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Peculiar symptoms w/ 4NT, TCC/LE vis a vis CMD.EXE

Discussion in 'Support' started by dpbozarth, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. dpbozarth

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    OK, as a starter I'll agree I'm an old fogey, but... :)

    I still prefer to use the old DOS Brief editor. With some effort and the aid of a batch file to translate to/from long file names, it has continued to work for me up to and including XP under 4NT. Until, that is, just recently.

    After putting up w/ using other alternatives for a while, I finally spent some time today to try to get to the bottom of the issue. What I learned has me baffled as to the "why" of the symptoms.

    The upshot is that the two device drivers that have been in my configuration for using Brief no longer will load under 4NT. But, the strange part is the critical one (101key.drv) _WILL_ load under CMD.EXE and Brief will function as normal.

    Hence the question I would like ask is "Can anybody understand this difference of why the command processor would affect this?" and secondly, "Is there any possibility of any workaround?"

    I have not updated machines nor XP (auto update is off) for quite some time (owing primarily to being on dialup so speed is such an issue it's extremely difficult at best unless there's an absolutely mandatory need) and for the first several years I used Brief regularly as was in a heavy programming development phase where it was/is my primary tool. I then retired about two years ago and so the usage as dropped precipitously. The point is that I know it worked fine for quite a long time and this is apparently somehow related to one of the last updates I probably made in XP.

    If it weren't possible to load the same driver under CMD.EXE I'd probably just give it up as lost cause, but since evaluation the last two days as indicated it does work there, it seems as though there's not a fundamental limitation if one could only discover the secret... :)

    As part of the exploration process I thought perhaps a newer version of the JPSoft tools might resolve the problem since I hadn't upgraded since retiring. So, I downloaded both the 4NT 8.02 demo version and TCC/LE really thinking joy was in the offing, but sadly, no...identical symptoms as with my venerable 4NT 3.02. :(

    So, anybody have any ideas? More details, specifics, etc., on request if anybody has specifics would think useful.
     
  2. Steve Fabian

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    dpbozarth wrote:
    | I still prefer to use the old DOS Brief editor. With some effort and
    | the aid of a batch file to translate to/from long file names, it has
    | continued to work for me up to and including XP under 4NT. Until,
    | that is, just recently.

    I use BRIEF daily, usually invoking it from TCC 9, or 4NT 8, on my WinXP SP3
    system (with all updates). Normally I use Vince Fatica's FSTOGGLE.EXE to run
    Brief in 80x50 full screen mode. All features of BRIEF work fine, EXCEPT the
    macro compiler. I cannot figure out why.

    I use

    bflags=-c3,2,1,4i60Mu300rz -D101key -mESF -mrestore -msavehist -mscrapper -L50
    --
    HTH, Steve
     
  3. dim

    dim Dimitry Andric

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    dpbozarth wrote:

    Not that I use Brief, but isn't it an option to use the Win32 version of
    it? You can find it at <http://www.briefeditor.com/download.htm>.
     
  4. dpbozarth

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  5. dpbozarth

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    New one to me--hadn't known of this late incarnation.

    It is a completely new work that apparently mimics the original Brief w/ a couple of exceptions -- the foremost being it doesn't yet include the macro compiler.

    It doesn't say whether it can interpret existing Brief macros or not--one would presume that to be unlikely. If not and w/o the facility to build macros all of one's customizations over the last nearly 20 years are lost.

    Thanks for the link -- I'll probably download the single-window free version and give it a whirl just to see. I have a feeling that owing to the fact I'm a Fortran coder, not C or one of the more currently common languages, that the language support features included w/o the facility to implement custom macros (I've munged on the original Brief ones moderately extensively) it wouldn't be pleasing enough to want to abandon the original.

    Ah, a tragedy occurred when Borland bought out SolutionsSystems and deep-sixed Brief... :(

    --
     
  6. Steve Fabian

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    dpbozarth wrote:
    ...
    | Steve Fábián wrote:
    ...
    | bflags=-c3,2,1,4i60Mu300rz -D101key -mESF -mrestore -msavehist
    | -mscrapper -L50
    | OBTW, my bflags historically used to be
    |
    | bflags=-i120k4l512Mtu300z -mDPB -mrestore -Dega -D101key
    |
    | but to get it to run under CMD.EXE I had to revert to
    |
    | bflags=-i120k4l512Mtu300z -mDPB -mrestore -D101key -L50
    |
    | The real pita is that currently to get it to work under any of the
    | JPSoft shells I have to use
    |
    | bflags=-i120k4l512Mtu300z -mDPB -mrestore -L50
    |
    | which leaves the extended keyboard useless. This is the problem that
    | I'm hoping to somehow cure.

