Ensemble on Raspberry Pi with Ethernet support

I have managed to install and run Ensemble on Raspberry Pi with Ethernet support, to connect Ensemble to internet. To do that you need a Raspberry Pi, Dosbian, Ensemble, and a working Ethernet connection, and of course a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

There are several models of Raspberry Pi, I recommend the 3B or 4B, for the best performance. I have tested to run Ensemble on a Raspberry Pi B+ and Pi Zero, it works, but the performance is very slow.

You find Dosbian here: https://cmaiolino.wordpress.com/dosbian/ .

Dosbian is a combination of Raspian (Buster?) and DOSBox. It is a dediated DOS Emulator, which boots directly into the DOSBox. The Raspian works as a help system for the DOSBox. There are two versions of DOSBox included, SVN and ECE, it is SVN which is interesting for Ensemble. Dosbian also includes scripts and some additional software, you can read about it in the link above. DOSBox SVN in Dosbian have Ethernet support. It is really not technically anything new, it is basically DOSBox Megabuild. The new thing is the concept, which is very nice, and in line with my thoughts about a DOSBox  for Ensemble. Nice to run it on a low-cost hardware like Raspberry Pi.

It is quite simple to setup. Download the Dosbian image file and flash it to a SD card with Balena Etcher or Rufus software. The SD card needs to be 4 GB or larger as the image is 4 GB. It is possible ot enlarge the image in Dosbian, after the flash.

In the DOSBox SVN.conf file you have to change under the NE2000 section, the realnic=list to realnic=1, as the Ethernet adapter is the primary network controller in the Raspberry Pi. Even if there is wifi, it is, sadly, not supported in DOSBox yet?. The NE2000 support have two options, ODI driver and Packet Driver, which both is supported in Ensemble, even if the driver is not in Ensemble. You will need the DOS drivers for NE2000, either the ODI-drivers (LSL and NE2000) or the packet driver from Crynwr. If you plan to use the Packet driver, you have to change the INT to 10 in the DOSBox-svn.conf file, under the NE2000 section. The packet driver will not support INT3. Thanks to Thomas Hass, for this valuable hint!

To create an USB drive which will be accessible in DOSBox and in Ensemble add this line below the mounted c drive in the Autoexec section of DOSBox-SVN.conf: mount d /media/usb0

The best way to install Ensemble is to place the Ensemble zip file on an USB memory stick and copy it to the SD card, or copy it directly to the SD card for the computer where you flashed the SD card. Unzip the Ensemble file with a DOS unzip software in DOSBox. If you intend to use FreeDOS Unzip, keep in mind that you also need the DOS Extender from FreeDOS to make Unzip work. I have noticed that the Midnight Commander included in Dosbian tends to trash the Ensemble files, when unpacking the Ensemble zip file.

In Ensemble you have to change the file system driver under the System section to fs = os2.geo, to make Ensemble work in DOSBox. There is also the network drivers, EtherODI and EtherPKT, you need to have. I have noticed that Ensemble tends to crash with a KR-09, if specific keyboard drivers are loaded in DOSBox. This is good to keep in mind, if you have chosen to have specific keyboard drivers loaded in DOSBox. The default (US?) keyboard  settings works, but can be of irritaion, if you don’t know where the right keys are.

Good luck!

Hans

PS. I have probably forgotten things here, just ask me, and I will help you out.

2 thoughts on “Ensemble on Raspberry Pi with Ethernet support”

  1. researching Dosbian, it would be good if you explained, even if only a sentence or two, what Ensemble is. This is the 1st I’ve heard of it.

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