QPC1 and Dos Box and Linux

This article has been reproduced from QL Forum, with the permission of the author, Timothy Swenson

 QPC1 and DosBox

Since I’ve migrated to Linux for my desktop system, my selection of QL emulators is not very big. The best and my favorite is SMSQmulator. It is fairly powerful, but it has limitations in that it is not a QL emulator but a platform for SMSQ/E. This means that very early programs that only run on a QL, will not run on it.

QPC1 has recently been released and that looks to be another option for me. I’ve heard that some programs that will not run on SMSQmulator, might run better under QPC1. QPC1 is only for DOS, which leaves a bit of a quandary for a Linux user. Luckily, there is DosBox, which creates a DOS environment, perfect for running QPC1. DosBox is primarily designed for running old DOS games from the early to mid 1990’s, but I’ve used it to run the DOS version of the PSION programs with no issues. DosBox runs on a number of platforms, including Windows, Linux and Mac. It does a good job of providing a DOS environment for running a number of DOS utilities. DosBox is freely available from http://www.dosbox.com. Download the specific version for your operating system and install it using the directions from the DosBox website.

I will assume that you know where to find QPC1 and be able download it. (see the post about QPC1 – News Ed.)

Configuring DosBox for QPC1

To get QPC1 to run on DosBox, three settings have to change. Open the DosBox config (dosbox.conf) file using a text editor. See the DosBox documentation to find out where your version is located. For Linux, the config file is in the .dosbox directory. Find the EMX, XMS and UMB section of the file and set the following:


Setting up DosBox

DosBox can read the underlying file system of the operation system, and can run DOS executables from that file system. It is recommended to create a DOS directory and then place all DOS files in sub directories under this directory. This will keep all of your DOS files in one location. One thing to remember, once DosBox is started, do not edit the DOS directory with the file system tools. DosBox will not notice any changes until it is restarted again.

When DosBox is started, it will give a Z: drive as the local directory. You can mount the DOS directory from the local file system like this:

mount c c:\dos- Windows
mount c /home/user/dos- Linux
c:- Move to C:\

Instead of doing this every time you fire up DosBox, you can add it to the autoexec part of the DosBox config file. Look for [autoexec] in the config file and add the above statements just after it. These commands will be run each time DosBox is started.

Starting QPC1

Once DosBox is started, just CD to the directory where QPC1 is located. For the first time running QPC1, you will need to run the program “config” and set things like the keyboard and what QXL.WIN files to use. Once that is done, execute ‘qpce’ for English or ‘qpcd’ for German.

Hints with DosBox


By default the mouse is trapped by DosBox, not allowing it to leave the DosBox window. The mouse can be untrapped by hitting CTRL-F10. To turn this feature off, set “autolock=false” in the DosBox config file.

Larger Resolution

DosBox allows for higher resolution than VGA. QPC1 also allows for higher resolution. DosBox and QPC1 has been successfully tested with a resolution of 1024×512. See the DosBox and QPC1 documentation on how to change the resolution on each.

Full Screen

DosBox can be set to full screen by using hitting ALT-ENTER. Hitting this again, will turn off full screen. If using QPC1 in 512×256 mode, going full screen will enlarge all of the text making it easier to see and provide for a more “normal” QL experience.

Exit from QPC1

For those that don’t remember, exiting from QPC1 back to DosBox can be done by the QPC_EXIT command. DosBox can be exited by clicking on the (X) close box while QPC1 is running, but quitting from QPC1 is probably more graceful. Once back at the DOS prompt, ‘exit’ will exit DosBox.

Floppy Access

DosBox does not support low level access to floppy disks, even if they are attached, so don’t expect to use floppy drives, even though QPC1 can directly access floppies.

Printer Access

DosBox does not support printers or the printer (LPT) port, which means that even if you used software that captures data to the LPT port and sends it to a file, it will still fail. There is a special build, call Hal9000, of DoxBos that is reported to support the printer port.

DOS Access

QPC1 does not have the DOS1_ device that QPC2 has. There is no way for QPC1 to access files stored under the underlying file system. This also means that there is no built-in way to transfer files from DOS to a QXL.win file and back. Jonathan Hudson’s qxltools is the best option. There is a front-end called wqxt2, but it is only pre-compiled binary for Windows.

Jean-Yves Rouffiac added, for Mac OS X users:

And for Mac OS X users, the location of the config file is

~/Library/Preferences/DOSBox\ 0.74\ Preferences

(Change the version number to the one matching your version of DOSBox)