Please explain that "obsolete peripheral communications device".
> 1)? Re write the application to use WATTCP or something similar.
If it is open source, you can do that.
> 2) Leave the application alone and modify the emulator
> (like VMWare Player) to provide a bridge between the fixed
> shared memory addresses and some sort of standard Windows
> (or even Linux) interfaces.
You cannot modify VMWare (closed source) but you can modify
Bochs, Qemu and Dosemu. The latter is only available in Linux
but it has a nice virtual hardware infrastructure. I once
planned to "write a TI Pro PC" set of hardware for it but of
course it is still a lot of work so I never got around doing
it. The TI Pro has non standard COM ports and a high end 3
plane special 720x350 RGB graphics card.
> Leaving the application alone has some benefits since it's
> pretty complex, brittle and old.
What exactly does that application do?
> So option 1 is pretty obvious and I could run the app either with
> FreeDOS booted directly on the hardware or booted on VMWare under
> Linux or Windows.
It makes a big difference whether you boot on hardware or VMWare.
> Option 2 is what I'm trying to explore -- has anyone had experience with
> this?? Does either VMWare or DOSEmu have capabilities in this area?
Both do, but as -you- do not have the vmware source code, you cannot
"help yourself and write hardware for vmware". You can write your
own hardware for dosemu, bochs and qemu, though :-).
> some sort of memory range which is shared between FreeDOS and the
> emulator which would then communicate to the outside world?
Look at the way the emulators support VGA graphics: DOS writes
to the virtual VGA RAM and the emulator calculates what you
would see on a real VGA and then shows that on your Linux or
Windows desktop in an image :-).
Note that VGA hardware is pretty complex so do not get scared
when you fail to understand the VGA emulation engine sources.
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