For some reason I can’t get MS DOS 3.20 to boot from a floppy but ELKS boots just fine and I’m excited to say it comes with IP over serial (both SLIP and CSLIP) built in so I’ll be playing with that real soon.
On ELKS it seems to have to do a lot of retries when reading the boot disk, so I’m considering taking the drive apart to try to clean the head. I need to take the other one apart anyway as it has some mechanical failures. I don’t know if the DOS disk drivers are as resilient to intermittent failures - it would certainly explain why.
@thomasfuchs You are quite welcome, I was similarly delighted to find out about it and even more pleased when it worked out of the box!