VOGONS

Common searches


Legality

Topic actions

  • This topic is locked. You cannot reply or edit posts.

First post, by xman15

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Hi,

I'm new to DOSBox completely, so please bear with me.

I am just iffy on emulators altogether, because of all the bad hype surrounding them. So can someone please answer this direct question:

Is DOSBox legal? As in, can I download and use it without legal repercussions?

Sorry for being a legal paranoiac, i'm just one of those guys 🤣

thanks!
xman15

Reply 1 of 34, by collector

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

DOSBox is legal. It does not make use of ROMs and it does not include any games. You must supply your own games. There are a number of freeware games and demos that you can get to play in it. You can also look for second hand sources to buy the old DOS games.

Reply 2 of 34, by catchaserguns

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Maybe he is asking is the dos on dosbox legal because dos is an os and os's are programs in themselves. Isn't dos a copyrighted program? Emulators usually emulate the hardware of certain game consoles and certain computers. Early versions of dos were built in to computers but the later ones you had to install yourself like dos 5.5 or dos 6.22. I'm not trying to start trouble but this is a point to ponder.

Reply 6 of 34, by xman15

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Thanks for all the replies!

Wait, I'm confused on emulators: is dosbox basically supposed to do the same things as msdos and such, without having anything to do with it, code-wise?

So basically, this isn't an emulator because it doesn't use any code from another dos app, making it 100% legal?

Thanks!
xman15

Reply 7 of 34, by Dominus

User metadata
Rank DOSBox Moderator
Rank
DOSBox Moderator

It is an emulator without using MS code. Supposedly it uses code from FreeDos.
Emulators generally do not use the original code, they emulate it 😉

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox
DOSBox SVN snapshot for macOS (10.4-11.x ppc/intel 32/64bit) notarized for gatekeeper

Reply 8 of 34, by VileR

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
xman15 wrote:

So basically, this isn't an emulator because it doesn't use any code from another dos app, making it 100% legal?

it's still an emulator and it's still 100% legal. You seem to have the opinion that there is something inherently illegal about emulators, and that's false.

An emulator does not need to re-use code from anywhere. it only has to "emulate" the functionality of a system, not to copy the code involved, or even the design (that's why "100% IBM PC compatible" clone machines from back in the day were legal - they reproduced the functionality without duplicating IBM's BIOS code).

furthermore, DOSBox doesn't even attempt to reproduce a fully functional DOS, only enough to run games on.

Reply 9 of 34, by xman15

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

oh, now I see. So what makes an emulator illegal then? is it what people put on there?

Sorry for my lack of experience. I'm just very paranoid about this kind of stuff, and i'm not very knowledgeable about these matters.

Thanks for helping me out guys, I really appreciate it.

Cheers,
xman15

Reply 11 of 34, by Dominus

User metadata
Rank DOSBox Moderator
Rank
DOSBox Moderator

Almost no emulator is illegal, at least I know none. They might need something like a ROM or Bios from the original machine that is copyrighted and not legal to offer for download.

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox
DOSBox SVN snapshot for macOS (10.4-11.x ppc/intel 32/64bit) notarized for gatekeeper

Reply 16 of 34, by Barry_Purplelips

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
VileRancour wrote:
it's still an emulator and it's still 100% legal. You seem to have the opinion that there is something inherently illegal abou […]
Show full quote
xman15 wrote:

So basically, this isn't an emulator because it doesn't use any code from another dos app, making it 100% legal?

it's still an emulator and it's still 100% legal. You seem to have the opinion that there is something inherently illegal about emulators, and that's false.

An emulator does not need to re-use code from anywhere. it only has to "emulate" the functionality of a system, not to copy the code involved, or even the design (that's why "100% IBM PC compatible" clone machines from back in the day were legal - they reproduced the functionality without duplicating IBM's BIOS code).

furthermore, DOSBox doesn't even attempt to reproduce a fully functional DOS, only enough to run games on.

Emulation may still be illegal if there's a commercial interest, stolen code or not. Take Connectix VGS for example.

Reply 18 of 34, by Dominus

User metadata
Rank DOSBox Moderator
Rank
DOSBox Moderator
Vogons wrote:

Emulation may still be illegal if there's a commercial interest, stolen code or not. Take Connectix VGS for example.

Blah, just because connectix got sued by Sony doesn't make vgs illegal. Connectix actually won (and sony bought vgs and buried it).

Reply 19 of 34, by Barry_Purplelips

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

That's why I used "may still be" rather than "is", and more importantly, don't forget Sony actually won (at some point) with injunction and all. It wasn't till Connectix was already fried that they were actually granted the right to continue developing and selling VGS, and that was over a decade ago, when piracy wasn't as much as problem as it is today so laws tended to be a lil more relaxed on the subject. Not a single copyright problem with DosBox as far as I know, but emulation in general can be a slippery slope.