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Microsoft Open Source Windows News

Life After MS-DOS: FreeDOS Keeps On Kicking 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the the-nineties-never-left dept.
angry tapir writes "FreeDOS — the drop-in, open source replacement for MS-DOS — was started after Microsoft announced that starting from Windows 95, DOS would play a background role at best for users. Almost two decades later, FreeDOS has survived and, as its creator explains in this interview, is still being actively developed, despite achieving its initial aim of an MS-DOS compatible OS, which quite frankly is somewhat amazing."
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Life After MS-DOS: FreeDOS Keeps On Kicking

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  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @03:42PM (#42801267)

    It would work well in VirtualBox, if it weren't for a stupid VirtualBox bug. [sourceforge.net]

  • Re:Dosbox or freedos (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @03:42PM (#42801275)

    What's better for retro gaming: DosBox, or a virtual machine running FreeDos?

    Dosbox.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @03:45PM (#42801317) Homepage Journal

    Not only legacy- I had updated my aspire 5720's bios to suppress a bug which prevented 64bit linux using freedos because I had already got rid of the Vista installation (30 minutes after started using it, I think 8 will last less). Worked flawlessly but I acknowledge it's a risky procedure.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:02PM (#42801515)

    I have clients who still are using systems, like sales and inventory sales databases, running on DOS and now using FreeDOS.

    The owners don't want to replace something that works for new and shiny.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:21PM (#42801793) Homepage Journal
    Real Time Systems: a certain PLC vendor (won't name whom, but they're American, and huge) only provides 16-bit drivers to one of their backplane products, if things haven't changed in 3 years, and I bet they haven't. If it wasn't for FreeDOS, third party licensors would be screwed. With FreeDOS and a real time ASIC, these licensors can create products that work with the main vendor.
  • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:23PM (#42801825)

    many thin clients (e.g. some of HPs) refuse to boot from anything other than a ms-dos partition. to turn them into BSD or Linux appliances I have a FreeDOS partition on usb drive with grub in it, which chain boots the next partition. if you choose to boot into the FreeDOS there is editor for grub config and whatever other handy things you might need (like alternate flash images or whatever). need a very low power consumption domain/mail/web/vpn/unix shell server at home? those thin clients can pull 18W or less

  • change the battery (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:28PM (#42801885)

    change the battery

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mvar (1386987) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:39PM (#42802029)
    I second that. Years ago I worked for a company where we installed-supported logistics & accounting programs from a specific vendor. The main software, the vendor's "best-seller" was DOS-based. When they released the newest, Windows-only version which completely changed the user experience by the introduction of the mouse, most customers went nuts upon hearing that the DOS version was going EOL. They were used to the keyboard and having to re-learn everything and memorize where and what to click in order to go to the next field or print an invoice was considered unnecessary by the majority of the customers. The vendor eventually had to recall the EOL and to this day they still support & release updates for this decades-old software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:39PM (#42802033)

    If you want to access PC hardware directly without any abstraction layers and OS latencies that screw up timing, a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 or FreeDOS is still the way to go. In fact, I just set up a machine last week with a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 and TurboCNC, which is sending stepper motor step commands at precise intervals to the motors on a CNC machine using the PC's parallel port. USB is as useless as Windows and the more recent Linux distributions for things like this.

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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