People were excited, but then kind of dismayed as they couldn’t really do much with it. Oddly enough the source code release really didn’t have any notes on how to build it, although everything needed is included. I went looking for information on how to build Word to see why it keeps doing weird things on WineVDM, and I came across this thread on betaarchive:
Special props to yksoft1 for getting it to build in the first place, and Ringding for noticing that the OS/2 supplied compiler binaries can be re-bound to run under MS-DOS using a MS-DOS Extender.
So I went ahead and fired up Qemu and within an hour I had done it!
Well this is great fun, and all, but there isn’t a heck of a lof of people with Windows 2.x around anymore. And of course Word 1.1a really wanted to have 2.11 or higher. It has some hooks for what would be Windows 3.0 although I think it was much more. Although it certainly doesn’t want to run (unmodified) under debug release 1.14.
So now that the world has gone beyond Win16 OS’s what can you do?
Well the tip of WineVDM will run it!
So now there is some new life for this old word processor.
Another fun thing in Word 1.1a is that it has an early implementation of MDI letting you view and work with several documents at once. Naturally you would need a massive monitor, which we all have today. Although people tend to just launch more than one copy of Word to accomplish this.
So now on my 64bit machine I can not only play with the source to Word, but I can run it at unimaginable resolutions on my modern machine!
I stumbled onto these three disks, seemingly out of place in history. Windows/386 version 2.0 is a strange one in that it shipped to OEM’s in late 1987, making it & Xenix part of the initial 386 wave of Operating Systems/Environments and beating out not only the OS/2 launch in 1988, but taking advantage of the 80386’s v86 mode, something that OS/2 wouldn’t be able to do in a shipping product until 1992.
This version itself appears to be a retail version of Windows/386 lacking any clear OEM identification that was so prevalent for the era. Indeed setting it up it offers a few interesting platforms:
Getting this to run was a little bit of a challenge as much as I prefer Qemu, these older 2.0x versions of Windows/386 have a BIOS/disk incompatibility with the hypervisor resulting in errors reading the hard disk. Although PCem/86Box have no such issues. I think it’ll run off floppy/CD-ROM/Network without any issue though.
The PCjs version of 2.03 has 138 setup files (not counting the PIFs), compared to the eBay’s 141, while the PCjs 2.01 has 59 files.
That said, well it’s Windows/386 mostly from 1987 with slightly updated EGA/CGA VMM drivers from early 1988 that just didn’t quite make the cut. To me what is confusing, is that it identifies as 2.03 while it’s closer to 2.01 in file count and functionality, unlike 2.03 it really ought to have been a 2.02, if there even was such a thing.
Otherwise it’s really not all that interesting short of the timestamp. It’ll run on CGA/EGA *IF* you have the proper adapter in place, although VGA is compatible, the environment will detect that it’s not actually the proper card and refuse to run. I tried to put in the 2.01 CGA/EGA drivers, but that resulted in an OS version mismatch (I didn’t check if 2.01 was locked to the Compaq OEM of MS-DOS)
I installed the infamous pair Word & Excel. Despite Word 1.1a demanding at least Windows 2.11, it appears to run okay. Excel 2.1d loaded without complaining. There isn’t very much convential memory for either, but they both can use expanded memory, which the hypervisor can create and share out without any emm386 or any equivalent driver. I can only imagine the incompatibles of trying to balance these drivers at the time, and how much the coming DPMI specification was needed.
And as the old saying goes the three top problems in Windows version 2 is memory, memory and memory. Trying to run anything graphical will exhaust convential ram, forcing you to single task anything graphical which kind of defeats the whole point of Windows. You go from this:
Oh well it’s 1987, and users were kind of used to being disappointed as such. It’s really no wonder why Windows 3.0 became the smash it it was.
And of course you can't talk about Windows/386 without this gem. (Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).
As it started as an experiment on Windows 2, it became a product on it’s own, and launched an entire industry, along with being copied by every major OS vendor. In the 90’s having a screen saver was key, just as having simple games like solitaire, especially a broken shuffle one where the user wins most of the time led to Windows being heavily favored in the work space.
So for the heck of it, I figured I’d check it out, and as always thanks to Jason Scott, there is a copy of 1.02 on cd.textfiles.com And as reported it’s basically the ‘mystify your mind’ screen saver.
The runaway hit Magic Screensaver became After Dark, which then had several licensed addons like the Simpsons, Star Wars etc. Back then themes for Windows were popular along with sound effects. A lot of the functionality is still in Windows, although most people prefer that their machines are silent, only making audible alerts if there really is something wrong. But back in the day a ‘multimedia desktop’ was a $5,000 noise maker, and not many offices were impressed. Which of course gave rise to the ‘office sound card’
Naturally under Windows there were virtual device drivers to emulate a sound blaster, as people still wanted to game with this cheaper ‘business audio’ card, although with the rise of Windows 95/Direct X gaming under Windows finally became a thing making Sound Blaster compatibility a thing of the past.
