Obscure PC operating systems and apps [was Re: got this old peecee...]
lproven at gmail.com
Sat Dec 8 13:13:51 CST 2007
On 06/12/2007, Roy J. Tellason <rtellason at verizon.net> wrote:
> On Thursday 06 December 2007 12:53, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> > On 6 Dec 2007 at 1:52, Roy J. Tellason wrote:
> > > I'd originally planned to put OS/2 in this box. Now I'm lots less
> > > enthused about that OS than I was at one time, so I dunno what I'm gonna
> > > do with it. Thoughts on this?
Depends what you want to do, or be able to do, with it, obviously!
Do you want a GUI OS?
Do you want Internet access?
Do you want productivity apps?
It's a bit low-spec for a modern Linux distro. You could try some
low-end distros, like DamnSmallLinux, Puppy, or VectorLinux. I've also
heard good comments of SaxenOS & Crux on low-end PCs, but I've not
tried them myself yet.
It would run NetBSD pretty nicely, but then, the same is probably true
of some toasters.
One that might suit it quite well would be Minix 3. Never played with
that yet myself.
It might run BeOS, especially with a 5x86 chip in there. BeOS Max is a
good, freely-available BeOS distro. Mainly intended for Pentium-class
FreeDOS or DR-DOS plus OpenGEM would run very well; indeed, it's quite
high-spec for that.
For a more modern, but commercial, DOS GUI, there's Geos, AKA
GeoWorks, now known as Breadbox Ensemble. Again, it costs, but you can
assemble a fairly complete little system from various free demos and
things that have been put out there.
(I think others have suggested something akin to Concurrent DOS. IMS'
Real32 was the last supported descendant of that, I think, but it's
primarily a multiuser thing so not of great interest on a standalone
box - it just looks like MS-DOS.)
Or just plain old DOS, together with DesqView, or, if you want
something cool and exotic, DesqView/X.
That might be both fun and quite productive couple with some of the
last-generation, high-end DOS apps, like MS Word 5.5 (available free
from MS and so downloadable, as they gave it away rather than issue
Y2K patches for Word for DOS.)
I'd like to try WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS, which had a full GUI, but
I've been looking for a copy for years with no joy. It was unusably
slow at the time, but on a more recent PC like a fast 486, it should
fly along. There was also a full-GUI graphical spreadsheet version of
one of the major spreadsheets, but I don't remember details now. I
think it might have been Borland Quattro or QuattroPro 5 or so for
DOS. If you can get a supported TCP/IP stack running on DOS, there
*are* some DOS web browsers, such as Arachne and Lineo's WebSpyder.
I'm not sure about email programs, though.
Bung in a SCSI card and a couple of old SCSI disks, make it into a
NetWare server? There was a freely-available 2-user version of Netware
4.1, and that can be patched up to date with free service packs,
making it fully W2K compliant and so on.
If you want to try a modern, networking-enabled OS/2, there's
Serenity's eComStation. Expensive, though. There's a free demo live
CD, but it's not installable.
If you fancy something unusual, which IME doesn't work well in VMs on
modern PCs, you could try the DEC-like TSX-32, which is sort of
aesthetically appropriate - it's a sort of PDP-like OS for the PC.
Also on a DEC theme, there's FreeVMS, but I don't think they have any
Somewhere lost in a cupboard I have an ancient 386 notebook PC, whose
80MB hard disk has DOS (DR-DOS 7 with QEMM) coupled to a choice of
about 4 GUIs, a range of productivity apps, and also dual-boots with
Pygmy Linux giving me TCP/IP through a parallel port Ethernet adaptor
and thus very basic Web access with Links. All this in 80MB and it's
about one-third full. I think it has WordPerfect 5.1, Word 5.5, a
spreadsheet of some kind, plus a selection of DesqView, OpenGEM,
ViewMAX and GeoWorks Ensemble. It was a real nostalgia-fest putting it
together. It has the Microsoft free DOS network stack, too, with
TCP/IP, but it can't actually talk to any modern Windows machine. Just
don't ask me to get it to print...
Liam Proven • Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/liamproven
Email: lproven at cix.co.uk • GMail/GoogleTalk/Orkut: lproven at gmail.com
Tel: +44 20-8685-0498 • Cell: +44 7939-087884 • Fax: + 44 870-9151419
AOL/AIM/iChat: liamproven at aol.com • MSN/Messenger: lproven at hotmail.com
Yahoo: liamproven at yahoo.co.uk • Skype: liamproven • ICQ: 73187508
More information about the cctech