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PowerBASIC v4.0

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  • PowerBASIC v4.0

    A while ago, I have upgraded to PowerBASIC 3.5. It is nice, but
    there are still several things missing that I would like to see
    in PowerBASIC; I hope that they will eventually make it into

    In particular, among the things I would wish for are:

    - 32-bit DPMI support for both the compiler and the generated
    code. DPMI has been invented almost 15 years ago, so I think
    it is long overdue.
    - better code optimizations for modern CPUs. Some of the
    programs run way to slow on my new Pentium4.
    - support for DOSes other than MS-DOS, e.g. DR-DOS, and the
    advanced features that they offer
    - support for new graphics and sound drivers
    - and perhaps a better IDE

    Okay, that would be asking for quite some advancement, but it
    is the standard now. And I am sure that most of these features
    could be added rather easily by back-porting PowerBASIC/CC or



    -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -

    -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -

  • #2
    It is a few wishesh in this forum. Stephane probably migrated
    to Pure Basic and we others do not believe in next version of
    PB/DOS in this century. But hope dies least. Maybe after
    Longhorn releasing....
    I miss a support of Code Page 852 (or some ekvivalent treatment of
    characters used in East Europe). Please, consider it.


    A view on PowerBASIC
    A view on PowerBASIC


    • #3
      > It is a few wishesh in this forum. Stephane probably migrated
      > to Pure Basic and we others do not believe in next version of
      > PB/DOS in this century. But hope dies least. Maybe after
      > Longhorn releasing....

      I think PureBASIC is a Windows program, so it does not qualify.
      I stopped using Windows more than six years ago, and I will
      definetely *not* go back to it for *any* program.

      Also, I read that many others have asked for a version 4.0 of
      PowerBASIC before, and someone of the staff even mentioned that
      eventually there will be a version 4.0. What has happened to
      this promise?

      BTW, does the PowerBASIC staff still read these posts? If yes,
      I would like to let them know that there is demand for a modern
      BASIC compiler, and PowerBASIC 3.5 does no longer fit the bill.
      I have already split some of my PowerBASIC programs into many
      modules to reduce the size, but this can only be a temporary
      solution. We need a new version of PowerBASIC that can make use
      of *all* the installed memory, not just conventional or EMS.
      And we need the ability to run programs without the memory
      restrictions imposed by the memory models of the early 80s. C,
      C++, Pascal, even Fortran support the 32-bit DPMI interface by
      now, so why not PowerBASIC?


      -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -
      -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -


      • #4
        I remember asking about DPMI support a few years ago and was told
        (by Bob Zale, I believe) that adding such support would require
        an almost total rewrite of the compiler. Such a large scale rewrite
        of the DOS compiler would not be something that PowerBASIC would
        probably do given the relative importance of DPMI support versus
        other product development (like a Linux version of PB).

        Nevertheless, I'm sure that the PB staff certainly read these posts
        and would add the DPMI request to the PB/DOS wish list.

        Paul Squires
        FireFly Visual Designer, Cheetah Database System, JellyFish Pro Editor
        Paul Squires
        FireFly Visual Designer (for PowerBASIC Windows 10+)
        Version 3 now available.


        • #5
          Well, I have been writing extended DOS applications myself, so
          I can tell that porting a real mode DOS program to DPMI using a
          DOS extender is not that difficult because the extender takes
          care of 99% of the necessary translation work. It would
          definetely be not nearly as difficult as porting PB to Linux.
          And I think that PB/CC has almost everything that a DPMI
          version of PB would need, except for the memory allocation

          Also, the fact that there are at least five DOS users for every
          Linux user in the world says a lot about the relative
          importance of DPMI. :-)
          Yes, I know that there are other statistics that claim that
          almost no one is using DOS anymore, but I also know that the
          number of downloads of the Enhanced DR-DOS OS from my website
          alone is by far exceeding those numbers. Add to this the user
          base of FreeDOS, and you get a hint of the true interest in
          DOS today.


          -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -
          -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -


          • #6
            There are many people, including myself, that were reluctant to
            leave DOS and accept Windows as an alternative. For a number
            of years, I mostly used Windows as a vehicle for just getting to
            a DOS that would support extended/expanded memory, long file
            names, larger disk volumes, and so on.

            But the inevitability was that without vender support, both for
            the OS and for new devices, DOS was going to become far less
            relevant in the future. And for most developers, it has been
            necessary to go in the direction that their customers have
            steering. PowerBasic produces commercially viable compilers,
            and they have to follow the developers' lead in order to gain
            and retain market share,

            Let's be frank: How much new business for PowerBasic does the
            whole of the DOS community represent? Many use old PCs that
            they don't intend to replace until they wear out, and many have
            foregone all manner of new features and devices because the
            venders failed to supply DOS-compatable drivers. Further, DOS
            is ill suited to the needs of multitasking and handling tasks
            well in the background. It really needs to be revamped in
            order to give it the flexability to make it more useful.

            But the industry, or PC community, has already decided that
            Linux is alteady a more powerful alternative. And a portion of
            the business community is seriously considering if and when they
            will commit to transitioning to Linux. And increasingly, there
            are tools to minimize the effort involved, the GUI distinctions
            between Windows and Linux, and at the same time venders of both
            hardware and software are hedging their bets by writing versions
            of their drivers and software products that will work in both

            If you want someone to blame for the lack of support for DOS,
            look at the original provider. M$ planned obsolescence program
            and business model has been to enrich the company by forcing
            its customers to rebuy and reinvest in its offerings over time,
            bringing only marginal improvements in some cases, or imposing
            severe performance penalties that took a few more generations
            of PC development to overcome adequately. If the Intel/AMD
            competition (or war, rather), had not brought those needed
            improvements in time, M$ overreach would likely have caused it
            to fail at some point.

