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WriteLn and DOSBox

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MarkMLl:

--- Quote from: Re-searcher on June 21, 2021, 11:40:56 am ---@MarkMLI

Can you tell us which dos version is installed on this laptop (Sony Miaow laptop) ?

Before installing GO32V2.

Erik

--- End quote ---

The latest FreeDOS. I messed around with various combinations using a scratch disk, but I think I ended up leaving it on a secondary partition of the live disk booted via GRUB hence one of the non-standard boot managers.

MarkMLl

lucamar:

--- Quote from: MarkMLl on May 29, 2021, 10:43:19 pm ---** The reason I was interested in looking at this was that I wanted to see how nicely FreeDOS played with other OSes etc. So far, I suspect that most of the problems I've seen were down to misinterpreted sector addresses, i.e. LBA vs non-LBA partition table entries, [...]
--- End quote ---

More problems than that gives trying to use a GPT partitioned vs. a traditional one, and since most hardware now comes GPT-partitioned ... Though I'm not quite as up-to-date as I used to be in FreeDOS; we just use v1.2 in old (or "make-up to look old") hardware when we need to install a new one; maybe the new 1.3 to-be is better in this respect.

Of course one solution, as you've discovered, is to use GRUB (or similar) to boot, though you might also find some problems with that in some configurations. That's probably one of the reason why most so-called "FreeDOS" (meaning "non-OS") computers actually have some kind of small Linux (like EndlessOS).


--- Quote ---Leaving everything else aside, I can confirm that FPC 3.2.0 on Go32V2 running directly on i386 hardware (Sony Miaow laptop) renders all characters and character positions correctly, in particular the menu that you showed in your posting.

So I'd put my money on this being a problem in a library or BIOS facility used by multiple x86 emulators. ****
--- End quote ---

That's actually quite interesting ... and rather baffling, since the IDE has been working quite well till now and the only piece I can think of having to bear with this would be the Bosch (virtual) VGA BIOS, and that's a really mature and optimized piece of software. The other thing it might be would be the VGA emulation, but those are also rather mature and well understood. I would love to have the time to investigate this more fully, sounds interesting; unfortunately I haven't got it :(

MarkMLl:

--- Quote from: lucamar on June 21, 2021, 01:35:37 pm ---More problems than that gives trying to use a GPT partitioned vs. a traditional one, and since most hardware now comes GPT-partitioned ... Though I'm not quite as up-to-date as I used to be in FreeDOS; we just use v1.2 in old (or "make-up to look old") hardware when we need to install a new one; maybe the new 1.3 to-be is better in this respect.

--- End quote ---

Well, this is specifically my "old OS" laptop: formatted using Windows XP and usually booting into Debian "Lenny". However, since setting that up I've discovered that I can run a Lenny image entirely happily under Docker, which I suspect would also obfuscate (render irrelevant due to its being inaccessible) things like the distinction between classic and GPT partitioning. And if Docker's won't play ball there's always Qemu, or at a pinch UML (although if hosted on 64-bit hardware it can't run a 32-bit kernel).


--- Quote ---Of course one solution, as you've discovered, is to use GRUB (or similar) to boot, though you might also find some problems with that in some configurations. That's probably one of the reason why most so-called "FreeDOS" (meaning "non-OS") computers actually have some kind of small Linux (like EndlessOS).

--- End quote ---

I suspect that much of FreeDOS's compatibility with modern hardware is based on HP using it on a diagnostic partition.


--- Quote ---
--- Quote ---Leaving everything else aside, I can confirm that FPC 3.2.0 on Go32V2 running directly on i386 hardware (Sony Miaow laptop) renders all characters and character positions correctly, in particular the menu that you showed in your posting.

So I'd put my money on this being a problem in a library or BIOS facility used by multiple x86 emulators. ****
--- End quote ---

That's actually quite interesting ... and rather baffling, since the IDE has been working quite well till now and the only piece I can think of having to bear with this would be the Bosch (virtual) VGA BIOS, and that's a really mature and optimized piece of software. The other thing it might be would be the VGA emulation, but those are also rather mature and well understood. I would love to have the time to investigate this more fully, sounds interesting; unfortunately I haven't got it :(

--- End quote ---

But as I've said before, the issue appeared to be whether the characters being displayed were strict-ANSI or extended. What's the saying... "When you have eliminated the impossible the remainder, however unlikely, must be the truth"? :-)

MarkMLl

MarkMLl:

--- Quote from: lucamar on June 21, 2021, 01:35:37 pm ---That's actually quite interesting ... and rather baffling, since the IDE has been working quite well till now and the only piece I can think of having to bear with this would be the Bosch (virtual) VGA BIOS, and that's a really mature and optimized piece of software. The other thing it might be would be the VGA emulation, but those are also rather mature and well understood. I would love to have the time to investigate this more fully, sounds interesting; unfortunately I haven't got it :(

--- End quote ---

I wonder why the Bochs manual has this, with no further explanation?

"6.3 Text-mode is broken in some ancient DOS program"

https://bochs.sourceforge.io/doc/docbook/user/textmode-problems.html

MarkMLl

lucamar:

--- Quote from: MarkMLl on July 03, 2021, 01:43:05 pm ---I wonder why the Bochs manual has this, with no further explanation?

"6.3 Text-mode is broken in some ancient DOS program"

https://bochs.sourceforge.io/doc/docbook/user/textmode-problems.html
--- End quote ---

Probably because lots of EGA/VGA/SVGA clones BIOSes (nevermind the hardware itself) were quite buggy so as soon as you tried something "esoteric" like, for example, change the number of lines (e.g. to 28/30 or 50/60 lines) all kinds of mayhem might ensue: characters chopped off, cursor mishaps, vsync going bonkers, etc.

I wrote a program to do precisely that (change the lines to one of twelve modes) and it's full of kluges to deal with those bugs, along with a long list of cards/chipsets/BIOSes with some problem or other and whether they could be worked around somehow.

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