PC DOS Retro

There’s a new DOS history and reference information website called simply “PC DOS Retro Page”. The site includes several reference pages (DOS commands, drivers, functions, internal structures) as well as a very extensive timeline of DOS releases.

Vernon Brooks, the site’s creator, worked as PC DOS lead developer at IBM. That ought to make the site rather more authoritative than most!

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20 Responses to PC DOS Retro

  1. Yuhong Bao says:

    Wonder if PC DOS 7.1’s FAT32 support was copied from MS-DOS or written from scratch.

  2. Paul says:

    Wonder if Yohung’s comments ever add anything to the discussion…

  3. Michal Necasek says:

    I’d say they typically go completely sideways.

  4. Richard Cranium says:

    Devil’s advocate time – I really don’t mind ol’ Yuhong.

    He’s not a troll; he doesn’t abuse anyone – at least, I’ve never seen him do it; his questions are (usually) intelligent and worth seeking an answer to; and his statements are (usually) true and accurate.

    I remember back when he frequented The Old New Thing, people (including Raymond himself a few times) got aggro at him for his posts. I was always left scratching my head – people seem to have a “disproportional response” to him. Do people really find his apparent inability to stay on topic THAT offensive?

    I say “apparent”, as the last couple of replies he’s made, I’ve found quite on-topic and intelligent myself. :S

  5. Michal Necasek says:

    Two points… a) you don’t get to see everything he posts, and b) there’s a thin line between distraction and destruction. Some of his posts clearly get on people’s nerves. It might be worth analyzing why.

  6. Richard Cranium says:

    That’s what I was saying: I’ve been analysing what irritates people so badly about him for years. Literally YEARS. Clearly, I’m ignorant of something really basic here.

  7. Paul says:

    Good points Richard.

    To explain further, from a personal point of view and I by no means wish to say this is everyone’s view, I think his comments on this (Michal’s) blog have a different problem than a lot of his comments on Raymond’s blog. Here the thing which grates is the post topic is well researched, well written with a central point and a kind of “flow” leading to/from that point. I expect the comments to kind of follow that “flow” and add something to the post/conversation. Yuhongs comments are, generally, only tangentially related to the point/flow and they are generally have a feel of “I’ve got to say something because I’m so smart.” For me it really detracts from the flow and has a negative impact on me.

    His comments on Raymond’s blogs seemed to combine the “hey I’m incredibly smart everyone should notice me” borderline autistic behaviour (which we probably all have to some extent give our chosen vocation) with a “score settling” of (perceived and probably real) past wrongs at Microsoft’s hands.

    Note to Michal, thanks for the blog. I don’t usually comment as I feel I don’t have anything to add but I really enjoy your historical posts immensely. I came into PC-land on the back of a long and deep time with the Vic-20 and Commodore 64, arriving in the early 486 era. Thus a lot of the information is really interesting to “push back the fog” at the edge of my knowledge, and sometimes I can “map” information into explaining *why* certain decisions or routes were taken.

  8. Richard Cranium says:

    THANK YOU Paul – especially your third paragraph, helped it to all fall into place for me. Having re-read a few Old New Thing replies by Yuhong, I can see now it can be easily taken that way.

    Being on the autistic spectrum myself (mild Asperger’s), there are a lot of things that need to be spelled out to me. That makes perfect sense, thanks… though I still don’t mind the bloke, personally. 🙂

    And I’ll join the chorus of approval for Michal: I greatly enjoy this blog too. My favourite topic is your expeditions into the internals of old operating systems – extremely informative, and offers a great deal of insight into how architectures have evolved over the years.

    I shudder to think how much time and energy you expend on this blog, Michal. I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it, even if I had the knowledge base you have to work from, despite the fact that I have a LOT of free time on my hands. My hat off to you. 🙂

  9. dosfan says:

    Um, any comments or feedback regarding my PC DOS Retro site ?

  10. Yuhong Bao says:

    dosfan: Do you know if PC DOS 7.1â€ēs FAT32 support was copied from MS-DOS or written from scratch?

  11. Michal Necasek says:

    Thanks for your kind comments!

    I too came to PC-land via C64 and random other 8-bit micros. I completely missed roughly the first 10 years of PC evolution and my first PC was a 386 (SX, but with 4MB RAM!). And now I’m trying to figure out why certain things are the way they are and where they came from.

    It’s ironic that I’ve never been a big fan of Microsoft and in fact developed a pretty strong dislike due to their unfair business practices… yet I found myself in the unfamiliar situation of having to defend Microsoft from Yuhong 🙂

  12. Alex Czarnowski says:

    Well, I know it is two years later but since a lot of comments happen long time after original post got published I’m not feeling wrong. Dosfan the site is great and I really like the list of changes you’ve done to PC DOS 7 back in a day. For anyone (still) interested in programming DOS your tables and list of functions are really helpful. Nice addon to Ralf Brown Interrupt List.

  13. Yuhong Bao says:

    I think MS-DOS 7.0 (Win95) and MS-DOS 7.1 (Win95 OSR2) should be added to https://sites.google.com/site/pcdosretro/dosdispatcher

  14. Yuhong Bao says:

    Also a correction to https://sites.google.com/site/pcdosretro/dosdispatcher : the stack sizes are incorrect (they are double the actual stack size)

  15. dosfan says:

    The stack sizes *are* correct, I’ve worked on DOS and seen *all* of the DOS source code, you haven’t. I don’t take requests and I don’t think this is the appropriate place to make them anyway.

  16. Yuhong Bao says:

    Yea, I think you are correct actually, sorry.

  17. dosfan says:

    I just posted an update which might be of interest to someone running DOS on a PC made after 2007. I posted my patch to VIDE-CDD.SYS, the universal IDE CD-ROM/DVD-ROM driver to support native IDE mode in systems which don’t use legacy IDE mode (base ports 1F0h or 170h).


  18. ForOldHack says:

    “Um, any comments or feedback regarding my PC DOS Retro site ?”
    Well, I have been using Dos since 1.1, July 1982, and after viewing a lot of the stuff, I have had questions on, or need to refresh my extensive memory, I have to say two things: 1) It rater impressive in scope for something 30+ years old, and 2) I have yet to find a single mistake.

    What stacks did the config.sys stacks command actually modify?

    Did anyone disassemble the Int12h for DOS 4.0M?

  19. Michael A. Rothman says:

    And sorry to say, Vernon Brooks was never the lead developer of PC DOS. I was the one who hired him, and the one who saw him depart.

  20. Robert says:

    Dead links, like all the sites.google.com websites.

    Wayback link: https://web.archive.org/web/20220409140952/https://sites.google.com/site/pcdosretro/

    It seems the author tried to setup a git page, but later took it down. https://pcdosretro.github.io/

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