Retro OSes for retro computers

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby ArtiomWin » 2019-6-11 @ 12:36

Cyberdyne wrote:No not commercial UNIX, just Linux distros, because there are so many, and they are basically the same, and you can even make a minimal distro today, it does not really scream a certain period of time. It is allmost the same, if you call FreeDOS a retro operating system. But i dislike pure FreeDOS for different reasons, i like that DOS is clean, on the point and, minimalistic, but Feedos is like Linux, it starts up and tells me too mutch. Long licensing texts and so on. Thank god that it does not ask me to log in. Some time ago i made a FreeDOS distro just for my personal use, that mimics a classic DOS feel. But i abandoned that and still use industry standard MS-DOS 6.22 and 7.10. And tinker with DR-DOS.

I see your point. FreeDOS is touted as system that compatible with modern hardware and yet able to run legacy DOS software, however it's mostly unnecessary these days since PCem and its forks are matured enough you can install there most of legacy x86 systems. Few years ago you couldn't imagine these emulators would emulate MicroChannel architecture!
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby appiah4 » 2019-6-11 @ 12:44

I don't share this sentiment, the modern Linux kernel has shed a lot of compatibility with older hardware from itself, and 90s Linux is nothing like modern Linux.
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i486:U5SX-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290/S2
i586:P133|32M|S3T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby ArtiomWin » 2019-6-11 @ 20:41

appiah4 wrote:I don't share this sentiment, the modern Linux kernel has shed a lot of compatibility with older hardware from itself, and 90s Linux is nothing like modern Linux.

Maybe I just didn't get your opinion. Such difference may take place also between IBM OS/2 and its descendants like eComStation or ArcaOS.
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby appiah4 » 2019-6-11 @ 21:08

ArtiomWin wrote:
appiah4 wrote:I don't share this sentiment, the modern Linux kernel has shed a lot of compatibility with older hardware from itself, and 90s Linux is nothing like modern Linux.

Maybe I just didn't get your opinion. Such difference may take place also between IBM OS/2 and its descendants like eComStation or ArcaOS.


Indeed.. Does that mean we shouldn't discuss OS/2?
A500:+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
i386:Am386SX-25|4M|TVGA9000B|Gold-16
i486:U5SX-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290/S2
i586:P133|32M|S3T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
i686:K6-2/400|64M|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-12 @ 02:39

appiah4 wrote:Nice.. Should we maybe have a seperate 'Best Linux Distros for Retro PCs' thread or just discuss that here?

Not a bad idea. Most modern stuff is way too bloated. Tried a more modern linux distro on my P1 166 with S3 Virge/DX video card, 32megs ram and it complained about not enough ram. Xandros2 from around 2002 ran just fine. Early distros of the 90s never had auto config routines like today, later ones did start doing that ie coral linux. Also each one has a different routines. Ones that work fine on my P1 testing set up so far are Xandros 2, Turbo Linux 6, earlier Red Hat. earlier Mandrake 6/7 and SuSE 7.2. I could even set up apt to some more archives to get more software. Of course you can compile but that takes ages. KDE 3 on Xandros is more bloated than Window Maker or Gnome 1.2. I use to run Red Hat 7.3 on a P200mmx system with 256megs of ram, 2meg vdeo card and that run fine in X once I got rid of all the Gnome stuff and Nautilus crap. I'd personally say a 2.2*-2.4* kernals are ideal for these systems for nostalgic an practical reasons. Most distros these days are for 686 or greater even 32 bit support is dropping on a few. So no they are not the same. Like NT 3.* and Windows 10 are not the same.

Wrt FreeDos you can get a floppy version. I use DCUs MSDos 7.1 that can be installed just off the first disk giving you an even leaner version compared to MS Dos 5 and 6* yet with fat32 support.

Of course we should consider the likes of older OS/2 and *nix variants.
Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2019-6-12 @ 05:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-12 @ 04:58

ArtiomWin wrote:Just installed SCO Open Desktop to emulator. This system runs smoothly on Pentium 66 and 8 megs RAM. But installation is a very long process (more than 40 floppies!).
Here's how it look likes:
20190611_113929.png
Thats pretty cool. Of course REAL hardware is the way to go :)
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby appiah4 » 2019-6-12 @ 07:34

Caluser2000 wrote:
appiah4 wrote:Nice.. Should we maybe have a seperate 'Best Linux Distros for Retro PCs' thread or just discuss that here?

