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2012 Project Wish List

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#51
dencorso

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we don't want to use an NT kernel or a service based operating system

Well if you don't want to use an operating system based on services, don't use any 9x flavor either as it's also based on services (which are provided by a myriad of vxds rather well hidden from the end user and which make the core of the OS).

Is this correct? Are the hidden vxd services the equivalent of NT services which run visibly as exe?


No. VxDs are drivers, not services, although there can be dinamically loaded and unloaded VxDs, but that doesn't make them services. Now, LINUX daemons *are* services. And no, VxDs are not hidden at all: all one needs is APSoft VxDView and they'll be in plain view whenever one wants.

BTW, @loblo, is the red part of my quote of your post actually a quote? If so, whence? Please do not quote silently, it's confusing.


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#52
herbalist

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How about a service emulator that can also run the services of apps that use their own, like VirtualBox or SandBoxie? Either or both would be useful as long as we don't end up turning 98 into a service based OS and end up building XP (with all its vulnerabilities) all over again.

It appears that my "wish list" suggestion was unclear. When I made the above suggestion, I was asking if it was possible to emulate (imitate, fake, insert correct term) individual services for user apps that require them, and to provide the means for 98 to run the specific services that are part of some user applications. SandBoxie, VirtualBox, SSM pro, and some of the newer firewalls come to mind. SandBoxie for instance would be an excellent foundation for a security package on 98.

Part of the problem with implementing actual NT services in 98 is their interdependency. One service requires another to be running which requires yet another, which opens these ports, etc. Many of them end up requiring Remote Procedure Call, which IMO, is the last thing 98 needs. AFAIC, one of 98s strengths is the level of control the user retains. That level of control gets more difficult to maintain when services enter the picture. NT services are regularly targeted part of the attack surface of NT systems, an attack surface that doesn't exist on 98. Keeping them up to date and patched against the latest exploits would be extremely difficult. There are no existing tools that could secure or protect this expanded attack surafce. Even if the security issues could be addressed, they would still add more running processes and additional load on the system, which would decrease performance.

#53
dw2108

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My 2c (these probably fall into the KernelEx domain) :

1. Fix the XP SP2 (+) emulation, so it is as stable as the 2000 SP4 emulation. Many applications and their installers (Opera 11, Acrobat Reader 7.09, etc.) work pretty well using the latter, but crash with the former. Missing/buggy functions?
2. Solve the "new style" Java plug-in problem, so we can get Java on Opera 11, FF 3.6+, etc.
3. Get other FF plug-ins, such as the 20-20/Ikea "kitchen planner" to work (with NT5, this even works with FF 2.0.0.22pre).
4. Solve remaining issues with Opera, such as crashing when a new instance is attempted, or when it is the default browser and you double-click on a HTM file.
5. Solve remaining issues with Acrobat Reader 7.09, such as crashing when you right-click within a File-Open or File-Save dialogue, or the blank text in the search results when you use the "binoculars".
6. Get Adobe Air version 1.5 or higher (and Adobe Air applications) to work.

Joe.

PS. :
7. Fix the history & bookmark problem with FF 5/6/7/8.

PPS. :
5a. Stop Acrobat Reader 7.09 crashing when you select "Document Properties" in the "File" menu.

PPPS. :
8. Office 2007 File Format Converters (Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats).


For Opera, to solve all those problems, set the opera.exe, opera.dll, netscape.exe, and flash plugin files to 2000 SP4 mode. On the others, you will have to set the EXE's and DLL's of the app to the 2000 SP4 or XP mode. This is working for me. It helps to have the latest M$ runtime, installer and scripting updates. As per java, once on the drive, some of those have to be set to the best mode possible.

Each PC is different. The latest BIOS updates are absolutely necessary as are the most recent drivers. The biggest problem is with the chipset drivers. A standard Gateway GP6-400 with a PII 400 MHz CPU and WD HD with no modifications to the motherboard at all will love KEX and have no problems at all, where-as a Micron with PIII 600 MHz CPU and reworked board shall encounter some problems with KEX owing to exotic drivers which hook incorrectly until the registry is modified.

For the registry reason I advocate running unregistered apps because the registry is a dour security issue itself. With 9x, it's time to incorporate the old DOS philosophy that a registry ought be more a stack registry that an "on-the-drive ROM risk."

Dave

#54
loblo

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BTW, @loblo, is the red part of my quote of your post actually a quote? If so, whence? Please do not quote silently, it's confusing.

I wasn't quoting anyone, very sorry for confusing you. :D

Btw, there are a few executables running as services under win98/ME, on my system there are mprexe.exe, msgsrv32.exe, mmtask.tsk, ddhelp.exe and sometimes spool32.exe.

Edited by loblo, 22 February 2012 - 11:09 AM.


#55
go98

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My wish for 2012 is a ROCK-SOLID unbloated 98 operating system.

#56
dencorso

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Btw, there are a few executables running as services under win98/ME, on my system there are mprexe.exe, msgsrv32.exe, mmtask.tsk, ddhelp.exe and sometimes spool32.exe.


Those are services, all right. But services or daemons (or whatever you may call them) are part of OSes since way back. They aren't inherently good nor bad. They are just OS tasks that perform their missions unobstrusively and without bothering (or interacting with) the user. On the NT-Family OSes, they can be set to start at boot time, at kernel time or at user time (= after logon), and if the latter, automatically, on demand or not at all... so, the NT-Family OSes gives the Admin a very fine control of how each service will run, and the developers liked it so that lots of things became services under the NT-Family OSes. Other OSes do have them, but sometimes in a much less standardized way. And yes, services are exploitable, as also are any other parts of any OS.

