Tag Archives: Programming

Gah! It’s the dreaded “Direct Console Output” problem #WTF :)

The last few days have seen progress. Some very widely used libraries have been ported (that is not to say they will actually work of course, but it’s a damn good start).

When “going back” to a unified library (RTL) as the one found in FreePascal, it’s actually sometimes more work than continuing using your own code. So I’m trying to keep this somewhat balanced. One “issue” with FreePascal is actually the number of platforms it supports. Because of this, it needs to do some thing in a fairly generic manner. That isn’t to say it’s slow or bad, but I often want to be one layer closer to the operating system (specially if it gives the application some sort of edge vs the generic stuff).

And there is a *lot* of code to port …

Not to mention the dreaded “Direct to screen writes” that used to be a requirement for DOS programs, unless you wanted the user to enter retirement before the BIOS screen updates had finished. No, that was not a joke, the PC BIOS screen handling code sucked, in a word. Fortunately, there were alternatives, and since FrontDoor has already been ported once to OS/2 (i.e. “not DOS”), some consideration has already been taken for the portability issues. But it’s not all that exciting to sit down and re-invent the weel … I’d much rather spend my time implementing things FrontDoor isn’t doing at the moment.

Oh well. Another few thousand lines of codes done. G’night!

Progress measured in … lines of code :)

Progress is being made. The current tool of choice is Free Pascal. It is by no means a bad product. In fact, it’s a pretty damn great product. But just about every line of code needs to be tweaked, slightly modified, etc. Or so it seemed when porting the Event handling yesterday, which “only” took three hours. Part of this is obviously due to poor design on my part, but I can’t take credit for everything :)

Mike and I have been discussing issues with running the DOS version under Windows 10 Pro (64-bit), hosted by VirtualBox in a FreeDOS 1.2 virtual machine. There seems to be some sort of flow control issue disturbing the transfer of data. I’m hoping Mike finds (and solves) this problem. But, it may come to the fact that the problem is in VirtualBox after all.

While “waiting” for Mike, I’ve been porting some more code, and also began setting up FreeDOS under QEMU instead. It looks promising and feels somewhat surreal to be able to just move around virtual machines, converting them from VirtualBox under Windows 10 to QEMU under Ubuntu Linux 16 on a completely different physical machine, and it “just works”. I came across a fairly good page while configuring networking for QEMU and FreeDOS here: pclosmag.com/html/issues/201208/page11.html

I will jot down a full description of how I got it working, if I get it working. The next step is to get a “modem emulator over Internet” (i.e. a “virtual modem”) working in this context.