But going back to After Dark, they made a fatal error of teaming up with Berkeley Systems, who eventually started to make their own releases pushing the original team out of their own product.
The toasters became focal in a few lawsuits, namely the Jefferson Airplane album, although it was dismissed as the artwork for the album had not been trademarked! And they were able to force the Opus ‘n Bill screen saver where Opus shoots the toasters. Late they changed the toasters to have propellers to avoid being too similar.
Oddly stuff like screen savers too have largely fallen out of fashion with the rise of power saving monitors that just turn themselves off either from a lack of new images, or a signal from the OS.
One of those weird legacy things that in today’s world really doesn’t have that much meaning, but a scant 20 years ago was a major industry.
Well for some reason I was interested in Tetris (Тетрис), and wanted to find an early version. Looking around I did manage to find some background by Vadim Gerasimov, on the whole origin of Tetris. What I never realized is that the first version was written for a Soviet PDP-11 clone, then ported to the IBM PC using Turbo Pascal! Or that it was all done in text mode! The thought at the time is that every PC could run 40 colum mode, and thus would run Tetris.
Along the way I did manage to find some other early Russian artifacts for the IBM PC, namely MS-DOS 4.01 which not only has its own site, but has an excellent view into the history of localizing MS-DOS, and what the culture was like at the time. There is even a promo video in Russian of course..
And I did come across a ‘Перевод’ of Windows 2.1 done in 1990, but no luck on Windows 3.0 .. I wonder if they ever had OS/2 1.x ..? Which speaking of non english versions of OS/2 1.x seem non existent, but I did find reference to there being a release in Japan, but naturally not even a screen shot.. I did find one rather harsh review of Windows/286 2.1 (Pусский), but seeing as far as I can tell there was no Excel 2 or Word 1 for Windows in Russian it would have been pointless running it back then.. Unless you had the 386 version!
So I figured, I’d mash in as much of the Russian bits into Windows/386, add in Tetris, and include some Amiga MOD files for the music (yes, besides being text based, there was *NO* music in the original tetris! The Adlib! didn’t exist back then). I’ve used the excellent 8bitboy to play the music.. You can mute if if you so wish, or skip around to various tracks…
So while not all that ‘authentic’ it’s close enough I think…
Without a doubt the 32x was one of the biggest disappointments by SEGA. Designed in a late night fit of rage in Las Vegas, the 32x was to be the middle step from the Genesis to the 32bit Saturn. The Saturn got rushed, and what happened is that in America the 32x had less than a six month lifespan. Not to mention the model 1’s had bus issues with the 32x if the user didn’t have a Sega-CD.
And of course the 32x required ANOTHER power adapter, supplied two SH2 RISC processors much like the Saturn, but included a measly 256kb of RAM, required you to pipe the Genesis video into the 32x where it did its own video genlock (that can’t be cheap right?), and did nothing to the cartridge sizes, so you were still capped at 4MB!
If that wasn’t enough there even was an infomercial.
Yes that is right, an infomercial!!! I dare you to watch it, in all of it’s 1990’s glory. I made it 90 seconds. Ugh the horror. I wonder if this was done by the Windows/386 people.
HTI (Hates the internet) chose this program called rlfossil, which is for MS-DOS..
RLFOSSIL is an implementation of multi-line serial port driver corresponding to the Fido/Opus/Seadog level 5 specification and a simple HAYES-compatible modem emulator. It allows applications usually worked through BBS’s to run on the Internet, or in IP-based local net.er, and rlogin and telnet emulation using IP services numbers 513 & 23. RLFOSSIL allows combined work with other FOSSIL drivers (X00,BNU etc.).
So I thought between that, and all the Windows/386 excitement I’d try for something even more insane. How about running a multiline BBS on Windows?
So in the same effort, I was going to use Qemu 0.14.1, with MS-DOS 4.01 (the first version I could find that came with share.exe), and Windows/386 2.11. The installation of MS-DOS 4.01 worked fine on an 80MB disk image, thankfully it was one of the things that DOS 4 could do better then 3 is large disk images… Yes I know 3.31 could as well, but it didn’t come with share so it was out. One strange thing after install was this message…
It is kind of forboding that DOS is warning me that because of my “large” disk I better run share. Since I plan on having a multi node BBS all in one computer, I need to run share anyways.
The next exciting part was installing Windows/386 2.11. The installation went pretty smooth, and with Qemu the mouse worked fine. So far, so good. I couldn’t use himem.sys that comes with Windows/386, nor could I use the himem.sys that comes with MS-DOS as the Windows/386 version complains that that A20 line is already active (?) and the MS-DOS one has Windows complaining that the HMA is already in use. Sadly then my conventional memory footprint will be unsatisfactory, but I don’t see any way around it.