#57
herbalist

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The could very much depend on what gets defined as services on a 9X system. To my understanding, mprexe.exe, msgsrv32.exe, and mmtask.tsk are core system components. DDhelp and spool32 are support applications that can be and often are parented by any number of processes. The OS itself does not require them to be running. Services are those items listed under the RunServices key which are parented by mprexe.exe. Most items listed under that key are updates like the 891711 fix, the task scheduler, and applications like firewalls or other apps that need to start before explorer.exe runs. In this regard, mprexe.exe functions are similar to those performed by services.exe. The difference here is that none of the services listed in RunServices are required OS components. They can be shut down without killing the OS. On 9X, the services aren't opening ports by default and aren't interconnected in such a way that disabling one disables other you might need. IMO, the services based design of the NT systems adds far more processes than are needed and makes it more difficult for the user to maintain control.

Edited typos

Edited by herbalist, 22 February 2012 - 04:30 PM.


#58
loblo

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Services are those items listed under the RunServices key which are parented by mprexe.exe.

None of the services I have listed are starting from a registry runservice key as far as I can see and to tell you the truth I have never been able to find the startup vectors for any of them despite looking quite a bit.

mprexe.exe, msgsrv32.exe, and mmtask.tsk all run with a service flag.

They can be shut down without killing the OS.

Shutting down those processes may not kill the OS but it comes at the cost of significant loss of functionality for most of them.

#59
dencorso

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If we want a strict definition, services are processes which run with a service flag. They can be shut down without killing the OS, but that comes at the cost of significant loss of functionality for most of them. You're both right.

Now service tight interdependence and their being launched by services.exe or svchost.exe in most cases are characteristics of the NT-OS service model, and that is what people usually mean by "service based OS". The NT-OSes make extensive use of services, even when other solutions could have been used. But they're not truly service based, because they can be run with no services at all. But before attempting to do it, do get Superfast Shutdown, because you'll need it to either reboot or shutdown (unless you don't mind pulling the plug to shut down), after killing winlogon.

#60
Fredledingue

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For 2012, I'd like a very simple thing (maybe it's possible already): To suppress the Safe Mode message box.
When it restarts in Safe Mode it always shows a useless message box, before loading the desktop.
It's a loss of time. We all know when it's in Safe Mode!
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#61
jumper

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MSDOS.SYS Complete Reference Table

MSDOS.SYS
[Options]
BootWarn=0

Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#62
Sfor

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Instead of a WDM hardware driver repackager / installer it could be easier to build a repository of already repacked drivers. However, there could be some legal issues with distribution of modified drivers.

#63
jumper

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Manually repackaging drivers is not easy. Any tools to aid that process would be very useful.

Perhaps a repository could contain original drivers along with repackaging instructions or a config file(s) for any tool(s) used.

For now, anyone who has managed to get a non-9x hardware driver to work on their 9x system, please create a topic thread containing the details (including where to download the original driver).
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#64
jds

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For now, anyone who has managed to get a non-9x hardware driver to work on their 9x system, please create a topic thread containing the details (including where to download the original driver).

Well, if it involves using WdmStub, then it may be better to post in the WdmStub thread, to make it easier to find later (rather than a separate thread).

Joe.

#65
Fredledingue

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MSDOS.SYS Complete Reference Table

MSDOS.SYS

[Options]
BootWarn=0


Thanks :cool:
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#66
jumper

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This sounds like a project wish to me:

I haven't heard if Xeno86 had found anyone to carry on work on KernalEX?

I am wondering if it would be possible to fix the win9x bug with out major programing work on file names with things like "? * / ..." or in other words non-dos characters?

This problem has been around for years, Netscape used to do it all the time.

More and more files end up having these naming errors from zip'ed, rar'ed files to things like saved web pages.

Since the file names can be made by these apps then the windows file system should be able to support them.

But windows 9X doesn't, you have to shell out to a dos prompt and play games to rename the critters.

Its just a royal pain to have to play games on one these files.



This also brings up another bug and that is path length, I'm sure this would be a big mess to fix though but it sure would be nice to have fixed also.

My experience with FAT32 is that apps escape any characters that would be illegal: %3F %2A %2F ....

Would hooking the system file APIs to un/escape name strings work?

Would unicode file names be a problem (or a solution)?

What about path length limits? The problems I run into here usually concern command-line parameter passing to (my) apps or DOS batch files.
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#67
jumper

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I've updated the list with some new project/discussion links.

We now have a working solution to printing from apps that call PrintDlgExA or PrintDlgExW. :D
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#68
jumper

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I am beginning work on a configuration tool for KernelEx with these features:

  • Edit registry settings:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\KernelEx
    + AppSettings
    - Configs
    - Flags
- KnownDLLs [*] Edit CORE.INI settings:
- [ApiConfigurations]
+ [<OS>]
- content, inherit, desc - [<OS>.names] [/list] [*] Disable new functions / stubs via
  • CORE.INI -> DCFG1.names -> <module>.<function>=none
  • string hexing in KEXBASEN, KEXBASES
[/list]
This should open the door to adding new and improved functionality to Win9x. New DLLs can extend the API via export forwarders (Link or fwd) or possibly CORE.INI (content, .names).

Suggestions for a project name, features, implementation, GUI, usage, etc. are highly desired! :hello:
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#69
rloew

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This should open the door to adding new and improved functionality to Win9x. New DLLs can extend the API via export forwarders (Link or fwd) or possibly CORE.INI (content, .names).

I have upgraded my DLLHOOK to work with KernelEx 4.5.2 and developed a VXD Version that insures that all DLL references are hooked.
I have already tested it using SumatraPDF with KernelEx and a PrintDlgEx DLL.
Ye who enter my domain. Beware! Lest you become educated in the mysteries of the universe and suffer forever from the desire to know more.




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