Not a bad idea. Most modern stuff is way too bloated. Tried a more modern linux distro on my P1 166 with S3 Virge/DX video card, 32megs ram and it complained about not enough ram. Xandros2 from around 2002 ran just fine. Early distros of the 90s never had auto config routines like today, later ones did start doing that ie coral linux. Also each one has a different routines. Ones that work fine on my P1 testing set up so far are Xandros 2, Turbo Linux 6, earlier Red Hat. earlier Mandrake 6/7 and SuSE 7.2. I could even set up apt to some more archives to get more software. Of course you can compile but that takes ages. KDE 3 on Xandros is more bloated than Window Maker or Gnome 1.2. I use to run Red Hat 7.3 on a P200mmx system with 256megs of ram, 2meg vdeo card and that run fine in X once I got rid of all the Gnome stuff and Nautilus crap. I'd personally say a 2.2*-2.4* kernals are ideal for these systems for nostalgic an practical reasons. Most distros these days are for 686 or greater even 32 bit support is dropping on a few. So no they are not the same. Like NT 3.* and Windows 10 are not the same.

Wrt FreeDos you can get a floppy version. I use DCUs MSDos 7.1 that can be installed just off the first disk giving you an even leaner version compared to MS Dos 5 and 6* yet with fat32 support.

Of course we should consider the likes of older OS/2 and *nix variants.


2.2-2.4 is indeed the best Kernel for pre-2000 stuff, I ran Slackware 3.something on 486/Pentium hardware circa 97-98 and Redhat 5.2-6.0 on Pentium II/III hardware circa 98-2000. This was the time I was having to let go of OS/2 and wanted an alternative - I just refused to move to Windows. I basically almost completely skipped Windows 95, ran a bit of Windows 98 and Windows won me over with Windows 2000..

I would really appreciate a thread to discuss older Linux distros and what distro works best for which hardware, I think..
A500:+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
i386:Am386SX-25|4M|TVGA9000B|Gold-16
i486:U5SX-33|8M|GD5428|CT2290/S2
i586:P133|32M|S3T64+/MX2|V1|CT3980/32M
i686:K6-2/400|64M|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
S370:P3-1200|384M|GF4Ti4200|MX300
S754:A3700+|2G|X1950PRO|SB0350
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby ArtiomWin » 2019-6-12 @ 21:01

Caluser2000 wrote:Thats pretty cool. Of course REAL hardware is the way to go :)

Well, I don't have lot of space for vintage hardware, but it's still interesting to look up at ancient software...
P.S. I'm also posting to unlock PM sending :blush:
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-12 @ 22:12

Makes sense. In emulation you can try out all sorts of software from a variety of platforms. I'm just with a lot of space and time on his hands.
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby ArtiomWin » 2019-6-14 @ 20:58

Hello. Today/tonight post refers to where the topic started.
Last year, QNX 2.xx finally made it's way to Internet Archive, and now I would like to post here screens of it. Yes, that's not demo disk, but full version!
(here's version 2.15G)
20190614_233516.png
20190614_233516.png (5.19 KiB) Viewed 287 times
Attachments
20190614_233615.png
20190614_233615.png (7.64 KiB) Viewed 287 times
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby lolo799 » 2019-6-16 @ 22:14

ArtiomWin wrote:Just installed SCO Open Desktop to emulator. This system runs smoothly on Pentium 66 and 8 megs RAM. But installation is a very long process (more than 40 floppies!).

40 floppies, doing it in an emulator is obviously easier, doing it on a real machine is tedious...

ArtiomWin wrote:
appiah4 wrote:Nice.. Should we maybe have a seperate 'Best Linux Distros for Retro PCs' thread or just discuss that here?

Or "Best exotic OS for retro PCs" since many systems mentioned here are not so old actually...

I think we can use this thread for that, and yes, the "Retro OSes" is not completely accurate as there are still developed Oses that run on old computers, like the one I'll write about below.

Cyberdyne wrote:No not commercial UNIX, just Linux distros, because there are so many, and they are basically the same, and you can even make a minimal distro today, it does not really scream a certain period of time. It is allmost the same, if you call FreeDOS a retro operating system. But i dislike pure FreeDOS for different reasons, i like that DOS is clean, on the point and, minimalistic, but Feedos is like Linux, it starts up and tells me too mutch. Long licensing texts and so on. Thank god that it does not ask me to log in. Some time ago i made a FreeDOS distro just for my personal use, that mimics a classic DOS feel. But i abandoned that and still use industry standard MS-DOS 6.22 and 7.10. And tinker with DR-DOS.

