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DOSBox is about to get more advanced, with the community-made 'soft' fork dosbox-staging have a first proper release out. Made as an attempt to reinvigorate DOSBox development, it has a very admirable aim.

The point, they say, is to provide a better experience than the standard DOSBox and hopefully get their work into the upstream project to improve it for everyone.

Today, dosbox-staging 0.75 was officially released, here's some highlights:

  • Upgraded to use SDL 2.0 - bringing with it improved input handling, low-latency audio using OpenSL ES, more output interfaces such as Wayland and much more.
  • Support FLAC, Opus, and MP3 CD-DA tracks.
  • Pixel-perfect scaling mode.
  • Resizable window.
  • 64-bit Dynamic Recompilation - "Support for 64-bit dynarec improves CPU emulation speed and quality across the board - this is especially visible to Linux and macOS users".
  • It now complies with the XDG Base Directory Specification.
  • Plus loads more you can see the release notes here.

DOSBox is a truly an essential bit of free and open source software, one that keeps some truly classic games alive and so it's important that it's in good shape itself as operating systems themselves grow and evolve so DOSBox needs to keep up with it all too.

See more about dosbox-staging on the official site and GitHub.

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ripper 8 May, 2020
Quoting: dreamer_I agree - the best outcome would be if all the improvements landed upstream and fork could be avoided. I spent a lot of effort (and grew few more grey hairs) trying to avoid creation of the fork (while wanting to get some work actually done), but failed at that :( You can find context in this /r/emulation thread.
That was a very long, interesting and often sad read. Thanks for linking that. I always assumed DOSBox upstream was simply dead because people left, and not that it was such an inaccessible environment, ignoring and discouraging important community contributions. I hope the right people will flock to your new, community-embracing fork, and DOSBox ecosystem will get revitalized through it. It the project endures and clearly works better on modern systems, with better user experience, I'm sure eventually companies like GOG will use it instead of the original. And Linux distributions might default to it as well, same as what happened to OpenOffice vs LibreOffice or defaulting to wine-staging instead of wine (at least in Fedora; but vanilla wine seems to have been improving a lot recently in this regard). Perhaps DOSBox SVN authors might then recognize the importance of the community and join efforts again, however unlikely it seems now. Thank you for your persistence and energy, I love what you're doing.
dreamer_ 8 May, 2020
Quoting: axredneckIs it better/worse than dosbox-x ?

DOSBox-X and dosbox-staging are two, non-competing projects with different goals. If your use case requires perfect hardware emulation (there are many such use-cases!), then DOSBox-X is the way to go; many people use DOSBox-X for gaming and there's nothing wrong with that either. dosbox-staging is for people, who want to play DOS games without a hassle; our goals are stated here :)

Stars indicate, that both projects will cooperate by sharing expertise and patches (but our code diverged a lot, so projects are unlikely to merge). Hope this clears things out :)
mcphail 9 May, 2020
Alan Pope has released a snap version. Worth trying out if you don't want the hassle of compiling.
jaylittle 11 May, 2020
Quoting: Purple Library GuyOh good lord. So they have some useful patches, and they don't feel like making an actual release, but in the mean time they want to avoid distributing what they've got for fear that if they did they'd have to abide by the GPL and let other people use the useful things. Every detail I hear about the old DOSBox types seems to confirm the impression that they're dysfunctional and self-absorbed.
I can't argue with this. I believe I became part of the team sometime around 2007 (had to crawl through some old VOGONs PMs to confirmm that) and back then it didn't seem to odd to conduct these sorts of activities in private. Nowadays as we now live in a world which is awash in transparency and FOSS it seems odd to me that we still have private builds and a private set of forums in which these topics are all discussed. FWIW, it's still largely the same group of people as it was back in 2007 so I can't help but to think that the lack of new blood is a contributing factor to the sense of stagnancy that people are grappling with.

In any event, I share the concerns that many in this thread have expressed. DOSBox, even from the perspective of somebody barely on the inside, is clearly a stagnant beast and I'm excited to see another group take up the reins.
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