Are Nike-DOS and Kiev-DOS related?

Por Briqunullus

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14-10-2020, 13:53

So I have Nike-DOS 3.42/1.21 (1988/1989) and Kiev-DOS 4.01/2.07 (1990). When viewing them in code they don't look anything alike. Nike-DOS has a lot of extra internal commands, while Kiev-DOS even has viewer commands than standard MSX-DOS. And yet, they share some similarities.

First of all they both have a SET command. SET A will switch to 80 columns mode, SET B will switch to 40 columns mode. Other SET commands seem to have no effect. But why? Nike-DOS also has the regular MODE command, while Kiev-DOS hasn't.

Second, if you enter a non-existing command, let's say MRC they respond similarly. Nike-DOS will respond '? MRC', Kiev-DOS will respond 'MRC?'. Both instead of the regular 'Bad command or file name' error from MSX-DOS.

And of course they probably share a Ukrainian origin. On Helger Lipmaa's page he tells Ted Chary was called Alex Garmash in real life and he lived in Kharkov, Ukraine. I don't have any backstory for Kiev-DOS, except of course Kiev is located in Ukraine as well.

Who knows the relation (if any) between these MSX-DOS clones? Who knows about other versions of these? According to the forum, there were multiple versions of Nike-DOS. Is Kiev-DOS one of them?

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Por Pencioner

Scribe (1464)

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14-10-2020, 17:03

Too bad i was a boy and i didn't know such details (more because i wasn't looking for such infos) back in 1990-s (i studied in Kiev school which has a class of Yamahas), but i remember we had at least 3 different DOS versions which were different in some details. But i can't remember any more exact facts. I just had a favourite one of those, but do not remember names or versions...

Por hamlet

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14-10-2020, 19:04

Can't answer your question but nice read in the link you mentioned. :) Thanks!

Por Briqunullus

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26-10-2020, 13:15

I'm in touch with @max_iwamoto, who was a member of the group that developed Nike-DOS. So hopefully, we will find out soon. In the meantime, I have found two more similarities between Nike-DOS and Kiev-DOS.

  • They both have a Ramdisk as drive C. The one in Nike-DOS is 64K, the one in Kiev-DOS is 176K. The latter probably uses VRAM for that.
  • Both require memory to be in slot 3-2 or the computer will crash.

My guess is that Kiev-DOS is just Nike-DOS with its credits changed. And I think we are looking at a newer MSXDOS.SYS version (hence the larger Ramdisk) and an earlier COMMAND.COM version (with fewer commands). But I'll let the experts decide.

Por Pencioner

Scribe (1464)

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26-10-2020, 13:54

I have a guess why the memory has to be in slot 3-2 - just because Yamaha YIS503III and YIS805 have a ram in that slot and the guys was never thought about compatibility with other MSX computer or about following the MSX standard (just because i remember that we had small to none info about other MSX computers and the standard itself)

Por Briqunullus

Champion (391)

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26-10-2020, 14:17

Yeah I know. Luckily my Philips has the same slot configuration. Smile

Por Briqunullus

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16-12-2020, 19:18

I have received mail from NSG, one of the original developers of Nike-DOS. Though he has never heard of Kiev-DOS and would give it the benefit of the doubt ("maybe they did the same discoveries as we did"), the details he has provided actually strengthen my belief that Kiev-DOS is just a rebranded version of Nike-DOS.

In my previous post I had thought Kiev-DOS's Ramdisk was more advanced than Nike-DOS's. But it turns out to be the other way around. Nike-DOS has a built in DISK command to reconfigure Ramdisk size. By default it utilizes regular RAM only, but it can make use of VRAM as well. NSG recalls "typing DISK 4 7 almost automatically after each reboot".

So it seems Kiev-DOS is an older version of Nike-DOS. The Ramdisk was initially fixed-size and in later versions could be reconfigured.

Por Briqunullus

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16-12-2020, 19:32

Also, NSG explained that the SET A and SET B had been introduced to make use of 80 column mode on the Yamaha YIS503IIR. This is a MSX1 machine with a V9938 VDP and 16K of VRAM. Regular MSX-DOS would not support 80 column mode on MSX1.

I have tested this on openMSX and indeed this seems to work. Though only on Kiev-DOS and not on the Nike-DOS version that I have.

Por gdx

Enlighted (4629)

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17-12-2020, 09:11

MiSiX-DOS, Kiev-DOS and Nike-DOS have similarities. The developers probably drew inspiration from each other but I don't think that one version is based on another.

Por ~mk~

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15-03-2021, 22:34

Hi, I didn't know about Nike-DOS / Kiev-DOS until I read about it here. Thanks for sharing this @Briqunullus.
Recently I tried Nike-DOS and I am impressed by the ramdisk feature.
The requirement regarding ram slot configuration sucks, though.
I can't use it on my real MSX.

Also wanted to mention I was sent the source code for Misix 3.11.
If anyone is interested I can upload somewhere.
Misix requires Beer IDE interface and has a few problems regarding compatibility with MSX-DOS / jumping to Basic and back to Misix, as explained in the wiki, but AFAIK it is the only MSX-DOS clone that has decent support for FAT12 directories.