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best strategy for running DOS MYM on a Linux machine?

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:16 am
by ginahoy
My XP machine is getting a bit long in the tooth so I recently built a high-end 64-bit Linux machine. This is my first experience with Linux, so i appreciate the script posted elsewhere in this sub-forum that prevents duplicate instances. But what's missing is advice on the best strategy for running MYM on a Linux machine. I see several options...

* Continue running MYM12 / XP in a virtual machine. For other reasons, I already plan to restore my existing XP partition in VirtualBox, but I'm not sure if DOS apps or MYM specifically will run normally in that environment without additional tweaks / hassles.

* Set up DOS 6.22 or FreeDOS as a separate vm in VirtualBox

* Install a DOS emulator such as DOSBox or DOSEMU

I would likely end up wasting a LOT of time setting up and trying each of these methods, so I'd be grateful for any advice. BTW, I have no need to print from MYM. Many thanks!

(note: I cross-posted this in Compuserve Tax Software forum)

Re: best strategy for running DOS MYM on a Linux machine?

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:38 am
by asajay
Any of the methods you listed should work fine. I've not personally tried them all myself; however, I've had some experience using DOSBox on my windows machine to run really old DOS (like 3.2) software for an old Rockwell/Collins HF-80 radio system.

I would recommend going as "simple" as possible. MYM doesn't need Windows, in fact, due to how Windows allows you to launch more than one instance of MYM, you could end up with a corrupt database. So I'd personally ditch the XP VM. I'd stick with plain Vanilla DOS. Personally, I'd start with DOSBox or DOSEMU (which I've had working), because it's free and not very difficult to configure.

Next I would try VirtualBox, but then you need a licensed copy of DOS (but you probably have a set of install disks laying around).

Printing will be the most difficult part by far and I don't have any advise on that as I've never tried to make it work. Most machines today don't have a parallel port, which is what MYM wants to see. You may be able to get away with some kind of emulation but I'm not certain it would work. For another parallel port application I have, I had to install a PCI card to my desktop system, then make some configurations in the VM so the app could see it. With MYM, that may be the only alternative, I don't know.

Good luck and please write-up what you discover.
Thank you,
Asa Jay

Re: best strategy for running DOS MYM on a Linux machine?

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:32 am
by ginahoy
I decided to install DOSEMU over DOSBox based on a comment I read elsewhere that DOSEMU is a better representation of DOS than DOSBox. DOSBox was developed specifically for gamers and has some features specific to gaming, but for non-gaming apps, DOSEMU may be a better choice.

At installation, DOESEMU created the following folder: /home/{user}/.dosemu/drive_c. I created the folder "mym12" under drive_c and copied over the MYM path from my XP machine. At that point, I was able to launch MYM without any mods. That's a relief! I'm new to Linux and I was ready for bear. MYM opened in a small window, but unlike WinXP, I was able to resize or change to full screen.

There's an autoexec.bat file located in the drive_c folder. I added the following code to the end that creates and checks for the inuse.flg file (discussed elsewhere in this forum), launches MYM, and exits DOSEMU when MYM is closed:

Code: Select all

cd mym12
if exist current\inuse.flg goto running
echo anything>current\inuse.flg
del current\inuse.flg
goto end
echo MYM is already running!
Then I discovered how to set DOSEMU to open in full-screen mode with a simple mod to the dosemu.conf file. That file is located in /etc/dosemu (requires Root access to edit). The convention used in this file is to show commands with defaults commented out (#). In this case, fullscreen mode defaults to (off) so I just removed the hash mark and changed the value to on:


Code: Select all

# $_X_fullscreen = (off)

Code: Select all

$_X_fullscreen = (on)
That's it! :D

Re: best strategy for running DOS MYM on a Linux machine?

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:52 am
by asajay
That is awesome. Being familiar with Linux myself, it appears you've done a great job. Thank you so much for posting your experience.

Asa Jay

Re: best strategy for running DOS MYM on a Linux machine?

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:38 pm
by ginahoy
Today I ran into several minor issues:

* MYM 'Validate data' takes significantly longer on my Linux machine (7700K CPU) than on my 11+ yr old XP machine -- about 7 seconds versus less than half a second. After having to deal with a corrupted BUDGET file a few years ago, I got into the habit of validating every time I exit MYM. Similarly, closing out the previous year (COPY) will likely take a lot longer as well. Changing the 'hog threshold' setting in the config file to 0 reduces the validation delay on my machine by about half (default $_hogthreshold = (1). As I understand it, setting this variable to '0' devotes 100% of the CPU to dosemu. On a multi-core CPU, this has little if any impact on other processes.

* No beep sounds. This can probably be resolved by tweaking the config settings. I posted a question about this in Linux Mint A/V forum.

* The F12 key doesn't work (F12 is supposed to delete current line when editing a multi-line transaction memo). Per legacy dosemu docs, non-functioning F11 & F12 was a known issue that was never resolved for the Linux version. Since the code is open-source, I imagine it could be fixed, but that's above my pay grade.

* In WinXP, Alt-Tab switches between MYM/DOS and Windows. When dosemu in full-screen mode, Alt-Tab doesn't work. As a work-around, Ctrl-Alt-F switches from full-screen into window mode, then I can access other apps in Linux.

Re: best strategy for running DOS MYM on a Linux machine?

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:58 am
by ginahoy
The dosemu desktop icon is downright ugly. Since the above-listed script launches MYM and I don't use dosemu for any other apps, I converted the MYM12 icon to .xpm format and copied it into the appropriate folder. In my distro (Linux Mint 18.2 xfce), program icons are stored in the /usr/share/pixmaps folder. I've attached the .xpm file in case anyone else wants to use it.