            While DOS extenders and alternate DOS compatable operating
            systems exist, they have failed to gain sufficient support or
            standardization to make a real impression. You can't even find
            uniformity in the DOS community, as there is no standardization
            in what you use (DOS 3.0 to DOS 7.0 under Win9x/Me), no
            consistency in what you need (how much memory or external
            device support), no commitment from an Open Source community
            to expand and maintain what you want, and no indication that
            any of you would willing expend any real money to make change
            happen - you want it cheap or free (as we all do), but it just
            isn't going to happen.

            Bob Zale is a realist. I'm sure he would be more than glad to
            double the size of his staff and pay to have his products made
            over to work with whatever OS is out there, just as long as he
            sees a real market for his end product. What he really sees
            is a demand for an alternative to M$ bloatware and an eventual
            need for a Linux version, needed specifically for developer's
            who want to help transition their clients away from Windows.

            I think M$ aggressive efforts to ensure future versions are all
            properly licenced, registered, and current before you can do
            any upgrades or download fixes is going to be its undoing in
            that regard.

            what I don't think Mr. Zale sees is a real market demand or
            opportunity to sell into the DOS community. Maybe there is a
            pent up demand there that just hasn't expressed itself, but DOS
            isn't a good bet if he can't get the operating system itself to
            carry a lot of the load for new features. That means that some
            version of DOS itself must first show evidence of new life, gain
            new strength, become the accepted standard for all the DOS world,
            and show promise of a real future for new development. I think
            the rest of us would concur with Mr. Zale that to date, there is
            no clear evidence that any of that is going to happen.

            The inevitable conclusion seems to be that if you don't want
            Windows, then Linux is your next best choice. DOS extenders
            and running DOS emulators are stopgap methods of extending the
            life of what you have, but the outcome seems to be one of those
            two, or a Mac. The BeOS operating system was a real stab to
            try to break the GUI stranglehold that Windows as put on the
            industry, and it failed. The Mac is struggling to expand, and
            yet though often superior, it's higher cost and lack of market
            penetration keep if from doing much more than retaining a slim
            market share. DOS is far less powerful than any of the other
            mentioned OS'es are, and there is no doubt of its legacy status.

            It isn't that DOS isn't capable; it's just that DOS does not
            show evidence of new life or growth. It particularly does not
            show indication of real demand or marketing potential. Old
            retreads like me that now program in the latter stages of our
            productive lives are not a driving force for enhancements to
            PB/DOS, because we don't represent a buying segment of the
            industry. If I buy something now, I really have to justify
            the cost. Often I forego or put off buys until I encounter a
            situation that really justifies the expense, rather than
            investing to be current or to satisfy my own cravings for the
            latest and greatest. I am sure that many in the DOS community
            fall into that same category, thought there may be some new
            blood out there as well. But in time, most of you will move
            away from DOS, despite your wishies, because it is not where
            the future points.

            The opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect what Mr.
            Zale or the fine folks at PowerBasic really think, nor of what
            they actually will end up doing. However, I hold all concerned
            in the highest regard, and believe my accessment is a valid and
            realistic one. Given the responsibility of making PowerBasic
            profitable, a new or expanded version of PB/DOS would be at the
            bottom of my list of things to do, and in this fast paced world,
            just taking care of the top few things is all that anyone can
            manage. So, the self-evident fact is, though it would be nice to
            see it happen, PB/DOS 4.0 has probably been sidelined
            indefinately, probably never to be realized.

            But you knew that all along, didn't you? You just wanted to
            shame or embarrass someone at PowerBasic in admitting it, right?
            Well, were I in charge, I might concede the point if hard
            pressed, but who knows? If the market and need were ever to
            express itself adequately, things could change. Perhaps a PB/DOS
            4.0 will eventually emerge dispite my own reservations on the

            Old Navy Chief, Systems Engineer, Systems Analyst, now semi-retired


            • #7
              Hi Donald,

              you really worked hard to engineer an explanation for lack of
              support from companies like PowerBASIC, but I think you
              overlooked a few things.

              First, DOS development *is* active, it is just no longer
              Microsoft who do the development work. Had you bothered to
              click on the link below, then you would have known that. :-)

              Second, there has always been more to DOS than to MS-DOS. OSes
              like DR-DOS have multi-tasking for more than ten years now, and
              other features are no longer a domain of Windows, either.

              Third, there are *free* alternatives to PowerBASIC, so lack of
              a new version of PowerBASIC for DOS would only spell the end of
              PB/DOS, not of BASIC for DOS, and certainly not of DOS in

              Fourth, a version 4.0 of PB/DOS would be at a disadvantage, but
              only if Bob Zale would allow it to fall too far behind those
              alternatives. However, I doubt that anyone would still consider
              PB 4.0 an alternative if it would take another couple of years
              to show up.

              Fifth, not all DOS users are the paupers that you view them. I
              have a PC with a Pentium4/3066, 256MB memory and two 150GB hard
              disks myself, amongst others, and that is not uncommon
              Even if not, a system that a poor person could afford would
              still be something like an old K6-II machine, so it would be
              way beyond the scope of PB 3.5.

              DOS is not an OS for the poor, and it definetely is not a
              legacy OS, at least not more than Windows or Linux.
              If software companies continue to boycott it, though, they may
              find out that the only thing they have managed to achieve is to
              lose their market share to freeware.



              -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -

              [This message has been edited by Udo Kuhnt (edited May 15, 2005).]
              -- The DR-DOS/OpenDOS Enhancement Project -