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BlackFish

Windows 95 is 15 years old today

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Gez said:

Since it's a statement about backward compatibility, it should be understood to refer to the equivalent predecessors rather than to DOS and Win16...

If it is, then it's kind of Captain Obvious statement, isn't it?

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It's a comparison with the backward compatibility of other systems. Backward compatibility on Mac systems is practically non-existent.


From a design standpoint, it's better not to have backward compatibility at all. Force everyone to upgrade and recompile, it may reveal some bugs in the software which will have to be fixed and everyone wins.

From a marketing standpoint, backward compatibility is a better decision because upgrading third-party software is not always possible, especially when it's closed-source, commercial, and the company would make you buy it again and/or does no longer exist anymore.

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Gez said:

It's a comparison with the backward compatibility of other systems. Backward compatibility on Mac systems is practically non-existent.

Well, then it should have been emphasized for us idiots to understand. I really had the feeling it's about compatibility in general.

Gez said:

From a design standpoint, it's better not to have backward compatibility at all. Force everyone to upgrade and recompile, it may reveal some bugs in the software which will have to be fixed and everyone wins.

From a marketing standpoint, backward compatibility is a better decision because upgrading third-party software is not always possible, especially when it's closed-source, commercial, and the company would make you buy it again and/or does no longer exist anymore.

I agree with that.

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Danarchy said:

Man, I remember that screen. Win98 was a much better OS, and I used it for YEARS. Probably from the time it came out until, oh 2006?


I'm still running a Win98 install from November 2000 on my pIII.

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Note that linux is the king of incompatibility. What used to compile and run 6-7 years ago may be almost impossible to build and use now. Of course there are many niggling factors like frameworks and shit being out of date but in windows that became rarer and rarer. Of course, Every OS experiences DLL hell. I know damn sure Linux does, I've used it since 2006.

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Grubber said:

Your statement that "No other OS can run anything from DOS, to early GDI/Win16 applications, to Win32 applications and beyond directly on top of the hardware or with minimal adaptation"


Yes, and it's still 100% valid. A DOS title running even under NTVDM will be allowed to bang on the hardware much more than it will be allowed under DOSEMU. Does DOSEMU allow its emulated MS-DOS environment to tap directly into BIOS interrupts and write into I/O ports? I don't think so. NTVDM allows for that, at least to a limited degree, and it's as "direct" as you can get without reverting to full-blown DOS.

Windows 9x was even more direct than than (and the price to pay was stability). Seriously, do you know of any other OS that allowed this to occur with legacy applications? Let's stop playing with words here.

CODOR said:

He's wondering why Microsoft didn't bother emulating an 80486 to run 16-bit DOS/Win3.1 apps on 64-bit processors like they did for Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC.


If they really did that on other platforms, then I see several major problems:

  • Execution speed.
  • Redundancy of emulating Intel on Intel
  • Lack of Pentium instructions, which ever so little were used by late DOS apps and compilers.
  • Would create a needless split between a "mostly 16-bit" and "32-bit + Pentium fully capable" emulator, assuming they provide both. Now, a Power PC or Alpha or MIPS or whatever non-Intel user would probably have to run something REALLY obscure and old to resort to that, and speed/late DOS compatibility would be secondary. A Windows user is more likely to run something not really that shit-old, hence a full emulator would hardly cut the mustard (don't forget, DOSBOX underwent nearly a decade of voluntary development to reach acceptable performance levels). NTVDM and DOSEMU are courtesy solutions, at best.

Csonicgo said:

Note that linux is the king of incompatibility. What used to compile and run 6-7 years ago may be almost impossible to build and use now. Of course there are many niggling factors like frameworks and shit being out of date but in windows that became rarer and rarer. Of course, Every OS experiences DLL hell. I know damn sure Linux does, I've used it since 2006.


