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OS/2 BOCHS emulation
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Author:  lrios4403 [ Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:26 am ]
Post subject:  OS/2 BOCHS emulation

Sorry if this is a re-post but I still cant seem to find a way to emulate OS/2 on BOCHS

I know other people have done it but I cant find a good tutorial or example.

If this is a re-post please link me to the origional post thanks you!

-Lrios4403

Author:  DOS [ Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

There are many versions of OS/2, and even two different vendors for the early versions (IBM vs. Microsoft). It would probably help to start out by specifying which version you want to install.

This post covers Warp 4. It's not really a tutorial so much as important information. I don't recall many challenges other than finding a working version of Bochs, but I haven't re-read my post.

Author:  TheCollector1988 [ Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

He meant the 1.x versions.

Author:  Darkstar [ Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

BOCHS?
Image

*hehe*

But seriously, I'm suprised people still use it. Can it really still be useful, now that we have so many other (newer and, I assumed, better) options available (DosBox, VirtualBox/VMware Workstation/VirtualPC, PCjs, PCem/86box, MAME, ...)?

Author:  SoftPCMuseum [ Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

Well, if you want to go completely authentic wherever is even practically possible, then 86Box currently has support for a number of IBM PC models, including the IBM PC/AT and XT/286 and even a number of IBM PS/2 and PS/1 machines. Any one of those machines would be an excellent choice for IBM OS/2 in my opinion, since that was exactly the target platform (or series of target platforms in this case) that those operating systems were originally designed for and tested against.

The problem is, though, that most people typically don't care much at all about the old IBM machines (and even less so for the PS/2 and PS/1 systems at that), meaning that you are (for all practical intents and purposes) completely on your own as far as finding the correct configuration settings and software is concerned, since there simply are not going to be that many people at all who are going to (or who are willing to) help you, so instead of asking people online about it, a better idea would be to search for some of the websites with online PS/2 resources as well as for the reference disks for whatever IBM PC model that you want to emulate.

Even more interesting would be to test an old IBM or Microsoft OS/2 pre-release version or SDK on one of those machines - especially when emulating the correct disk drive types and expansion boards. That alone would recreate a true IBM OS/2 developer's experience in my opinion. You could even dual boot with an old PC-DOS or Windows version at that, which was common for any OS/2 user.

Author:  DOS [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

Darkstar wrote:
But seriously, I'm suprised people still use it. Can it really still be useful, now that we have so many other (newer and, I assumed, better) options available (DosBox, VirtualBox/VMware Workstation/VirtualPC, PCjs, PCem/86box, MAME, ...)?


I assume DOSBox won't run an arbitrary OS, only DOS? It certainly won't emulate a CD-ROM drive (it will let you mount an .iso file if you're using the built-in, emulated DOS, but it doesn't emulate any hardware that a CD-ROM driver can talk to).

VirtualBox and VMware emulate more modern hardware. I don't think either of them will let you say that you want to emulate some old Cirrus Logic video card, for example.

I can't speak to all of the other options. If you think newer = better then you should try the emulator I just started writing 1 minute ago *hehe* To be serious though, Bochs has been around for a long time so has many features, and I would like to hope that it is stable, although as I mentioned in my post that I linked to above, they still sometimes break things.

Author:  Darkstar [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

DOS wrote:
I assume DOSBox won't run an arbitrary OS, only DOS?

Oh, it sure can. Windows 9x and Linux definitely run. OS/2 might be possible on one of the more advanced forks of DosBox (it needs pretty specific 80386 features that almost no other program/game uses so it might hit some untested7unimplemented code paths here and there)

DOS wrote:
It certainly won't emulate a CD-ROM drive (it will let you mount an .iso file if you're using the built-in, emulated DOS, but it doesn't emulate any hardware that a CD-ROM driver can talk to).

This is only true of mainline DosBox. Also why would you need a CD ROM drive to use OS/2?

DOS wrote:
VirtualBox and VMware emulate more modern hardware. I don't think either of them will let you say that you want to emulate some old Cirrus Logic video card, for example.

So? There is no need for emulating a Cirrus card, since older OS/2 versions run perfectly fine with only a VGA card. And VBox/VMware emulate a VESA framebuffer which is just fine for DOS-era programs (remember UniVBE?). Warp3 and Warp4, for example, run adequately in VMware Workstation (although Warp3 has some driver issues and only basic VGA resolution)

So my question still stands: What can BOCHS do that other emulators can't? My experience with it (admittedly from some 10 years ago) was not very positive and I was happy to ditch it when qemu came around and VMware got better... Maybe there was some recent development on BOCHS that I was missing...? A few years ago the project was almost dead, with only a few commits happening each month.

