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Hi all, This is kind of a which distro question but it's so specific that the usual routes haven't yielded much of an answer... Basically I want a DOS replacement. ...
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    Linux as DOS replacement


    Hi all,

    This is kind of a which distro question but it's so specific that the usual routes haven't yielded much of an answer...

    Basically I want a DOS replacement. No GUI. And I want to be able to decide exactly what's installed - not install it all then remove bits but decide what bits to install before anything is copied to the hard drive...(like the cygwin installer if anyone else has used that).

    Ideally all I'd want at the end of the install is about 10Mb of data on the hard drive with the kernel, a shell and some basic commands like ls etc.

    A wireless network driver and text mode web browser (lynx on linux???) would be nice to have's but not essential. Oh, and I'd like a text editor.

    That's about it - any suggestions??

    Thanks

    Gareth

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    Linux Engineer b2bwild's Avatar
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    A Debian / CentOS / Gentoo minimal install would be fine and easy..but 10MB is hard to get. X_X
    If you want to get accurate 10MB, you can try compiling Linux from scratch with so much of optimization.
    Never make any misteaks.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    The Debian NetInstall disc will give you a functional command-line system that you can add to with whatever you like. Text editors are standard (vi, nano, emacs), and you can certainly add lynx or links or elinks for web browsing.

    What kind of wireless card do you have?
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    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    If you want just want a free software replacement for MS-DOS, you might want consider FreeDos a capable alternative.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    DSL information

    This is also by default very light, only has about 50mb. 10 mb would be pretty difficult to do, but not impossible.

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for the quick responses - I usually check forums after a copule of days!!

    To be honest the 10Mb bit wasn't that realistic, it was more an indication of the fact I really didn't want to install Ubuntu and then just run the bash shell...

    techieMoe - I've got an atheros wireless card. It worked with the Ubuntu livecd when I tried that so I assume there's a driver out there somewhere....

    GNU-Fan - thanks, I never thought about using Free-DOS. I didn't realise it was such a developed OS - I just thought it was a free version of DOS...bye bye 6.22!!

    Hmmm...lots to think about there - Linux or DOS...Linux or DOS!

    Gareth

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    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garetha77 View Post
    Hmmm...lots to think about there - Linux or DOS...Linux or DOS!
    You want:

    Comprehensive hardware support, user management and several simultaneous application? --> go for GNU/Linux

    Very small memory footprint, unlayered access to the hardware and just single tasked applications? -> take FreeDos
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    By the way, if all you want is:
    Ideally all I'd want at the end of the install is about 10Mb of data on the hard drive with the kernel, a shell and some basic commands like ls etc.
    why don't you do just that?
    Compile yourself a custom kernel with everything necessary statically linked.
    Then copy it on a blank partition, make it boot and set init to a standalone shell
    (sash, busybox...)

    "Tom's Root Disk that also Boots" puts a lot of such things on a 3,5" floppy disk.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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    Hmmm...quick look at the FreeDOS site and a surf around would indicate that the FreeDOS driver scene is about the same as the MS DOS driver scene...it'll probably run on the laptop but no sound or network...

    I'm learning assembler and one thing I liked about DOS was that it'd let me do anything I wanted to...windows would "help" me by stopping direct hardware access etc. Will Linux baby me in the same way? (e.g. can I invoke the BIOS to se the screen to 320x200 in Linux or will it stop me?

  11. #10
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    The kernel will stop you, as it is a protected mode kernel.
    But nobody stops you from telling the kernel what to do.

    You can write kernel modules which have unlimited access to the hardware.
    Or you can alter the existing video drivers (which are by nature a lot more powerful than the good ol' 13h chained framebuffer )

    Then there are libraries like SVGAlib and the Linux framebuffer device, which provide linear memory access and can of course be hacked by you as well.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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