Program like it’s 1989… Borland Turbo C++ for DosBox

You can download Borland Turbo C++ from Soft32, and run it inside Dosbox.

If your on Linux, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to find this MSDOS classic has been wrapped up in a Windows installer that requires DotNet45 (AKA Mono), and tries to cram a bunch of spyware onto your system.

apt install wine winetricks
winetricks dotnet45
wine Turbo\ C++

Once the installer is done, you’ll have “Turbo” in your Wine/Window Downloads folder


$ sha256sum Turbo\
87ccaeb770f61f33ad6693fc8b7e5f8810538cda29fd6a9a388c3f1a984ea0ef  Turbo

$ md5sum Turbo\
3d525e9f65e3b3cf59185fa0887a3e54  Turbo
This .zip file is what you’ve really been after… Extract this to wherever your mapping your dosbox C: drive… For me, that’s: ~/dosbox

You’ll probably want to do some dosbox configuration, so you can give it more of a 1995 feel…

vim $(dosbox -printconf)


@echo off
mount c ~/dosbox

Once that’s all done, just type dosbox to open your new strangely oversized DOS window, then type tc to open the IDE…

You have syntax highlighting and a small set of libraries available…

Borland Turbo C++ 3.0, released 1992

To Install MASM (Microsoft Assembler) you’ll need to virtually mount floppy disks…

mount a: ~/dosbox/masm611/floppy -t floppy

Fortunately, dosbox doesn’t do any validation on the floppy maximum size… In the MASM installer, if you copy each of the disks (DISK1, DISK2… DISK5) into one folder and then mount that folder as one floppy… The MASM installer will install all of the files with no complaint.

Useful 16-bit Software… ls sed perl4 etc…

16-bit Vim… v7.1

Microsoft MASM Assembler for MSDOS – Windows NT

😱 OMG… Rose colored glasses

Actually using a 16-bit system for a few hours and it’s quite amazing how far we’ve come, especially Linux… Version 0.02 of Linux started when MASM for DOS and Borland Turbo C++ were still shipping.
Initially Linux with gcc v1.40 on top of Minix.

Amazingly, Minix still exists if you want to try to run it…

Minix was written for use in teaching operating system concepts. Would be a lot of fun to go through development from a kernel to a booting system.

The Good Old DOS Days we’re really the bad old days in terms of how software and the development environment worked… I would be very surprised if many people used to Linux in 2021 could write anything in Turbo C++ for Dos that was generally useful today… Not impossible to do, but just the very long way around…

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