Author:  ArtiomWin [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

SoftPCMuseum wrote:
Well, if you want to go completely authentic wherever is even practically possible, then 86Box currently has support for a number of IBM PC models, including the IBM PC/AT and XT/286 and even a number of IBM PS/2 and PS/1 machines.

86box doesn't have support for PC XT 286. It was introduced to PCem few weeks ago, but is yet to be ported to 86box (along with EPSON PC AX series, Atari PC3 and Toshiba T3100e).

Author:  SoftPCMuseum [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

ArtiomWin wrote:
SoftPCMuseum wrote:
Well, if you want to go completely authentic wherever is even practically possible, then 86Box currently has support for a number of IBM PC models, including the IBM PC/AT and XT/286 and even a number of IBM PS/2 and PS/1 machines.

86box doesn't have support for PC XT 286. It was introduced to PCem few weeks ago, but is yet to be ported to 86box (along with EPSON PC AX series, Atari PC3 and Toshiba T3100e).
If you checked the latest 86Box commits, you will see that support for it was added from PCem.

Author:  DOS [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

Darkstar wrote:
Oh, it sure can. Windows 9x and Linux definitely run. OS/2 might be possible on one of the more advanced forks of DosBox (it needs pretty specific 80386 features that almost no other program/game uses so it might hit some untested7unimplemented code paths here and there)


Interesting, thanks!

Quote:
Also why would you need a CD ROM drive to use OS/2?


Some versions of OS/2 came on CD-ROM, some applications come on CD-ROM. There are probably workarounds in a lot of cases, like copying the files onto a virtual HDD, but I'd rather not if I can avoid it. I use DOSBox for some things, but not this. It'd be great if there was one tool that was perfect for everything, but sadly there doesn't seem to be.

Quote:
older OS/2 versions run perfectly fine with only a VGA card.


Sure, I guess that running old OSes in 640x480 brings back memories of the time before I got a SuperVGA card. But then later I want to actually read a bunch of text inside the VM, and I remember why I was willing to use an interlaced 1024x768 mode just to be able to fit more on the screen!

That makes me wonder, do any of the emulators emulate interlaced modes with all the flicker? :D

Quote:
And VBox/VMware emulate a VESA framebuffer which is just fine for DOS-era programs (remember UniVBE?). Warp3 and Warp4, for example, run adequately in VMware Workstation (although Warp3 has some driver issues and only basic VGA resolution)


Windows 3.x, for example, doesn't have VESA drivers; I think online you can find some hacks to get VESA working, but I don't like to just run any binaries I find on random websites.

Quote:
So my question still stands: What can BOCHS do that other emulators can't?


All those things I already listed, I think :) Okay, probably PCem or 86Box can do all of those things (I'm guessing), but DOSBox, VirtualBox and VMware don't seem likely to be able to meet those requirements.

Quote:
My experience with it (admittedly from some 10 years ago) was not very positive and I was happy to ditch it when qemu came around and VMware got better... Maybe there was some recent development on BOCHS that I was missing...?


I was somewhat the same, but them Qemu was never quite as capable of running older software as Bochs, e.g. I remember having trouble with various memory managers under DOS, and I think Battler explained at least one reason for this in some other thread on here, something about Qemu not bothering to emulate the BIOS properly.

You didn't explain why your experience with Bochs wasn't positive, though. Mine was just that Bochs was much slower. The development that has happened in the last 10 years is that I have a much faster PC, but I'm still running the same old OSes, so the relative slowness of Bochs is no longer an issue (after I figured out how to configure it right). When I want to run newer OSes, I certainly use Qemu, VirtualBox, VMware, etc.; Bochs would probably be too slow to run those reasonably, and they are all fine for newer OSes.

Author:  Darkstar [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

DOS wrote:
Quote:
Also why would you need a CD ROM drive to use OS/2?
Some versions of OS/2 came on CD-ROM, some applications come on CD-ROM. There are probably workarounds in a lot of cases, like copying the files onto a virtual HDD, but I'd rather not if I can avoid it. I use DOSBox for some things, but not this. It'd be great if there was one tool that was perfect for everything, but sadly there doesn't seem to be.

I agree on the "installing the OS" part, but we're talking OS/2 1.x or 2.x here, which came on floppies. Even OS/2 Warp 3 was available on floppies (I know because I once copied the whole set, 35 disks or something)
Also I fail to see why you cannot use DosBox's imgmount for installing applications? It has worked pretty well for me so far...

