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First post, by arsenix

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I think this is likely a common question and I didn't find a conclusive discussion anywhere on the internet... what do folks think is the most straighforward and lightest weight (in terms of conventional memory/RAM usage on the DOS machine) configuration to share a network store to a DOS machine? Given how slow/inconvenient floppies and other methods are this seems like a common need for easily transferring files to older machines. I have a CNC mill that runs DOS and I regularly shuttle NC programs to it. Was using floppies which is irritating.

I recently setup MS Client 3.0 on the DOS machine, then setup a Samba share on a Linux server (which I already had running). This wasn't too difficult. Primary challenge was enabling lanman authentication on Samba (which is typically disabled since it is insecure as heck). I spent some time shuffling around memory and managed to get 571k of conventional memory free (with required stuff loaded... ansi.sys, smartdrv, doskey). This is enough to run my CNC control software but still not amazing. I'm not that excited about having lanman auth enabled on my samba server either!

I wondered if anyone had better suggestions. I know some folks use Netware.

Reply 1 of 7, by kdr

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I'm also interested, the MSNET stuff loads a huge assortment of junk into memory and it feels excessive. Right now I mostly just use mTCP's FTP.EXE but it'd be convenient to have a mapped network drive instead. I have tried playing around with removing various pieces of the MS network stack and tweaking the .INI files but from what I can tell it really does require all those protocol layers to be loaded and resident.

It especially sucks on my 486 that doesn't have any upper memory blocks available (nothing supports the OPTi chipset) because I can't load anything high unless I bite the bullet and use EMM386.

Reply 2 of 7, by davidrg

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NetWare would be the lightest - on a 386 or better with emm386 loaded and DOS 5.0+ it doesn't use any memory below the 640K line at all (mem /c output, Client32 is the NetWare client). On anything older (8086/8088/80286, DOS 3.2-4.0) it will want somewhere around 60K of conventional memory depending on the network card.

The downside of course is you then need a NetWare Server and have to run IPX on your network (IP is possible with some effort). Security won't be great either though if you trust everything and everyone on your LAN segment its probably fine - IPX won't work over the internet. Plus modern windows systems (Vista and newer) don't have NetWare clients available so actually getting stuff on and off a NetWare server from a modern machine can be a bit tricky. I use FTP or an NT4 VM to copy stuff from a Samba share to a NetWare share.

The NetWare DOS client does support tunneling IPX over UDP but as far as I know nothing but NetWare 4.x implements the server-side bits to support this. There are linux NetWare server implementations (Mars-NWE, Linware) but no one ever added IP support to them and as Linux no longer includes IPX support they no longer work on modern linux distributions. If someone added the required NetWare/IP bits (DSS Server plus the IPX-over-UDP tunneling bits) to Mars-NWE it would probably be a pretty nice way of sharing files on a linux machine (Raspberry Pi) with DOS, OS/2 and classic Windows machines.

Reply 3 of 7, by chinny22

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What I do is have a batch file to load up all the network stuff as 9 times out of 10 I don't need networking. (I use Win 3.11 but same concept as MS dos client)
on that 10th time I can reboot if I need more memory.
This setup only works if you don't need constant network access of course

Reply 4 of 7, by jheronimus

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There's EtherDFS which is a more modern solution:

EtherDFS hardware/software requirements: - An 8086/8088 compatible CPU - MS-DOS 5.0+ or compatible - 8 KiB of available conve […]
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EtherDFS hardware/software requirements:
- An 8086/8088 compatible CPU
- MS-DOS 5.0+ or compatible
- 8 KiB of available conventional memory (can be loaded high)
- An Ethernet interface and its packet driver

I haven't tried it myself though, but it seems like it should fit your bill.

Reply 5 of 7, by keropi

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What about mtcp FTP server? Load it on demand on dos system and from modern system you send/receive files using a FTP client

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Reply 6 of 7, by mbbrutman

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If you just need to move files on occasion and the machine can run locally from those files, then you want to do a file copy. FTP is the lightest, most direct way to do that.

Shared drive letters make more sense when the machine doesn't have local storage (a hard drive), that local storage is inadequate, or you need the data stored somewhere else for reliability and sharing purposes. A network drive makes sense in this use case.

For your CNC machines purposes it really seems like FTP is the way to go.

Obvious examples:

  • Machine with a small hard drive: use a network drive letter
  • I to share the data, including all updates, in real-time with other machines: use a network drive letter
  • I have a fat hard drive and I move files on occasion: FTP

Reply 7 of 7, by arsenix

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EtherDFS looks pretty rad. That seems ideal for just sharing a transfer directory over the network, which is essentially what I am doing. Modern PC running CAM software dumps files to drive... CNC PC running DOS needs to be able to load em. This process happens many times ideally without the DOS machine having to leave the CNC software. This is working with the MS Client and Samba server right now, although I got a few odd disk access errors when I was using it last night. I cut metal this way which was already a vast improvement over shuttling a floppy from my lab to the garage a half dozen times!