    Try reordering, putting -D101key before the -m's. May not help at all. I did
    not try under TCC/LE, nor under anything older than 4nt6 (on WinXP). Brief
    worked perfectly well under 4nt4 and 4nt5, whatever my Windows version was
    in those days. I had WinXP since Sept. 2004 (when I bought my current
    system), so I think I used 4nt5 under both Win98 and WinXP, and had no BRIEF
    problems. I never tried to run Brief (or anything else) under CMD.EXE - I
    never use it!
    --
    Steve
     
  7. Steve Fabian

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    dim wrote:
    | Not that I use Brief, but isn't it an option to use the Win32 version
    | of
    | it? You can find it at
    |
    <http://www.briefeditor.com/download.htm>.']http://www.briefeditor.com/download.htm>.']http://www.briefeditor.com/download.htm>.[/URL][/URL]

    Thanks, but the version compatible with my old (1991) Brief 3.11 costs too
    much for me. The "free" version is so stripped down that testing it is not
    worth my time.
    --
    Steve
     
  8. dpbozarth

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    Noticed that as well and agree the author appears to be quite proud of the full version.

    Wasn't clear to me from the info provided that even that version actually would be fully compatible w/o the macro compiler unless one could build/compile macros w/ the real Brief and it could interpret them--which as noted before it isn't clear that's the case.

    My thought of testing the free version would be simply to see if it could, in fact, use an existing Brief compiled macro file. If so, that would at least make it worth paying attention to further developments.

    Of course, if could solve my current problem, there would be no need! :) So since you're apparently not having issues, wouldn't seem there's anything for you to gain, agreed.

    --dpb
     
  9. dpbozarth

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    I never (for real, anyway) use CMD.EXE either -- I only tried it as an experiment to see if symptoms or error messages were any different.


    The plot thickens -- I modified the bflags variable in stages back to nothing and then added back -D101key and VOILA!!! success. :)

    Great, I says, I'll just put that combination in the batch file 4Start calls and all will be well. Au contraire! :( El crasho w/ a "program or file not found" error which I've not been able to ascertain from whence the message originated.

    In trying to reproduce the "trick" to get it to successfully load again, I've played for over an hour now and haven't yet reproduced the successful operation -- symptoms vary between

    1) hanging at the command line w/ no error, no response, no nothing,
    2) "bad or missing program or file" (Who's writing this and what/which file?)
    3) NTVDM exception

    I can remove the -D101key device switch and it always loads.

    What little I can tell is there seems to be some interaction between the state restore, the initials macro, the other switches and (perhaps) even whether the path environment variable contains the Brief parent directory or not (I've always just used an alias and not included it in the path, but in this investigation tried it to see if had anything to do with case 2) above.

    So far, all investigations are still indeterminate other than it does appear I've proven that it is, under exactly the proper incantation and set of circumstances to get it to work. Whether I can track down and make those circumstances reliably reproducible enough to make Brief usable on this system or not I'm still not sure.

    Anyway, thanks for the input and any other input anybody has will be welcomed.

    I'll go away and continue to investigate in a more organized manner--when my first go seemed to have fixed it (a half-dozen opens all worked until I tried closing the session and starting a new one) I didn't make careful enough note of just what I had that was functional. Of course, it may be that it was sequence-dependent, in which case I'm probably hosed.

    --
     
  10. Charles Dye

    Charles Dye Super Moderator
    Staff Member

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    I'm completely ignorant concerning Brief. But if the problem really does have something to do with DOS drivers, you might try adding a line NTCMDPROMPT to your CONFIG.NT file -- or removing it, if it's already there.
     
  11. Steve Fabian

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    Charles Dye wrote:
    | ---Quote (Originally by dpbozarth)---
    | Anyway, thanks for the input and any other input anybody has will be
    | welcomed. ---End Quote---
    | I'm completely ignorant concerning Brief. But if the problem really
    | does have something to do with DOS drivers, you might try adding a
    | line NTCMDPROMPT to your CONFIG.NT file -- or removing it, if it's
    | already there.

    This is my CONFIG.NT:

    dos=high, umb
    device=%SystemRoot%\system32\himem.sys
    files=40

    OTOH, I always start Brief with its home directory in PATH.
    --
    Steve
     
  12. dpbozarth

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    CONFIG.NT identical here

    I'll add it to the path to remove that as a variable in further testing although I've run it forever up to now w/ only and alias and the Brief path-specific environment variables w/ no issues.

    --
     

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