Working on a video review and found some issues

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Working on a video review and found some issues

Philip Hoefer
Hello!

Excited about the new version and have begun working on a YouTube review for version 1.2. I focus on games, so that's what I test.

Trying out a few games I found the following:

- The supplied optical drive driver doesn't seem to handle CD audio tracks well. Games such as Tomb Raider do not play any CD audio music. Replacing the supplied optical drive driver with resolves this issue for most games.

- Even when replacing the optical drive driver, some CD based games have issues, such as Fade To Black. To resolve these I had to use MSCDEX.EXE from Microsoft

- I noticed that start-up menus are not compatible with FreeDOS. It uses a different method for menu options which means a lot of existing menus won't be working with FreeDOS

- Took me a while to figure out why FreeDOS wasn't running on my Pentium PC. I had to use the legacy version. There is a note related to this on the download page, but it's ambiguous.

- Maybe included an option to run FDISK during the installation. I simply quit the installer and ran it manually.

Thank you for listening and keep up the good work!

Phil

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Louis Santillan
On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 6:45 PM, Philip Hoefer
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello!
>
> Excited about the new version and have begun working on a YouTube review for
> version 1.2. I focus on games, so that's what I test.
>
> Trying out a few games I found the following:
>
> - The supplied optical drive driver doesn't seem to handle CD audio tracks
> well. Games such as Tomb Raider do not play any CD audio music. Replacing
> the supplied optical drive driver with resolves this issue for most games.
>

Did you replace the Optical Drive driver with an OEM one?

> - Even when replacing the optical drive driver, some CD based games have
> issues, such as Fade To Black. To resolve these I had to use MSCDEX.EXE from
> Microsoft
>

Can you be more specific about the issues you're having?

> - I noticed that start-up menus are not compatible with FreeDOS. It uses a
> different method for menu options which means a lot of existing menus won't
> be working with FreeDOS
>

Can you be more specific about the issues you're having?  There's been
some recent talk about FD Command.com so there may be some interest to
work on it.


> - Took me a while to figure out why FreeDOS wasn't running on my Pentium PC.
> I had to use the legacy version. There is a note related to this on the
> download page, but it's ambiguous.
>

Why did it not run?  I do not see the note.

> - Maybe included an option to run FDISK during the installation. I simply
> quit the installer and ran it manually.
>
> Thank you for listening and keep up the good work!
>
> Phil

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Philip Hoefer
1. I used VIDECDD.SYS and CD Audio started working
2. In Fade 2 Black it will jump straight into the game, skip the introduction. Replacing SHSUCDX with MSCDEX resolves this issue
3. A typical startup menu like this:

[MENU]
REM Define an item in the menu, first identifier and then what
REM is written in the menu
MENUITEM=DOS, DOS with CD-ROM
MENUITEM=WIN, Windows

REM The commands at COMMON is executed no matter what is chosen
REM in the MENU
[COMMON]
DOS=HIGH,UMB

REM For each menu item there can be defined a configuration
[DOS]
DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS /TESTMEM:OFF
DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
DEVICE=C:\CDROM\DRIVER.SYS /D:CD1

[WIN]
DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS /TESTMEM:OFF

Whereas FreeDOS uses a different format:

MENU
MENU  select your configuration
MENU
MENU  use (0) for basic configuration
MENU  use (1) for CDROM operation
MENU  use (2) for NETWORK configuration
MENU
MENUDEFAULT=0,1 ( configuration 0, wait 1 second)


1?  rem CDROM
1?  device=CDROM.SYS

2?  rem NETWORK
2?  device=MyNetworkDriver.SYS

4. The error message was invalid opcode, but scrolled very fast and indefinitely. I have seen this before with modern linux distributions when an old CPU is not supported.

The note on the website is as follows:

Using FD12LGCY, which I presume stands for legacy, works on a Pentium 200.

Thank you!