DOS wrote:
Quote:
older OS/2 versions run perfectly fine with only a VGA card.
Sure, I guess that running old OSes in 640x480 brings back memories of the time before I got a SuperVGA card. But then later I want to actually read a bunch of text inside the VM, and I remember why I was willing to use an interlaced 1024x768 mode just to be able to fit more on the screen!

Yes, but there are VESA drivers for most (not all!) operating systems. Sure, OS/2 1.x or 2.x may be different but back then virtually nobody had such hardware anyways and people were just running OS/2 in EGA/VGA...

DOS wrote:
That makes me wonder, do any of the emulators emulate interlaced modes with all the flicker? :D

I don't know about the flicker, but there are definitely things in PC-land that no emulator can currently emulate, like undocumented use of the CGA card. Just look up "8086mph" for example

DOS wrote:
Quote:
And VBox/VMware emulate a VESA framebuffer which is just fine for DOS-era programs (remember UniVBE?). Warp3 and Warp4, for example, run adequately in VMware Workstation (although Warp3 has some driver issues and only basic VGA resolution)


Windows 3.x, for example, doesn't have VESA drivers; I think online you can find some hacks to get VESA working, but I don't like to just run any binaries I find on random websites.

I had a VESA driver for Windows 3.1 some years ago. I don't remember if it was a "hacked" one or not. But it worked fine in emulation.

Quote:
You didn't explain why your experience with Bochs wasn't positive, though.

Note that this is from memory of maybe 10 years ago...: I remember the UI being buggy or not working properly (on Windows, at least). Like you could click that CD ROM icon but nothing happened? And I remember it crashing a lot when trying to boot Windows 9x (or was that Windows 3.1? hmm). But it was a long time ago and I might mis-remember some things, and even if not, these things probably have been addressed by now. To be honest I was just quite surprised to see that BOCHS was still being developed, I thought it died some years ago. I also remember there being another x86 emulator around at that time that was a bit of friendly competition to BOCHS, but I cannot remember its name... well, it probably got merged into BOCHS or qemu or something...

Anyway, my rules for choosing an emulator are simple:
- If I need to run a modern x86/x86_64 OS with or without a GUI, I use VMware
- If I need to run some other (modern-ish or older) OS that doesn't work properly on VMware or runs on some non-intel architecture (Sparc, MIPS, PPC, etc.) I usually use qemu if possible (if not there are usually specific emulators for these architectures, like MAME, tme, sheepshaver, gxemul, ...)
- If I need to run a simple program from the MS DOS / early Windows era, I use DosBox
- If I need to run a whole O/S from that time, I use 86box, MAME or PCjs (depending on the specific requirements)
- really ancient stuff gets to run on SimH ;-)

There really is no place on that list where I can see BOCHS fit in :D

Author:  DOS [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

Darkstar wrote:
Even OS/2 Warp 3 was available on floppies (I know because I once copied the whole set, 35 disks or something)


Wouldn't you prefer to install from CD-ROM than from 35 floppies? I wrote some software once to automate changing floppies for particular installers but I'd really prefer to just use a CD-ROM!

Quote:
Also I fail to see why you cannot use DosBox's imgmount for installing applications? It has worked pretty well for me so far...


As I said before, "it will let you mount an .iso file if you're using the built-in, emulated DOS, but it doesn't emulate any hardware that a CD-ROM driver can talk to". In other words, when I boot actual MS-DOS, I can't use imgmount, and there isn't an emulated CD-ROM drive. You did point out that some DOSBox forks might be better in this regard though.

Quote:
you could click that CD ROM icon but nothing happened?


I haven't really had that problem, although the GUI isn't exactly great in Bochs - in some configurations, some of the buttons will cause a prompt to appear in a text-mode console (e.g. Windows Command Prompt). That's actually kind of nice if you want to script interaction with Bochs, but not what most people expect of a GUI.

Author:  TheCollector1988 [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: OS/2 BOCHS emulation

ArtiomWin wrote:
SoftPCMuseum wrote:
Well, if you want to go completely authentic wherever is even practically possible, then 86Box currently has support for a number of IBM PC models, including the IBM PC/AT and XT/286 and even a number of IBM PS/2 and PS/1 machines.

86box doesn't have support for PC XT 286. It was introduced to PCem few weeks ago, but is yet to be ported to 86box (along with EPSON PC AX series, Atari PC3 and Toshiba T3100e).


We have a reason to not put the Epson PC AX and Atari PC3 machines, on PCem they have just incomplete emulation.

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