The next part is configuring rlfossil. rlfossil needs a driver to talk to the network card, and you can find them on crynwr, namely the ‘other‘ packet archive, which contains NE2000 drivers. Keeping with HTI, I’m going to use the NE2000 and configure Qemu with the PCI NE2000 driver.
Packet drivers are loaded from the command line something like this:
ne2000 0x60 11 0xc100
This loads the driver on software interrupt 0x60, and by default the PCI NE2000 is configured for IRQ 11, port 0xc100. Qemu 1.6.0 changed the PCI NE2000 to use port 0xc000 for what it is worth..
So keeping with the HTI tradition, I’m going to put my packet driver (ne2000.com) and unpack the rlfossil archive in c:\packet. The next thing to do is configure rlfossile which uses the wattcp configuration file. Since I’m going to use the usermode NAT and a redirect, I configure my VM like this:
This configures the VM for 16MB of ram (which would have cost a FORTUNE back then), the PCI NE2000, and it’ll redirect telnet from my host machine into the VM.
And just like HTI, I went with telegard, because it supports fossil based ports.
Well that sure was a *LOT* of work, and surprisingly testing it with a single node, actually works. And you can bring up a few other MS-DOS prompts and it’ll work fine. But if you launch the second node…
Disaster struck. So needless to say, while Windows/386 was pretty slick for the day it just couldn’t measure up. So I figured for the hell of it, I’d try Windows 3.0 I mean I would have imagined that Windows 3.0 most certainly could NOT handle this kind of challenge.
So with some disks shuffled, I fired it up and..
It actually worked! So with a LOT of chaos going on I managed to get Trade Wars 2002 running, although I couldn’t figure out how to automatically figure out the node.. Hell the whole door configuration thing is.. bizarre. Synchronet really kicks ass in regards to easy of configuration.
And using PIF’s to configure each node for some easy of launching, and some reduced memory, I could easily run all four nodes that rlfossil can support.
I have to admit, Windows 3.0 really is impressive considering all the UAE’s and how generally crappy we thought it was at the time. I’m sure even emulated having a multiple Ghz cpu helps quite a bit.
And look at all that memory.. I guess it’s pretty impressive it even works. Since Windows anything throttles the CPU at 100% I’m not going to put this online…. Although at the same time combined with an CPU idle program (is there a Windows 3.0 idle vxd?) it sits ok, but who wants a single user system in 2011?
While one may think that Windows 2.x started with the ‘regular’ version, it does indeed turn out that rather the 386 specific version was rushed out the door to appease Compaq, and their new Desqpro 386 computer, namely the 20Mhz 386 model that was going to debut in late 1987. Indeed, Compaq not only set the standard with the 386 CPU, but they were going to set the future standard of bundling not only MS-DOS but Microsoft Windows. At this moment in 1987 you could really say that the ‘modern pc market’ was born.
And it does make perfect sense, with 386 specific software being very rare/hard to come by, keeping in mind that Phar lap 386 was only announced in December of 1986! But it was expensive, and 386 specific applications cost a fortune, and didn’t have wide market penetration (we were still years away from DOS4G/W or GCC).
Another thing to keep in mind is that OS/2 had not shipped either at this point, and apparently this version of Windows/386 would not even support the IBM PS/2 model 80, as there was some noise about IBM not wanting to bundle Windows on their computers. Now when you think about it, it is kind of funny that Windows an inferior product came out with a GUI and multitasking MS-DOS via the 386’s v86 mode, while OS/2 was still in a beta stage. Not to mention IBM’s reluctance to bundle Windows/386 shows just how the Windows rift was an issue even back in 1987!
And it’s no wonder why this was going to be a hit. And the UI looks just like how Presentation Manager for OS/2 1.1 was going to look, almost a full year before OS/2 1.1 was delivered (Halloween 1988!)
Now trying to peg down exactly When these releases of Windows 2.x were, esp with Windows/386 2.01 being the first, in September of 1987.
From what I can work out, Windows 2.01 ‘regular’ was shipped around November of 1987, with the 2.1 update in July of 1988, and 2.11 in March of 1989.
While on the topic of Windows 2, there was one slightly interesting feature, of the ‘regular’ or ‘286’ version of this product. It could multitask MS-DOS. No really, but it was all out of the same conventional memory space. So unless you were into COM programs it wasn’t terribly useful.
The later 286 versions included early himem.sys drivers that permitted some trickery with the A-20 gate allowing an additional 64kb of ram to be accessed from real mode. It may be a good thing that nobody found out about unreal mode at the time..!
I don’t know if it is even possible to tell them apart, besides the 386 and 286 (regular) versions but here is a small gallery of Windows 2.0 running command.com
Included is something special for the 2 or 3 people that’ll figure it out. 🙂