Hi Michael,

> Windows 98 is NOT Windows NT. It is a version of Windows that
> runs on top of dos.  Linux uses more memory because it is a
> multi user system with an overkill gui.

According to various Wikipedia articles about this, the
system requirements for minimum RAM and disk space are:

>> Windows 98  16 MB  500 MB  (but 24 MB recommended)
>> Windows NT  12 MB  110 MB  (data for Windows NT4)
>> ReactOS     64 MB  150 MB  (roughly Windows 2000)

Wikipedia also says that starting with WfW 3.11, the disk / file
access part of Windows is no longer done by DOS. As I would say
that memory allocation for Windows is not done by DOS either,
the purpose of DOS in Windows 98 can hardly be anything more
than having a simple boot loader. You could boot Linux in DOS
with Loadlin if you want that kind of a "DOS based" system ;-)

> Freedos 32 should not
> in theory doesn't need dos extenders as it already runs in
> protected mode and it offers a flat memory model.

Dos extenders are typically small compared to the operating
system itself, but you are right that you may get limited
speed improvements by avoiding the task changes between a
"real" (actually vm86) mode kernel and protected mode apps.

Note, however, that the typical bottleneck in DOS is not the
CPU, RAM or task switching speed but rather disk speed and
amount of useable RAM. The latter is already solved by using
a DOS extender. Hard to say whether a flat memory model has
any pros and cons compared to various DOS extender memory
models, overhead should be minimal and mostly hidden in C.
Also note that the IRQ handling overhead of a DOS extender
is not much worse than the one caused by loading EMM386.

> I am not proposing Windows NT Lite, I am proposing
> a Windows compatible gui that runs on top of dos

Then you should try Windows 3.1 or HXRT, not Windows 9x
because Windows 9x does not run on top of DOS... :-).

> minus some of the features that
> would make it really really heavy.

As said, Windows 98 / NT only use a fraction of the memory
used by Firefox which you used as the example app. Actually
www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/system-requirements says that
you cannot run Firefox on Windows 98 / NT at all, you need
at least Windows 2000 with 64 or better 128 MB of RAM...

In Linux, you need GTK+ 2.10, GLib 2.12, Pango 1.14 and
X.org 1.0 (or higher). As Dos does not provide any of this,
you would have to port all of them to DOS to make Firefox
work, so you do get a "heavy" system even in DOS. If you
use the Windows 2000 version of Firefox instead, you will
need something which can run Windows 2000 apps, which is
exactly what ReactOS does for you, after getting rid of
the DOS part which is not useful for Windows 2000 anyway.

Note that Firefox 2 did actually run on Windows 98 / NT:
It needed 64 MB (better 128 MB) RAM, too. The Linux
version needed glibc 2.3.2, gtk+ 2.0, XFree86 3.3.6,
libstdc++ 5 and fontconfig/xft.

The "glibc gtk+ fontconfig xfree" and "gtk glib pango x"
combinations mean "big parts of a Linux with Gnome GUI
and Unicode fonts but zero apps". Gnome would include a
file manager and so on which Firefox does not need :-).

After so much talk about Firefox, we should not forget
that there are lighter browsers which do run in DOS,
for example Arachne. Which other nice DOS browsers do
you know? There are lynx and elinks but they are text
mode, which graphical browsers remain?

Eric :-)

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