You can make a minimal distro today, but saying old Linux distros don't scream a certain period of time is wrong, just check for exemple an old RedHat like the 5.x, or Suse 5.x, you'll see they differ a lot from recent installments.

For today, 3 floppy disks sized OS, 2 of them based on Linux.
-First one is a bootable root disk based on a 0.99 kernel, it comes as a 1.2MB and a 1.44MB image, the intro part of the readme says this:
Linux Bootable Root Disk [HJ release]

Introduction
------------
This is a bootable root disk for Linux. The kernel is 0.99 patch level 7
with 387 emulation, minix fs, msdos fs (version 0.10 hacked for 0.99.7),
ext fs, ext2 fs, xia fs (with fix for 0.7.3), SCSI, CD-ROM and TCP/IP
support. There are some basic binaries on the root disk, all of which are
linked with the C library 4. There is a light version of the shared image
4.3.3, libc-lite.so.4.3.3, which doesn't have curses and gdbm. I don't
have an Ethernet card to check out TCP/IP. Please consult the NET channel
and modify /etc/*.

root099-1440.png
root099-1440.png (8.48 KiB) Viewed 251 times
rootdisk099.zip
(1.31 MiB) Downloaded 3 times


Second one is a later version of cramdisk that I posted on the first page at viewtopic.php?f=61&t=61085#p690820
It's the 2.02 version from 1997, running the 2.0.26 kernel and requiring a 486 with 16MB of RAM, it comes on 2 superformatted floppy, the 2nd floppy containing a small X Windows system.
It uses superformatted floppies in an interesting way, here's an excerpt from the readme:
The "net.16MB" distribution makes use of the /dev/fd0H1920 driver
built into the recent Linux kernels to give 30% more capacity
than a standard 1.44 MB floppy. The first 19 sectors (it's probably meant to say tracks) of the
floppy (tracks 0-18) are formatted normally (18 sectors/track)
but the remainder (tracks 19-79) are formatted with 24
sectors/track.

cramdisk-2.0.part1.rar
(3 MiB) Downloaded 3 times
cramdisk-2.0.part2.rar
(2.28 MiB) Downloaded 3 times


Last one is a 16-bit real mode one man project currently being developed, written in assembler, it comes as a 1.44MB floppy, runs on as little as a 386 with 640KB, comes with a bunch of applications and games, the full source code is available and there's documentation as well:
snowdrop2.png
snowdrop2.png (10.41 KiB) Viewed 251 times
Get it (or just take a look at the many screenshots) on its author's website:
http://sebastianmihai.com/snowdrop/
And if you don't have time to give it a try, he also made a video of it at https://youtu.be/ICEThAwd7Ik
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-21 @ 23:02

Basic Linux 3 is a small distro based on Slackware 4.0. It can be installed to an ext2 partition and you add extra packages if you want. http://distro.ibiblio.org/baslinux/ They have links to Slackware ftp reposatories.
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby creepingnet » 2019-6-25 @ 23:21

Writing from my phone...large text? Just some thoughts so don't take it too seriously

That said, I see a lot of talk in this thread about doing fairly modern things with alternative OS on older PC hardware.

I've found the best platforms for that for me are still DOS and Windows because that's what everyone focused on.

A prospect as a Retrocomputing guy is the idea of maybe building a whole new O/S using what say...almost 40 years of knowledge and experience via the Internet that we have would be interesting.

A lot of what has been created as result of it's time period. Some were made to gain traction in the market, make PCs more accessable to non technical people, make newer PCs run at their full potential, connect to mainframe 10+ years old UNIX archetecture, make computing more accessable to the poor, make PCs more secure, split off from a competitor, or make up for past product mistakes with a whole new platform.

But now..the 8086, 286, 386, 486, Pentium, and a couple gens higher don't have these urgent roadblocks a new OS can solve. It's a 100% geek/nerd platform. Sally in HR no longer needs to be taught repeatedly that she can use DIR /W to find her files.

I really wish I could take up ASM and get good enough to create a solid bootloader, filesystem, and go from there. The sky is the the limit when you're not a multi-million dollar corporation trying to strangle the market, or trying to make a self-sensing borderline sentient AI pile of algorithms trying to make your computer as easy to use as your toaster.
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Re: Retro OSes for retro computers

Postby matze79 » 2019-7-09 @ 06:13

BonnyDOS/286

http://bonnydos.retro-net.de/

Shell:
bdos286.jpg


Graphical Enviroment:
bdos286-2.jpg


A Wordprocessor:
bdos286-1.jpg
https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de
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