[Oberon] Re (2): Copy or reinstall A2?

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Fri Jul 23 13:15:12 CEST 2021

On Fri, 23 Jul 2021 at 00:08, Michael Schierl <schierlm at gmx.de> wrote:
> You wanted to say, an OS with no direct Hard Disk support on its own.
> (It is the same if you boot from an IDE/SCSI/SATA hard drive).

No, I really did not. Please do not try to put words into my mouth :-(

DOS has hard disk support, and has since version 2.0 in 1983.

Yes, it is reliant upon the ROM BIOS supporting them, but this an
inherent aspect of the MS-DOS/PC DOS design.

Originally DOS primarily supported Shugart ST-506 interface hard
disks, but over the years this evolved into RLL, ESDI, IDE, EIDE, PATA
and finally (so far) SATA,

Secondarily, SCSI went through parallel evolution of its own but most
PC SCSI host adaptors included an auxiliary ROM BIOS that extended
support for SCSI drives to DOS.

(I would say "and to other PC OSes that used the BIOS" but I can't
think of any. Most of them just ran on top of DOS. Maybe DR CP/M086,
Concurrent CP/M, Concurrent DOS and DOS Plus?)

> (The emulated USB hard disk can be quite slow, but probably does not
> really matter for DOS anyway.)


> In case the DOS PC has one of the three common pre-USB3 host controllers
> (UCHI, OHCI or EHCI), you can load USBASPI.SYS in DOS and access USB
> storage devices that way.

This is true. However, the start-off-a-USB-disk method needs no
modification to the DOS OS or config files. You can copy an installed
copy of DOS (with no USB drivers or support) onto a USB key, boot off
the USB key, and suddenly DOS can see and use the USB drive.

> May work, but not guaranteed. It may even depend on whether both drives
> are connected to the same root hub or not (in case your machine has many
> USB ports and more than one root hub). Guaranteed is only that the
> device booted from is emulated as disk 0x80.

Yes, true.

> What is your experience with support of contemporary mice/touchpads in
> DOS? Oberon without mouse would not be much fun.

So far, I am mostly using various laptops, and everything just seems
to work. Since DOS doesn't support things like scroll wheels anyway,
all you can really rely on being there is pointing and left-clicking.
They seem to work OK, on internal and external mice, trackpoints, and
touchpads. If the app understands right-clicking and middle-clicking,
then those seem to work too.

> Using some of the Oberon versions that run on Linux/X11 may be even
> simpler. Run them on a contemporary Linux kernel, and you should have
> better hardware support than the BIOS provides.

I am aware of that, but my interest is primarily in operating systems,
not in programming languages or environments (except inasmuch as they
are used to implement the OSes).

I am interested in using DOS on modern hardware because 30+ years ago
I acquired a lot of specialist DOS knowledge, which is now totally
obsolete. However, as hobbyists grow interested in running DOS on
modern hardware, both natively and under VMs, my obsolete knowledge
becomes of some value again. That is enjoyable to me.

There are also DOS-like OSes, and environments that run on top of DOS.
Very few people today know about these or have the knowledge to get
them working. I do. So I am experimenting with them.

For instance, in VMs, I have DESQview, DesqView/X and DR OpenGEM
running on top of modern DOSes. I hope to extend this to
GeoWorks/Breadbox Ensemble soon, as this is now FOSS.

DESQview was the state of the art in DOS multitasking. Unfortunately,
it depends on the QEMM memory manager, and so far I have failed to get
this working on modern hardware. (In VMs it is fine.) However, I have
read that GeoWorks can directly support DR-DOS' built-in multitasking,
and I *have* got that working.

That's why I was asking -- to see if Oberon enthusiasts would be
interested in Oberon for DOS running on modern hardware. It seems not.

I may try it anyway, though... :-)

Liam Proven – Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
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