software clause at DFARS sec. 252.227-7013.

cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Drive
San Jose, California 95134-1706

Cisco Internetwork Operating System Software
IOS (tm) 7200 Software (C7200-IS-M), Experimental Version 12.0(20000110:181554) [otroan-thanksgiving-rel 175]
Copyright (c) 1986-2000 by cisco Systems, Inc.
Compiled Thu 20-Jan-00 15:07 by otroan
Image text-base: 0x60008900, data-base: 0x613D0000

cisco 7206VXR (NPE200) processor with 253952K/8192K bytes of memory.
R5000 CPU at 200Mhz, Implementation 35, Rev 1.2
6 slot VXR midplane, Version 2.1

Last reset from power-on
Bridging software.
X.25 software, Version 3.0.0.
1 FastEthernet/IEEE 802.3 interface(s)
125K bytes of non-volatile configuration memory.
4096K bytes of packet SRAM memory.

65536K bytes of ATA PCMCIA card at slot 0 (Sector size 512 bytes).
8192K bytes of Flash internal SIMM (Sector size 256K).

--- System Configuration Dialog ---

Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]: no

Press RETURN to get started!

Next I need to take note of how VMWare & Windows have configured my VMNet8 adapter, and configure the router accordingly:
Ethernet adapter VMware Network Adapter VMnet8:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::fcd4:2983:bcba:2d63%19
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.254.1
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

So Im using 192.168.254.1/24 so let’s setup the router.  Let’s give it a .10 for the heck of it.  Also I’m going to turn off DNS name resolution for the moment.
00:00:02: %DEC21140-3-DUPLEX_SPEED: FastEthernet0/0 doesn't support the configured duplexand speed combination
00:00:02: %DEC21140-3-DUPLEX_SPEED: FastEthernet0/0 doesn't support the configured duplexand speed combination
00:00:02: %DEC21140-3-DUPLEX_SPEED: FastEthernet0/0 doesn't support the configured duplexand speed combination
00:00:32: %LINK-5-CHANGED: Interface FastEthernet0/0, changed state to administratively down
00:00:32: %SYS-5-RESTART: System restarted --
Cisco Internetwork Operating Sys
Router>
Router>tem Software
IOS (tm) 7200 Software (C7200-IS-M), Experimental Version 12.0(20000110:181554) [otroan-thanksgiving-rel 175]
Copyright (c) 1986-2000 by cisco Systems, Inc.
Compiled Thu 20-Jan-00 15:07 by otroan
00:00:33: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface FastEthernet0/0, changed state to down
Router>ena
Router#config t
Enter configuration commands, one per line. End with CNTL/Z.
Router(config)#int fa0/0
Router(config-if)#ip address 192.168.254.10 255.255.255.0
Router(config-if)#no shut
Router(config-if)#exit
Router(config)#ip route 0.0.0.0 0.0.0.0 192.168.254.1
00:01:29: %DEC21140-3-DUPLEX_SPEED: FastEthernet0/0 doesn't support the configured duplexand speed combination
00:01:31: %LINK-3-UPDOWN: Interface FastEthernet0/0, changed state to up
00:01:32: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface FastEthernet0/0, changed state to up
Router(config)#no ip domain-lookup
Router(config)#exit
Router#wr
Building configuration...
[OK]
Router#
00:01:39: %SYS-5-CONFIG_I: Configured from console by console

And if everything is going well, I can now ping from Windows!
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.14393]
(c) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Users\neozeed>ping 192.168.254.10

Pinging 192.168.254.10 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 192.168.254.10: bytes=32 time=54ms TTL=255
Reply from 192.168.254.10: bytes=32 time=31ms TTL=255
Reply from 192.168.254.10: bytes=32 time=31ms TTL=255
Reply from 192.168.254.10: bytes=32 time=31ms TTL=255

Ping statistics for 192.168.254.10:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 31ms, Maximum = 54ms, Average = 36ms

C:\Users\neozeed>

Awesome!  Pinging from the cisco however fails.
Router#ping 192.168.254.1

Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 192.168.254.1, timeout is 2 seconds:
.....
Success rate is 0 percent (0/5)

