Free BIOS (was Resources for DOS (was: DOS Compatable OS))

Robert Armstrong bob at jfcl.com
Fri Dec 16 10:23:49 CST 2005


  Speaking of FreeDOS and DR DOS, is there also a "Free" BIOS?

  Yes, I know the BIOS is hardware specific, but most PC compatible
platforms are the pretty much the same.  Even if they aren't, it's nice to
have a starting point.

Bob


> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org 
> [mailto:cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Hans Franke
> Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 6:38 AM
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
> Subject: Resources for DOS (was: DOS Compatable OS)
> 
> 
> Am 14 Dec 2005 16:11 meinte Gary Sparkes:
> > On 12/14/05 3:53 PM, "Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner" 
> <spc at conman.org> 
> > wrote:
> > > It was thus said that the Great Gary Sparkes once stated:
> 
> > >> I'm rather bored, so I thought I might try and hack together a 
> > >> small project OS compatable with at least DOS 1.x or similar, is 
> > >> there any decent resource for information on dos 
> compatability and 
> > >> how to achieve it, or is it left as a reverse 
> engineering exercise 
> > >> for 'the reader' ? :)
> 
> > >   How compatable?  If you go by the published API for MS-DOS 1.x, 
> > > then it should be pretty easy, but if by "compatable" you 
> mean "run 
> > > arbitrary MS-DOS programs, especially those from 
> Microsoft" you may 
> > > have your work cut out for you.  You may want to check out 
> > > http://www.freedos.org/.
> 
> > I was thinking of going up compatability in versions, such as going 
> > from 1.x to 2.x etc, mainly because, well, I'm very, very bored :)
> 
> Well, that's like building two OSes, since 2 has been realy 
> something ifferent, aimed at bridgeing the gap from XPM to Xenix.
> 
> > And of course, it'd be IBM PC compatable stuff, not the odd machine 
> > MS-DOS running thingies
> 
> That's not the question. MS/PC Dos is a rather machine 
> independent OS. as long as you a real mode x86 CPU, DOS 
> itself is compatible across virtualy all machines. Dos uses 
> for all its functionality BIOS calls and got no specialities 
> to bind it to IBM-PC Hardware.
> 
> Machine specific stuff was all in the BIOS - including lots 
> of additional functionality for non-IBM machinery. So, 
> straight DOS programms could be easy portet, if DOS was present.
> 
> For incompatibilities there where two major resons:
> 
> a) The Application did use Hardware and or BIOS specific functions,
>    like writing directly to screen buffers, doing DMA or fiddling
>    with the keyboard.
> 
> b) The Application used inofficial/not public documentated MS-DOS
>    calls, like $52 to get the DDA, the root of all things evil
>    (and subsequent the memory chain, or the SFT (*1)).
> 
> Most 'incompatible' application fall into cathegory a), 
> except for lots of MS Programms, which belong to cat b). To 
> my understanding this was what Sean ment with compatible 
> beyond the published API.
> 
> A real good book to stat of would be:
> 
> Arne Sch"apers - DOS 5 f"ur Programmierer.
> 
> I got no idea if there ever was an englisch edition, but it's 
> eventualy the best analysis and documentation of DOS ever 
> made. He covers not only DOS 2-5 but also DR-DOS and all 
> similarities and differences. Think of it as a documented, 
> debugged and extended version of
> 
> Andrew Schulman (et.al) - Undocumented DOS
> 
> Both books are from Addison-Wesley, so If you can't find 
> Arnes, Undocumented DOS is a good start anyway. The other 
> real helpful book would be
> 
> The MS-DOS Enzyclopedia from MS-Press
> 
> Good book, but of course only a compilation of the 'official' 
> material. only about 20% cover the DOS API, the rest is 
> somewhat like the mother of all DOS manuals. ~1500 pages in 
> one book. If you need a DOS-manual, try to get this book. It 
> even got a small entertaining history secttion. Originaly it 
> was HUGE a hard cover book for a unpayable price (I remember
> 500+ Mark).
> 
> Another very important book might be 
> 
> Gunter Born - Dateiformate - Die Referenz
> 
> Again, German, and I don't know about a similar English book. 
> It lists everything from Lotus to Word, from Autocad to GEM.
> 
> Quite helpful - did I mention that I love to have information 
> as paper in front of me?
> 
> Oh, and last but not least, keep Ralf Browns IntList at hand 
> when starting the project, Sos is more than just INT 21.
> 
> Gruss
> H.
> 
> 
> *1 - I'm not completely shure it $52 was already present in DOS 1.0,
>      but it seams to make sense, especialy since funcions like $50/51
>      (GET/SET PSP) or $53 (TRANSLATE BPB) are in the same range and
>      should have been already present in 1.0 to my understanding.
>      Fits also with the idea of starting 'internal' functions at
>      such a number (80 decimal)
> --
> VCF Europa 7.0 am 29/30.April und 01.Mai 2006 in Muenchen 
> http://www.vcfe.org/
> 
> 





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