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Open Source Operating Systems News

FreeDOS 1.1 Released 266

MrSeb writes with this excerpt from an Extreme Tech article about the latest FreeDOS release and a bit of project history: "Some 17 years after its first release in 1994, and more than five years since 1.0, FreeDOS 1.1 is now available to download. The history of FreeDOS stems back to the summer of 1994 when Microsoft announced that MS-DOS as a separate product would no longer be supported. It would live on as part of Windows 95, 98, and (ugh!) Me, but for Jim Hall that wasn't enough, and so public domain (PD) DOS was born. ... Despite what you might think, FreeDOS isn't an 'old' OS; it's actually quite usable. FreeDOS supports FAT32, UDMA for hard drives and DVD drives, and it even has antivirus and BitTorrent clients." The official release announcement has more details on the improvements, and the FreeDOS website has the release for download.
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FreeDOS 1.1 Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:55PM (#38586808)

    The same as for Linux. Program, learn, experiment.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:00PM (#38586868)

    Mostly I've used it for running old games (via DOSBox), but I've encountered it when using BIOS updates and other standalone boot utilities.

  • Is No One Excited? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:03PM (#38586918) Homepage Journal

    I remember the early days of Slashdot where this would have everyone talking. It's pretty damn cool. At this point it's prefect for reproducing real old school gaming. DOSBox is great for that too. But look... you're running a real DOS here! No VM needed! Pull out your 486! Get out your 1994 era Pentium 90! Relive the days when computing was actually fun! I installed FreeDOS with GEM (which was the better GUI compared to Windows back in the day until Apple ruined it by suing Digital Research) on a laptop from 1998. That thing is a BEAST now. Seriously, doesn't anyone get excited about this stuff anymore?

  • by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:22PM (#38587144) Homepage

    Windows ME had DOS just like Windows 98 did, Microsoft just disabled it. You can hack several bytes, and you get DOS back again.

    You must be thinking of Windows XP or Windows 2000, which did not have DOS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:26PM (#38587180)

    You *got* to be trolling!

    Windows ME = Windows 4.90.3000 (Notice how they wanted to say: This is probably the last version of 4.)
    Windows 98 SE = 4.10.2222
    It was still the same line. And it still was DOS inside with Windows 4 / Chicago on top.
    They just gradually hid the DOS away more and more with each version. But it was still there. Since it had to be.
    Only with 2000 did they start with the "emulator". Because it was a completely different OS. (NT / OS/2 line).


  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:29PM (#38587224) Homepage Journal

    Anybody who flashes BIOS ought to be excited.

    Real CDROM support means we should be able to have a .288 file that doesn't need to be mounted loopback and modified with mcopy for every different flasher. An big BIOS images aren't a problem anymore.

    One stock boot image that gets written to the ElTorrito sector and then jump to the CDROM drive to continue execution of the startup script.

    Boilerplate FTW.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:29PM (#38587228)

    I mean seriously, how am I going to use it?

    Running old programs maybe?

    I use it for installing BIOS and other hardware driver updates that need a DOS boot disk. The process goes something like this: []

  • by DigitalDreg ( 206095 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:29PM (#38587230)

    DOS and FreeDOS are still relevant in some niche areas:

    - Turn-key and embedded hardware often use DOS
    - Retro-computing: Some of us like dragging out our old hardware to play with it
    - Learning to code closer to the metal; DOS gives you enough services to get you going, while giving you a feel for embedded programming

    FreeDOS runs on almost everything from an original IBM PC (1981) to a virtual machine under VMWare and VirtualBox. People (hobbyists) are continuing to work on the utilities to keep it refreshed. For example, in the last year there was a new set of TCP/IP programs added, a utility for sharing folders with a VMWare host, and a new web browser based on Dillo.

    It's not for everyone, but if you are curious check it out - it's pretty painless to run in a VM. (Or you can drag out your XT or Pentium 90 for the full effect.)

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:30PM (#38587920)
    so submit a programming article
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:31PM (#38587932) Homepage Journal

    Actually yes. I know of people that keep old dos computers around just to run one old program.
    Also Embedded systems. DOS is light and small and does not get into your way. If you have a crash you can almost bet money that the problem is 100 your code.
    Under DOS you can also bit bang hardware interfaces that would be difficult to do with anything else.
    As to uses let me give you an example. Their are some old devices that used 3.5" floppies but with a custom format. There are programs for dos that can read that data. If you have one of those devices then this is exactly what you need.
    And of course to flash bios.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy @ g m a> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @11:44PM (#38592358)

    One of the reasons Windows ME had such stability issues was because they removed DOS from it and replaced it with an emulator. While Windows 95 and 98 were essentially the Windows GUI on top of glorified DOS internals, Windows ME was an attempt to move away from DOS entirely while keeping the GUI. The intention was to ultimately elimiate the legacy DOS internals outright.

    As of Windows 3.0, much of the DOS functionality was replaced by Windows (once it loaded). This increased more in 3.1[1], and by the time of Windows 9x/Me, DOS was basically a bootloader and 16-bit compatibility shim, with essentially all "real" OS functionality in Windows. There's bugger all architectural difference between Windows 95 and Windows Me.

    But this failed miserably. This failure resulted in their subsequent low-cost home OS, XP Home, to be based on the NT line instead of the DOS/9x line. If ME had been successful, the Windows home line might still have been 9x-based possibly until SP2 or Vista/7, when security started becoming a visibly major issue.

    No, it wouldn't. The idea that there was any desire in Microsoft to keep DOS-based Windows alive for longer than absolutely necessary is laughable. Everyone recognised the limitations imposed by the DOS legacy, and no-one wanted to be constrained by them. Most people were amazed Windows Me was released (though the rationale probably was: if you've spent money on an insurance policy, you may as well cash in on it).

    After the IBM/Microsoft "divorce", brought on by the unexpected success of Windows 3.0, the plan was for Windows 95 (nee: 4.0) to be the end of the DOS-based Windows line, replaced by NT-based Windows (as a 0.1 update to NT 4.0, eventually realised as a .1 update to Windows 2000 - XP) in the mid-'90s (keeping in mind Windows 95 was a good 12-18 months late, itself requiring an interim release of Windows 3.11 (incorporating some of the Windows 95 development work) to bridge that gap). Windows 98 was filler product released because of delays in the Windows NT development process meant that consumer hardware capabilities (particularly USB and larger hard disks) were outpacing the capabilities of the retail-channel Windows 95. Hence the reason Windows 98 offers little over the last OEM releases (OSR2.5) of Windows 95 (+IE4) and Windows Me (really just a last squeeze of the teat) relatively even less.

    _Before_ "divorce", the "original" original plan was for the OS/2 2.x line (developed mostly by IBM, later to become "Warp", then eComStation) to replace DOS-based Windows for consumer computers and the new-from-scratch OS/2 "NT" (developed solely by Microsoft, renamed after the split as Windows NT, for obvious reasons) to become the "professional" grade OS for business computers.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell