EtherDFS - The Ethernet DOS File System

Copyright © 2017 Mateusz Vistelink



EtherDFS is an 'installable filesystem' TSR for DOS. It maps a drive from a remote computer (typically Linux-based) to a local drive letter, using raw ethernet frames to communicate. For years, I was using LapLink to transfer files between my various "retro" computers. It works, yes, but it's also annoyingly slow and requires constant attention. One day I thought, "Wouldn't it be amazing if all my DOS PCs could share a common network drive, similarly to how NFS operates in the *nix world?". This day EtherDFS was born. I clearly didn't invent anything - the concept has been around almost as long as the first IBM PC, and several commercial products addressed that need in the past. I am not aware, however, of any free and open-source solution. Besides, all the commercial solutions I know require to set up a pretty complex network environment first, while EtherDFS doesn't need anything more than just a packet driver.


EtherDFS is documented through following files:
etherdfs.txt (etherdfs client documentation)
ethersrv-linux.txt (ethersrv server documentation)
protocol.txt (low-level protocol description)


You can get all EtherDFS files from the download area.

Not feeling like compiling the Linux server (ethersrv-linux) yourself? Ulrich Hansen kindly packaged it for a few Linux distributions. Fetch the packages directly from his website here.

Related materials

• Wondering about using EtherDFS on a no-NIC computer, using its LPT port? Read this article I posted on my gopher.
• I had to use a few tricks to make EtherDFS as small as possible, in spite of being written in C. If you're curious, I logged this journey here.