RGB Classic Games Forum

Keeping the classics alive... together
It is currently December 20th, 2014, 3:36 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Linux in a browser
PostPosted: April 7th, 2011, 6:35 am 
Offline
Website Administrator
User avatar

Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Posts: 945
The JPC guys have demonstrated Damn Small Linux running in a browser, but it runs so slowly that it's a pain to even play Minesweeper. With the release of jDosbox, I've been inspired to see if I could do better.

First of all, is DSL the best choice of Linux? Considerations for an online version of Linux include low system requirements (jDosbox can reasonably be considered a 486DX 25/33) and small footprint. DSL is no longer maintained, and its 50 MB image is a big download. Tiny Core Linux is about 10 MB, and uses the latest Linux kernel. Even more exciting, BasicLinux runs on a 386 with 3 MB of RAM (but requires 20 MB of disk space), and it runs on top of DOS (no need for a Linux partition!)

I created a 100 MB hard drive image for BasicLinux and tried running it after booting from a FreeDOS boot disk. It complained about running from Virtual 8086 Mode without a VCPI, so I added EMM386 to my boot disk. BasicLinux no longer complained about wanting to boot from Real Mode, and the bootup process got underway. Eventually it got stuck and started using 100% of the core's CPU cycles. BasicLinux can also run from two floppy disks and 12 MB of RAM, but I've had no luck booting from disk1.img, or creating a disk image from it using the included fdimage.exe while in DOSBox (fdimage complains that disk1.img is too large). It may not be possible to run BasicLinux from DOSBox, which is really disappointing because it seemed like the best candidate.

I've been unable to boot the Tiny Core Linux ISO in DOSBox. I tried booting it in Bochs, but Bochs goes into kernel panic after the initial TCL boot screen.

In theory, both Tiny Core Linux and especially BasicLinux should run faster in JPC than Damn Small Linux, so I'm willing to give it a shot, but apparently Thursday is a work day, so I can't work on this right now. I would much prefer to get some version of Linux (with a GUI) running in DOSBox, so I'd appreciate the community's help with this quest.

_________________
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Linux in a browser
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 2:11 am 
Offline
DOSBox Programmer
User avatar

Joined: October 31st, 2007, 7:43 am
Posts: 45
I don't think Linux works in stock builds of DOSBox.
It needs some WP bit if I recall correctly.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Linux in a browser
PostPosted: April 8th, 2011, 8:49 pm 
Offline
File Contributor
User avatar

Joined: August 16th, 2007, 2:45 pm
Posts: 465
I've had somewhat reasonable luck with Puppy Linux on old pentiums

SliTaz is also a tiny one to try, at 20mb (!!!!!). and its spider logo looks freaking cute.

And forget about Bochs-based stuff, it takes a modern system to emulate the cycles of a 486 50. seriously. and putting anything bochsy through Java would just mean..... lost causey.
QEMU is a bit better in the speed department

_________________
Wanted: Xenon (win16 artillery thing) - Sharp Shooter (dos16 artillery thing)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Linux in a browser
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 7:21 am 
Offline
Website Administrator
User avatar

Joined: September 2nd, 2005, 8:28 pm
Posts: 945
Qbix wrote:
I don't think Linux works in stock builds of DOSBox.
It needs some WP bit if I recall correctly.


A write protect bit. This leads me to a fundamental question about DOSBox's development philosophy. I understand that DOSBox doesn't emulate a bunch of hardware that games don't need in order to speed up the emulation, so emulating things like IDE and PCI are out. More complete CPU emulation, on the other hand, doesn't seem like it would impact performance very much. If emulating the WP bit (or some other part of the CPU or the x86 ISA) would benefit users who want to run other operating systems in DOSBox, and would have negligible impact on performance, would that code be accepted into the development tree, even if no DOS game benefited from it?


leilei wrote:
I've had somewhat reasonable luck with Puppy Linux on old pentiums

SliTaz is also a tiny one to try, at 20mb (!!!!!). and its spider logo looks freaking cute.

And forget about Bochs-based stuff, it takes a modern system to emulate the cycles of a 486 50. seriously. and putting anything bochsy through Java would just mean..... lost causey.
QEMU is a bit better in the speed department


Puppy Linux requires 128 MB RAM, so that's out. I'm aware of SliTaz but haven't tried it yet. Tiny SliTaz only requires 8 MB RAM, but I haven't found a download for it yet.

I was able to get HAL91 (no GUI) and BasicLinux (X GUI) running in Bochs yesterday. I figure that JPC and Bochs are similar, and the point of this is to get Linux in a browser.

BasicLinux performance was quite good, but the clock was going up several minutes per minute. Performance was still acceptable when I used realtime synchronization under Clock & CMOS, but it felt like the Start Menu was less responsive. Anyway, BasicLinux is able to run Slackware packages, so I downloaded a copy of Wine 1.1.29 (the last version with an i486 TGZ package) for Slackware to see if I could get simple Win16 games running (or should I stick with the stable 1.0 release?). I ran out of time, and I'm going away for the weekend, so this will have to wait.

The list of Linux candidates is growing. Distro must install into RAM or FAT16.

HAL91
Requires: 386, 8 MB RAM
GUI: No
Last updated: 9 February 2002
Compatibility: Crashes during init in DOSBox, works fine in Bochs.
Cons: No GUI, but is a GUI necessary? Super old.

BasicLinux
Requires: 386, 3 MB of RAM and DOS and 20 MB disk space for HDD version, 12 MB RAM for 2 1.44 MB FD version
GUI: Basic X GUI
Last updated: 31 May 2007
Compatibility: Crashes during init in DOSBox, works fine in Bochs.

TinyCore Linux
Requires: 10 MB disk space for TinyCore (6 MB disk space for MicroCore), 48 MB RAM
GUI: FLWM, no GUI in MicroCore Linux
Last updated: 9 March 2011
Compatibility: ISO won't mount in DOSBox, goes into kernel panic in Bochs (maybe I forgot to emulate enough RAM?).
Pros: Uses latest Linux kernel. MicroCore Linux is even smaller. Is a GUI necessary for Wine?
Cons: Requires more RAM than DOS can even see. Will DOSBox allocate more than 32 MB of RAM?

_________________
Today entirely the maniac there is no excuse with the article.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Linux in a browser
PostPosted: April 9th, 2011, 6:56 pm 
Offline
File Contributor
User avatar

Joined: August 16th, 2007, 2:45 pm
Posts: 465
DOSGuy wrote:
Puppy Linux requires 128 MB RAM, so that's out.

Cons: Requires more RAM than DOS can even see. Will DOSBox allocate more than 32 MB of RAM?


I've had Puppy working on 48mb at one point. This was years ago, perhaps they bloated it much more by now.

DOSBox can take up to 63mb.

_________________
Wanted: Xenon (win16 artillery thing) - Sharp Shooter (dos16 artillery thing)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Linux in a browser
PostPosted: April 10th, 2011, 3:43 am 
Offline
DOSBox Programmer
User avatar

Joined: October 31st, 2007, 7:43 am
Posts: 45
We have the code to run linux to some degree (hence i know of what is missing to run it).

However, it is currently not in our main tree and i don't see it happening anytime soon.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
POWERED_BY