Regards,

Philip

On 4 December 2016 at 16:13, Louis Santillan <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 6:45 PM, Philip Hoefer
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hello!
>
> Excited about the new version and have begun working on a YouTube review for
> version 1.2. I focus on games, so that's what I test.
>
> Trying out a few games I found the following:
>
> - The supplied optical drive driver doesn't seem to handle CD audio tracks
> well. Games such as Tomb Raider do not play any CD audio music. Replacing
> the supplied optical drive driver with resolves this issue for most games.
>

Did you replace the Optical Drive driver with an OEM one?

> - Even when replacing the optical drive driver, some CD based games have
> issues, such as Fade To Black. To resolve these I had to use MSCDEX.EXE from
> Microsoft
>

Can you be more specific about the issues you're having?

> - I noticed that start-up menus are not compatible with FreeDOS. It uses a
> different method for menu options which means a lot of existing menus won't
> be working with FreeDOS
>

Can you be more specific about the issues you're having?  There's been
some recent talk about FD Command.com so there may be some interest to
work on it.


> - Took me a while to figure out why FreeDOS wasn't running on my Pentium PC.
> I had to use the legacy version. There is a note related to this on the
> download page, but it's ambiguous.
>

Why did it not run?  I do not see the note.

> - Maybe included an option to run FDISK during the installation. I simply
> quit the installer and ran it manually.
>
> Thank you for listening and keep up the good work!
>
> Phil

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Jerome Shidel

On Dec 4, 2016, at 3:31 AM, Philip Hoefer <[hidden email]> wrote:
[..]
4. The error message was invalid opcode, but scrolled very fast and indefinitely. I have seen this before with modern linux distributions when an old CPU is not supported.

The note on the website is as follows:
Using FD12LGCY, which I presume stands for legacy, works on a Pentium 200.

FD12LGCY does stand for Legacy. For the most part, both of the ISO images are identical. Except for one thing, the CD boot process. The good news is regardless of which CD you use. You will get the exact same version of FreeDOS and the exact same packages. The bad news, it appears both ISO versions are going to be required. 

Here is a little more information on the differences between the ISO versions. 

The FD12LGCY version uses the original “El Torito” bootable CD specification. Basically, it is limited to booting a floppy image as a BIOS emulated drive. This method should work on ALL hardware that supports CD booting. But, it does not. In my opinion, I think most BIOS manufacturers and Virtual Machine developers don’t do much testing with this ancient version of the specification. For example, FreeDOS will lockup when a program access the data portion of the CD-ROM from any program outside of COMMAND.COM under VirtualBox. Wether that bug is in VirtualBox or on the FreeDOS side is unknown. The FD12CD image uses a much later method of booting. It loads a binary blob (SYSLINUX) as a boot loader.  That runs MEMDISK which loads and emulates a floppy disk image. This is a much more complicated process. But, this method is preferred for newer hardware and works fine on VirtualBox. This is probably do to MEMDISK emulating the floppy instead of the BIOS. So, nearly all hardware prior to a Pentium II (I think) will not be able to boot using the more complex binary blob process. This leaves a narrow range of hardware that may have a CD-ROM and will require the FD12LGCY version (probably 386 thru Pentium II). 

Jerome

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Eric Auer-3
In reply to this post by Philip Hoefer

Hi Phil,

> - The supplied optical drive driver doesn't seem to handle CD audio tracks
> well. Games such as Tomb Raider do not play any CD audio music. Replacing
> the supplied optical drive driver with resolves this issue for most games.

You wrote that VIDECDD worked. Did any free and open driver work?

The supplied driver probably means "the driver which came with
the drive". That would be a reasonable alternative in that case.

> - Even when replacing the optical drive driver, some CD based games have
> issues, such as Fade To Black. To resolve these I had to use MSCDEX.EXE
> from Microsoft

That surprises me, SHSUCDX is quite feature rich. Would you be
interested to investigate those further?

> - I noticed that start-up menus are not compatible with FreeDOS.

