Blog by Carmelo Maiolino

Android developer, developer of Combian64, Dosbian

Dosbian

A 486DX machine in the palm of your hand

Dosbian is the first Raspberry Pi distro totally dedicated to the DOS world. It boots straight to Dosbox, from there, you can install whatever you want and building your retro-pc 🙂
Whether you love DOS games or you’re just fond of all the DOS retro software, this is the distro for you.

Just switch on your Raspberry Pi and in few seconds your Dos prompt will be ready to use. No configuration needed, just an old school command like based machine to enjoy!

Based on DosBox-SVN and DosBox-ECE, It guarantees you a decent speed in games and good performances in software emulation.

What you can do with your Dosbian distro:

  • Run all retro Pc Sofware (DOS / Win 3.1 / Win 95 / Win98)
  • Run most of 90’s retro games
  • Run games from LaunchBox frontend
  • Networking operations and bridging with real LAN
  • Create empty floppy of size: 320KB, 720KB, 1,44MB
  • Create empty HDDs of size: 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB
  • Mount Floppy disk, CD-ROM or HDD using a GUI driven utility
  • Keep Dosbian system file updated

PLEASE NOTE

Dosbian doesn’t contains any copyrighted material.
It’s up to you to install games/software or the operating system.

The images below are just examples on what you can run on Dosbian, but nothing is included inside the distribution.

Example games running on Dosbian

Some software Dosbian is able to run

What’s new in Dosbian 1.5?

  • Added patch NE2000 network adapter to Dosbox-SVN
  • Added downloadable optional package MT-32 Roland
  • Added Dosbox ECE (Enhanced Community Edition), this new version, allow to:
    – Reserve more memory (max 384MB) for all Win9x;
    – Increase Video memory to 4MB
    – Have a better Pc speaker emulation
    – Editing MT-32 emulator settings from config
    – Emulate correctly Tandy, CGA, EGA
  • Removed Dosbox splash screen (all versions)
  • Fixed menu shortcut not working
  • Fixed ImageCreator tool not creating hdd greater than 512MB

Retro-software?, yes please!

Dosbian is not only for games, it’s also an environment for new software development.

DOSMENU 1.5

A Dos games frontend developed in Quickbasic by Daniel Hofmann. Visit the author page for further details

How to run games on Dosbian?

Here some video showing the game Diablo running on Windows 95 and Red Alert on Windows 98 / Raspberry Pi 4 2GB, of course with Dosbian 🙂

( Video courtesy of Daniel Řepka )

Terms of use and distribution

Dosbian is a donationware project, this means you can modify, improve, customise it as you like for your own use.

IT IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED:

  • USE DOSBIAN FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.
  • DIFFUSE YOUR OWN CUSTOMIZED COPY OF DOSBIAN.

Dosbian Facebook group

Join the official Facebook group, a place where you can meet other friends and discuss about games, configurations, issues, etc.

Download

Please note: The distro doesn’t contain any copyrighted material.

Dosbian is compatible with the following Raspberry Pi models:

  • Raspberry Pi 1 (Slow, need to edit configuration)
  • Raspberry Pi Zero (Slow, need to edit configuration)
  • Raspberry Pi 2B (Slow, need to edit configuration)
  • Raspberry Pi 3B
  • Raspberry Pi 3B+
  • Raspberry Pi 3A+
  • Raspberry Pi 4B

Dosbian is donationware, i spent many days of working flashing ISO/Shrinking OS/Recompiling Dosbox/Writing menu scripts
and i tried to do my best in bringing back the magic world of DOS of the 90s for much long forgotten among other distro emulators.

I hope i reached my goal! 🙂

You can download it for free, however if you want to thank me for my work and support future development, you can make a free donation 🙂

5895ceb8cba9841eabab6072

Download Dosbian 1.5


Note: Unzip the image with 7Zip and use Win32DiskImager or Balena Etcher to flash it.

Did you like Dosbian?
Try Combian64, a dedicated distro that boots straight in to one of the old glory Commodore machines (64,128, Vic 20, PET, ecc).

Where to start from?

Here you can find some useful guide, link and tutorial:

Need a 3D case for your Dosbian PC?

This wonderful case was designed and developed by Jimmy Johansson and you can find it on Thingiverse

Do you have anything to tell? Write a comment 🙂

32 risposte a "Dosbian"

  1. I seem to be having a little trouble getting networking to work. My steps were as follows –
    Burn image and boot raspberry pi 3.
    Exit from DOSBOX
    RaspiConfig
    Localisation Options – set correct country
    Network Options – WiFi – Set SSID and password
    Finish
    REBOOT
    Exit
    Quit
    ifconfig
    wlan0 does not show an ip address, neither does the pi show on my network.