As true as this statement is, you'll get hordes and hordes of zealots spewing forth heavy words like "LSB" and preaching the Good of recompiling and external libraries and the Evil of static linking. The result is that certain Linux software is distributed in a way that's only marginally better than those old BASIC magazine type-in programs. At least MacOS and commercial Unices adopt a distribution model more similar to Windows: unpack and run (especially MacOS).

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My first computer was in fact using windows 95 when my mother bought me one when I was about 9 or 10 years old. It stop working a year later(I think it was a used computer) and she ended up getting me a new one but with windows 98. Sadly it met its demise about 2 years ago from a hard drive crash which led me to buy this Acer Labtop with Windows Vista that I bought about a year and a half ago.

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Maes said:
Does DOSEMU allow its emulated MS-DOS environment to tap directly into BIOS interrupts and write into I/O ports? I don't think so.

Actually, it does. (Ports have to be opened on an individual basis; in the general case it's not necessary.)

If they really did that on other platforms, then I see several major problems:

  • Execution speed.

Speed is often a problem when emulating -- if I remember correctly, that was one of the main complaints about running x86 code on Itanium processors. But in this case we're trying to run 16-bit code originally written for double-digit MHz processors on multi-GHz 64-bit processors, and as DOSBox shows this really isn't a problem anymore.

  • Redundancy of emulating Intel on Intel

It's not redundant if it's necessary (i.e. to run 16-bit code on an x86-64 processor).

  • Lack of Pentium instructions, which ever so little were used by late DOS apps and compilers.

Support for these could have been added if necessary, just as it was done for other emulators.

  • Would create a needless split between a "mostly 16-bit" and "32-bit + Pentium fully capable" emulator, assuming they provide both.

It only needs to emulate 16-bit code, as 32-bit code could be run natively on the CPU. (DOSEMU does this already, and possibly WINE when running 16-bit Windows programs.)

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CODOR said:

It only needs to emulate 16-bit code, as 32-bit code could be run natively on the CPU. (DOSEMU does this already, and possibly WINE when running 16-bit Windows programs.)


Bingo. On Intel, both "extended" 32-bit DOS code and legacy 16-bit one run just fine natively without emulating ANYTHING, as well as Pentium code. Call it lazyness, but they catch two (or three) birds with one stone. 64-bit was a late developmen for which they probably are too lazy or unmotivated to bother with.

So on Intel, they had no CPU emulation to begin with, EVAR. EVERYTHING ran natively, until 64-bit kicked in. On other architectures, perversely, they had to use a complete emulator, which however in this specific case has an advantage. Perversely, as I say.

Now, making an emulator which run selectively 32-bit code natively and 16-bit code under emulation in some weird mixed mode sounds like a nightmare, and is totally unnecessary on 32-bit Intel. Most likely, they have no real incentive to code something like that, and for some reason they don't want to do complete "Intel on Intel" emulation.

Again, none of this invalidates my original argument: if I run an original DOS app from a 5.25" floppy connnected to my PC under Windows XP (and probably Vista/7 32-bit) it will run and will bang on the hardware as it always did. A 4 KB demoscene intro that banged on the VGA and produced a fractal world? Idem. A boring accounting app that printed on a dot-matrix printer? Idem, printer included.

Try and match THAT with any other OS. Essentially it's unmatched cross-version and even CROSS OS compatibility in one product, that has no real equivalent in any other currently used commercial OS.

...and that's the reason why, ladies and gentlemen, Microsoft will rule yo ass.

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Grubber said:

Well, then it should have been emphasized for us idiots to understand. I really had the feeling it's about compatibility in general.

That wasn't on him. It's just another case of people taking any opportunity to bash Windows even when its superiorities are clearly demonstrated.

MAES: The blue whale is the biggest living mammal on Earth.
WHALE HATERS: Well... it's not THAT big.

Criticisms don't change the fact.

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Bucket said:
That wasn't on him. It's just another case of people taking any opportunity to bash Windows even when its superiorities are clearly demonstrated.

