Running SY/MATE 374 Under DosBox on Linux

These instructions assume you have a legal, dongle-free install of SY/MATE 374 at your disposal, and make no guarantee of suitability to purpose, etc.  It is just what works for me when I need to deal with our legacy SY/MAX's.  Please email any questions to Scott W. Dunlop <swdunlop at gmail dot com>.

Materials Required:

First, you are going to need a functional Linux PC; I prefer the ASUS Eee PC for this, as it is cheap, compact, and fairly rugged.  Many of these laptops come with dumb-user versions of Linux -- you will want to install a version of Debian or Ubuntu to make them really functional.  Dell has a competing product that comes with Ubuntu pre-installed, but I haven't had a chance to try it out so I can't recommend it.

Second, you need a copy of SY/MATE.  The version we use does not have a dongle (hardware key), so your mileage may vary if you use a different version.  You can copy a directory with a previously installed copy with relatively no issue.

The other things you need are all fairly easy to gather; you will need an serial port (for Eee's, this means a USB to RS-232 adapter), and an RS-232 to RS-422 adapter cable.  A floppy drive for your laptop can be really handy for sites that still (dangerously) keep copies of their old PLC programs on 3.5".


1) Either compile DosBox from scratch, using the patch file below, or download the supplied Linux/x86 executable and place it in /usr/local/bin.  

2) Copy across your SFW374 directory.  For me, this meant copying C:\SFW374 to a floppy, mounting the floppy under Linux, and copying it to /dos/sfw374.

3) Download the DosBox-SFW374 configuration file, and make the necessary changes.  (HINT: the mount command emulates a Dos drive using a Linux directory -- this is one of DosBox's best features.)

4) Launch SY/MATE as described, below.

Running Sy/MATE 374:

To run SY/MATE, open a terminal, plug in your serial cable and run the following command:

$ dosbox -conf dosbox-sfw.conf

You should see a window that looks like this:

Configuration and Precompiled DosBox Files:

  • dosbox -- A version of DosBox with the necessary patch compiled for 32-bit x86 Linux.  (And statically linked; runs fine on recent installs of Ubuntu, circa 2007.)
  • dosbox-sfw.conf -- My configuration file for running SY/MATE under DosBox emulation.  You will need to edit line 186, and may want to edit line 163 if you aren't using a USB RS-232 adapter.
  • split-directserial-posix-fds.diff -- A patch to split the file descriptors used by DosBox's serial port implementation.