On Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM, Andrew Robins <arob...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>> The second PATH statement above will override the first, so Access
>> will work, but stuff in FDOS\BIN won't.  To have more than one
>> directory in the PATH, use ; as the separator between directory names:
> Aha - thanks Dennis for the rescue (on yet another OS thread) - I must
> have included an extra space after my semi-colon in previous
> experiments. Cheers and kuDOS

Unix/Linux works the same way, save that the separator is a colon, and
/, not \, is the directory char.

In older version of DOS (2.X?) you could specify the option delimiter
character in CONFIG.SYS.  If you set the option delimiter to something
other than /, you could use \ or / in pathnames.

Under MS-DOS, I ran a package called the MKS Toolkit.  The Toolkit was
a commercial package that  included DOS versions of all the Unix
utilities that made sense in the single-user. single tasking
environment.  It included a complete implementation of the Korn shell,
with everything save asynchronous sub-processes (because DOS couldn't
*do* that.)  The Toolkit included a utility called switchar which
would let you reset the option delimiter to -  and use Unix style path
names in the Korn shell.

Installed in fullest Unix compatibility mode, the Toolkit replaced
COMMAND.COM with MKS INIT.EXE as the boot shell.  Drivers (like EMS,
ramdisk, cache, and mouse drivers) were loaded in CONFIG.SYS, then
INIT ran.  It printed Login: on screen and waited for a userid.  When
I entered one (with optional password), it called /bin/login.Login
looked in a *nix compatible /etc/passwd file, and if it found the ID,
it changed to whatever was listed as that ID's home directory and ran
whatever was listed as that ID's shell.  Exit the shell, and INIT was
reloaded.  This made things convenient, as I could switch environments
without rebooting.  I had IDs that ran the Korn shell, 4DOS, vanilla
COMMAND.COM, and DesqView.

Unfortunately, some DOS apps were hard-coded to expect / as the option
delimiter and \ as the directory char, so I had to play with aliases
and scripts to run them successfully in the MKS environment.  (Run
switchar to set the option delimiter to /, run the DOS app, run
switchar again set the the delimiter back to =.)

MS-DOS 3.3 had system calls to query what the option delimiter char
was and to set it to something else.  MS-DOS 5.0 removed the call to
set it, but kept the one to query what it was.  (Don't ask *me*
why...)  Fortunately, the MKS Toolkit still ran, or I would have gone
back to 3.3.

I kept the Toolkit in place for Win 3.1-  Win 3.X defaulted to using
Program Manager as the shell, but could be told to use something else
in the SYSTEM.INI file.  I played wit an assortment of replacements,
and used MKS IDs that would alter SYSTEM.INI to use the one I
preferred, then run Windows. (I also still had the other IDs, and
could choose not to run Windows.)

I had to give it up when Win9X arrived, but it was fun while it lasted.

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