Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Inside the box

Sometimes, thinking "outside the box" means working inside a box. Or a container, like a virtual machine.

In an email with someone (I think it was Rugxulo) I proposed an interesting new path for FreeDOS:

Create a very lightweight Linux system that boots, run DOSEmu on virtual console #1, which immediately boots. The other virtual consoles provide an ability to run DOSEmu, which also can boot FreeDOS.

There should be a simple method to direct the Linux host system to "shutdown" or "reboot" from within the DOSEmu - but it could be as simple as: when DOSEmu exits on virtual console #1, present a quick menu to do a "soft reboot" (restart DOSEmu) or "hard reboot" or "shutdown" (both affect the Linux host system.)

In this way, a certain level of abstraction or virtualization is realized. You can run separate instances of FreeDOS in the different virtual consoles, providing a kind of "DOS multitasking" (but really, it's just instances.) An interesting step forward (and not too different from what some virtualization companies are proposing) but it's missing the things necessary to bring DOS to the next level. (See my other posts.)

Still, it's an interesting idea, and I'd be very curious if anyone ever created such a thing. Any takers?

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