I have an old book on assembly programming called "IBM PC & XT Assembly Language: A Guide for Programmers", written by Leo J. Scanlon. It's really interesting and I've already learned a lot about assembly and low-level programming just by reading it. However, I'd also like to run the programs that are in the book.

Unfortunately, this book is pretty old (by today's standards). For example, the copyright date is 1985. Also, according to a section in the Introduction called "What You Need with This Book" (emphasis not mine):

To use this book, you need an IBM Personal Computer (PC) with at least one disk drive, or an IBM PC XT. You also need two software packages: an assembler and IBM's Disk Operating System (DOS).

I could only find one reference to a specific DOS version, which is under the very next section of the book, entitled "Supplementary References" (emphasis not mine):

[...] If you have DOS 2.1 or later, you might also want to invest in a copy of IBM's DOS Technical Reference manual.

Many emulators that I've found for DOS and old IBM PCs are geared towards gaming and are too recent for my needs. Does anyone have advice for the best emulation setup that I can use to run the programs contained in this book?

My main operating system is macOS 10.12.6, although I have access to Windows 10 and Ubuntu systems as well.

1 Answer 1


I would suggest trying to go for the FreeDOS platform first. There are a lot of options that would make your life easier vs going with an actual IBM or MS-DOS installation.

It might be worth while looking into Borland Turbo Assembler (TASM). If you can give some more details of the specific apps that this book recommends, that would be helpful and I'd love to work through the details for at least the sake of nostalgia... :)

  • 1
    Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I think I'll go with FreeDOS and also try MS-DOS proper, and see how that goes. As far as actual apps that are mentioned in the book, I've seen the following thus far: EDLIN, Small Assembler (ASM), IBM's Macro Assembler (MASM) and maybe some others I'm forgetting.
    – GDP2
    Sep 16, 2017 at 7:21
  • The thing with FreeDOS is that you'll get some powerful options like EMACS(!!!!!) and so while that may seem like cheating, it can go a long way...
    – ylluminate
    Sep 16, 2017 at 22:59
  • Nice! I'm an Emacs user myself and that sounds like it could be a fun experience :)
    – GDP2
    Sep 17, 2017 at 5:38

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