Dec 282017
Oberon language and object oriented operating environment from ETH.
File OBRON386.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
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Oberon language and object oriented operating environment from ETH.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
NOTE.TXT 1449 735 deflated
README.TXT 8889 3795 deflated
SYSTEM.EXE 636054 634882 deflated

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Contents of the README.TXT file

Oberon (TM) for MS-DOS Systems,

Version 2.0 / 3.1, 1. 4. 93

Copyright (C) 1993 by Institut fuer Computersysteme ETH Zuerich


Oberon is both a programming language and an operating environment. It is the

final outcome of a research project whose aim was an extensible, highly

integrated and compact operating platform for single-user personal


The original project was launched and carried out by N. Wirth and J. Gutknecht

for the Ceres workstation. Ported versions of the Oberon language and system

are now available for numerous commercial machines, among them MacIntosh, IBM

RS/6000, DEC station, SPARC station and IBM PC/386 compatibles.

Version 3 is an object-oriented evolution of the original system. It supports

a generic mechanism for the management of end-user objects and comes with a

graphical user interface called Gadgets (TM).


The following family of books on Oberon is available from Addison-Wesley


The Oberon System- User Guide and Programmer's Manual,

by M. Reiser

Programming in Oberon- Steps beyond Modula-2,

by M. Reiser and N. Wirth

Project Oberon- The Design of an Operating System

and Compiler, by N. Wirth and J. Gutknecht

A detailed user's and programmer's guide to the Gadgets system and a tool

assisting with the migration to Version 3 are included in the online


MS-DOS Oberon

Oberon for IBM PC/386 compatibles is henceforth called MS-DOS Oberon. Even

though MS-DOS Oberon is highly congruent with the original system as described

in the above listed literature, there are some preconditions and

implementation specialties to know. The following sections summarize these

points. They also include a summary of principles of operation and an

installation guide.

Hardware Requirements

1) Intel 80386DX- or 80386SX-processor

2) 2 megabytes or more of main memory

3) mouse with 2 or 3 buttons and driver

4) VGA-board

Software Requirements

1) DOS version 3.3 or 5.0

2) HIMEM.SYS driver for extended memory access


Permission to use, copy, modify or distribute this software and its

documentation for any purpose is hereby granted without fee, provided that

the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright

notice and this permission notice appear in supporting documentation, and that

the name of ETH not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to

distribution of the software without specific, written prior permission.

ETH disclaims all warranties with regard to this software, including all

implied special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever

resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract,

negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the

use or performance of this software.

Contact Address

MS-DOS Oberon

Institute for Computer Systems

ETH Zentrum

CH-8092 Zuerich

E-mail: [email protected]

E-Fax: +41 1 2519678


The MS-DOS Oberon project has partly been supported by IBM research

laboratory, Rueschlikon Switzerland. It has been carried out by A. R. Disteli.

Principles of Operation and Installation Guide

Mode of Operation

MS-DOS Oberon principally operates in 386 protected mode in high memory above

1 MB. Below the 1 MB limit are video-RAM, extender, system loader, Oberon

kernel and the procedure activation stack. The extender handles interrupts and

DOS system calls. It also bootstraps the Oberon module loader and starts the

Oberon system.


Currently, no other software running in protected mode or V86 mode must be

installed simultaneously with Oberon. This restriction applies in particular

to expanded memory managers like EMM386. Also SMARTDRIVE should not be


File System

MS-DOS Oberon maintains its own DOS file directory. It contains all Oberon

files that are created at Oberon run-time. Note that Oberon file names may be

up to 31 characters long and may contain an arbitrary number of part-

separators ".". Oberon translates such file names internally into aliasing DOS

file names and maintains a translation table.

In addition, Oberon offers commands System.CopyFromDOS and System.CopyToDOS,

allowing file copy from arbitrary DOS directories to Oberon and vice versa.

Template: System.CopyFromDOS a:/MyDir/Filename.Ext => Oberonname~


Data transfer from and to diskettes is supported by module Backup. Data on

Oberon diskettes are stored in a private format that supports full Oberon file

names. Use commands SetDriveA and SetDriveB to set the current drive.


The following table shows how to generate special characters under Oberon


special characterkey

mark viewerF1(* Setup *)

no scrollF2(* used in program Draw *)

double sF7








ctrl-shift-delctrl-break(* keyboard interrupt *)

If the appropriate keyboard driver is installed, ae, oe, ue, Ae, Oe, Ue and

double-s can also be typed directly.


The standard Oberon user interface is based on a 3-button mouse and on the

following interpretation of button clicks:

Primary clicks:

left: set caret

middle: execute

right: select

Interclicks while selecting (holding down the right button):

left: delete selected data

middle: copy selected data to caret

left & middle: undo interclick

Alternatively, interclicking left/middle can be replaced by pressing ctrl-

key/alt-key on the keyboard.

Preverably install a Logitech Mouse Driver V6.0 (Included in this release

named MOUSE.COM). MS-DOS Oberon also supports a 2-button mouse. In this case,

the left button subsumes the functions execute and set caret. To switch from

execute to set caret, keep the mouse still and the button pressed for ca. 0.5



MS-DOS Oberon by default assumes a VGA display interface with a resolution of

640 * 480 * 16. However, support is also provided for the ET4000 Super-VGA

standard with a resolution of 1024 * 768 * 256. In order to activate the Super-

VGA support, simply open ET4000.Tool, execute the renaming command and restart



DOS-Oberon currently supports Postscript and HP PCL printing. To that purpose,

different drivers are available: The HP500 printer family and Postscript.

These drivers assume that an appropriate printer device is connected to one of

the parallel ports LPT1 or LPT2 or the serial ports COM1 or COM2 with 9600

baud for Postscript printers and 19200 baud for HP printers. If no suitable

printer is installed, a printfile (Document.Print) is generated on the local

disk. Simply open Printer.Tool in Oberon, execute the renaming command and

restart Oberon.

System Installation and Operation

The installation kit consists of the following files:

name contents

README.TXT this description

SYSTEM.EXE Oberon system in compressed form (selfextracting file)

CHANGES.TXT Changes since the last release

to install Oberon

1) assert FILES = 64 in CONFIG.SYS

2) create new directory

3) copy SYSTEM.EXE into new directory

4) execute SYSTEM.EXE

to load and start Oberon

5) install mouse driver

6) set directory containing the Oberon system to current directory

7) execute START command

System Exit

8) Activate command System.Quit

Getting started with Oberon

The above mentioned book The Oberon System- User Guide and Programmer's Manual

is a complete and comprehensive guide to the basic Oberon system. In addition,

online documentation for the Gadgets system is included in the installation

kit, as well as some sample source code files. See the different tools for

prepared opening commands.

List of installed Oberon packages

Program packages

Basic system


Editprogram editor

Paintpicture editor

Script (V3) /Write (V2)text editor

Illustrate (V3) /Draw (V2)graphic editor

Gadgets (V3 only)

Program samples in source form

Biorhythm.Modcalculates biorythm

RandomNumbers.Modgenerates good random numbers

IFS.Modgenerates fractal fern graphic

Online documentation

ReadMe.Textthis text


GadgetsGuide.TextVersion 3 user's and programmer's guide


Couriermonospace font

Syntaxproportional text font

Elektrageneral symbols

Mathmathematical symbols

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