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.


This is super cool, building on Takeda Toshiya’s excellent MS-DOS Player, is a fusion of the MS-DOS emulation with portions of Wine to run Win16 applications on Win32 capable OS’s.

Excel 3.0a

Yes, it really can run Excel 3.0a.  I don’t know how much people will want a 27 year old spreadsheet, but here we go!  It’s incredibly buggy, and many Microsoft programs don’t like their accelerators, or menus, more things don’t run than do, but when they do it’s great.

The releases on the github page are quite old, and you’ll really want to bulid this from source.    You will need Visual Studio 2017 to build this, and I used the Community Edition.  While trying to compiling I got this error:

Really it’s no help at all

Performing Custom Build Tools
The system cannot find the path specified.

Well that doesn’t help us at all!

Setting the Tools -> Options -> Build and Run, MSBuild sections to both detailed verbosity revealed:

“C:\Users\neozeed\source\repos\winevdm-master\Release\convspec” “krnl386.exe16.spec” KERNEL > “krnl386.exe16.asm” && “C:\msys32\mingw64\bin\as” –32 -o “krnl386.exe16.obj” “krnl386.exe16.asm”
Performing Custom Build Tools
The system cannot find the path specified.

So it turns out it is using GNU GAS to assemble itself.  So I just copied in an ‘as.exe’ from another MinGW install I have lying around.

c:\msys32\mingw64\bin\as.exe –version
GNU assembler 2.17.50 20060824

So it doesn’t even have to be a hyper modern version, as you can see with the –32 we are building 32bit based stuff anyways.

And with that all done we have a release build.

F2c Dungeon

I had no luck with Sim City, but Sim Life & Sim Earth load at least, but not being able to use the menus means you can’t really use them.  Microsoft Word 1.1 won’t load at all, while Word 2.0 will load but again no menus, and it’s unable to register enough OLE to open documents so it’s not very useful again.  Although my ancient QuickC for Windows F2c port of Dungeon, works okay, although QuickC for Windows itself does not currently run.

WinHelp 3.00

Another great thing is that you can run WinHelp for all your ancient documenation fixes!  Also MS Write from the ancient days of Windows 3.0/3.1 works as well


You can download my binary build here: WineVDM_2018_07_30.7z.  It’s almost a given that you will need the Visual C++ 2017 runtime.

The latest version allows the menus to work properly so you can actually use Word for Windows 2.0 and SimEarth & SimLife now!  Further updates let you actually select and open files in Word for Windows 2.0!


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.

CrossOver 14 can run PowerStation Fortran 4.0!

Fortran users of the world, rejoice!

Dungeon being debugged
Dungeon being debugged

Not only does the CLI tools run, and compile stuff like say Dungeon, but much to my surprise, the UI works, and even better so does the debugger!

Personally, I’ve always preferred the Microsoft debugging tools.

Very cool, if I do say so myself.

Running MS SQL Server 4.21 on OS X.

Yes, you read that right.  Thanks to the power of Crossover (Wine) I’m running SQL 4.21 on OS X.  But the installation is *NOT* straightforward.  Actually it doesn’t install at all.  But you can ‘transport’ a working copy from a Windows machine into Wine, and it’ll run.

The first thing is, if you’ve ever dealt with MSSQL is that it is VERY picky about machine names.  So first install MS SQL 4.21 in a NT 3.1/3.5/3.51/4.0 VM with a name you like. Also remember to set the default client library to TCPIP. Then create a Wine instance on your target box.  Next you’ll need to make a few changes to the registry to force the machine name:










I called my machine MSDE, as I have no imagination.  With those keys in place the next thing to do is grab the service keys..




Then finally the MS SQL product key:


The final step was to copy over the c:\sql directory, and create icons for the SQL Server, and the management tool.

To run, start the server first (SQLSERVR.EXE) , then launch the admin tool (SQLADMIN.EXE), and you should (hopefully) be able to connect!

MS SQL Server 4.21 running on OS X
MS SQL Server 4.21 running on OS X

And there we go! Is it useful? Not really, but I mean it is cool! I haven’t tried this with 6.0 or 6.5 but I imagine they should work as well. 7.0 and beyond are more complicated to transpose as they require a great deal of COM integration. In theory they should work.