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EtherDFS - an ethernet drive for DOS

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    EtherDFS - an ethernet drive for DOS

    I've searched the forum, and I found no mention of EtherDFS.

    So I quote here the post by its author, Mateusz Viste, in the Usenet group comp.os.msdos.misc:

    Hi all,

    Today I released a new version of EtherDFS: v0.7. Since one of the major
    changes of this version is that it became compatible with MS-DOS, I
    thought it would be relevant to announce it here (so far it was
    compatible only with FreeDOS).

    EtherDFS is an 'installable filesystem' TSR for DOS. It maps a drive from
    a remote computer (typically Linux-based) to a local drive letter, using
    raw ethernet frames to communicate. It runs on 8086+ and consumes 7K of
    RAM memory. It can be loaded high.



    Also, he then released version 0.8 of EtherDFS, with this announcement in the same newsgroup:

    Today I released a new version of EtherDFS (along with its server-side
    Linux companion, ethersrv-linux). EtherDFS v0.8 brings a few enhancements
    and compatibility improvements:

    - improved self-detection to avoid loading EtherDFS twice,
    - added unloading support (/u),
    - fixed a FindFirst regression (fixes usage under 4DOS),
    - fixed SETATTR action when using a non-FreeDOS attrib command,
    - implemented the 'Seek From End' call,
    - minor memory optimizations,
    - makes sure the redirector API is available before installing,
    - support for multiple drive mappings.

    EtherDFS is available for download on the project's website:



    Basically, you run the EtherDFS Linux daemon and then in the same ethernet LAN you run the EtherDFS DOS client in your MS-DOS/FreeDOS machine and map a network drive against the EtherDFS server. This is done through raw ethernet, so no TCP/IP stack is involved. You only need an ethernet NIC with a DOS-compatible packet driver on the DOS machine. It runs on 8086 and up MS-DOS machines. And it is open source.

    I haven't tried it yet, but I thought it could be of interest to the folks here.

    Looks promising, but as long as the server is Linux-only, I am afraid the audience will be extremely small. If he put up a DOS server program (working through DOSBox perhaps), I bet it will get more attention.
    My Retro Computing and Vintage Gaming Blog :


      It looks interesting and i will see if it works on Windows 10 as it should be able to run Linux programs since the Anniversary Update.


        WAIT WHAT?

        run linux programs in win10? surely you just.
        It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.


          look here:


            Originally posted by pietja View Post
            From the article : "There are some limitations here. This won’t work with server software, and it won’t work with graphical software. It’s intended for developers who want to run Linux command-line utilities on Windows." This is server software, although I don't know whether this program is what they are talking about.
            My Retro Computing and Vintage Gaming Blog :


              grep, tail, find, dd, awk etc would all be good to have natively certainly.



                We talked a while back about adding ATAoE to XTIDE Universal BIOS (it was probably only really me that was really interested in it!). It's a standards based layer-2 protocol.



                  Originally posted by pearce_jj View Post
                  grep, tail, find, dd, awk etc would all be good to have natively certainly.
                  Aren't they already, albeit not from MS? I have versions of all those for DOS dating back to the mid-1990s. Pretty sure there'd be native Windows versions too (though I haven't looked).

                  The 'server' limitation presumably means running a daemon, doesn't it? That would make sense as you'd need tighter integration for that to work.


                    I doubt the EtherDFS daemon will run on the Windows 10 "Linux environment", because the EtherDFS daemon is coded to "attach itself" to the Linux eth0/whatever interface. However, you could run the EtherDFS daemon on a Linux VM.

                    I hope the author publishes a DOS-based EtherDFS daemon.


                      Originally posted by Great Hierophant View Post
                      Looks promising, but as long as the server is Linux-only, I am afraid the audience will be extremely small. If he put up a DOS server program (working through DOSBox perhaps), I bet it will get more attention.
                      I think the point is the ability to transfer files between modern machines and vintage ones, that's why the server runs on a modern OS.
                      And this may be very useful for low-memory clients, eg. 5150 with 64KB RAM, where one can't run SMB/NCP/NFS clients.


                        Originally posted by AlexC View Post
                        Aren't they already, albeit not from MS? I have versions of all those for DOS dating back to the mid-1990s. Pretty sure there'd be native Windows versions too (though I haven't looked).
                        Of course, it's called Cygwin, and I think there's at least one alternative project as well.


                          Originally posted by Great Hierophant View Post
                          Looks promising, but as long as the server is Linux-only, I am afraid the audience will be extremely small. If he put up a DOS server program (working through DOSBox perhaps), I bet it will get more attention.
                          The protocol uses raw Ethernet frames, so it operates below TCP/IP and below even IPX. DOSBox doesn't emulate a packet driver (or Ethernet hardware) so there is no way to produce raw Ethernet frames from within it.

                          Likewise it would only work under Windows if they provide a raw packet API to their Linux compatibility layer, which I imagine they wouldn't as very few programs would ever use it. EtherDFS only uses this method in order to keep the client tiny. I think the only way to get it working under Windows would be to port it to run natively. Same for DOS, but then you'd have to have a retro server running DOS natively, which isn't really the point of EtherDFS, which is designed to link modern PCs with retro ones. Personally I plan to run a Linux server for my retro PCs anyway, so it suits me perfectly as-is! If you wanted your server to be a retro PC as well, you'd probably be better off running Novell or something on it so you are running real networking software from the same era as well.

                          ATA over Ethernet would be interesting but I imagine it would cause the client app to become a lot larger, having to translate BIOS calls into ATA commands. ATAoE also makes a disk image available over the network, so it's not used for sharing files. In this case, each retro PC would have its own large file on the server which is presented on the client machine as a single disk, and in order to share files you'd have to shut down the PC, mount the disk image locally, make your changes, unmount, then boot up the retro PC again. With EtherDFS it's a remote filesystem rather than a remote disk image, so multiple PCs can access the same network share at the same time, creating files that the other machines can see immediately.


                            I run a hyper-V server (homelab) here at the house that's the primary storage and compute box. It runs a bunch of junk like Emby, a DC, a torrent server, Server Essentials 2012 R2, all kinds of stuff for the house.

                            One of the things I run is a Server 2003 box so that Windows 3.1 and 98 have a place to log in and store files over the network. Those OS's are just to old to log into the newer OS's via SMB. For DOS, the Microsoft network stuff uses way too much RAM especially if you want to build a boot disk and do some installs over the network. I'll fire up an Ubuntu VM for this and try it out, I'll mount the Server 2003 share on the Ubuntu box and then try to share it out with the ethersrv-linux package.


                              This is essentially a lightweight netware that uses linux as the file server. If it works it's an incredibly lightweight way to make a linux directory just show up under DOS as a drive letter. This can breathe new life into systems that can use a parallel-port xircom adapter but can't have a hard disk, like early laptops. I keep meaning to test it out, and will report back when I do.

                              For those worried about "I don't run Linux", you can easily run Linux as a VM inside whatever you are running (ie. use virtualbox, qemu, etc.). And you can also cross-mount between host OS and VM OS. It's not as elegant as running Linux by itself but it does work.
                              Offering a bounty for:
                              - A working Sanyo MBC-775 or Logabax 1600
                              - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)