We do have start menus, but syntax differs from MS DOS style.
As far as I remember, discussion about that years ago had the
outcome that config / autoexec differ from MS DOS anyway, as
we ship other drivers with other option syntax, so no problem?

> - Took me a while to figure out why FreeDOS wasn't running on my Pentium

Please let us know which of our components expects a CPU which
is newer than Pentium. I would have expected everything on the
ISO to run on 386 or at least "486 DX with PCI" and up. Pentium
is really modern for most DOS things. It does lack a time stamp
counter, conditional move and all the fancy vector computing of
MMX and newer, but I expect VERY few DOS apps to require those.

Even for USB or SATA drivers I would expect Pentium to be okay:
Of course they can say "no SATA, skipped", but should not crash.

> - Maybe included an option to run FDISK during the installation.
> I simply quit the installer and ran it manually.

If you ask me, what you did is the best way. It shows that you
knew what you were doing and that we included FDISK ;-) I would
not try to nudge unskilled users into using risky tools as FDISK.

Regards, Eric


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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Philip Hoefer

The supplied driver probably means "the driver which came with
the drive". That would be a reasonable alternative in that case.

Sorry, with supplied driver, I was referring to the optical drive driver that comes with FD 1.2 RC2. I believe it is UDVD2.SYS which is loaded in AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

I have tried many optical drive drivers under MS-DOS and VIDECDD.SYS is what I found to work best with games. Other drivers have issues with certain games that use CD Audio, even the OAKCDROM.SYS that comes with Windows 98 for example.

But it's easy enough to recommend viewers to swap it out, VIDECDD.SYS can be found easily online.
 

> - Even when replacing the optical drive driver, some CD based games have
> issues, such as Fade To Black. To resolve these I had to use MSCDEX.EXE
> from Microsoft

That surprises me, SHSUCDX is quite feature rich. Would you be
interested to investigate those further?

Note that out of the games tested, Fade to Black is the only one that displayed different behaviour. I'm not sure how I can help here, it is likely something odd that the game executable checks or looks for when attempting to play the introduction. The game isn't available on GOG, but can be easily "obtained" on the Internet ;)

But I'm just guessing and I am confident that this is a rather isolated case.
 

> - I noticed that start-up menus are not compatible with FreeDOS.

We do have start menus, but syntax differs from MS DOS style.
As far as I remember, discussion about that years ago had the
outcome that config / autoexec differ from MS DOS anyway, as
we ship other drivers with other option syntax, so no problem?

Ok no worries, I can just re-write my start-up menu, it's not a big deal :)
 

> - Took me a while to figure out why FreeDOS wasn't running on my Pentium

Please let us know which of our components expects a CPU which
is newer than Pentium. I would have expected everything on the
ISO to run on 386 or at least "486 DX with PCI" and up. Pentium
is really modern for most DOS things. It does lack a time stamp
counter, conditional move and all the fancy vector computing of
MMX and newer, but I expect VERY few DOS apps to require those.

Even for USB or SATA drivers I would expect Pentium to be okay:
Of course they can say "no SATA, skipped", but should not crash.

Jerome answer this one nicely, it is easy enough to explain the viewers that there is a legacy version. As to what we might be using FreeDOS for, it's for gaming. Especially with FAT32 support, there is the ability to go past the 120/128 MB limit of MS-DOS 7.1, something people for DOS retro "power users". Most 3D DOS games need a Pentium to run well, and when playing at higher VESA resolutions, can you have enough power?

But yea, it's easy to explain with the two versions. Using the Legacy ISO resolves this, so I'm happy :)


> - Maybe included an option to run FDISK during the installation.
> I simply quit the installer and ran it manually.

If you ask me, what you did is the best way. It shows that you
knew what you were doing and that we included FDISK ;-) I would
not try to nudge unskilled users into using risky tools as FDISK.

No worries, that is also straight forward to explain and demonstrate :)
 

Regards, Eric


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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Eric Auer-3

Hi again,

>> I have tried many optical drive drivers under MS-DOS and VIDECDD.SYS is
>> what I found to work best with games. Other drivers have issues with
>> certain games that use CD Audio, even the OAKCDROM.SYS that comes with
>> Windows 98 for example.

Good to know :-) And good to know that Fade To Black is the only game
with problems with SHSUCDX. My thought was that maybe SHSUCDX has some
debug options so you could collect information whether any feature is
called by the game for which SHSUCDX has known shortcomings... If the
default SHSUCDX does not support that, even a patch could work, but I
guess the game graphics would make it hard to see SHSUCDX messages?

>>>> - Took me a while to figure out why FreeDOS wasn't running on my Pentium
>>>
>>> Please let us know which of our components expects a CPU which...

Well Jerome is right that the "legacy friendly" distro works, but I
would still want to know which component of the default distro would
need a NEWER than Pentium CPU. After all, Pentium is quite new, too.

I would expect that even the normal distro works when you skip loading
that part. For example ALL core components should be happy with 386.

And yes, it is nice to support FAT32 drives up to 2 TB LBA size, unless
your BIOS has some bug causing a lower limit. Even then, you can use
drivers which install in the MBR which were common back in that time.

>> Most 3D DOS games need a Pentium to run well, and when
>> playing at higher VESA resolutions, can you have enough power?

Of course you have a lot more power in Linux and Windows, where many
CPU cores can work for the game at the same time and the 3d graphics
driver can let many GPU cores work on 3d, but that only works for a
game written for that operating system, not for DOS games ;-)

Regards, Eric



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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Philip Hoefer
Hi!
 
Good to know :-) And good to know that Fade To Black is the only game
with problems with SHSUCDX. My thought was that maybe SHSUCDX has some
debug options so you could collect information whether any feature is
called by the game for which SHSUCDX has known shortcomings... If the
default SHSUCDX does not support that, even a patch could work, but I
guess the game graphics would make it hard to see SHSUCDX messages?

I don't know if this is the only game, but it is the only game out of the games I tried that had such an issue.
 
Well Jerome is right that the "legacy friendly" distro works, but I
would still want to know which component of the default distro would
need a NEWER than Pentium CPU. After all, Pentium is quite new, too.

I would expect that even the normal distro works when you skip loading
that part. For example ALL core components should be happy with 386.

He explained that it has to do with the way they boot. Anyway, I captured the process and took a screenshot right at the moment the error happens. It is here: http://i.imgur.com/bZFSJkw.png

Phil
 

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Eric Auer-3

Hi Phil,

>> Well Jerome is right that the "legacy friendly" distro works, but I
>> would still want to know which component of the default distro would
>> need a NEWER than Pentium CPU. After all, Pentium is quite new, too.
>>
>> I would expect that even the normal distro works when you skip loading
>> that part. For example ALL core components should be happy with 386.
>>
>
> He explained that it has to do with the way they boot. Anyway, I captured
> the process and took a screenshot right at the moment the error happens. It
> is here: http://i.imgur.com/bZFSJkw.png

For those who prefer text, the message happens VERY early: MEMDISK,
kernel, handling of the A20... Probably "as soon as XMS driver is
loaded", although the XMS driver message itself is not visible in
the screenshot. That would mean that the "legacy" distro would use
another XMS driver version which is more stable? I assume FAT32 is
used for the primary partition, probably with LBA support enabled?

The screen shows:
old: int13 = f000b664 int 15 = f000f859 int 1e = f000efc7
Loading boot sector... booting...
FreeDOS kernel 2042 (build 2042 OEM:0xfd) [compiled May 11 2016]

...

C: HD1, Pri[1], CHS=0-1-1, start=0 MB, size=15406 MB
MEMDISK version 4.05 (2880 sectors)
KBC A20 method used
Kernel: allocated 45 Diskbuffers = 23940 Bytes in HMA

...

