On Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 8:34 PM, Thomas Mueller <mueller6...@twc.com> wrote:
> Using elvis 2.2, I was able to view and edit files in DR-DOS above 1.5 MB, but
> scrolling through a file of 3 MB was prohibitively slow; no such problem in 
> Linux.

I had bad memories of Elvis. Not that it was bad in features, but 2.2
was much more heavyweight than 1.8, and it always ran out of memory. A
quick check shows that Elvis 2.2 can indeed edit more than 64 kb
files, but the (HTML-based) ":help" almost always seems to choke and

IIRC, the author just never had enough time nor interest to port it to
32-bit (DJGPP), so DOS was stuck with a somewhat limited 16-bit
version. It does say that it uses a temporary file, but I couldn't
find any trace of it (":sh"), only something related to settings, no
temporary user file data.

> Maybe that was because DOS is not really made for large RAM.

"Raw" or XMSv3 can handle it fine (with or without DPMI on top).
Obviously DJGPP stuff has no problem (usually) with pretty huge

There's an old file manager on Simtel (mirrors) under /fileutil/ call
DOS Controller (dc-sk.zip). It's closed source, but it's very small.
It has a built-in editor which allowed almost total free conventional
memory. A quick check under DOSBox (with NASM 0.98.39's nasmdoc.txt,
which is ~500 kb) shows "565153 used, 14239 free". It's hard to get
much better than that.

Back in the day, I used (16-bit) TDE 4.0. It roughly gave you 400 kb.
When Jason updated it (5.x), he converted the binary config to plain
text, plus added syntax highlighting. So now the real-mode version
(TDER) only gets roughly 200 kb. So I don't use that, I only use the
(new) 32-bit DJGPP version (TDEP), which can handle almost anything I
throw at it (within reason).

> Still, I prefer to switch to Linux, FreeBSD or NetBSD to edit anything 
> serious, using vi.

You mean "nvi", which is an 100% compatible reimplementation but with
(IIRC) unlimited undo, 8-bit clean, and maybe? filename completion in
the ex command buffer. This is unlike something like VILE, which is
more or less "mostly" compatible (but based upon MicroEmacs!).
Actually, wasn't nvi loosely based upon Elvis originally? Anyways, nvi
has some excellent docs, that's all I remember.

Though keep in mind that "vi" is considered very cryptic, so most end
users don't like it. Doesn't FreeBSD also come with ee as a simpler
alternative? And of course Emacs lovers don't like modality but prefer
modifier keys. Heck, Emacs can mimic vi, if you want.

> Apparently DOS, including FreeDOS, works better on an older computer than on 
> a modern computer.

No, but modern cpus aren't designed for DOS in mind (search mailing
list archives for "speedstep" or "EIST"). Most computers don't even
have APM anymore, so (worse, more complex) ACPI is all there is. Not
to mention (lack of) multi-core and 64-bit and (popular) network
drivers and (overly complex) USB.

It's not the fault of the OS but instead lack of "developers
developers developers".

> I just went to drdos.com just to check the price for DR-DOS 7.03, was $79; 
> last time I looked previously, it was $39.

Dunno why, nothing's changed (AFAIK). It still good but showing its
age. I'm not sure it's worth getting, honestly, unless you really need
multitasking (and don't mind 64 MB task limit). Use DOSEMU!

> Download link for DR-DOS 7.03 from drdos.net is no good; links no longer 
> valid is a problem
> with much old DOS software.

Blame the popular shareware and FTP sites for disappearing. I guess
most people don't have much vested interest in software preservation.
Especially not these days with entirely different goals and a quicker
(more destructive) upgrade pace.

BTW, DR-DOS 7.03 was never "freeware", AFAIK, only (temporarily?)
"trialware". Even OpenDOS 7.01 was "non-commercial only". Use FreeDOS!

> I still have and occasionally use Borland Quattro Pro 5 for DOS; dBASE IV 1.5 
> less frequently.

Well, that's half the point, to keep software compatibility. Most
people (reasonably?) don't want to throw everything away.

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