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First post, by BinaryDemon

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Has there ever been any talk of DOSBox as a Linux Distro?

I know quite a few gaming centric linux distro's include DOSbox, but I was curious has there ever been a specialize Linux Distro that loaded directly into DOSBox? Basically it would be like FreeDOS but with the massive hardware support (mostly for SB emulation) that Linux brings to the table.

I imagine it could be extremely lightweight distro since it wouldn't need a GUI, Web Browser, or many of the standard desktop applications. Or there could be a 'fat' version were typing 'Exit' dumps you into the linux desktop manager. Anyone working on anything like this?

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 1 of 16, by Auzner

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If other distros include dosbox from the beginning, why start all over with less features? Specializing the distro won't add any performance.

A minimal debian install can be setup to auto include every feasible feature for support and multimedia:
-preseeded install
-or a docker container https://hub.docker.com/search/?isAutomated=1&q=dosbox
-or a kickoff script
-or a deb package

Reply 3 of 16, by BinaryDemon

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I'm not very proficient with linux but I'm trying now. For my first attempt it looks like using Slax will be the quickest way to achieve my goal. I'm trying to figure out if i can remove some of the included modules like Chromium, apps, and desktop and then having it 'autostart' the DOSBox module.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 4 of 16, by Auzner

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apt remove
https://linux.die.net/man/8/apt-get
Debian netinst will be even more minimal and you won't have to remove those extra things.
https://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/
Or Ubuntu Server LTS
https://www.ubuntu.com/download/server

You can do anything with Linux, but not everyone markets and promotes their efforts in cooperation with a graphic designer and google ads. So it's possible there's a stripped bloat-less linux recipe out there with only dosbox. A lot of stuff may just be sitting out there as an "oh by the way" html 1.0 page tucked in a corner. Or public github projects.

Reply 5 of 16, by DosFreak

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Last time I played around with this I used Tiny Core but I really didn't see much point in it.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 6 of 16, by BinaryDemon

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Now that I looked at tinycore (core) and debian netinst, I'm convinced that is the way to go. Even those minimal configurations require >20mb of ram. Guess that will have to be OK, since anything with less ram would be old enough to have native DOS support. Hmm, you might be right about this idea being pointless. I just figured that a zero configuration, portable LiveCD/usb DOSBox might be useful but there isnt much difference booting directly into DOSbox vs clicking DOSbox installed on a lightweight linux distro.

Still I think I'll play around with it a bit longer.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 7 of 16, by Malik

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I use TinyCore bare minimum and build up from there just enough to load Dosbox. When done, just add the script to load Dosbox on boot.

TinyCore is quite fun to learn. I learnt to compile from source using TinyCore. I compiled both Timidity and MUNT with it, so that it will be a complete package to run with MT-32 music.

5476332566_7480a12517_t.jpgSB Dos Drivers

Reply 8 of 16, by BinaryDemon

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I started playing with Tinycore but realized apt-get wasn’t included which would make the installion of DOSbox more challenging.

Fortunately I found this:
https://github.com/superjamie/lazyweb/wiki/Boot-to-DOSBox

I’m going to give that a shot.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 9 of 16, by BinaryDemon

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Hey Guys - well I've got a DOSBox Live Distro to test if any of you are interested. TinyCore was a great recommendation. I got the debian version working first but honestly it was like 10x longer loading with more compatibility issues. I made a new thread about it here:

DosBox Distro - A LiveUSB made simple

Thanks!

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 10 of 16, by Panties

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BinaryDemon wrote:
I started playing with Tinycore but realized apt-get wasn’t included which would make the installion of DOSbox more challenging. […]
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I started playing with Tinycore but realized apt-get wasn’t included which would make the installion of DOSbox more challenging.

Fortunately I found this:
https://github.com/superjamie/lazyweb/wiki/Boot-to-DOSBox

I’m going to give that a shot.

