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First post, by BinaryDemon

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Hi,

Link to youtube video (Crap Quality, Sorry): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cjead5TNkRc

Updates:

- now using the \dosbox folder in the root directory of the USB drive as the place to copy your DOS games.
- added a quick demo of DOSBox Distro's abilities, use the command: dbdmenu
- added a simple webbrower (QtWeb) for some quick web browsing, use the command: www
- added an APPSTORE to browse some common shareware/demos/utils, use the command: appstore
- added mnthelp to assist you in mounting additional drives within DOSBox, use the command: mnthelp
- added streaming internet radio, use the command: iradio
- media playback via mplayer, use the commands: playvid, playmus, stopmus
- added zdoom engine and games, use the commands: zdoom, zheretic, zhexen, zaction2, zstrife
- added eduke32 engine and game, use the command: eduke32
- added sdlquake engine and game, use the command: sdlquake
- added irc support via irssi, use the command irc
- added bbs support via telnet, use the commands: bbs, telnet
- added freeware dos programs for calculator, calendar, image viewing, image editing, music playback

A few weeks ago, I had an idea that creating a linux distro which booted straight to DOSBox would be a great way your dos game collection portable. After a bunch of digging, it turns out my idea wasn't unique. Other have done similar things but many of the methods used where complicated or slow. I decided to solve as many of the issues I could and see if I couldn't simply it since most people are linux command line wizards. Well after a few weeks of experimenting, I'd like to put it out there as a Beta and collect some feedback. I quickly threw together a Google Sites page detailing how to make your own DosBox LiveUSB here: https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/

This is the process.
1) Get yourself a USB stick that you don't mind formating (get your data off it). The ISO is 400mb, so lets say any usb stick 1gb or larger should be fine.
2) Download Rufus, it's a USB ISO burning Utility: https://rufus.akeo.ie/downloads/rufus-2.18.exe
3) Download DBD_BETA.iso https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1sqje_1NdJKWiQ … export=download
4) Use Rufus to 'burn' the ISO to your USB stick. Becareful which drive you are selecting.
Example Picture:
rufus_image.PNG
Note the important items - FAT32 filesystem, LABEL must be DOSBOX_BOOT (Linux is using the label to determine drive/path), Burn as ISO, and double check what ISO your burning.
5) Load your games onto USB stick. Your games go in: FLASHDRIVE_LETTER:\dosbox (I would have loved to make this directory in the root directory, I still hope to fix this)
6) Reboot or take usb stick to another computer. (Either press key at startup to select boot device or enter bios and configure Boot from USB)
7) If everything went well, your now at a dos prompt!

Sorry for the crappy image quality, I hope to do a youtube video demo'ing my latest efforts soon.

dbdmenu.jpg
dbdgames.jpg

Let me know what issues you encounter. I'm curious if audio works for everyone. What do you think of performance? Let me know if it didnt work at all. Thanks!

Last edited by BinaryDemon on 2018-12-29, 08:49. Edited 8 times in total.

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 22, by Cyberdyne

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God how i like when custom linux distros or Rasperry PI custom distros are uploaded full image. Not just a novel of text how to configure a linux "that" way.
Or maybe even use some kind of compiler 😠

I know that you have to learn, but everything in Linux world is allmost free, so what is stopping you to just upload your HDD/SD image.

So i thank you for that!

PS. A PCem linux distro would be allmost like a retro computer, so you even can mess with dos configurations 😎

I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.

Reply 2 of 22, by Zup

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Cyberdyne wrote:
God how i like when custom linux distros or Rasperry PI custom distros are uploaded full image. Not just a novel of text how to […]
Show full quote

God how i like when custom linux distros or Rasperry PI custom distros are uploaded full image. Not just a novel of text how to configure a linux "that" way.
Or maybe even use some kind of compiler 😠

I know that you have to learn, but everything in Linux world is allmost free, so what is stopping you to just upload your HDD/SD image.

So i thank you for that!