Invalid Opcode at 0FAE 1068 0046 0001 0002 0000 0200 0000 0000
0183 0000 4200 0001 ...



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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Bernd Blaauw
Op 4-12-2016 om 21:25 schreef Eric Auer:

> For those who prefer text, the message happens VERY early: MEMDISK,
> kernel, handling of the A20... Probably "as soon as XMS driver is
> loaded", although the XMS driver message itself is not visible in
> the screenshot. That would mean that the "legacy" distro would use
> another XMS driver version which is more stable? I assume FAT32 is
> used for the primary partition, probably with LBA support enabled?

Hi all.

Things worth trying:
* avoid DOS=HIGH
* avoid DOS=UMB

A more specific workaround might be adding parameters to MEMDISK for
additional system compatibility ("raw/bigraw").

See:
http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php?title=MEMDISK#Set_memory_access_method_.28raw.2C_bigraw.2C_int_.2C_safeint.29


I don't know how the Syslinux (Isolinux?) bootmenu has been crafted, but
assuming it's text-only rather than a menu, maybe it's worthwile adding
a delay of 2 to 5 seconds before starting the default entry, thus giving
people the opportunity to select a MEMDISK entry with alternative
parameters.

As for FreeDOS 1.2 I'm happy it's being worked on and almost ready for
release. I dreaded package updates and always got stuck into scripting
batchfiles.

Bernd

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Rugxulo
In reply to this post by Philip Hoefer
Hi,

On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 8:45 PM, Philip Hoefer
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Excited about the new version and have begun working on a YouTube review for
> version 1.2. I focus on games, so that's what I test.
>
> Trying out a few games I found the following:
>
> - The supplied optical drive driver doesn't seem to handle CD audio tracks
> well. Games such as Tomb Raider do not play any CD audio music. Replacing
> the supplied optical drive driver with resolves this issue for most games.

AFAIK, they include UDVD2 from 2013 (not sure why). Although
abandoned, you should (also) try UIDE (2015) from here:

https://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/ellis/drivers-2015-03-05.zip

We don't have many other options since hardware manufacturers don't
support DOS anymore, and even legacy drivers are usually hard to find.

Also, keep in mind that old games were only tested with MS-DOS on
ancient hardware, so any quirks and subtle bugs there are unavoidable.
The preferred solution for DOS gaming is probably (SDL-based) DOSBox
emulator (akin to a fast 486).

> - Even when replacing the optical drive driver, some CD based games have
> issues, such as Fade To Black. To resolve these I had to use MSCDEX.EXE from
> Microsoft

In theory, I suppose proving that MSCDEX works might prompt further
investigation. Otherwise, just to state the obvious, MS tools aren't
directly useful to us since we can't redistribute them.

I suggest trying (forked) SHCDX33F if normal SHSUCDX 3.05 doesn't work:

https://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/shsucdx/ellis/shcdx33f.zip

> - I noticed that start-up menus are not compatible with FreeDOS. It uses a
> different method for menu options which means a lot of existing menus won't
> be working with FreeDOS

There may?? have been some partial support for MS menus back in kernel
2037 or such, but it didn't get mainlined. Plus, even DR-DOS was not
compatible with MS in this manner. Honestly, even though it's a weak
excuse, it really isn't hard to migrate such syntactical differences.
(Of course if everything was incompatible, that would be more
annoying.)

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Re: Working on a video review and found some issues

Rugxulo
In reply to this post by Philip Hoefer
Hi,

I randomly stumbled upon your video yesterday:

https://youtu.be/zGmCVeAKR4w

So here's some remarks (since I dislike comments on YouTube).

BTW, before I forget, let me reiterate that I still think that DOSBox
is "probably" better for gaming on modern (e.g. SB-incompatible)
hardware. Even DOSEMU might work better for some games.

1). "xyz game worked fine" ... Okay, but it would be nice to know what
worked with what (e.g. sfx/music with SB driver on SB16). Maybe device
model and serial number is too much, but some minor details would be
better than just assuming it universally works for all hardware.
(Sound support in DOS is very fractured and harder to get working than
a generic graphics card.) EDIT: Watching again, you did mention your
machine specs at 4:37.