I'm going to try this too... interesting... 😎

Reply 11 of 16, by Panties

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BinaryDemon wrote:

Hey Guys - well I've got a DOSBox Live Distro to test if any of you are interested. TinyCore was a great recommendation. I got the debian version working first but honestly it was like 10x longer loading with more compatibility issues. I made a new thread about it here:

DosBox Distro - A LiveUSB made simple

Thanks!

Hi BinaryDemon,

Here's some feedback:-
1. HP110-3500 - Onboard NO SOUND, but if I plug in a cheap china USB Soundcard and boot it, it does have sound. Graphic is NICE for Quake and Doom. (Probably because it doesn't come with driver for IDT 😊
- Sometimes, when I reboot the USB to restart DOSBOX, the DOSBOX wont load. Couple of reboot, wont load dosbox and it will auto-reboot itself. However, loading back to windows, and than boot back the USB, fix the issue. 😕

2. On Desktop - 775i65G Asrock - Onboard Sound Works..... Graphic also works... 😎
- Sometimes, when I reboot the USB to restart DOSBOX, the DOSBOX wont load. Couple of reboot, wont load dosbox and it will auto-reboot itself. However, loading back to windows, and than boot back the USB, fix the issue. 😕

Request:- Can you assist/guide me on how you build that? I wanna built the same thing, but instead of pendrive, I wanna install it to the Harddrive of this netbook. I have archlinux and mini-ubuntu installed (CLI only), i'll experiment it and build accordingly.... and oh yea, I gonna install TinyCore too... see which works best for DosBox Build! Im a newbie at linux, so hope you could assist me in my build.... 😎

Reply 12 of 16, by gLt

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Gr8 project!

I have some questions.

1) Can i install DBD on usb hard drive, and put it as internal ?
2) Can i set other keyset, and support polish characters in dos?
3) Can DBD support pendrives mount in dosbox?
4) Can i hide grub screen and other linux booting signs?

On my HP elitebook 840 sound doesnt work. What can i do to fix it ?

Regards.

Reply 13 of 16, by BinaryDemon

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gLt wrote:
Gr8 project! […]
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Gr8 project!

I have some questions.

1) Can i install DBD on usb hard drive, and put it as internal ?
2) Can i set other keyset, and support polish characters in dos?
3) Can DBD support pendrives mount in dosbox?
4) Can i hide grub screen and other linux booting signs?

On my HP elitebook 840 sound doesnt work. What can i do to fix it ?

Regards.

Sorry missed your post.

1) Should work, I've used similar method for IDE/SATA DOM's in Thin Clients.
2) Oh don't know. Tinycore is probably using US keyboard because I always have, not sure if it will adapt on fly. I've never looked into running dosbox in another language either.
3) Yes, I made a batch file mnthelp.bat to assist. Most people report that you should have the drive plugged in before PC is powered on. It's supposed to be constantly checking for new devices, a bug for sure.
4) I did test this but... it HID everything. I found that a blank black screen for 10-15 seconds is more un-nerving then seeing the linux boot status messages.

No good sound fix yet. I was hoping it was something simple like Tinycore was picking the wrong output device - then I could write a batch files which sent test msgs to every output device and then you could configure one you hear audio out of and reboot but I'm not convinced that's the case most of the time. No progress there yet.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 14 of 16, by washer

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Hey there,
I just tried using your DosBox distro and right after it loaded up, I could move my mouse with an X as the cursor, but then it sends termination command and shuts down my computer. Any idea what could be the cause?

- washer

Reply 15 of 16, by BinaryDemon

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Either the boot media is too slow and Dosbox doesn’t finish loading before my script kicks on and thinks DosBox was closed by user. In the future, I will extend this timeout.

Or

Something else. (File corruption, incompatible hardware?)

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 16 of 16, by Prosper

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Awesome - as soon as I get a few hours, I'm gonna try this out. I got an old Atom mini netbook from the thrift store for $6. I was considering straight up installing DOS on it, but a minimal dosbox distro sounds way better. Right now I have lubuntu on it, but ideally I want to move to something more application-specific (and that boots up as quick as possiblt). I need to do some research and tinkering - I want to install directly to the HDD, and I want to get wifi working, and SSHD installed. This looks like a good starting point