On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 3:45 AM, NA <plu...@robinson-west.com> wrote:
> The free crynwr packet driver collection doesn't cover the Netgear
> FA311 10/100 baseTX network card.

Blame Netgear. (It's their decision, not ours.)

> Uge!  I've been google searching and have found BartPE, but that is a
> Windows 98 boot disk.
> I suppose some people like freedos's spotty support for modern network
> cards, but then how does one
> update freedos without networking???

It is my understanding (though I've not personally tested it) that
Mateusz created an .iso that can be locally installed (without
networking) via FDNPKG.

> Why not an on top of freedos
> minimal Linux system that you
> load using say loadlin for the sole purpose of running fdupdate?  This
> linux system can drop back
> to freedos when it is done.  This gets around having to support
> network cards in freedos for which
> there isn't any support.

That's what most people already do, just use another host OS to
download and manually transport the files.

However, if I may make a generalization (though I've not personally
tested 300+ distributions) ... there are not many (if any) true
"minimal" distros anymore. Everything for desktop use usually assumes
X11, and you're unlikely to even find most kernels for less than i686
and 128 MB RAM. (Feel free to make your own via Linux From Scratch!)

You can boot an .iso via DOS using GRUB whatever or Gujin, e.g.
PuppyLinux (may have to copy kernel + initrd to host FAT first).

Maybe FreeBSD would work as well (though IIRC no [current] DOSEMU
available there). The "bootonly" .iso is "only" 150 MB or so, and it
has lower requirements (probably due to no X11 installed by default):
64 MB, i486 (I think).

> Another option is to revive freedos32 and
> possibly design it so that
> Linux packet drivers or Windows packet drivers can be used.  Yet a
> third option, install freedos
> from a minimal bare bones Linux system that supports common network
> cards which can be extended
> to support other cards and provide instructions on how to add drivers
> to the iso image prior to
> burning it.  A fourth solution is to get open source developers to
> produce dos drivers for modern
> network cards that came into existence after Microsoft dropped dos support.

Portable drivers (across x86 OSes) are not impossible. It's been done,
but most developers don't bother. I don't know why.

> Without a dos packet driver that works with your network card, forget
> using Norton Ghost.

Dunno, but they probably (like most) don't develop a DOS version
anymore, so it's moot. I would be happy to know they still kept the
"old" DOS version around somewhere, but I'm skeptical about even that!

> Syllable seems to have better network card support than freedos does
> where syllable isn't: Dos based,
> Windows based, or Linux based.  How is that even possible?

Most of them (e.g. Haiku, FreeBSD) have sponsors or similar funding.
Though they also have less "legacy" stigma to suffer, as well.

> Too bad there isn't a universal packet driver specification where the
> high level logic is one piece
> and the low level runtime is another piece that can be tailored to the
> OS.  Done right, this approach
> should ease porting network cards to different operating systems that
> support the specification.  The
> high level piece should provide a specific interface I suppose that
> can be operated from a single
> OS specific part.  My idea is, write one low level piece and support
> many high level card specific
> components using it.  For this to work, the drivers need to be open
> source and care should be taken
> to allow some flexibility in how the high level piece is compiled on
> different OSes.

Portability is not easy, even for those few who care. It's hard to
design (and maintain) something for all targets without any problems.
Even if DOS were popular and had lots of volunteers and funding, it
still wouldn't be easy.

> I hope packet driver support improves in freedos in the future or
> perhaps fdupdate should be redesigned
> for non network use.

I misread this the first time. You explicitly say "*non* network use".
Like I said, I'm pretty sure that FDNPKG (the official "successor" to
FDUPDATE) is offline aware / friendly.


"Warning: FDUPDATE is obsolete as of september 2012. It has been
replaced by its successor: FDNPKG."

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