The DOSEMU project
applications to be run under Linux:
DOSEMU stands for DOS Emulation, and allows you to run DOS and many DOS programs, including many DPMI applications such as DOOM and Windows 3.1, under Linux.
DOSEMU runs under Linux, NetBSD and (possibly) FreeBSD
according to the
document. DOSEMU only works on X86 compatible hardware.
It is able to access the host system's graphics display, mouse,
serial ports, parallel ports, game port, network port,
removable drives, and sound card via a Sound Blaster 16 emulator.
DOSEMU also includes
(DOS Protected Mode Interface) support.
In short, DOSEMU encapsulates a 1980s vintage DOS machine inside of
a modern operating system running on modern hardware.
DOSEMU can run an authentic version of Microsoft DOS, the commercial
DR-DOS or an
open-source DOS equivalent such as
FreeDOS, which is
packaged with DOSEMU:
FreeDOS is a free DOS-compatible operating system for IBM-PC compatible systems. FreeDOS is made of up many different, separate programs that act as "packages" to the overall FreeDOS Project.
DOSEMU has been around for a long time, it can be considered a
mature project. Releases have been infrequent in recent years.
This has changed with the
of version 1.4.0. The DOSEMU developers have apparently
been very busy adding new capabilities to the software.
A few highlights of this release include:
- A new native 64-bit port for the x86-64 architecture.
- The FreeDOS boot process no longer requires user interaction.
- The X window system interface is now the default.
- It is possible to reboot the virtual machine with Ctrl-Alt-Del, other Ctrl-Alt key combos are also supported.
- Linux commands can be run within DOSEMU using the unix.com utility.
- Numerous improvements have been made to the DPMI system.
- Numerous improvements have been made to the CD-ROM system.
- Windows 3.1 is now natively supported.
- External himem drivers like himem.sys are now supported.
- Long filename support has been added.
- Numerous bug fixes and performance improvements have been added.
- Security fixes have been added.
Just for fun, your author downloaded the new versions of DOSEMU and
FreeDOS, dusted off some old floppies and tried out some old DOS
applications. A few simple text-mode .exe applications were run
without any trouble.
Getting more adventurous, your author decided
to try running the old
CP/M (8080 architecture) emulator under DOSEMU. The
shows one emulator running another, Z80mu was able to assemble an old
macro assembly language file with no troubles.
On a 3 Ghz Athlon 64 processor, the double emulation process ran
quite a bit faster than it used to on a native 4 Mhz Z80 system.
The test of the graphics and sound capabilities was not as
successful, an early version of
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
crashed DOSEMU with: ERROR: EMU86: error 103.
No fun was to be had for Larry.
The official DOSEMU
screenshots page shows that it is possible to run
more advanced graphical applications, but your author had no other titles
handy for testing.
If you have some old DOS applications that you just can't live without,
DOSEMU can be a useful tool. An entire 1980s DOS system can easily
be encapsulated and stored in a small part of a modern computer's
disk system. Binaries and source code for
DOSEMU and FreeDOS are available for download
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