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OT: OS for 186 computer

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by MNQ, Apr 5, 2004.

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  1. MNQ

    MNQ Guest

    Hi All

    Sorry for posting this here but I could not find anyplace more suitable in
    the time I have.

    I am looking for a windows type (or Linux) operating system that will run
    on a 186 processor. I have a dos emulation program for my IPAQ 2210 and am
    trying to see if I can get windows to run in the emulation. I have tried
    windows 3.1 but get the message it requires a 386 or higher processor. Does
    anyone know of an operating system that is freely available to download from
    the internet that I can run on a 186 processor?

    Thanks for any help and apologies again for the OT post.

  2. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke Guest

    You might like SEAL and FreeDOS:


    Paul Burke
  3. Eduardo

    Eduardo Guest

    W31 need 386 to run in enhanced mode, but in standard mode run in 286.
  4. MNQ

    MNQ Guest

    But I need it to run on a 186. Is there a way to do this?
  5.  @ . 

     @ .  Guest

    Eduardo <> says...
    Eduardo, the original poster chose this subject:
    Subject: OT: OS for 186 computer
    yet when you replied you changed the subject to
    Subject: Re: OS for 186 computer
    The purpose of the "OT" is to let people know that the post
    is off-topic - in this case that it wasn't about electronics
    design. You shouldn't have removed the OT in your reply.

    BTW, while "OT:" is O.K., "[OT]" is better. The first may be
    a subset of a subject line.

    To answer the question, 80186 systems are not suitable for
    running any known operating systems. All OSs that run on Intel
    chips are designed for a 8086/8088, 80286, 80386, 80486, or for
    a Pentium. Also, the OP mentioned a IPAQ 2210, which doesn't
    contain a 80186. It has an Intel XScale processor and runs the
    PocketPC OS.

    Also see
  6.  @ . 

     @ .  Guest

  7. MNQ

    MNQ Guest

    I did say in my origional post that the OS would run in a dos emulator but
    did not make it clear that the DOS is run in a 186/188 PC emulator. So any
    information on if it would be possible to run a windows/Linux OS would be


  8. Eduardo

    Eduardo Guest

    If the subject start with XX: Outlook automatically remove it and replace
    for Re:
    Was not my intention.
  9. Windows 3.0 in "Real Mode" or lower (Windows 2.x and 1.x do
    exist), with a bit of luck you will find a copy on the web.
    Still not free, but will MS care about Windows 1.x pirates?

  10. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    This is self-contradictory, because a 186 (and 188) is just an
    8086 (or 8088) with on-chip peripherals and a few address decoders.
    It's designed for embedded apps, but apparently never really took
    off; at least I haven't heard of them much lately. I worked with
    a 186 once, and it took ordinary 8086 code. Since Linux is written
    in C, I can't think of a reason why it couldn't be done, although
    preemptive multi-tasking might be a little hairy. =:-O

  11. It lacks MMU. But there is a Linux flavour for MMU-less CPUs out there :))
    Its called ucLinux.
  12. Chaos Master

    Chaos Master Guest

    Rich Grise [] on drugs:
    I think Minix would work on a 8086 or 8088, or a really old Linux kernel.

  13. Ahem. Nobody ever hear of CPM86?

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  14. YD

    YD Guest

    If it has a standard PC BIOS, MS-DOS or similar should certainly run
    on it. Search around in the abandon-ware sites, it's up there for
    grabs on some of them. If absolutely no luck in a week or so, mail me.

    - YD.
  15. Reply-To: comp.os.minix

    Minix, Andrew Tannenbaum's project, ran on the
    8086 and had source available in the early 90's incarnation and so
    should be easily ported to the '186.
  16. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    What do you want your OS to do? If you need the windowed user display
    on a small machine that runs out of flash or PROM memory then you are
    solidly in the target market for Windows CE, or a real (non-M$) RTOS and

    Tell us more, we'll tell you more.
  17. I take it you are looking for a GUI-type interface. There was once GEM from
    Digital Research which ran on 8086, so the 186 would be OK. If you google for
    GEM operating system" you get quite a few links. One of them is , which list not only FreeDOS but also FreeGEM . I
    have no idea what state this FreeGEM is in. GEM itself had some quite nice
    programs. Maybe you can find an old copy.

    Mat Nieuwenhoven
  18. This got me interested, so I took a look. Apparently Caldera made GEM open
    source, so it is available. Look at
    for details. File
    appears to contain full binaries.

    Mat Nieuwenhoven
  19. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    I have! And even MP/M. It took us quite a while to figure out how
    two people can enter data without having user 2 overwrite user 1's
    input. It was a pretty cool system - an 8085 and an 8088 on an S-100

  20. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    What's "MMU," and how would that impact running Linux?

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