    Have I messed a step?
    Thanks.

  2. Hello a few questions;

    Do I need to donate to get the newest/best version of dosbian? Covid has hurt my business badly, but If so I’ll try to swing a small payment.

    Using mTCP, can I link to the pi’s WiFi Internet? My Ethernet is far away, and I mainly want to try getting old bbs software working. Terminals, even ole renegade! I’ve done this just using dosbox and modifying it myself so… I’m sure I could figure something out. Any tips tho..

    Thanks for releasing this! I came from dos, and want to go back!!!

    1. Hi,
      Altough a donation would be appreciated 🙂 it’s not mandatory, you can get Dosbian for free from my blog.
      In any case, there’s no a minimum amount, you can donate whatever you want with the advantage that as reward you get the latest version of my Commodore 64 distro Combian64.

      Have fun 🙂

      1. Ok I’m gonna hit your paypal; I do want the commodore version. I’m really still hunting for a good amiga emulator on pi 4. Amibian doesn’t seem to have any good software for the 4 yet.

  3. Hi. Thank you for developing a great piece of software. Can the launchbox be used to run old pc software (eg Imagine3D) without the need of windows OS overlay?

  4. Thanks for your work!

    I’m curious about running dosbian on older RPi’s – it is stated above that some config is required, but what configuration is required? Is this documented somewhere?

    1. Hi Christian,

      on older Pi’s it works pretty well, not for 3d games of course.

      If you try to flash the Dosbian 1.5 distro on a old pi, you get a black screen. To solve, you have to connect via SSH with your PC to Raspberry Pi, locate the file dosbox-SVN.conf and change the param “core” from dynamic to auto.

  5. Dear Carmelo,
    Thank you so much for Dosbian and Combian 64. I wish I could pay somehow for your work. Today we decided to close our shop after 57 years. I live in Argentina and if I’m not wrong today we “celebrate” 90 days in quarantine, and they’re going to be 115 if our president does not extend it once more. During these days we have been eating our savings, but everything comes to an end.
    Please excuse me.
    Best wishes,
    Jorge

    1. Hi Jorge,
      I’m very sorry for your situation, this epidemic arrived suddendly and left everyone shocked. Here in Italy we’ve had 2 full months of lockdown.
      Unfortunately quarantine is the only weapon we have to fight against this virus…

      I hope all this nightmare comes to an end, stay strong, wish you all the best to you and your family.

      Carmelo

  6. Hi ! Very interesting ! I have the vanilla DOSBox 0.74.2 from the repo currently happily running Windows 95 (A-build 950) on the Rpi-4 but I’ll certainly be trying your build, with networking and other additions. Just a question: did you compile with the /dynamic/ core for Arm enabled ? I’ve seen mentions on the internets that it is possible, and that would be great if it did work. T.Y. for the sharing !

    1. Hi, if you have Dosbox Vanilla running on Raspberry Pi 4, i highly suggest to move to Dosbian 😉
      Of course it has Dynarec enabled, it was the first thing i enabled when i compiled :))
      Enter in to the Facebook group, overthere you can see what people was able to run with Dosbian on Raspberry Pi 4 🙂

      Cheers

  7. Hello
    I see that we must make a donation for the latest version of dosbian
    I agree to do it, but will you have to pay after each update?

    1. Hi,
      absolutely not, if there’s a new update and you previously donated, you can request the update and i will send you the download link to the email specified in your Paypal.

  8. Hello, how is it with COM / USART (RS232 with TTL levels) support for programming old Motorola radios, that needs very only old and slow PC?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, it should work w/out any problem.
      In the config you have to specify something like:

      serial1=directserial realport:com1

      Speed emulation can be lowered as you like reducing cpu cycles.

      1. Ciao, hai mai pensato di fare una versione “bare-metal” di DOSBIAN con le librerie Circle? Come BMC64 o altri progetti analoghi, anche solo DOSBOX-SVN senza altri optional sarebbe comunque fantastico…

      2. Infatti! Ho avuto occasione di contribuire al progetto BMC64 (nel mio piccolo: non sono uno sviluppatore, più che altro ho effettuato dei test e delle ricerche per una modalità pixel-perfect con la VGA666) e ti posso assicurare che l’esperienza è diversa rispetto alla “classica” emulazione. Un bare-metal DOSBIAN con VGA666 su monitor VGA… hmmmm! 😀
        P.S. è già di prossimo rilascio un bare-metal MT-32 tra l’altro, il progetto si chiama mt-32pi

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