• Retro virtualization platform?

    From acn@21:3/127.1 to All on Sun Dec 26 16:08:00 2021
    Hi,

    I've set up a VMware ESXi server for hosting some retro PC operating
    systems: Win98, NT4 (Terminal Server) and NetWare 5.1.

    But as I prefer open source solutions, I thought about replacing ESXi
    with eg. a KVM installation, so I tried Proxmox VE on a Debian system.

    But I quickly realized that Proxmox does not offer virtual floppy
    drives, which eg. makes installing drivers on NetWare a little tricky.

    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for
    retro PC OSes?
    And what is the best solution to access these systems after all?
    With VMware ESXi, I have the possibility to use either the web console
    or the 'VMware Remote Console' on Windows and Linux, where I also have
    the possibility to swap CDs and floppies.

    Thank you very much and have some nice last days in 2021.

    Regards,
    Anna

    --- OpenXP 5.0.50
    * Origin: Imzadi Box Point (21:3/127.1)
  • From Otto Reverse@21:2/150 to acn on Sun Dec 26 09:57:27 2021
    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for retro PC OSes?

    Not really. But when I do the default choice is VirtualBox. for VM's in general I use KVM/qemu with Virt-Manager as the front end. But that type of virtual machine software generally speaking, doesn't emulate, it exposes the
    real hardware instead. Whereas VirtualBox emulates the hardware and has some options so that you can choose virtual hardware that is hopefully compatible with whatever retro OS you are installing. It will also do virtual floppy drives using disk images as well. VirtualBox is now owned by Oracle which as a company has rubbed many in th opensource world the wrong way, but the project is still at least opensource.

    --- Mystic BBS v1.12 A47 2021/12/24 (Raspberry Pi/32)
    * Origin: 2o fOr beeRS bbS>>20ForBeers.com:1337 (21:2/150)
  • From Daniel Path@21:4/148 to acn on Sun Dec 26 21:49:54 2021
    Hello acn.

    26 Dec 21 16:08, you wrote to All:

    Hi,

    I've set up a VMware ESXi server for hosting some retro PC operating systems: Win98, NT4 (Terminal Server) and NetWare 5.1.

    But as I prefer open source solutions, I thought about replacing ESXi
    with eg. a KVM installation, so I tried Proxmox VE on a Debian system.

    But I quickly realized that Proxmox does not offer virtual floppy
    drives, which eg. makes installing drivers on NetWare a little tricky.

    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for
    retro PC OSes?
    And what is the best solution to access these systems after all?
    With VMware ESXi, I have the possibility to use either the web console
    or the 'VMware Remote Console' on Windows and Linux, where I also have
    the possibility to swap CDs and floppies.

    i am using VirtualBox on my macbook for os2 and dos testing.
    i think if os2 runs, then it can run anything :)

    regards,
    --
    Daniel

    ... 11:46pm up 16 days, 7:32:17, load: 86 processes, 304 threads.
    --- GoldED+/EMX 1.1.4.7
    * Origin: Roon's BBS - Budapest, HUNGARY (21:4/148)
  • From McDoob@21:4/135 to acn on Sun Dec 26 15:59:09 2021
    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for retro PC OSes?

    One of the (many) projects I'm working on is rebuilding the 'game' that got
    me an A+ in grade 10 and 11. In order to do this, I had to recreate a DOS environment, with the editors and compilers installed (Borland TPascal).

    DOSBox didn't work. It didn't properly emulate the video hardware. So, I
    tried VirtualBox. Everything seemed to work, at first. I could code and
    compile programs. But...VirtualBox doesn't send direct keycodes to the environment, so I couldn't use any ASCII scancodes (ie ''). So, I tried again with VMWare Workstation. And now, everything is perfect!

    Sh!t. Just now, I realized what you meant by 'hosted environment', and...never mind... (v_v) Technically, my virtual machines are hosted on my local PC. But that's not what you're talking about at all...

    McDoob
    SysOp, PiBBS
    pibbs.sytes.net

    --- Mystic BBS v1.12 A46 2020/08/26 (Raspberry Pi/32)
    * Origin: PiBBS (21:4/135)
  • From deon@21:2/116 to acn on Mon Dec 27 11:09:07 2021
    Re: Retro virtualization platform?
    By: acn to All on Sun Dec 26 2021 04:08 pm

    Hi Anna,

    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for
    retro PC OSes?

    Yes, I do, and it's ESXi.

