VM/386

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VM/386 is a multitasking operating system or 'control program'[1] that took early advantage of the capabilities of Intel's 386 processor. By utilizing Virtual 8086 mode, users were able to run their existing text-based and graphical DOS software in safely separate environments.[2][3][4] The system offered a high degree of control, with the ability to set memory and CPU usage limits. Unique CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files could be configured for each application, and even different DOS versions.[5][3][4] In 1991 the vendor announced intentions to support DPMI 1.0 in VM/386.[6]

VM/386 had initially been developed by Timothy J. Millar (President of IGC) and his developers IGC International was a producer of copy-protection software, with plans to include features like non-DOS system support,[7] but financial constraints forced its sale to Intelligent Graphics Corporation (IGC), which launched the product in 1987.[8] It won a PC Magazine award for technical excellence in 1988.[9][3][4] The company also introduced a multi-user version, which allowed a number of serial terminals and even graphical systems to be connected to a single 386 computer.[10] Current versions of the software have built on the multi-user support, and can handle tens of users in a networked environment with Windows 3.11 support, access controls, virtual memory and device sharing, among other features.[11]

A version of the software designed to cooperate with Unix was bundled with Everex Systems workstations.[12] The system now sees use mainly in vertical applications like point-of-sale systems, where its ability to run reliably on cheap, reliable hardware outweigh any gains from newer operating systems that are more complex and less reliable.[13]

Early competition included DESQview 386, Sunny Hill Software's Omniview, StarPath Systems' Vmos/3,[3][4] and Windows/386 2.01.[5] As the target market shifted away from single-user systems to multiple-user setups with many serial terminals it began to compete more directly with the likes of Multiuser DOS and PC-MOS/386.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "Release 1.0: IBM's Next Generation: From PC to System" (PDF). Edventure Holdings Inc. 6 April 1987. 
  2. ^ "Of Interest", Dr. Dobb's, 1 June 1988 
  3. ^ a b c d Tamm, Rüdiger; Wurthmann, Gerold; Wopperer, Bernhard; Wiesböck, Johann (1991). "VM/386: Der Ferrari-Motor für den Trabbi". Vorträge und Begleittexte zum 2. Entwicklerforum: PC-Architektur, 17. September 1991, München [Presentations and supplemental material for the second developer forum on PC architecture on 17 September 1991, Munich] (book) (in German) (1st ed.). Munich, Germany: Markt & Technik Verlag Aktiengesellschaft. p. 205. 
  4. ^ a b c d Tamm, Rüdiger (March 1990). "VM/386: Der Ferrari-Motor für den Trabbi". Design & Elektronik - Die Spezialzeitschrift für Hard- und Softwareentwickler (in German). Markt & Technik. 
  5. ^ a b Michael J. Miller, Tracey Capen (13 February 1989), "Multitasking", InfoWorld, pp. 57–58 
  6. ^ Wurthmann, Gerold; Wopperer, Bernhard; Wiesböck, Johann (1991). "Die DPMI-Spezifikation - Eine Einführung - Appendix B: DPMI Hosts" [An introduction to the DPMI specification - appendix B: DPMI hosts]. Vorträge und Begleittexte zum 2. Entwicklerforum: PC-Architektur, 17. September 1991, München [Presentations and supplemental material for the second developer forum on PC architecture on 17 September 1991, Munich] (book) (in German) (1st ed.). Munich, Germany: Markt & Technik Verlag Aktiengesellschaft. p. 223, 239. 
  7. ^ "Alternativen zu MS-DOS auf der Rollbahn: Alle sind schneller als Microsoft", Computerwoche (in German), 6 February 1987 
  8. ^ "VM/386". Archived from the original on 2013-06-06. 
  9. ^ "The 5th Annual Awards (1988): 386 Software Technology", PC Magazine 
  10. ^ "Finally: Multi-user DOS (ad)", Infoworld, 27 March 1989 
  11. ^ "VM/386 Technical Specifications". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. 
  12. ^ Everex Systems Inc. announces DOS multitasker for UNIX workstations., 23 October 1989 
  13. ^ "MRE Consulting Group, Inc. - Solving Business Problems Since 1978". 

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