PrintStar's Blog
Ramblings of a Fortran Nut
October 3, 2016 by Jeff

About My Software

I haven’t had much of a chance to update the ol’ blog this weekend because I’ve had some delightful plumbing problems and I couldn’t miss watching the NWSL playoffs!  I’ll add a quick post tonight, though.

Generally, most work during this Retrochalleng will focus on writing the static blog generator.  To do so, I thought I’d mention some of the software I’d be using since I’m doing everything on the Rainbow itself:

MS-DOS 3.10b

Version 3.10b was the last version of MS-DOS released for the Rainbow.  In fact, Digital Equipment Corp. didn’t even release it.  A separate company, Suitable Solutions, purchased the nearly finished port after DEC killed the Rainbow line and released it to the public.  MS-DOS 3 always felt like a sweet spot to me, although it didn’t come with its own screen editor, which brings me to…


SEDT, or Screen EDiTor, is a fantastic text editor written by Anker Berg-Sonne for an enormous variety of computers.  The MS-DOS version, though, actually recognizes Rainbow 100 hardware, making it somewhat unique amongst DOS text editors.  On DEC machines with an LK-series keyboard, the hotkeys are wonderful to use, relying on the “Gold” key (Num Lock on IBM compatibles) for tons of functionality.  It’s the only text editor on which I really learned all the hotkeys.


GW-BASIC on the Rainbow stopped at version 2, while the IBM PC saw plenty of future releases.  The Rainbow version probably froze because it was almost certainly being ported by DEC itself rather than Microsoft.  That said, GW-BASIC 2 is plenty complete for my purposes.  It’s where I learned to program!

Turbo C 2

Borland’s Turbo C version 2 does “work” on the Rainbow, but only after patching.  For whatever reason, Borland decided with version 2 to employ an interrupt internally that the IBM personal computer didn’t use, but the Rainbow used to access serial ports (I think? It’s been a while since I patched my copy…).  This development was particularly infuriating because version 1 worked just fine.  A little MS-DOS DEBUG action can fix the Turbo C executables, though.

I’m using Turbo C to compile the uIP/FOSSIL TCP/IP stack.  I believe originally I compiled uIP/FOSSIL with Open Watcom on a modern machine, but Turbo C on a Rainbow is way more fun.  The most annoying part, however, is that Turbo C 2 doesn’t understand UNIX line endings, so I have to make sure that MS-DOS line endings are maintain in the source repo.

The above is a little rundown on what’s being used.  I’ll get a bit more specific as I discuss the specific tasks on which I’m working.

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