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Linux Software Entertainment Games

DOS Emulation Under Linux - a Simple Guide 299

David Precious writes "With just a little work, it's possible to get your Linux system to run DOS applications with very little trouble. Whether you need to run some legacy corporate application, or just want to play some of those old classic DOS games, it's easy to get going. To make it easy, I've produced a simple guide to explain it. Hopefully it'll be of use to some people."
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DOS Emulation Under Linux - a Simple Guide

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  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @06:53AM (#7936824) Homepage
    Will it play Duke Nukem 3D....forever?

    • *i* couldn't get dn3d to run on dosemu+freedos, but it may be possible, particularly if you use, say, MSDOS 6.2 instead of freedos.
    • Re:Duke Nukem 3D (Score:5, Informative)

      by slux ( 632202 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:39AM (#7936946)
      I suggest you try Icculus' Duke Nukem 3D GNU/Linux port [] if you want to play it rather than fiddling with dosemu or dosbox (which will surely be too slow as it emulates the entire cpu).

      The same goes for all the games mentioned in the guide - Quake, Wolf3D, Doom all have versions that can be run natively on GNU/Linux and some are also greatly enhanced. Schorched Earth's original version isn't but several remakes are. The Linux Game Tome [] is a good starting place if you wish to obtain these.

      It's interesting how it might be easier to run legacy Dos apps in GNU/Linux than in Windows (XP) these days. My friend's been dreaming of running a certain old dos game on his WinXP system, but all he has is Dosbox which doesn't run it and even if it did, it would be unplayably slow.

  • by Selanit ( 192811 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @06:56AM (#7936834)
    . . . you can also try DOSbox [], which is a virtual DOS machine.
  • Keen!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cyclopedian ( 163375 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @06:57AM (#7936837) Journal
    Bah, if I'm going to emulate DOS on linux, I'd rather play Commander Keen. =P

  • Quake?? Doom?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by j-pimp ( 177072 ) <<zippy1981> <at> <>> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:00AM (#7936847) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps he's not aware of the many open source ports of these two for linux with improved EVERYTHING. I reccomend the freedoom wad replacement and legacydoom.
  • CLI emulating CLI. Seems redundant.... or even repetitive.
    • I just ran WINE from bash, to launch the ReactOS cmd.exe, in order to run a Win32 CLI executed Assembler - that needs GUI output.

      Yes, my head did hurt making that happen. It appears to be something to do with WINE's multiple parameter handling being dodgy.
  • Oh no (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:01AM (#7936853)
    I see a new era of DOS-resident viruses comming up.
    • Re:Oh no (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's not as much of a joke as you think. I have dos 6.22 disks I just used a few months ago to install a dos box. I hadn't touched the disks in years, but they have a couple of old viruses on them. I even managed to infect my win2k machine.
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:03AM (#7936857)
    Now if only we could get Windows to emulate DOS correctly, maybe then we could Play Duke3d in XP.
  • by Linus Sixpack ( 709619 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:04AM (#7936860) Journal
    Has anyone made emulation work with Parallel port Dongles and Hasps? It seems that most of the emulators target dos games -- will they translate com and printer port calls ?

    Some programs that "just work" are really a pain to change. I support a few of these that run on dos and I don't think there is a will to port them or replace them.

    At this point Linux is much better maintained than dos and it would be a better fit if the programs ran perfectly? I know I'd like to dump dos.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:05AM (#7936862)
    In real [] Linux distributions, click K (or G) > Configuration > Packaging > Install software

    Enter root password
    search for dos.
    Tick the dosbox box. Click install.

    All the depencancies are automagically resolved and your done in 10 seconds.

    Then click
    K > Applications > Emulators > Dosbox

    Then volia, the c prompt is here haunt you.

    Silly geeks, why do you make your life so hard when it can be so easy now days.
  • by ultrapenguin ( 2643 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:11AM (#7936871)
    Am I the only one who finds the articly higly lacking any useful info?

    Sure, I haven't touched DOSEMU since about 1998 but back then I remember all sorts of problems.

    Even now, the article mentions nothing about setting up sound, midi playback, etc, is this all handled automatically by dosemu installer (doubt it).

    This guide seems to be written by someone who just found DOSEMU yesterday and didn't know anyone used it for years before.

    I mean there's even DOSEMU-HOWTO [] written which is the official linux dosemu howto, what's wrong with that one? It seems to be even kept up-to-date (as popular dos is these days, anyhow).