This fails as Windows by default has it’s firewall on, which then blocks all incoming traffic. However to see that the ICMP would have succeded, you can look at the arp table, and the .1 address should have been learned:
Router#show arp
Protocol Address Age (min) Hardware Addr Type Interface
Internet 192.168.254.1 0 0050.56c0.0008 ARPA FastEthernet0/0
Internet 192.168.254.10 - ca00.3730.0000 ARPA FastEthernet0/0

We can either diable the firewall, or we can add a rule to permit ICMP. To do either you need to go to the firewall control panel in Windows.  In this quick example, I’m going to build a rule using the firewall control pannel.

So hit the advanced settings to the left.

Click on the ‘Inbound Rules’, and now we are going to create a new rule.

Select a Custom Rule

Allow ‘All Programs’

Then set the protocol to ICMPv4

Now we can select the scope of the rule, in this case we are going to allow the 192.168.254.0/24 network to pass icmp traffic to us.  Add it as a source and destination.

In this quick example I’m applying it everywhere.  I suppose a better  setup would be to make sure the VMNet 8 adapter is a ‘Private’ network, and ONLY apply this to the Private domain.

Then give it a name, something like ‘ICMP for VMnet8’

Router#ping 192.168.254.1

Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to 192.168.254.1, timeout is 2 seconds:
!!!!!
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 20/30/36 ms

And now we can ping!

Now for the fun, I go ahead and compile my hacked up tacacsd.c, and run it, and then permit it to run on all networks:

And now I can configure the router to use TACACS.  Keep in mind, once gain that this is *NOT* TACACS+ so this is done a little differently.  I’m going to simply set TACACS for telnet connections.

Router#config t
Enter configuration commands, one per line. End with CNTL/Z.
Router(config)#tacacs-server host 192.168.254.1
Router(config)#line vty 0 4
Router(config-line)#login tacacs
Router(config-line)#exit
Router(config)#enable password 0 cisco
Router(config)#exit
Router#wr
Building configuration...
[OK]
Router#
00:01:28: %SYS-5-CONFIG_I: Configured from console by console

And now I’m ready to test!
User Access Verification

Username: user
Password:
Router>who
Line User Host(s) Idle Location
0 con 0 idle 00:01:11
* 2 vty 0 user idle 00:00:00 192.168.254.1

Interface User Mode Idle Peer Address

Router>

As you can see I logged in as ‘user’ … and keep in mind my TACACS simply permits anything. As for what tacacsd runs by default:
D:\dynamips\tacacs>tacacsd.exe
server starting
using port 12544
validation request from 192.168.254.10
query for user (pw->pw_gecos) accepted

It’s not exciting, but as you can see it is attempting to look through the gecos to verify the user, but in this case I just allow anything.  And besides just granting anyone the ability to login, let’s take a look on the wire:

WireShark capture of TACACS traffic

As you can see the username & password go over the wire in plain text.  Even the response is simple enough to decode:

Access granted!

Needless to say this is something that you would NEVER EVER EVER run in a real network.  Of course a system that sits on telnet is vulnerable anyways, but I suppose a TACACS server that lets anyone log in, makes either a VERY trusting network, or a good honeypot.  Against my better judgement, here is tacacsd_win32.c  Naturally it could be easily made to verify passwords against pretty much anything.

WSAPoll & MinGW

For some reason if you try to use WSAPoll, you’ll get this fine error on linking:

poll.c:(.text+0x26): undefined reference to `WSAPoll’

Yeah.

Turns out that it’s basically missing from the includes.  Thanks to this hint, just simply add this into your source/header after pulling in winsock2.h and it’ll link.

typedef struct pollfd {
SOCKET fd;
SHORT events;
SHORT revents;
} WSAPOLLFD, *PWSAPOLLFD, FAR *LPWSAPOLLFD;
WINSOCK_API_LINKAGE int WSAAPI WSAPoll(LPWSAPOLLFD fdArray, ULONG fds, INT timeout);

And now you can happily compile and link.