    I'm a huge fan of ESXi - I kinda treat it like "PC firmware". It gives me a way to remotely manage a (virtual) PC both when it's off and on, via a browser. I also like that i can spin up another machine on the same hardware, or snapshot the current one if I think I'm going to do something portentially destructive.

    And for NW, I run it on an old AMD G-T40E, and once the NW4_IDLE is loaded, it uses next to no CPU.

    Probably the only thing I dont like is loosing temp and fan controls (in machines that have them) (eg my Pi4 and Supermicro) - and there may well be a way to do that at the hypervisor or even pass that to a guest, I just havent figured it out (nor looked at it in much depth).

    Actually for the Supermicro I did figure out how to get drive temps - which helped me figure out why a drive kept going offline (it was getting way hot - 80' at one point).


    ...
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Linux
    * Origin: I'm playing with ANSI+videotex - wanna play too? (21:2/116)
  • From acn@21:3/127.1 to Otto Reverse on Mon Dec 27 15:04:00 2021
    Am 26.12.21 schrieb Otto Reverse@21:2/150 in FSX_RETRO:

    Hallo Otto,

    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for
    retro PC OSes?

    Not really. But when I do the default choice is VirtualBox.

    Thank you for your suggestion!
    I will check out the options for running VirtualBox on a remote system
    and how to access the VMs from remote.
    As far as I know right now, this is possible via VNC and RDP, but I
    think this is just for basic KVM I/O, but not eg. for swapping a
    floppy or CD. I'll investigage this further :)

    Regards,
    Anna

    --- OpenXP 5.0.50
    * Origin: Imzadi Box Point (21:3/127.1)
  • From acn@21:3/127.1 to McDoob on Mon Dec 27 15:07:00 2021
    Am 26.12.21 schrieb McDoob@21:4/135 in FSX_RETRO:

    Hallo Mcdoob,

    So, I tried again with VMWare Workstation. And now, everything is
    perfect!

    Sh!t. Just now, I realized what you meant by 'hosted environment', and...never mind... (v_v) Technically, my virtual machines are
    hosted on my local PC. But that's not what you're talking about at
    all...

    Thank you for your suggestion!
    And you are right, I thought about installing the VMs on a headless
    server and access them from remote.
    So, ESXi would be the equivalent to VMware Workstation.

    Btw, did you try dosemu instead of DosBox? That would be a lightweight alternative to VMware.
    (I'm using dosemu for running the door games on my BBS)

    Regards,
    Anna

    --- OpenXP 5.0.50
    * Origin: Imzadi Box Point (21:3/127.1)
  • From acn@21:3/127.1 to Daniel Path on Mon Dec 27 15:08:00 2021
    Am 26.12.21 schrieb Daniel Path@21:4/148 in FSX_RETRO:

    Hallo Daniel,

    i am using VirtualBox on my macbook for os2 and dos testing.
    i think if os2 runs, then it can run anything :)

    That's right :)
    I'll look into the options for running and managing VirtualBox on a
    headless system.

    Regards,
    Anna

    --- OpenXP 5.0.50
    * Origin: Imzadi Box Point (21:3/127.1)
  • From acn@21:3/127.1 to deon on Mon Dec 27 15:18:00 2021
    Am 27.12.21 schrieb deon@21:2/116 in FSX_RETRO:

    Hallo deon,

    So my question is: Does anybody else use a 'hosted environment' for
    retro PC OSes?

    Yes, I do, and it's ESXi.

    Thank you for your insights!

    Btw, is there an alternative to the web client and the VMware Remote
    Console, which has to be launched from the web client?

    And for NW, I run it on an old AMD G-T40E, and once the NW4_IDLE is loaded, it uses next to no CPU.

    Oh, another NetWare user! :)
    Are you using it for something special?

    Probably the only thing I dont like is loosing temp and fan controls [...]

    I have the problem that I have to use a serial device in a VM which is attached to the host. With a 'real' serial port (COM1:), it is working
    - but it's not possible to use a USB-serial adapter and attach it as a
    'real' serial port to a VM...

    Actually for the Supermicro I did figure out how to get drive temps - which helped me figure out why a drive kept going offline (it was getting way hot - 80' at one point).

