DOSBox

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DOSBox is both a x86 and DOS emulator which lets you run old MS-DOS software on modern computers and phones running Linux, BeOS, Mac OS X, OS/2, Android and Windows. It DOSBox emulates older PC hardware which means it can run MS-DOS programs on just about everything. It is mostly known for enabling you to play older games. It is also capable to run spreadsheet programs and all kinds of other programs.

Installation and configuration

A clip from Future Crew's "Second Reality"[1] demo running in DOSBox

DOSBox is available for as good as all distribution and can be installed with the usual method such as dnf -y install dosbox or emerge dosbox or by clicking here on Ubuntu.

DOSBox stores it's configuration file in $HOME/.dosbox NOT $HOME/.config/dosbox as modern standards for configuration files dictate (it was how things were done in 2002 when DOSBox was initially released).

You can run DOSBox once to get a default configuration file created in that folder. You will want to edit the default configuration and likely want to change windowresolution and output under [sdl] to something like

[sdl]
windowresolution=1280x960
output=opengl

and you will also want to change the scaler= under [render] depending on your hardware. If it's decent you want

[render]
scaler=advmame3x

Do keep in mind that MS-DOS games and other software was made for resolutions such as 320x200 and 640*480 when you set windowresolution=. Multiples of these that work well are 640x480, 960x720, 1280x960, 1600x1200 and 1920x1440.

For audio you may want to change both rate= under [mixer] and oplrate= under [sblaster] to 48000. Check what your audio card is using with pactl list sinks to check if this is something you want to do. Leave it at 441000 (default) if that is what your sound card is using.

Running DOSBox

Either start it from a terminal or alt+f2 in XFCE4/KDE with dosbox /file/path where the argument is a path to a folder you'd like to have as your C: drive. DOSBox will also give you a Z: drive with COMMAND.COM and friends. Example:

dosbox $HOME/OS/MSDOS

simply use . as argument to start it in the folder you're in,

dosbox .

Once in you can type help or help /allfor a list of DOS commands in case you forgot about DIR, CD and COPY.

SoundBlaster vs Gravis UltraSound

DOSBox can emulate the somewhat popular Gravis UltraSound card but you need some additional files to use that feature. While you can set that up[2] it's a bit of a hassle. The simpler solution is to use SoundBlaster for audio.

Fullscreen mode

In order to switch to fullscreen mode press ALT+ENTER. You fill find more keyboard shortcuts and information in the dosbox manual page.

Links

Official site: https://www.dosbox.com/

Notes