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Thread: Concurrent DOS, GEM, and KnowledgeSet

  1. #1

    Default Concurrent DOS, GEM, and KnowledgeSet

    I wonder if it was ever considered to add GEM and native 32-bit apps into DRI Concurrent DOS 386. GEM would probably be built into the kernel, with virtual 8086 mode used to run legacy 16-bit GEM apps. It would be far more interesting than DR-DOS.
    (DRI was lucky MS screwed OS/2 2.0 so badly they could still sell DR-DOS for years.)
    Actually, I wonder why GSX/VDI ended up being considered part of GEM instead of being say standard in all future versions of Concurrent DOS and redistributable for CP/M-86 and MS-DOS. DRI would really want to encourage all apps (not just 32-bit or GEM apps) to use GSX/VDI for several reasons, including the fact that they are far easier to remote.
    On CD-ROM, KnowledgeSet makes me wonder when CD-ROM support was added to Concurrent DOS.
    Interestingly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Sierra_Format don't list Digital Research.
    Two companies working together via the same CEO (KnowledgeSet and Digital Research) is probably a bit unusual, but would have been the right thing to do in this case. An OS is supposed to be general purpose.
    Last edited by yuhong; August 12th, 2017 at 11:35 PM.

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    Isn't Siemens S5 derived from FlexOS and X/Gem largely what you want? 386 protected mode extensions and protected mode GEM. Of course, FlexOS extensions were not compatible with DRI's other multitasking and protected mode concepts which made it difficult to convince ISVs to follow the DRI path.

    Formal CD-ROM support was added in 1992 as part of the big changes done for Novell. (DR-DOS 7 and whatever the matching branding was for Concurrent or Multi-User DOS at the time)
    I think there was a CD-ROM sharing product from 87 or so that was built over Concurrent DOS but I can't find a magazine reference to it right now. Very, very expensive but then all the CD-ROM sharing tools were at that time.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    Isn't Siemens S5 derived from FlexOS and X/Gem largely what you want? 386 protected mode extensions and protected mode GEM. Of course, FlexOS extensions were not compatible with DRI's other multitasking and protected mode concepts which made it difficult to convince ISVs to follow the DRI path.
    The point is that if DRI had done this, Concurrent DOS 386 would still exist though all of the 1990s and might still exist today, though it might be a good idea to rename it eventually. I am thinking it might have replaced NetWare if Novell bought it. GSX/GEM remoting would have been nice too.

    Formal CD-ROM support was added in 1992 as part of the big changes done for Novell. (DR-DOS 7 and whatever the matching branding was for Concurrent or Multi-User DOS at the time)
    I think there was a CD-ROM sharing product from 87 or so that was built over Concurrent DOS but I can't find a magazine reference to it right now. Very, very expensive but then all the CD-ROM sharing tools were at that time.
    Yea, that is part of my point given that Kildall was working on KnowledgeSet in early 1985 when he was still the CEO of DRI. Of course, I believe even High Sierra did not exist at the time so there might be no standard filesystem. CD-ROMs are easy to share on the sector level though given it is read-only. Even PC-DOS 3.1 with the redirector interface was just released at the time I believe.
    Last edited by yuhong; August 13th, 2017 at 01:34 AM.

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    How would it have continued to exist? The product you wanted was offered for sale but only appealed to a very small market.

    GSX was a cut down version of GKS done by GSS. It looks like DRI took a short term license for GSX. GSS continued to sell a full version of GKS under the name GSS*GKS until at least the mid-90s. Fairly successful on minis for specialized government uses like the flood plain diagrams done by the Army Corps of Engineers. Programs that were a bit too large to fit on PCs.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    How would it have continued to exist? The product you wanted was offered for sale but only appealed to a very small market.
    I am talking about native 32-bit apps with preemptive multitasking like any other normal 32-bit OS would have, while continuing to support MS-DOS and CP/M-86 apps using virtual 8086 mode. It probably would have less of a chance if MS did not screw up with the OS/2 2.0 fiasco though.
    Last edited by yuhong; August 13th, 2017 at 11:07 AM.

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    It would not have flown, simply due to Microsoft's bundling and marketing arrangements.

    Late versions of GEM/TOS for the Atari show that DRI probably had a very good platform, but due to MS's overwhelming market presence, the best DRI could do was to be a minor also-ran.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yuhong View Post
    I am talking about native 32-bit apps with preemptive multitasking like any other normal 32-bit OS would have, while continuing to support MS-DOS and CP/M-86 apps using virtual 8086 mode. It probably would have less of a chance if MS did not screw up with the OS/2 2.0 fiasco though.
    DRI shipped a product that did all that. It found a nice small niche but did not succeed in the mass market. None of the preemptive 386 environments had much impact from 1987 to 1992, not even the Unixy ones with DOS Merge which had the advantage of already existing software and a market willing to pay excessive amounts which makes limited volumes profitable. Your analysis seems to be missing a few steps.

    Without MS pushing ahead on their own, IBM would have followed their plans of delaying OS/2 until all the other pieces would have been ready. Good for AS/400; bad for Intel; disastrous for MS. Some other OS might have entered the gap or DOS extenders without GUIs would have had a few more years of major business use.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    DRI shipped a product that did all that. It found a nice small niche but did not succeed in the mass market. None of the preemptive 386 environments had much impact from 1987 to 1992, not even the Unixy ones with DOS Merge which had the advantage of already existing software and a market willing to pay excessive amounts which makes limited volumes profitable. Your analysis seems to be missing a few steps.
    Are you talking about FlexOS? FlexOS would target the niche RTOS market while Concurrent DOS would be more general purpose.
    Edit: Actually, I wonder why they split it into two OSes. According to Wikipedia, "it was developed by Digital Research's Flexible Automation Business Unit" so it was likely intentional that they did not target the mass market.
    And yes I know 386s was expensive back in 1987-1988 too. In the meantime they still had DR-DOS of course.
    Last edited by yuhong; August 13th, 2017 at 07:38 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by yuhong View Post
    Yea, that is part of my point given that Kildall was working on KnowledgeSet in early 1985 when he was still the CEO of DRI. Of course, I believe even High Sierra did not exist at the time so there might be no standard filesystem. CD-ROMs are easy to share on the sector level though given it is read-only. Even PC-DOS 3.1 with the redirector interface was just released at the time I believe.
    I should mention that MS did not do much better either. OS/2 1.0 had no CD-ROM support. Granted, that was probably partly because of the initial design of OS/2 1.0 which as I said before put all disk access (not filesystem) in DISK0x.SYS.
    Last edited by yuhong; August 17th, 2017 at 04:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yuhong View Post
    I should mention that MS did not do much better either. OS/2 1.0 had no CD-ROM support.
    You are correct about OS/2.1 not having native CDROM support from the onset. However, I had an early 1x Mitsumi CDROM with the caddy installed in my 486SX-33. There was some fellow on one of the boards that wrote an OS/2 driver for the Mitsumi, and it soon spread like wildfire. By the time IBM got around to supplying basic support for OS/2 I had lost interest. I did have a word processor, data base and spreadsheet for the setup and it seemed to run fairly well.

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