On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 5:28 PM, Sol-Terrasa mkfs ext4 da' Sussex
<alex.bu...@munted.org.uk> wrote:
> On Fri, 2010-04-09 at 13:46 +0100, Liam Proven wrote:
>> > *sigh* I'd forgotten about that 64k limitation. :(
>> There is a /reason/ why people dropped Windows 3 like a hot potato
>> once they had a better alternative!
>> To be honest, Windows 9x or NT 3 are far more interesting retro OSs to
>> play with now, which can do vastly more. The 32-bit transition was
>> /long/ overdue.
> Well, yes people needed more resources to do more things.

True... But 32-bit PCs are pretty ubiquitous now. Even a decade ago,
386/486 level PCs were available for in the region of US$5 - *per
tonne*. You literally can't give them away today in most of the world.

The entry level for the sort of old PCs given away for free is
continually rising, as the spec of modern PCs rises. Now, where I live
in London, it seems to be floating around the high-end Pentium
III/low-end Pentium 4 mark. I gave 4 such machines to a charity last
month. All had at least ½GB-640MB of RAM, 20GB of hard disk, a DVD
reader and CDRW burner, sound and network cards & an AGP 3D

That is the level of scrap kit now, in England.

There is no need for Windows 3 on such machines; it was badly
compromised, can't run any software more recent than 15Y old, and is
just about useless for Internet access. They are over-specced for
Windows 9x, in fact. Ideal low-end Linux boxes, though.

I sent them out with FreeDOS on them, as I didn't have time to install
& configure Linux or Windows on all of them.

(Well, actually, 1 had XP, as it came with a licence. 1 had Linux
Mint. The other 2 had FreeDOS.)

I can tell you what I'd like to see in the future for FreeDOS, but I
think I'll make it a separate post.

>> > But there still is a
>> > need for display drivers for WFWG users; there are a lot of new graphic
>> > hardware out there that have no display drivers available for WFWG.
>> It is a long-dead OS. I really don't think there is such a "need", no.
>> The fact that there are some usable  VESA drivers is enough, I think.
>> > If that was a long time ago, dare I hope you might have some sample
>> > sources for me to look at? I still want to write graphic device drivers
>> > for WFWG.
>> I installed and supported many many such machines, but I was never a
>> developer, so no, I have no "sources", I'm afraid. My sources of
>> information, as a sysadmin, were magazines, not the Internet back
>> then. I was online, but there was no Web yet, so really it was just
>> email & Usenet. Usenet is still there & Google has the archives. :¬)
> OK, fair enough I'm sure there's more than enough information to write
> one. Thanks.

Good luck!

>> >> If you want to get a feel for Win3-era Windows on a big desktop, use
>> >> NT3. NT 3.51 was the last and best version & was a very good OS in its
>> >> way. It was fast, stable, lean & efficient, it supported whacking
>> >> great screens without issues, it ran most Win3 apps, it had a network
>> >> stack & TCP/IP support out of the box, supported VFAT with LFNs and
>> >> NTFS and OS/2's HPFS, and was generally a pleasure to work with. You
>> >> could run Netscape 4 32-bit on it, too, for a pretty good Internet &
>> >> Web experience - for 1995.
>> >
>> > I seem to remember there was once a port of NT 3.51 for Sun
>> > UltraSparcs. :)
>> An unofficial one which I think was never commercially released.
>> Officially, NT ran on MIPS, Alpha and later (and briefly) PowerPC as
>> well as x86-32.
> I think I'll cut my teeth on writing graphic drivers on NT 3.51. I need
> to learn how to write them, for fun :)

O_o Well, I hope it works & is fun!

>> Now, it is x86-32, x86-64 and IA64, but soon, IA64 will be dropped and
>> I suspect x86-32 will follow before too long. On the other hand, there
>> are consistent rumours about an ARM port, which I find hard to believe
>> but would be interesting...
> I think Intel had a hand in that, it ensures a monopoly. It would have
> been a different world if Microsoft had succeeded in porting to all
> sorts of architectures (and far less bugs IMHO). Now we have Linux and
> its success in finding its way into most 32bit platforms.

Well, I know what you mean, but...

There used to be a massive advantage to running x86 code. That's what
killed PowerPC on the desktop, pretty much.

But now, with Linux and to a lesser extent Mac OS X, the Windows
stranglehold has been broken. Now, for Web access and media playback,
an ARM can do everything an Atom can do, for about one-twentieth of
the electrical power.

I think things look pretty bright for ARM.

Also MIPS is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, in the form of TileEra
Til64 & TilePro chips on the high end and the Chinese Loongson (AKA
Godson) chips. MIPS is 99% licence-free - there are a couple of
IP-protected instructions, which the clones just omit. Free hardware
to go with free software!

> There is an ARM port, it's called WINCE. :)

Nearly dead now, since the new, *much* more limited Windows Phone 7 is out.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/liamproven
Email: lpro...@cix.co.uk • GMail/GoogleTalk/Orkut: lpro...@gmail.com
Tel: +44 20-8685-0498 • Cell: +44 7939-087884 • Fax: + 44 870-9151419
AOL/AIM/iChat/Yahoo/Skype: liamproven • LiveJournal/Twitter: lproven
MSN: lpro...@hotmail.com • ICQ: 73187508

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