Nike-DOS
This page was last modified 01:56, 21 December 2020 by Gdx. Based on work by Briqunullus and Bodhi1969.
Nike-DOS boot screen
Nike-DOS help screen

Contents

Introduction

Nike-DOS originated in the late 80's from a MSX group in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The group, who would later call themselves Code Busters, had various members contributing to the project. Besides Nike-DOS, the group developed several other tools and demos.

Though the group developed Nike-DOS primarily for themselves, it was shared with others as well. During Computer Olympiads in the (former) USSR, copies would be given to some people, while others just took their copies without permission. This way it spread outside the city of Kharkiv and ended up in other Soviet states too. So much even, that the Novosibirsk Regional Council mentions Nike-DOS in a user manual for the NET-2 network package in 1989. In later years, of course, it would be shared globally across the internet.

The original developer, Kim Rado, most likely disassembled the original MSX-DOS and starting modifying it. He had noticed that disabling interrupts significantly speeds up disk access, so he made that a default mode after startup. Since some programs refused to work with disabled interrupts (notably, popular text editor TOR), he had made some changes to COMMAND.COM to turn this mode on or off. He also added support for 80 column mode, which Yamaha YIS-503IIR computers had a hardware for, but was not supported by the original MSX-DOS. Nike-DOS would be assembled and linked with Microsoft M80 and L80.

There also exists a MSX-DOS clone called Kiev-DOS, which problably just is a rebranded early version of Nike-DOS.

Known versions

At least 4 developers have been involved in creating, enhancing and maintaining the Nike-DOS project. The initial version has been developed by Kim Rado, with support for 80-column mode and speeding up disk access. Later on, Ted Chary added a Ramdisk and NSG helped improving the Help-screen. And finally Rst7 introduced loadable modules, one of which was a screensaver.

Currently, only one version is known to exist. This one is Ted Chary's version.

MSXDOS.SYS COMMAND.COM Credits Release
3.42 1.21 Ted Chary 1989


Features

Ramdisk

Nike-DOS has a built in Ramdisk. On a regular 2 drive system, the Ramdisk would be assigned the drive letter C. At startup the default size of the Ramdisk will be 64K using memory mapped RAM only. However, the Ramdisk can also utilize VRAM and the Ramdisk size can be reconfigured to a maximum of 176K using the DISK command. The contents of the Ramdisk will be lost when the Ramdisk is resized or the computer is reset.

Usable commands would be DISK 0 7 to switch to VRAM only mode and free up user RAM for programs. Or DISK 4 0 to do the opposite whenever programs would want to use higher screen modes. However, the Ramdisk could not be disabled, so DISK 0 0 will return an error.

Additional commands

These internal commands are available on top of the official MSX-DOS commands in the COMMAND.COM file.

Command Description
BOOT [drive:] Tells the system which drive to use if COMMAND.COM needs to be reloaded, use Ramdisk for maximum performance
CLS Clears screeen
COLOR n k Sets specific foreground and background colors
DISK n k Configures Ramdisk size in 16K blocks, where n is the number of RAM blocks (0 - 4) and k is the number of VRAM blocks (0 - 7)
FREE [drive:] Displays free space on a drive
HELP Shows help screen
KEY [ON/OFF] Toggles display of the functions keys, enables or disables them
KEY n[:]text Assigns a specific value to a function key
LOAD Loads values for function keys from disk (sector 0)
PRINT [/f] filename Sends file(s) to the printer
SAVE Saves values for function keys to disk (sector 0)
SET [A/B] Puts the screen in 80-columns mode (SET A) or 40-columns mode (SET B)
SET [C/D] Disables (SET C) or enables (SET D) interrupts to speed up disk access, some programs like the editor TOR would not work with interrupts disabled


Modified commands

The command prompt has built in confirmation request on commands that potentially process multiple files. The confirmation request is activated automatically when the command is used in combination with wildcard arguments. This provides powerful user control over which files will eventually be copied or deleted.

Confirmation request is available on the commands COPY, DEL, PRINT and TYPE. All of these commands support the /F switch, which forces the commands to run without confirmation.

Known issues

At least up to NSG's version of Nike-DOS, the program needs memory to be in slot 3-2 to work. If memory is in another slot the program will crash, even if an external memory mapper is used and the original memory still is in slot 3-2. Also, the program assumes the memory to be 128K. It will run on machines with expanded memory, but the Ramdisk will not be able to use memory above 128K. The DISK command will throw an error when you try to configure to many memory blocks.