I think the only things that have been clearly demonstrated are that certain Windows users are overly sensitive when it comes to the slightest criticism about their choice of operating system, and that Windows is a good OS for backwards compatibility except for its x86-64 versions.

DOSEMU and WINE can run 16-bit x86 apps on 64-bit processors running various operating systems and Microsoft's own Windows NT 3.x and 4.0 could run them on at least three unrelated architectures. Yet for some reason they dropped support for them in Windows x64. (Probably what Maes suspects: that it would be too much work maintaining a separate WOW16 subsystem for the handful of people who would use it. Those people could always use a 32-bit version of Windows or one of the other alternatives if necessary.)

And if there's Windows bashing here, then I must have missed it. Grubber even says "you are obviously better off using Windows to run Windows software". And I hate Windows so much that I typed my last message from Windows XP and this one from Windows 7 Home Premium (both 32-bit in case anyone's wondering, although my home desktop runs XP x64)...

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Technician said:

Remember back in the old days when computers were threatening. Freeze up a program and your computer's fucked.

EMM386 has detected an error and has halted your system to prevent futher damage.

This was always my favorite error message to get from Windows 3.11.

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CODOR said:

I think the only things that have been clearly demonstrated are that certain Windows users are overly sensitive when it comes to the slightest criticism about their choice of operating system,

The day Windows only gets SLIGHT criticism is the day I shave my pubes with a butter knife.

Maybe, just maybe, it's the people that spew uninformed bullshit on an idealistic bent that rubbed off on them from Slashdot or /g/ that other reasonable people feel compelled to respond to. Maybe that's where you get the impression that people are always rushing to defend Windows. Of course I could say that about any culture...

GROUP A: (Bunch of tired bullshit that's just plain wrong)
GROUP B: Actually no, like I keep saying, here are some facts and shit.
GROUP A: OH LOOK IT'S THE FANBOY BRIGADE HERPADERP

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Stop proving my point. If you'd read this thread, you'd realize I was in Group B...

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The obvious failure with that is everyone believes that they are group b (naturally)

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Maes said:

A DOS title running even under NTVDM will be allowed to bang on the hardware much more than it will be allowed under DOSEMU.

Just another wild conclusion of an uninformed person.

Maes said:

Does DOSEMU allow its emulated MS-DOS environment to tap directly into BIOS interrupts and write into I/O ports? I don't think so.

Yes, even if you don't think so, it does.

Maes said:

As true as this statement is, you'll get hordes and hordes of zealots spewing forth heavy words like "LSB" and preaching the Good of recompiling and external libraries and the Evil of static linking. The result is that certain Linux software is distributed in a way that's only marginally better than those old BASIC magazine type-in programs. At least MacOS and commercial Unices adopt a distribution model more similar to Windows: unpack and run (especially MacOS).

And of course there are zealots from the other side glorifying The only right distribution modelâ„¢, totally dismissing proc/cons of each of them.

Maes said:

Again, none of this invalidates my original argument: if I run an original DOS app from a 5.25" floppy connnected to my PC under Windows XP (and probably Vista/7 32-bit) it will run and will bang on the hardware as it always did. A 4 KB demoscene intro that banged on the VGA and produced a fractal world? Idem. A boring accounting app that printed on a dot-matrix printer? Idem, printer included.

Again, DOSEMU handles everything you mentioned with ease. (I'm already bored with making this point, as you are obviously not going to read up anything about DOSEMU and just spew your wild guesses, so this is the last one.)

Bucket said:

That wasn't on him. It's just another case of people taking any opportunity to bash Windows even when its superiorities are clearly demonstrated.

Please, be so kind and point me to a place in this thread where I bashed Windows, even with a single word. Thank you.

CODOR said:

Yet for some reason they dropped support for them in Windows x64. (Probably what Maes suspects: that it would be too much work maintaining a separate WOW16 subsystem for the handful of people who would use it. Those people could always use a 32-bit version of Windows or one of the other alternatives if necessary.)

