Chapter 1. General Information

1.1. What is PortaBoom?

PortaBoom is a a self contained operating system with one goal in mind: to be able to play the classic game 'DOOM' on any Intel computer that has a CD-ROM and/or a floppy drive. Think of this as a complete console style game - you pop the CD in, boot the computer, set up sound and network card if desired, and then frag away! Right now Doom runs, but we plan on adding other games and emulators to the system, so you can take the CD with you anywhere, and be able to play all of your old favorites. The homepage for PortaBoom is One of the main goals of PortaBoom is to to make the distribution small enough so that you can add a bunch of WADs, and still be able to fit it all on a 185M 3" CD-R. These CD-R's are used in some digital cameras now, and they run about $10US a 5-pack at my local office supply store for the pretty ones in different colors. The picture on the main PortaBoom page is one of the developers holding a red Imation 3" CD-R. PortaBoom uses Linux as it's base operating system.

This project was offically started on October 31st, 2001 by Brian Manning.

1.2. Do I need to know about Linux to run PortaBoom?

Only if you want to. PortaBoom is built on top of a Graphical User Interface (GUI), kind of like another operating system that won't be mentioned here. You don't need any knowledge of Linux specifically, but you should be able to work with a GUI. The PortaBoom GUI includes command buttons, list boxes, radio buttons, checkboxes, and option lists. There's also a debug mode built into PortaBoom for developers to use when they are troubleshooting problems. The debug mode will bring a text console up in the GUI so the developer can type in commands and interact directly with the system. It will also move the dialog boxes to a different location on the screen automatically, instead of centering them.

1.3. Where did you get the name/idea from?

Boom comes from one of the original DOS ports of Doom (Boom, by TNT Software ) after id Software released the source code in December 1997. PortaBoom was picked because it's basically portable Boom :)

As far as where the idea for PortaBoom came from, probably the biggest influence was from the Linuxcare Bootable Toolkit. If they can make a whole CD with X, Mozilla and ssh on it, then a whole CD dedicated to playing Doom was not too many steps past that. Also memorable was the first time PrBoom (A port of the id/TeamTNT source code for Doom) was played with sound, in stereo no less.

1.4. What's up with the SourceForge ISO not having WAD files?

SoureForge only hosts projects with an open software license. Since only the source code to Doom was released under the GPL and not the WAD file, this means I can't post the WAD file as part of the image. I do have mirrors that have the Shareware WAD file however, so don't panic. See the main page for mirror sites and details.

1.5. What Linux distribution is PortaBoom based off of?

PortaBoom is based off of the 'Woody' tree of Debian GNU/Linux. The CD image is mastered so that the unnecessary stuff is left off of the image.