to operate happily in the Linux environment with the help of DOSemu is reasonably
straightforward once you have a list of tasks and a few examples to look at.
AutoTrax is a rather decent, commercial PCB design package created for the
DOS environment by a company called Protel. By making use of the DOS emulator
the AutoTrax software can be used in a Linux environment. The most recent
version of the software is believed to be version 1.61 originally released
in or around 1992.
To use Protel AutoTrax in a Linux environment you will need:
- The Protel Autotrax software
- The DOS emulation software, DOSemu
- A reasonably fast computer.
Those blue ones look like dance tracks!
Computer hardware has changed since the software was first released and the
original hardware drivers do not take advantage of more recent hardware. Happily
various people have independently developed some extra video and printer drivers
that will allow you to get better performance than you could with the original
hardware drivers. See the links at the bottom of the page.
Putting it all together
The process of making it all work smoothly is not difficult but it is a little
laborious. The files need to be put in sensible locations. The DOSemu and
Autotrax software both need to be configured and you might want to create
some batch files and desktop links as well.
The principle hardware and software used by the author to obtain a working
AutoTrax installation is noted in this specification.
You will need to install the DOSemu software. This can be downloaded (see
links below) or, it might be included with your Linux distribution. If you
are using a version of SuSE Linux prior to 10.1 then it can be installed using
YaST. In OpenSuSE 10.2 the DOSemu software no longer seemed to be included
in the downloadable distribution.
- Directory structure
- The AutoTrax program files and hardware drivers
- DOSemu configuration files
- DOS configuration files
- Optional DOS batch files. These batch files work for our installation
and requirements. You might not want batch files and, in any case, you will
need to adapt them to your own needs and situation.
- General configuration of the DOS path: setpath.bat
- General configuration of the DOS environment: setsys.bat
- Start the PCB layout software: trax.bat
- Start the schematic drawing software: schedit.bat
- Start the PCB plotting software: traxplot.bat
- Start the schematic plotting software: schplot.bat
- Your actual work files. If you configure your system carefully you will
be able to place your project work files in a convenient directory of your
choice. Generally you should avoid mixing data files with program files
and, on our installation, that is in any case impossible.
- The desktop link This particular
link will start DOSemu in full screen mode.
- Full screen mode. For best appearance, swiftest redraw, and fewest overall
complications you are advised to run the Autotrax software in full-screen
mode. However even in full screen mode the operation of the pointing device
(i.e. mouse or trackball) will not behave as you expect until you tell the
graphical user interface to allow the DOSemu emulator to have full control.
This is a quirk but one that is easy to become accustomed to. In the DOSemu
configuration files this is referred to as mouse “grab” and
you can choose which key combination to use for grabbing and releasing pointer
control by modifying /etc/dosemu/dosemu.conf
(search for “grab” to find the pertinent configuration line).
The default key combination is Ctrl-Alt-Home. You will normally need to
use the “grab” key combination every time you switch between
the DOS screen and your ordinary Linux desktop or applications.
- Complications. Did I say there were no difficulties? I might have told
a wee fib, ooops, sorry. One possible source of trouble is that the Protel
programs need to believe that they have write access to the program files
and directories. In a Linux environment it is quite possible (and also often
desirable) that software directories are "read only" so that nobody
can accidentally or maliciously delete or modify the software. Happily it
is possible to keep the Protel software on a read-only disk but deceive
it so that it thinks that it has write access to its own program files and
directories. The deceit is accomplished by setting all the individual file
permissions for rwx (read write execute) but then only allowing the users
to refer to them via a symbolic link that does not allow write access. An alternative method
of achieving a similar result might be to remount the AutoTrax directories
at a different (second) mount point and make the remounted version read-only.[Further
and better particulars to be added later]
- General AutoTrax notes
- The DOS emulator project for GNU/Linux.
- SuSE Linux
- The SuSE Linux distribution has been used as the base platform for DOSEMU
- Video and printer
drivers from http://www.airborn.com.au/
- This Australian electronic design firm has some video drivers, printer
drivers for the Autotrax software. They also offer some hints written by
themselves and other users based on their use of the software and experience
of PCB design.
You are also advised to check the Wikipedia.