    Oh, that's quite warm :)

    Regards,
    Anna

    --- OpenXP 5.0.50
    * Origin: Imzadi Box Point (21:3/127.1)
  • From deon@21:2/116 to acn on Tue Dec 28 10:33:27 2021
    Re: Re: Retro virtualization platform?
    By: acn to deon on Mon Dec 27 2021 03:18 pm

    Btw, is there an alternative to the web client and the VMware Remote Console, which has to be launched from the web client?

    I have also VMware fusion on my laptop - and I can connect to it with that. You may be able to use VMware player (if it's still around) - but I only ever use VRC.

    Oh, another NetWare user! :)
    Are you using it for something special?

    Yeah BBSing :) I run my old BBS from 1995 in DOS 6.22 and wanted to run a couple of other DOS 6.22 VMs representing different nodes, and try out the different mailers. Its not really running - I've been distracted with something else, but when I get back in the mood, I'll turn it on and keep playing with it.

    I was a Netware (3.1) admin back in the day, so was (and still am) a huge fan of netware.

    I was running Netware 6, and it was great, I could NFS mount it on linux, making it super easy to edit and compare files from the many backups I have (I've wanted to get rid of all my duplicate copies from DOS machine images that had no shared disk).

    But VMware 6 is very bloated (and so different to my fading memories of v3.11), so I went back to VMware 4, but couldnt get NFS working. With VMware 4, I found a 5 user license, which is just enough - I did look for a 10/50/100 user license but couldnt find it - but folks are still trying to sell them on ebay.

    If I could get NFS working on NW 4, I'd probably use it more.

    I have the problem that I have to use a serial device in a VM which is attached to the host. With a 'real' serial port (COM1:), it is
    working
    - but it's not possible to use a USB-serial adapter and attach it as a 'real' serial port to a VM...

    Can you pass the USB device through to the VM, and have the VM (with the appropriate driver) talk to it? I'm sure I've done this. I think I had my USB to serial adapter, where the DOS machine talks to the ESXi serial port, and the USB/serial dongle connect to it, back to another VM running tcpser. (Now I have that USB/serial dongle in a Pi running TCPser.)


    ...
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Linux
    * Origin: I'm playing with ANSI+videotex - wanna play too? (21:2/116)
  • From Otto Reverse@21:2/150 to acn on Tue Dec 28 07:53:09 2021
    I will check out the options for running VirtualBox on a remote system and how to access the VMs from remote.
    As far as I know right now, this is possible via VNC and RDP, but I think this is just for basic KVM I/O, but not eg. for swapping a
    floppy or CD. I'll investigage this further :)

    Yes, I missed that requirement in your original post. VNC or RDP would probably be the easiest options. I don't recall if VirtualBox has a full featured CLI. It does have one, but I just don't recall if you can swap floppies/CD's with it or if that requires the GUI. Hopefully you can then SSH is all you need. You could even script things if need be.

    --- Mystic BBS v1.12 A47 2021/12/24 (Raspberry Pi/32)
    * Origin: 2o fOr beeRS bbS>>20ForBeers.com:1337 (21:2/150)
  • From acn@21:3/127.1 to deon on Fri Jan 7 10:49:00 2022
    Am 28.12.21 schrieb deon@21:2/116 in FSX_RETRO:

    Hallo deon,

    Btw, is there an alternative to the web client and the VMware Remote
    Console, which has to be launched from the web client?

    I have also VMware fusion on my laptop - and I can connect to it with that. You may be able to use VMware player (if it's still around) - but I only ever use VRC.

    I've looked and VMware Player is still a product, but if I've read
    correctly, it is only a standalone VMware product (to use locally).
    But I've found out that the VMware Remote Console can be launched
    using parameters to log in on the ESXi server, so it is way easier and
    I don't have to use the web interface :)

    Oh, another NetWare user! :)
    Are you using it for something special?

    Yeah BBSing :) I run my old BBS from 1995 in DOS 6.22 and wanted to run a couple of other DOS 6.22 VMs representing different nodes, and try out the different mailers. Its not really running - I've been distracted with something else, but when I get back in the mood, I'll turn it on and keep playing with it.

    Have fun :)

    I was a Netware (3.1) admin back in the day, so was (and still am) a huge fan of netware.

    Same here, but with 4.11 :) Now I'm trying 5.1.

    I was running Netware 6, and it was great, I could NFS mount it on linux, making it super easy to edit and compare files from the many backups I have (I've wanted to get rid of all my duplicate copies from DOS machine images that had no shared disk).