PS. A PCem linux distro would be allmost like a retro computer, so you even can mess with dos configurations 😎

It's "almost" a preconfigured full image.

Rufus is a very useful tool to format and/or check pendrives or flash cards, but it also can get (most) linux ISO images and convert it to bootable USBs (it even can convert some Microsoft Windows ISOs). There are other tools like unetbootin or yumi that can do the same thing. Just remember: Bootable ISO image + Rufus = Bootable USB.

In fact you could forget about Rufus, burn the ISO image and boot it from your CD. Doing it from a pendrive has two advantages: you can put your DOS apps on the pendrive and a pendrive will take more abuse than a CD.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 3 of 22, by Cyberdyne

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I know how to use rufus, and orher same kind of tools to convert isos to SD cards, make bootable SD and USB stuff. No poroblemo.

But messing with linux configuration, if someone has done the work, share the image, not start your instruction with some kind of a script that enables linux to automatically go somewhere without asking you to log in 😵 And before that you have to compile something custom, and then you have to download 832 different packages and toolkits, and then some more scripts, and then maybe you have something. And maybe you made one mistake along the way, and now it does not work. 😒

I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.

Reply 4 of 22, by BinaryDemon

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My only thoughts on posting a direct image is whatever size drive I use, that’s the size the user would be stuck with unless they are comfortable with gparted or another partioning utility. Am I wrong?

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 5 of 22, by Cyberdyne

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Image and partition resizing is so easy, if you compare it with linux "messing around".

I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.

Reply 6 of 22, by BinaryDemon

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Updated to fix the PATH and Screensize issues. (Beta4)

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 22, by XD3l

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Hello, I signed up on this forum to discuss this.

I just downloaded your mini distro tonight and tried it on two different computers.

1 was a Zotac mini all in one PC with a 1.6Ghz Intel Duo CPU and built in Intel graphics. With it, I do not get sound through HDMI or the Audio jacks on the computer, and Fallout plays slower than it does on the same computer booted into Mint and running DosBOX.

2 was a Dell Low Profile system running a Quad Core Intel running at 2.66Ghz and using a Geforce Gt610, though it seems to run Fallout even sllloowweerrr, and I also get no audio through HDMI or through the on board audio.

Other than that, I've got my eye on this and am very eager to watch it develop over time!

Reply 8 of 22, by BinaryDemon

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Sorry I didnt see this comment earlier. Thanks for your interest. Tinycore has some issues anytime hdmi audio is thrown into the mix. The speed issue is probably DosBox's default speed of 3000 cycles. Cant remember if I had the setspeed command finished for minimal version, maybe try something like: config +set "cpu cycles=38000".

38000 is my new default, its basically about the fastest a first gen atom cpu can handle. I don't expect people will be installing this on something slower than that. Hope to have a new beta out soon.

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 22, by BinaryDemon

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Hi,

I updated ISO with a lot of additional features.

See Original Post for installation details - latest Download: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1sqje_1NdJKWiQ … export=download

Updates:

- now using the \dosbox folder in the root directory of the USB drive as the place to copy your DOS games.
- added a quick demo of DOSBox Distro's abilities, use the command: dbdmenu
- added a simple webbrower (QtWeb) for some quick web browsing, use the command: www
- added an APPSTORE to browse some common shareware/demos/utils, use the command: appstore
- added mnthelp to assist you in mounting additional drives within DOSBox, use the command: mnthelp
- added streaming internet radio, use the command: iradio
- media playback via mplayer, use the commands: playvid, playmus, stopmus
- added zdoom engine and games, use the commands: zdoom, zheretic, zhexen, zaction2, zstrife
- added eduke32 engine and game, use the command: eduke32
- added sdlquake engine and game, use the command: sdlquake
- added irc support via irssi, use the command irc
- added bbs support via telnet, use the commands: bbs, telnet
- added freeware dos programs for calculator, calendar, image viewing, image editing, music playback

dbdmenu.jpg
dbdgames.jpg

I hope to make a youtube video soon. And possibly give away some hardware (thin clients) with DosBox Distro installed in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

-Binarydemon

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 22, by Delphius

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I had a bit of time to play around with this today. I am very much liking the concept especially in its simplicity. I especially liked the added dos tools that dont usually come preinstalled by dosbox. I also like the preconfigured speed menu to choose from. Everything seemed to work work from what I tell from running dosbox. Also an added plus for the talking menu screens. Very good start for a beta to demonstrate what its uses will be.

