> - freedos 1.1 successfully installed.

Nice :-)

> Was 3x128 + 1x256 = 640, but recognized only 384 MB. This might...

Indeed odd.

> - CPU clock rate too high for a lot of old dos software?
> Do you think clocking down to below 500 Mhz might help?

If your hardware supports ACPI, starting from newer
socket 7 / pentium 3 afair, you can use FDAPM SPEEDn
where n is a digit to throttle the system a bit. This
halts the CPU and/or clock for N our of 8 time slices
in hardware (e.g. 1/32768 seconds long) but for fast
systems, it will just make games jumpy, not smoothly
reduce the speed. Also, strong throttle makes things
behave sluggish as it hinders timely IRQ handling.

More modern methods such as reduction of clock and
voltage together are not supported by FDAPM yet and
often only allow a few speed steps. For example AMD
cool n quiet might support only 100%, 80% and 40%.

More old methods such as single stepping through all
code can have compatibility problems and will waste
a lot of CPU performance and energy in general...

In the modern virtual computer case, you sometimes
simulate the whole CPU anyway, so you already do
waste host CPU performance but can use any speed.

> Bart says so for his network boot floppy.

Odd suggestion though ;-)

> - A20 stuff...
> especially the XMS/EMS driver loading seems to fail often.
> I have in mind that A20 has to do something with EMS oder XMS or UMB?

A20 only has to do with HMA, DOS=HIGH and with XMS.
Many EMS drivers permanently switch the A20 on, or
at least keep it on (should be default set by BIOS
during boot) and then just simulate A20 switching.

Also, switching off the A20 is only needed for some
obscure old software while not accessing HMA, so if
you have to revert to a setting (HIMEMX has quite
many) which "solves" the A20 problem by keeping the
A20 always on, you should be fine nevertheless. I
agree that apart from XMGR, HIMEMX and similar can
be an alternative. Try NOT to load any EMS / UMB
driver (JEMM386, EMM386 etc) before you solve the
XMS / HMA problem (HIMEM, XMGR...). A special case
is JEMMEX which combines both "HIMEM" and "EMM386"
in one driver, so you should NOT load HIMEM / XMGR
before JEMMEX, or at least need not load them 1st.

> And, A20 is some hack using the keyboard controller.
> Since I attached an USB keyboard to a USB switch, for easily 
> switching
> between computers... could this be a problem

The USB itself no, but the fact that the BIOS tries
to make the USB keyboard look like PS/2 by faking
some keyboard controller activities, maybe yes...

> - This time I partitioned and formatted the drive before booting the
> installer.

Very good idea and works well with GPARTED and other tools.

> btw, the fdisk program contained on the floppy sucks.

I agree, it mainly tries to look and feel like MS FDISK.

> created a bad partition layout. have to move partitions now...
> what about xfdisk instead?

XFDISK is an idea :-)

> - install Freedos 1.1T3
> Ran through in almost no time, wow!
> I got the same error message from Jemm, but pressing ESC continued
> booting the installer.

Still sounds evil. I hope the installer can work without JEMM.

> So where do you suggest to continue? Should I jump to the 1.0 
> installer?

If you want a big pile of software, you can manually unzip more
packages from the 1.0 CD-ROM into your DOS directory, or use a
more elegant "package install or update" tool which does almost
the same but in addition automatically checks dependencies and
runs post install batch scripts (not many packages use those).

> or should I install manually? Could you point me to a tutorial for
> manual install, or is it just "unpack anywhere", as we are used

Basically yes, but it is often better to unpack things from the
distro into the same DOS directory and keep the subdirectories
structured the way they are in the zip files.

> - network
> its a 3c905b. It should work using the NDIS driver included with 
> Barts
> Network Boot Disk. Does it work with freedos out of the box or do I 
> have
> to do this manually using this wiki page?

That 3com series sounds classic, so I assume there will be a
direct packet driver on crynwr which does not need NDIS/ODI.

The freedos.org page also links nice pages about networking.

> http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/freedos/index.php?title=Networking_FreeDOS_-_NDIS_driver_installation
> Which cards are known to be working? Got a few Realtek based 
> somewhere...

Classic NE2000 compatible RTL80x9 and 100mbit/s RTL8139 cards
work nicely with DOS drivers and the PCI config is plug n play
for the driver. Not plug and play in the sense that DOS will
automatically find the driver for you, just in the sense that
the driver needs almost no command line options :-)

> - pascal compiler

freepascal, 32 bit, available for dos

> - maybe basic compiler or interpreter

freebasic, 32 bit, compiles, available for dos, has qbasic mode.

> - maybe fortran compiler, if the old software has to be recompiled

not sure about the choices here.

> - network would be nice

Bart and Veder have some network boot disks on that topic.

> - some basic linux tools, eg vim, df, du, dd, wget...

Most of them are available in DJGPP (GNU C/C++ for DOS, 32 bit)
ports for DOS. Note that 32 bit means running with DPMI such as
CWSDPMI. The DOS kernel still uses only 1 megabyte of RAM, but
is of course free to use 32 bit calculations. The ported DJGPP
apps also use 32 bit pointers (up to 3.x GB of RAM :-)). Also,
some of your basic tools are available in 16 bit ports as well.

> ehm, so network won't work?    :(

DOS has no kernel level networking, but you can load a packet
driver and DOS apps which are compiled with WATTCP or other
networking libraries can talk with that. An example is Arachne
which is a graphical (VESA) DOS www browser, afair with mail.

You cannot easily use network drives in DOS, because that is
a too kernel level thing to do. For example the MS MSCLIENT
(think Samba but written by MS) uses big amounts of precious
DOS memory. Note that the Samba smbclient "FTP client" style
tool is available in a DOS port. It just does not "mount" a
drive, because "mounting" is more "kernel level" again.

> Well, so far for now. I continue with debian install...

FreeDOS also runs very nicely in DOSEMU :-) There you can
use any Linux directory to mimick a DOS drive letter, more
or less in the same style as MSCDEX / SHSUCDX "mount" DVD
or CD ISO9660 filesystems on drive letters. Or like the MS
msclient network redirector mounts them, for that matter,
but avoiding all headache of networking and DOS RAM waste.


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