Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

SoylentNews is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop. Only 17 submissions in the queue.
posted by janrinok on Wednesday May 24 2023, @05:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-old-is-new-again dept.

All modern Intel and AMD PCs can trace their roots to a single system: the IBM Personal Computer. Originally released in August 1981, this computer became so popular and long-lived that competitors reverse-engineered its BIOS so that their computers could use the same software and peripherals, a practice that eventually resulted in a de facto standard whose descendants we still use today.

If you want to experience what using an old IBM PC was like, you could drop a few hundred dollars on a used one on eBay. Or you could roll the dice on this new oddball laptop on AliExpress. The "Book 8088" laptop PC combines modern components with an Intel 8088 processor and 640KB (yes, that's kilobytes) of memory.
Update, 5/20/2023: After this story was published, Ars was contacted by developer Sergey Kiselev, who maintains an open-source 8088 BIOS on GitHub. He alleged that the creators of the Book 8088 re-used his BIOS for the system while removing his name and language about the GPL v2 license that the BIOS is distributed under; we can't confirm the claim by comparing the code directly, but there are several distinct similarities in a screenshot Kiselev shared and one used in the Book 8088 retail listing.

"While my work is open source, and I don't mind people using it in their projects, I do care deeply about the principles of open source software development and licensing. And whoever manufacturers this machine, bluntly violates copyright law and licensing," wrote Kiselev to Ars detailing his claim. "Since you start your article with the discussion of how Compaq reverse engineered IBM's BIOS, I think it would be suitable to mention that the manufacturer pirated the BIOS, without crediting the work, and they violate GPL by not releasing the source code of their modified BIOS."

Original Submission

This discussion was created by janrinok (52) for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by looorg on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:40AM (3 children)

    by looorg (578) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:40AM (#1307847)

    That is not an experience I will miss in any way shape or form. It was a piece of shit back then and any reproduction will be one to.

    That it's some chinese company that doesn't care about copyright is hardly a surprise. It's like the gazillions of NES, SNES and other clone machines that show up fully loaded etc. Usually some open source emulator projects, on a board, with an fpga and a fancy 3d printed case.

    Question is why one would want one. It's not for the great and fantastic DOS experience. At least one of the commenters on ARS noted the probably reason -- hardware for old CNC machines etc. Apparently that is the companies other main product. That sounds a lot more plausible then nostalgia DOS fetishes.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +2  
       Insightful=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Insightful' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @01:30PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @01:30PM (#1307898)

    Even as new hardware to run old CNC equipment it has issues, two main ones being no onboard 'real' RS-232 or Centronics/IEEE 1284 interfaces.

    Then there's reliability - In my last job working for someone else, I ran a decades old CNC router driven by a decades old IBM box via RS-232, with several spare same model IBM boxes that we'd gotten for free (thanks, WEEE regs) kept in store in the off chance that If the thing ever fecking failed we'd a bunch of drop in replacements, and that brings up another point: cost.

    Why buy one of these things when, if you ask around, you'll get perfectly usable Laptops (or old 'thin client' boxes) with full DOS/Win9x support *and* onboard Interfaces for little or no cost, and most of them, especially the older models are built like bloody tanks.

    Even if it cost a third of it's current price and had the required interfaces onboard, would I have trusted one of these things to last two weeks in my old workshop running the CNC router, let alone two decades? What do you think? (hint: I wouldn't have trusted it to run the mini desktop CNC router we had.)

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:20AM

      by looorg (578) on Thursday May 25 2023, @10:20AM (#1308082)

      I guess there is a fair amount of such old technology applications still around It's kind of weird tho that they don't have a RS232 (or serial port). They are not that expensive, they are still around. If this was as noted in the comment at Ars intended to be a CNC (or other hold hardware) replacement then it would be trivial and cheap to include on the device. I don't have good experiences with any RS232-to-USB contacts. So they can't be relegating it to that can they?

  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:56PM

    by Freeman (732) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:56PM (#1307990) Journal

    Could be an interesting DOS game machine. Not that you couldn't just fire up DOSBox and get as good/better experience.

    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"