    And most of the games he mentions on the site have way better native linux ports...
    • Same situation here, in regards to using dosemu. The last time I used was about three years ago (I think, could be off). It was because I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to screw around with qbasic. As I remember, dosemu at that point could even a screen mode higher than plain text reliably. At least it's nice to see they've progressed a bit.
    • Agreed. I mean, the article explains how to install it from tarballs, but none of the important config details. For true newbies this is probably fine, but they should IMHO use a package from their distro, and anyway this is useless for the typical slashdotter.
  • PCEmu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kasperd ( 592156 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:14AM (#7936880) Homepage Journal
    Actually I have written my own PC emulator [], but it is far from as usable as DOSemu. I wanted to test a way to do the emulation with only 16 bytes used for ROM. As long as it was fun I kept coding. But eventually I ran into some problems. If I actually wanted to use all the available 255KB of UMB the kernel would Oops when the stack was on the same page as my ROM. I fixed the kernel bugs together with Manfred Spraul and Stas Sergeev. But I never got back to coding on my emulator.
  • DOSemu (Score:5, Funny)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) <mark@seventhc[ ] ['ycl' in gap]> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:17AM (#7936887) Homepage

    Thinking about DOSemu and DOSbox remind me of an old article in Wired about the Turbo Switch on computers.

    "Having a turbo switch on your computer is kind of like saying 'I have this really cool ferrari that when I press a button it turns into a pinto'".

    I downloaded Dosbox and played some of the old classics at a sluggish pace... They say that an XP 1800 with DosBox is the equivalent of a 386SX-25.

    "Look ma! I have this cool little program that makes my Athlon 64 3200 into a 386SX-40! Isn't that swell?"

    The sad thing is... I don't think I've ever been so happy about finding a program online.

    I suck.

    • DOSemu runs the dosbox as a VM86 task, it should run at the full speed of the host processor. There will be some slowdown when you try to run graphic applications in an X window, but other than that there is no "emulation" going on.

      DOSemu is not like VMware or even Virtual PC.
    • Re:DOSemu (Score:3, Informative)

      by salesgeek ( 263995 )
      Thinking about DOSemu and DOSbox remind me of an old article in Wired about the Turbo Switch on computers.

      Actually, there were a large number of DOS applications that were coded in assembly for a 4.77Mhz PC. Faster computer would make these programs not work - and some were actual business applications and programs that interfaced with hardware that were written this way. The idea that PC archetecture would be around for 20+ years did not even cross the programmer's mind back then! Originally the purpo
      • I found another use for it - when I was working on the team developing the first version of this [], I had to make sure the rendering code was efficient for partial redraws (scrolling diagonally, floating windows). Also we used XOR plotting to do the selection UI, etc.

        When you get redraw glitches with that, it's often hard to see what's going on. Pressing the turbo button on our 486-66 machines would turn them into a very slow PC, which made it really obvious where the redraw was screwing up :-)

  • Best option... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Markos ( 71140 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:19AM (#7936891)
    The best option is to really just put together an old gaming box. Old hardware that will run dos like a dream is avaiable everywhere. Seems to be the best option instead of messing around with various emulators trying to get them to work with game xy and z.
  • Why this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by po8 ( 187055 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:21AM (#7936898)

    OK, I'm not getting why this article made the front page. The "tutorial" seems to consist of saying "download the software and install it", which shouldn't be too hard to figure out on one's own. The bulk of the tutorial content is pointers to four standard DOS games.

    BTW, on Debian, the installation is "apt-get install dosemu-freedos". I was about to gloat about how easy that is, but it looks pretty darn easy under Slackware also. :-)

  • Scorched Earth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ngtni ( 470389 )
    Probably the best reason to run a DOS emulator is so you can play Scorched Earth (the mother of all games).

    The author of the guide says he used to play Scorched in his Sixth Form, and the network admin would join in too... exactly like in my school! This game must have been more popular than I first thought. If you've never played it, you really should...
  • by barries ( 15577 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @07:48AM (#7936960) Homepage
    There's still a dusty corner of systems design and programming that takes place on DOS: some embedded programming tools (compilers, flash burners, in circuit emulator debuggers) for some chips still work "best" on DOS.

    Only now, we can use DOSEMU to run them under Linux and get the benefit of real development environment when supporting legacy apps. We can open a bash shell and use Perl, gnu make, emacs/vim, etc to drive development, then have a DOSemu / FreeDOS window to drive download and debug.

    It can be quite difficult automating the Windows versions of these tools to that same level. Most of our projects use Windowes tool (running in VMware on Linux), but we did one two years ago hosted on DOSEMU and using Bytecraft's (now) excellent compiler for the PIC chips.

