[pdftex] Pre-compiled 16-bit DOS binaries!

G. D. Brettschneider pdftex at GDBrettschneider.de
Sat Nov 23 01:46:59 CET 2002

On 2002/11/09, I wrote:

GDB> There are no pre-compiled binaries for old 16-bit DOS
GDB> (I mean: pdf(e)tex.exe, pdf(e)tex.poo, ttf2afm.exe, afm2tfm.exe)
GDB> on the web ... are there?

Han The Thanh answered:

HTH> It should not be too hard to build them on linux 
HTH> using djgpp cross compiler as following:

HTH>   RANLIB=true \
HTH>   AR=dos-ar \
HTH>   CC=dos-gcc \
HTH>   CXX=dos-gcc \
HTH>   configure --host=i686-pc-linux-gnu
HTH>   make

HTH> I didn't compile pdftex for djgppp for a few years,
HTH> so I am not sure whether the compilation will go smooth.

Well, I have installed the kernel sources and then downloaded 
Sebastian Rahtz' TeX Live distribution from


I saw that everything compiles perfectly on Linux: 
One only has zu say "bunzip2" and "./Build".

So I've installed this f***ing cross-compiler in order to try
the same for a Dos target and ... "./Build" failed.

These were the tricks I had to think of:

1) Backup the Linux ELF binaries from the first run because gcc 
   produces a.out when working as a cross-compiler, so "make"
   dies by saying "Cannot execute binary file". Replace them.

2) Issue commands like "dos-ar -s lib.a" on a "library lib.a has
   no index" error message.

3) Execute "./configure", "make" and "make install" repeatedly
   in the different subdirectories.

So now I've got my Dos binaries! Thank you very much.  :-) 

To be more precise: These are binaries for the Dos Protected Mode
Interface (DPMI), which provides 32 bit memory access. An i386
processor is required to run them. A few binaries (like xdvi)
are still missing, because I stopped this little adventure at the
moment when I got afm2tfm.exe, the last one I absolutely needed.

HTH> I can't understand why one can still need them.

Anyway, I wanted to leave this decision to the webmaster...
Though not yet having tested the binaries, I've tried to
upload them to CTAN ("TeX-DPMI.zip", 7MB), but I only got a
"sending request to www.ctan.org" message without feedback.
What's wrong?


P.S.: There's a brand-new howto on building the djgpp cross
compiler on the developer's home page at


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