2). Glad the "legacy" version instead worked for one of your older
machines. Thanks to Jerome for that!

3). "Wing Commander: Privateer crashed with JEMM386" ... In fairness,
I would suggest not ever loading EMM386 at all these days unless
you're sure you need EMS (which most software doesn't anymore). Even
then, if all you need is EMS and not UMBs, you can just "JEMM386 LOAD"
(and "UNLOAD" later) manually, when needed, without having to reboot.
Or use something like (third-party) EMS Magic TSR instead.

4). "FreeDOS doesn't work with SoftMPU" ... AFAIK, this is due to a
MS-specific feature in their EMM386. I think he halfway considered
working on the FD equivalent later on but gave up for whatever reason.
Not sure of the details, but I think I read about it on the DOSBox
forum.

5). "Shipping old 2013 version of UDVD2 is bad because it's worse for
CD digital audio" ... That wasn't my decision, and I'm not entirely
sure why that old one in particular was used by default, but overall,
UIDE (etc.) is considered unsupported (re: FreeDOS) and deprecated by
us, hence it's not considered wise to recommend it. (The former
developer has engendered an unusually antagonistic view of FreeDOS, so
that doesn't help.) And most DOS users aren't gamers and thus don't
direly need CD access (just use Linux).

6). "Buggy drivers, too much mucking around, scaring off retro users"
... It's not intentional, but it's mostly unavoidable. If they want a
super simple experience, they should get their games from GOG.com or
just download and use DOSBox (or derivative) explicitly. That is more
user-friendly than real DOS, which was probably never "user-friendly"
to literally anyone. If you don't like fiddling with settings, then
DOS isn't for you. This wouldn't be so hard if vendors actually still
supported DOS (or explicitly tested, like you're doing) or at least
had good instructions. There's too much IBM PC (clone) hardware
(1981-1994) to be 100% compatible with everything, especially with
hardware-sensitive software like games.

7). "Can't purchase MS-DOS anymore" ... Not quite true. You can still
buy MS-DOS 6.x from MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/hh442898.aspx#searchTerm=&ProductFamilyId=155&Languages=en&PageSize=10&PageIndex=0&FileId=0

You can also find a limited boot disk in (e.g. Win7) Explorer (format
system floppy), which is (optionally) used by (third-party) RUFUS.
However, it has no SYS, so you can't really "install" it (but actually
FD SYS may? allow it, feel free to read the docs and test!). Although
obviously RUFUS will install it to USB. Also, allegedly Win10 doesn't
come with that image anymore either. So while it's easy to champion
MS-DOS, half the point of FreeDOS is that it's (roughly) both free and
open, thus easy to use, study, redistribute, modify, etc. If MS-DOS
goes away, we still have FreeDOS. Not 100% perfect, but close enough,
far better than nothing.

Just to be complete, although I almost hate to mention it, you can
still buy at least two other major DOSes online, if you just can't
live with these options. Those are Datalight ROM-DOS 7 and DR-DOS
7.03. No idea if they are good (or "better") for gaming, but if you
just had to get "some" variant of DOS, there you go. Thus, there's no
huge need (AFAIK) to worry about scarcity or legalities (although that
always depends on your country of residence). Not sure about EDR-DOS
(minimal install, minor enhancements, non-commercial use only), the
website there is down (AFAIK). EDIT: The WayBack Archive seems to have
it.

So yeah, I just felt the need to weakly try to clarify some things. I
admit that everything isn't perfect, but it's quite good for what it
does. It took a lot of effort to get this far. Time isn't infinite,
and new developments aren't either.

Anyways, thanks for your review.


On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 8:45 PM, Philip Hoefer
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Excited about the new version and have begun working on a YouTube review for
> version 1.2. I focus on games, so that's what I test.

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