If you’ve gone further into the Linux world than the standard desktop distributions like Ubuntu or Fedora, you have undoubtedly come across some more purpose-built distributions. Some examples are Kali for security testing, DragonOS for software-defined radio, or Hannah Montana Linux for certain music fans. Anyone can roll their own Linux distribution with the right tools, including [Shadly], who recently created one which only loads enough software to launch the 1993 classic DOOM.
The distribution is as simple as possible and loads no bloat other than what’s needed to launch the game. It loads the Linux kernel and the standard utilities via BusyBox, then runs fbDOOM, which is a port of the game specifically designed to run on the Linux framebuffer with minimal dependencies. After most of that, the only thing left is to use GRUB to boot the distribution, and in just a moment, Doomguy can start slaying demons. The entire distribution is placed into a bootable ISO file that can be placed on any bootable drive.
As far as DOOM hacks go, we’re used to seeing the game running on hardware it was never intended for like the NES or on an office phone. This one, on the other hand, gives us a little more insight into just how little is needed for a full-fledged Linux distribution, as long as what you need to do is relatively straightforward.
37 thoughts on “A Linux Distribution For DOOM”
Linux was the last platform to port to?:D
Nope, it’s hard to believe but the last platform to port it is on the Macintosh SE/30 which as for now, hasn’t see Doom ported to it.
…still hasn’t been ported to Z80 with the motorola 6847 video chip yet. There are a few 80’s computers around with this combo. Project has been started by a few different people, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
If I had the smarts, I’d be doing it in a flash.
I guess it would be a challenge to port it on a Z80.
There is a “port” for the 128k Spectrum, but on low end hardware it’s like simulating a log fireplace without combustion, videos of the real thing are more satisfying than the simulation.
Isn’t there a GBC port?
That’s a Z80 variant.
Well, there is a port for the SuperCPU, so at least it runs on a beefed up Commodore 64.
ISO image is 18 MB.
Systemd? No! Systemdoom!
I like what you did there.
they should have used psDoom instead…
Odd my DoomLinux.iso is 14.375 MiB, what version of gcc where you using ?
Nice. The shell script is a good starting point for minimal, fast booting Linux setup.
Actually, the referenced project https://github.com/ivandavidov/minimal-linux-script is a much better example of that.
well…it’s like a console…but for PC. I wonder, what if this is the true future for PC gaming?
I don’t know about the future but this was the past (80’s/early 90’s) for PC gaming as countless DOS games came on bootdisk with a minimal DOS subsystem to boot the game.
do you mean 1970-1979 and early 1980-1989 or one decade later?
I do not remember such games from the 00’s (1990-1999).
But I did (re-)write my own config.sys + autoexec.bat to create some specific resource friendly setups (eg. more “real”-mem for older games vs. more “virtual”-memory for Win3.x/9x (I think…))
ugh… got that “decade naming scheme” wrong…
My experience is one of a PC user so I merely know about MSDOS thus 80’s/early 90’s is correct as MSDOS didn’t exist back in the 70’s.
That’s not to say that earlier Games using other minimal boostrap OS on floppy didn’t exist before!
We definitely (in English) don’t describe a decade by referencing the following decade, as we do with centuries (I won’t go into why, but it’s been long-established). For example, we are currently living in the 2020’s, not the 2030’s.
If only some large PC oriented company had thought of this, say Microsoft for example, they could have made their own console and made bank… ;-)
No, I’ve not jumped arpund distributions. I tried Debian in the summer of 2000, “mostfree”, but with the dependency checker, kots of trouble. And no Pine.
So a few months later, I found a clearance copy of “Slackware for Dummies”, with the CDs, and it did include Pine. No problem, but it made me realize that a486 with 8megs of ram and a 240meg hard drive was way too limited. So in June I bought a used 586 with 16megs of RAM, and it’s been Slackware ever since.
It takes time and space to hop between distributions. I’ve invested in Slackware, so why switch?
It seems like many don’t grasp that all distributions pull from the same pool of kernel, utilities and apps. There are differences, but mostly in the installer. There sre philosophical choices, what to include, and how to market. But people get pulled in anyway, derivatives of derivatives of major distributions, because they’ve been told “it’s simple”. Marketing creates all these niche distributions,.
Diversity is necessary for evolution. What some people call “fragmentation” is actually a FLOSS strength.
This is the weirdest “I use Arch BTW” post I’ve ever seen.
apt install doom:
so many options to choose from.
Much nostalgia, so good.
Point of order: The player’s name is not Doomguy, It’s the DOOM SLAYER. :)
::puts on coat, heads for the door::
You for got to end with “m’lady”
I could have gone through my life blissfully unaware of the existence of Hannah Montana Linux.
But, maybe it is time for a Rhoda Dakota version.
You probably need to install it on a Barbie computer. (They existed about 1997, about 400MHz clock. For boys, there were similar Hot Wheels computers).
Anyone can make a Linux distro, and that is a double edged sword.
But can you play online with others? Part of the fun was to have a modem and play with friends.
If you read the script used to generate the ISO file.
It changed the kernel default “CONFIG_NET=y” to be “# CONFIG_NET is not set”
So I would say that it is 100% single user Doom.
And the reason they would have disabled the networking is because the init is a script that mounts a few necessary filesystems and runs the statically compiled fbdoom. If they added networking support then the would have extra delays in configuring the hardware, and that is time keeping them away from playing doom.
But what about sound eh…. there are a lot of sound cards to support ?
It uses the floppy drive servo to make sound.
So, this is what it takes to let Linux daemons show out for good
My only hiccup is that it wont run on my recent hardware.
It starts from a Ventoy USB and will not make the leap to uEFI apparently. W10 will, and Vanessa does.
Yes I played it first time around, with Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem et al.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh such memories.
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