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Boot loader launches Linux from DR-DOS

Mar 29, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Devicelogics is shipping a DR-DOS based Linux loader that loads the Linux kernel while preserving DR-DOS in memory so that, upon Linux session completion, the system returns to DR-DOS. “DRLX” targets companies migrating embedded systems from DOS to Linux, as well as single-board computer OEMs wishing to simplify Linux installation.

DR-DOS has enjoyed a fascinating and somewhat checkered history since its arrival in the mid-1980s. An early contendor for the PC OS crown, it later formed the basis of Caldera's successful anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft. Most recently, it was updated by current owner DeviceLogics with the addition of FAT32 filesystem support and other “modern” features.

According to Devicelogics, DRLX is a DR-DOS application that enables OEMs to quickly load and run Linux applications from a native FAT32 file system, simplifying the management of embedded images and files. It claims DRLX removes the complexity of introducing Linux technologies to an embedded platform by completely avoiding the Linux install. OEMs use a simple DOS COPY command to copy the Linux kernel with optionally included RAM DISK to a FAT partition. They then type “drlx” to execute Linux with full access to the FAT partition.

“DRLX is the industry's simplest way to get Linux on embedded platforms,” said Bryan Sparks, CEO, Devicelogics (and former founder of Caldera Linux). “Install DOS. Use DOS copy command. Run Linux. Period.”

According to Devicelogics, DRLX is based on Linux 2.4, and supports:

  • Hard real-time
  • Soft real-time (pre-emptible kernel)
  • Full TCP/IP
  • Very small memory and disk requirements (can be as small as 2 MB)
  • Supports flash and alternative memory solutions
  • Utilizes FAT32 file systems as root/native file system
  • All features of Linux currently supported on x86 platforms

“Leveraging Linux to create a footprint as small as 2MB is a daunting task,” said Troy Tribe, co-founder and principal, Devicelogics. “DRLX removes the complexity of leveraging Linux on embedded systems.”

DRLX 1.0 is immediately available to OEMs via aggressive volume and unlimited site licensing options. Devicelogics offers OEMs a “Try-Before-You-Buy” development program from the company's website, which also offers further details about DRLX and DR-DOS.

This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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