    I'm using FTP to connect to NetWare from my Linux machine; I have to
    look if NFS is available for 5.1

    But VMware 6 is very bloated (and so different to my fading memories of v3.11), so I went back to VMware 4, but couldnt get NFS working. With
    VMware 4, I found a 5 user license, which is just enough - I did look for a 10/50/100 user license but couldnt find it - but folks are still trying to sell them on ebay.

    Same here :) I only have a 2- or 3-user license for 4.11, but
    (original) licenses for 25 or 50 users for 3.12.
    For 5.1, I do have a license for the "Small Business" edition, but it
    is time-bombed and stopped working ~2003 or 2004. Meh.
    But I found a "unlimited server and client" license for 5.1 on the
    web, so I'm fine at the moment :)

    If I could get NFS working on NW 4, I'd probably use it more.

    ;-) Maybe using FTP could be worth a look? I don't know what desktop environment you're using, but sometimes 'mounting' a FTP server is
    possible. But I haven't tried it yet - and the NetWare FTP server is
    printing the directory listings a little different, so the FTP client
    has to be able to parse them.

    [serial ports for VMs]
    Can you pass the USB device through to the VM, and have the VM (with the appropriate driver) talk to it? I'm sure I've done this.

    That would work, but not with Windows NT 4 :)
    I've set up an NT4 server to play with an old Citrix MetaFrame
    version, and have connected an ISDN phone via serial port to the ESXi
    server. When using a 'real' (/dev/ttyS0) port, I can forward it to the
    VM and it is working - so I can use the telephone software to control
    the phone from NT4, and even use GroupWise to dial a number (via
    TAPI).
    But that might only work as long as the ESXi host has a real serial
    port that ESXi recognizes...

    I think I had myO5D USB to serial adapter, where the DOS machine
    talks to the ESXi serial port, and the USB/serial dongle connect to
    it, back to another VM running tcpser. (Now I have that USB/serial
    dongle in a Pi running TCPser.)

    I fail to understand that setup, sorry.
    Did you manage it so that DOS talks to COM1: (in DOS) and the data is
    coming out of an USB-to-serial adapter?

    Have a nice weekend!

    Regards,
    Anna

    --- OpenXP 5.0.51
    * Origin: Imzadi Box Point (21:3/127.1)
  • From deon@21:2/116 to acn on Sat Jan 8 00:43:07 2022
    Re: Re: Retro virtualization platform?
    By: acn to deon on Fri Jan 07 2022 10:49 am

    But I found a "unlimited server and client" license for 5.1 on the
    web, so I'm fine at the moment :)

    Do you remember where ;) I'm wondering if they would have a NW 4 license - or I might try 5.1 as well.

    Do you have a DOS machine talking to NW5 using TCP/IP?

    If I could get NFS working on NW 4, I'd probably use it more.

    ;-) Maybe using FTP could be worth a look? I don't know what desktop environment you're using, but sometimes 'mounting' a FTP server
    is possible.

    Hmm, maybe.

    My working environment is CLI - and I use automount a lot. I've never tried mounting with other protocols other than NFS.

    I was doing a google search today, and found a german website with a lot of utilities - one that interested me was an RSYNC NLM. That would work as well for me.

    I just want to use my linux tools "diff", "vi", etc to figure out which is my good "bat files" and delete the excess.

    I think I had myO5D USB to serial adapter, where the DOS machine
    talks to the ESXi serial port, and the USB/serial dongle connect to
    it, back to another VM running tcpser. (Now I have that USB/serial
    dongle in a Pi running TCPser.)

    I fail to understand that setup, sorry.

    Did you manage it so that DOS talks to COM1: (in DOS) and the data is
    coming out of an USB-to-serial adapter?

    So yes. My ESXi host has a serial port, which I gave to DOS and it used it as COM1. So anything going to the DOS's COM1, came out of the ESXi host's serial port.

    Connected to that serial port, was a USB->Serial (DB9) cable. Thus the Serial side was connected to the ESXi's host serial port, and the USB side also connected to the same ESXi host USB interface. I gave that USB device to another VM, running linux and TCPser. (I actually did it with a Pi first...)

    So DOS could talk to Linux via a serial connection, on the same host, but 2 different VMs. TCPser, via a "phone number" could connect to any host, so my DOS machine (running FrontDoor) could dial up my fidohub (running QICO) and transfer mail/files.

    Have a nice weekend!

    You to!


    ...
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Linux
    * Origin: I'm playing with ANSI+videotex - wanna play too? (21:2/116)