Worked on a new web site for Vault-OS last night. You may have noticed I have been sitting on the domain name for two years.
I have spent the better part of a week trying to rebuild my Win98 machine after the hard drive crashed. This machine sits in the hub of my test network and distributes new builds automatically to all participating machines when I have something updated.
I tried to load NT Workstation and Server onto it, discovering a lot of things in the process through massive fail after fail. By the way, Win98/SE has the capacity to be a real pain in the ass to reinstall, uninstall or modify. You'd never guess it but if you'd worked with it as much as I have you discover it is a very nasty piece of malware after it has been installed and you will often end up formatting your hard drive in order to get rid of it.
One interesting thing I've discovered which I'd like to pass on is what a wonderful base platform that NT Workstation is for almost any x86 box, particularly embedded equipment. My two "Sentry" boxes now both run NT Workstation and they have microdrives with FAT partitions on them. NT Workstation was a lot easier to install on both of these than Win98 or WinME and Workstation just seems like it was designed to be a robust, hardy little networked machine tough as nails and very adaptive for whatever you need it to do. It runs really fast and tight on as little as 16 MB, only takes a little over 100MB on the storage disk and will integrate so rapidly when you put servers on the same network (NT/2000). It seems to "try" to fit in and make itself useful, whereas Win98 is a kind of consumer product that seems to be designed to make it really hard to boot around with on different platforms. I say this having gotten it down to as little as 12 megs total hard drive space, too. Win NT Workstation is way friendlier to systems like we need in an underground Vault. Experience shows it is also far more robust long term.
For these and other reasons tonight I will probably be converting even my dev box to NTWS for my test network. This means that I will not be able to guarantee Win98 will run seamlessly when I get a release candidate. I may put a chapter on it in the book and I will mention these concerns there as well.
The DOS version is languishing for failure to integrate into the total system, sort of like Windows 98. I can't release that version until I am certain it operates transparently with all other machines on the network. It will continue to be underway for a while after I release my first version of Vault-OS soon on the Win32 platform.