There are rumours that the next Windows release will be 64b only. So, will MS be dropping support for 16b apps completely, thus impairing backward compatibility? Or will they continue releasing 32b versions of Windows, just for the people to run their legacy apps? Isn't maintaining whole 32b OS actually harder than maintaining the emulator? Maybe they will include it in future releases. But who knows what they'll do.

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Grubber said:

Just another wild conclusion of an uninformed person.


As opposed to some Wish-she-was Mary Sue's perfectly adamant and informed pure factual and unemotional statements? Were you on the DOSEMU team by any chance? Do you own any fucking stocks? Or are you just trying to get the last word...vs Moi? How little you've been on these forums, despite your registering date...

Grubber said:

Again, DOSEMU handles everything you mentioned with ease. (I'm already bored with making this point, as you are obviously not going to read up anything about DOSEMU and just spew your wild guesses, so this is the last one.)


This ain't gonna convert many current Windows users that use DOS applications into installing some flavor of Unix and run their favourite bookkeeping/accounting/invoice printing app from DOSEMU rather than inside a nice window while playing MS Solitaire in the next one. So again, what's your point?

Ah right, for some unclear reason you have to preach about DOSEMU anyway, just like the joke about Toto and the worms. Good grievance...

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Grubber said:

And of course there are zealots from the other side glorifying The only right distribution modelâ„¢, totally dismissing proc/cons of each of them.


That's not what anybody said.

There is no 'the only right distribution model'. A well designed system though should allow what's most convenient without a hassle.

So take it however you like but Linux's issues with binary distributons and dependency hell are a problem for certain users and that's one strike against it for many. Not for you, obviously, but you are not the only computer user in the world.

On the other hand, most of the old Windows games from the late 90's I got still install and work fine on my current Vista system.

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Maes said:

So again, what's your point?

Just saying DOSEMU is no worse than NTVDM (which you seem to imply, just because you don't have a fucking clue about it - and frankly, I don't see why you are commenting on something you don't know). That's all. I'm certainly not trying to persuade anyone that they should install Linux so that they can run DOS apps. That would be stupid, wouldn't it?

As for the irrelevant stuff, no comment.

Graf Zahl:
So take it however you like but Linux's issues with binary distributons and dependency hell are a problem for certain users and that's one strike against it for many. Not for you, obviously, but you are not the only computer user in the world.

Tell me something I don't know. (Also, how would you know what's problem for me and what's not? All I said was no distribution model is perfect.)

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Grubber said:

As for the irrelevant stuff, no comment.


I could say that for most of the stuff you posted so far. We'd both have a better chance of having a rational conversation with Richard Stallman himself about the Linux-GNU/Linux naming controversy or software patents, rather than bailing out of this rathole. Have a nice day.

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Thanks. Have a nice day too. I promise I won't ever make the mistake of mentioning anything non-Windows in a Windows thread again.

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Grubber said:

Thanks. Have a nice day too. I promise I won't ever make the mistake of mentioning anything non-Windows in a Windows thread again.


well, I'm sure you could safely mention OS/2 and even get some sympathy ;-) And, guess what, it also ran DOS and Windows 3.1 apps, sometimes more reliably than the actual "OSes" ;-)

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I don't know, it's a thin ice ;-)

But I think I can at least agree with that OS/2 had really superb VDM which contemporary Windows couldn't match. Too bad it ended how it ended.

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Use3D said:

I'm still running a Win98 install from November 2000 on my pIII.

Right on. Still, I regret not switching to XP sooner. It was actually a pretty good OS.

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Aliotroph? said:

I don't. Windows 95 is an unstable piece of crap compared to anything since Windows 2000. It was a lot nicer than 3.1, but yeah, crap. All the things I miss about 1995 involve me being a kid. Computer games seemed more exciting then, but I suspect that was in large part because I was a kid.


I agree.

Although Windows ME was pretty horrid as well, if I recall right.

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