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The Linux operating system is rapidly growing in popularity, and with the right software you can play F1GP under it without having to reboot into DOS or Windows. The program you'll need is called Dosemu, and it's included in all the major Linux distributions (such as Red Hat and SuSE.) Dosemu isn't really an emulator; instead, it provides a virtual machine in which you can run a copy of DOS.

By Mike Saunders
13 August 1999


After you've installed Dosemu, either from your Linux CD or from http://www.dosemu.org, the first thing to do is to provide it with a copy of DOS itself. The simplest way is to make a 'boot disk' in Windows, and copy the whole disk into a single file in Linux (in /var/lib/dosemu/) using the 'dd' command. Dosemu then treats this file as a virtual floppy disk. See the Dosemu documentation for full details on creating a virtual disk.

The next thing to do is to change the /etc/dosemu.conf file as the 'root' user. This sets the overall preferences for Dosemu, so load it into a text editor and take a look around. Different versions of Dosemu are supplied with different Linux distributions, and new versions are appearing all the time, so we can't be too specific with the format of the /etc/dosemu.conf file. Treat this as a rough guide to the things you can change.

It's crucial to set the 'raw keyboard mode' to 'on' for the simulation to work properly. Some of the other options are brilliant painkillers to the old MS-DOS headaches: you can simply type in how much conventional memory you want! Leave it at '640' for good measure.

Sound can be a hassle to configure - at least in versions around 0.98.5. Selecting the PC speaker to 'native' (and setting up F1GP to use it) will work fine, but for Sound Blaster emulation you'll have to tweak the I/O ports and IRQ settings. Finally, make sure to set the 'video mode' to 'vga', and choose to access the graphics card's BIOS - otherwise Dosemu will only run text-mode apps.

The other options can be left to their defaults, so you don't need to pass any IRQs or port numbers etc. But as mentioned before, the format of the file will change with each version so it's best to read the documentation.

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