80x86 PC Emulators
A little explanation is necessary. Of interest is both CPU and
OS emulation systems, since for example, you can't normally
run an MS-Windows 3.1 or MS-DOS executable on UNIX, even running
on a PC. Both are included.
Last updated: Wed 10:00 7/2/1997.
- BOCHS (UNIX & X) --
(complete PC hardware emulator) emulates PC hardware sufficiently well
to boot DOS/Windows 3.1 or even Windows 95 in a completely encapsulated
environment on pretty much any UNIX box. Not very fast, but it's fun
to run your own encapsulated PC.
- WINE (UNIX & X) -- runs MS-Windows 3.1 executables
(OS only) under Linux, FreeBSD, and NetBSD. The main page I could
find, Dag Asheim's WINE page,
has lots of information for interested parties and would-be
developers. This is a freeware project, so all are encouraged to join
- DOSEMU (Linux/FreeBSD/NetBSD) -- runs DOS executables (OS only)
under some of the free UNIX-like OSes, primarily being developed on Linux.
This is also a freeware project, so full source is available.
One of the main FTP sites is
it is pretty busy, so I'll get a better access point for this link.
It seems to be able to run a LOT of things, as this
compatibility file attests.
- Wabi and
(UNIX & X) -- runs MS-Windows 3.1 executables under Solaris on x86 and
SPARC platforms. An interesting point is that they claim to support
quite a bit of Windows 3.1 details such as DDE, OLE, and ODBC.
A product from Sun Microsystems.
- Willows -- Win16 and Win32
emulation on a startlingly long list of hardware and software environments.
By Willows Software, Inc.
- SoftWindows 3.0 and 95, and
NTRIGUE (UNIX & X/NeXTStep/MacOS) -- SoftWindows 3.0 has a broad
range of Windows 3.1 applications support. SoftWindows 95 claims
support for native Windows 95 apps. Produced by Insignia Solutions.
- OS/2 WARP
will run MS-Windows 3.1 and DOS executables (OS only). From IBM.
-- An emulator for running x86 Win32 applications on an Alpha running
Windows NT. Particularly interesting in that it apparently has the
best performance for the final running application of any
translator/emulator currently in existence, written by DEC.
A slowdown of something like 1.3 X is what they claim.
- MS-Windows 3.1 (see MS-Windows 95 mentioned below)
- MS-Windows 95 will run DOS executables (OS only).
The whole VM system appears to be a remodeled version of MS-Windows 3.11,
which runs on top of a DOS image, and uses this same image as a source for
it's DOS emulation system, and is therefore not isolated by protection
boundaries from the rest of the system. It's unclear to me exactly how
much Windows 95 isolates itself from such problems. The book
"Undocumented Windows 95 Resource Kit" is informative in this regard,
though of course not difinitive.
- MS-Windows NT 3.x and 4.0 runs MS-Windows 3.1 and DOS
executables, for all supported architectures
(8086, MIPS, Alpha, PowerPC). The Intel
8086 version does OS emulation and simply rebinds the API, while
the others do full CPU emulation as well. It's unsure to me what
level (just 80286, or full 80386) of emulation is provided in the
other versions. It is certain that only Win16 apps are supported by
the bundled emulation mechanisms.
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