From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dosbox for the win!

My Mom is almost 100% Ubuntu.  I've given her a couple of computers running Ubuntu over the years, and she's gotten really adept at using it, but she still has one Windows XP desktop hanging around.  And it seems like it's always ailing...

She's been a professional photographer for years, and she has one, ancient MS-DOS program that she uses for tracking all of her small business finances, transactions, and pictures.  It's a classic database called Q&A 4.  Of course, I've showed her newer databases (of which there are many).  But she's been using this program for 20+ years, and has schemas and views that are just that old.  So let's just take it as a given that she's not moving off of that, okay?

That one program is pretty much the only thing holding her to her Windows desktop, which is several years old now, and of course, cluttered and slow and on its death spiral.  So she asked me if there was any way I could get her Q&A running on Ubuntu.  Ooooh, a challenge :-)

I started with Wine, of course, but that promptly blew up with multiple errors.  Googling for those errors, though, turned up a few hits referencing "dosbox", a program already in the Ubuntu archive for running old-school MS-DOS programs.  It seems it's been around and in the archive forever, I've just never stumbled across it, so yeah, I'm out of the loop...
sudo apt-get install dosbox
dosbox QA4.EXE
And wow, she's working like a charm!!!  She's ever so much closer to dumping her last Windows PC :-)

Anyway, toying with dosbox got me thinking about some of those old-school MS-DOS games I played as a kid...Oregon Trail, Scorched Earth, Ultima, Warcraft I, Wolfenstein.  All games that I owned and loved, at some point.

I stumbled on where I found a couple of old school games that ran perfectly under dosbox, like this one...

Anyone up for a modem game of WarCraft?  atd...ata :-)