Things that came to mind,
More configuration would be nice, especially for sound options. Sound is a big one for me, so I think it would be awesome or crucial to have something to handle general midi. Either from sound font loading, or maybe even MUNT built in for MT32. Having this with an easy way to switch between them all would be great. Also including an option for plugging in a usb to external midi to run some midi hardware would be great as well.

Looking forward to seeing this project develop!

Reply 11 of 22, by BinaryDemon

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Thanks for testing and suggestions. What hardware or vm are you testing with now? To support some of those midi options, Pretty sure I would need to get the DOSBox ECE fork or something similar running.

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 12 of 22, by AndytheClown

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Downloaded this morning and tested on 2 laptops.
ASUS X55A - doesn't start DOSBox - stops with a cursor before the xWin opening
Samsung 305v - starts and runs all applications including network (NO SOUND) cannot exit browser

I hope this helps....

Andy

Reply 13 of 22, by AndytheClown

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Have you looked at puppy Linux? This is a very small and compact distro that has quite good compatibility.... with a lot of systems, I use it quite a lot and there's already an early build of DoxBox available

Reply 14 of 22, by AndytheClown

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Another two laptops tested with the live distro...
Dell Inspiron 15 (my main laptops) Freezes with a cross on the screen as the DoxBox opens,
Sony Vaio SVE151E11M Works with sound... only think that doesn't work was ... 4.Strife

Hope this helps. If not then I wouldn't be upset if you delete the comments, as I know they would have been read

Reply 15 of 22, by BinaryDemon

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Thanks for the feedback Andy.

To exit browser, close the tab. 😀 Or does that happen and it just doesnt return you to Dosbox?
I think I can improve the Sound Compatibility, just need to figure out the best way. I'm pretty sure in many instances it detects the sound devices, but is selecting the wrong one by default.
Odd that Strife doesnt work. Doom/Heretic/Hexen/Action2 mod/Strife are all using zdoom. I'm just swapping *wad files around.
I'll see if others report that issue. I've tried PuppyLinux before, just not recently.

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 22, by joeuser

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Thanks a lot for the work on this project, BinaryDemon. I was looking for a DOSBox distro, hence found your thread.

I tested it only with VirtualBox so far, where it worked without any problems. What I really like is your simple menu. Wondering how this would work then with larger collections? Have you tested this?

Like the idea of your appstore; is there a way to somehow point at specific server? Like a SMB or NFS share as an idea?
What also would be great, if the downloaded games would be extracted and listed directly in the menu 😀

What about making your dbdmenu the start screen by default? Anyone can leave it by pressing "X" immediately if not required (or change config, I assume?).

Thanks again and regards,
Joe

Reply 18 of 22, by BinaryDemon

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Thanks for your feedback Joeuser. It was my intention to load the dbdmenu.bat by default, and I flipflopped on that decision for a while. Ultimately I want people to spend time on the command prompt, or make their own custom menus. dbdmenu is basically just a showcase for the included apps/functions.

Your appstore ideas are interesting, I definitely would do it differently if I ever overhaul that. I did toy with the idea of command line FTP, similar to the fake irc / bbs functionality but it was more a linux experience than a DOS one.

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 19 of 22, by joeuser

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FTP would be nice indeed as well; although probably more for the elder among us being familiar with it. While I think also my kids could enjoy some DOS games (like Warcraft, which they really do), FTP could be a mission impossible for them. So there could be a "basic" and "advanced" appstore 😉