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How FreeDOS Grew Up and Became a Modern DOS

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, and that meant I grew up with computers. Our first home computer was an Apple II, and my brother and I taught ourselves about BASIC programming on the Apple. I wrote a lot of games and math p…

How To Manage Linux Servers With Cockpit

Managing a network of Linux servers used to require using a terminal emulator to ssh into each of your servers. To update a local firewall rule, system administrators had to learn arcane iptables commands to add the right inc…

Why Text in The Terminal Only Has Sixteen Colors

If you’ve paid much attention to the Linux terminal window, or the Windows console, you might notice that text only comes in a limited set of colors. Why do the colors look the way they do? How IBM chose to represent text col…

Why DOS Applications Used White-On-Blue Text

Many DOS applications use white text on a blue background as the default colors.  Why is this the default color choice? The answer, like so many things in technology, is because of its history. You’ll often find this same co…

Set Up a Test Server on Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi started out as an inexpensive device to help students learn about computing, but the Raspberry Pi also makes for an inexpensive test server. With a server operating system on a Raspberry Pi, you can quickly s…

How to Rename Screenshots in Linux

Many desktop Linux systems save screenshots with names like Screenshot from 2020-11-29 18-57-51.png. Often, what you really needed was to rename the files to something more obvious like webinar1.png, webinar2.png, and so on. …

Parsing HTML in Bash

I have a process where I need to copy all the images from a web page. I used to run this process with xmllint, which will process an XML or HTML file and print out the entries you specify. But when my server host provider upg…

Why Excel Looks The Way it Does

The spreadsheet you are probably most familiar with is Microsoft Excel. But have you ever wondered why Excel looks and acts the way that it does? Why does Excel arrange data in a grid of cells? Why are columns identified by l…

How to mount a QEMU virtual disk image

Let’s say you discover critical business data in a legacy DOS spreadsheet file, and Excel can’t read the file. If the legacy program originally ran on DOS, you might boot a copy of FreeDOS, and install the legacy program ther…

How to use QEMU to boot another OS

That old legacy system is gone, never to be heard from again. Right? But what do you do on the fateful day that someone needs to access data that’s trapped in an old legacy application? If modern applications can’t read the d…

Why DOS Was (and Is) a Thing

In late 1980, someone at IBM had a pretty neat idea. Responding to the popularity of “personal computers” like the Apple II and the TRS-80, IBM decided to get into the game. After a fast-paced development, IBM announced the f…

A Brief History of Unix

Despite powering over 90% of cloud workloads today, Unix (and Linux with it) had humble beginnings. Jim Hall discusses how Unix from Bell Labs in the 1970s became the backbone of many modern operating systems….

How to Check Spelling the Old School Unix Way

Before word processors had a spell check function, you had to run your own spell check against a document. And in the very early Unix days, systems didn’t have a dedicated “spell check” program, but instead required a set of …
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