    Best of both worlds, and many, many thanks to all the hackers that made it work so well.

    - Barrie
  • It's a bit ironic... (Score:4, Informative)

    by DarkDust ( 239124 ) <> on Saturday January 10, 2004 @08:11AM (#7936990) Homepage
    I'm still playing DOS games from time to time, like Dune 2. Now the ironic part is that I can't get the sound to work in DOS directly (laptop with an SiS chip, no DOS usable driver avaible) neither does the sound work under Windows ME... but it works without problems in Linux using DOSEmu since it emulates an SoundBlaster 16 and a General MIDI card :-)
  • by Trurl's Machine ( 651488 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @08:39AM (#7937026) Journal
    ...can it be compiled for MacOS X or Linux/PPC - or is it somehow dependent on physical x86?
  • Haven't tried this yet - freedos is still in the process of compiling on my machine - but what the heck, I'll give it a shot.

    Right now, I've got a huge box full of old floppies for Dune, ChessMaster, Wolfenstein, and a bunch of other old games that I spent way too much money on, considering all they can do now is collect dust.

    Now if they only had an emulator for the Win95 games that no longer work in 2000/XP... Somebody aught to support these commercial products that no longer have an OS to run on!
  • Gentoo users: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:32AM (#7937127) Homepage
    Who needs a tutorial? Just type emerge dosemu.
    • The same goes for most distros - just use their own package management systems to install dosemu. The article covers nothing about the actual configuration, for example about getting sound to work.
  • The reason I ask is for the old venerable OrCAD 386 SDT and PCB programs... 800x600 just doesn't cut it, and that old program is still way ahead of what they've put out today in terms of ease of use, functionality and keyboard support.

    I know about Eagle's cross-platform abilities and all the other win32-only ones but to be honest, none of them seem to have that right mix of keyboard use, navigation and plain old workability. I'm rapidly running out of systems that OrCAD 386 will run on. :-(

  • by tiger99 ( 725715 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @10:57AM (#7937328)
    Why? Because I gave away lots of my old but good DOS programs, complete with licence of course, years ago. It would be nice to run almost bug-free, stable things like Word Perfect 5.2 again. (I did find one bug in that actually, but it was not too serious and did not cause data loss). Then there was a magazine cover disk with 50 free utilities, about 20 of which were actually useful and worked, and got used every day, and all the old C programs I wrote, which would compile and run on both DOS and Unix, but not for some reason, Windoze, even in a command window.

    It would be nice to run non-bloated code again. I used to be amazed at the speed of spell-checking in WP 5.2 on a 286, it would most probably still beat Word 2000 on my Athlon 2.6GHz. Life was much less troublesome then, before truly abominable software, designed by idiots, for idiots, became dominant.

    Now, if DOS could be combined with Unix version 7, that would be almost perfection.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well here was my experience installing it:

    tar xzvf dosemu-
    cd dosemu-


    In file included from /usr/include/linux/pci.h:20,
    from /usr/include/sys/pci.h:23,
    from ../../../src/include/pci.h:10,
    from int.c:44:
    /usr/include/linux/mod_devicetable.h:18: error: parse error before "__u32"
    /usr/include/linux/mod_devicetable.h:20: error: parse error before "class"
    /usr/include/linux/mod_devicetable.h:21: error: parse error before "dr
  • ...about how to read a current "c:\" drive in your system so you can boot your already-installed games
  • If there is anyone who can succesfully emulate the DOS CD-ROM version of Mechwarrior 2, please tell me how you did it! I've tried every dos emulator in the universe. The only way I can make it work is to get an old PC and install a real version of DOS on it. I need to play this game bad, it's been so long...
  • But the information "You can use this without problems. It works. Try it. It runs your classic games." is valueable enough. I think I would not have tried this without this article. So I did, and yes, it works, and even my good old home-brew pacman works perfectly. Good old time.
  • Now all I need is a CP/M emulator and I'm all set.

    (Assuming the adhesive on any of those old floppies survived well enough to extract the contents.)
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:18PM (#7941501) Homepage
    MechWarrior II: 21st Century Combat
    Commander Keen
    Scorched Earth/TANKS!
    Hugo Whodunit (wish I could find a copy of those!)
    Raptor: Call of the Shadows/Raptor 2
    Duke Nukem 3D
    Command and Conquer (Gold)
    Warcraft I and II

    Oher than the games listed above, I pretty much missed out on the DOS gaming era - I didn't get a Nintendo until '93 or so, and quite a while longer until I got a PC ('96?).

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson