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posted by Fnord666 on Friday December 09 2016, @02:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the retro dept.

Via FOSS Force, the founder and coordinator of the FreeDOS Project writes about FreeDOS 1.2:

Tim Norman wrote our first command interpreter to replace COMMAND.COM from standard DOS. Soon after, Pat Villani contributed his DOS-compatible kernel, which others later improved to add networking and CD-ROM support. We released our first "Alpha" distribution in only a few months, in September 1994. From this small beginning grew FreeDOS, an open source implementation of DOS that anyone could use.

We released several alpha versions over the next four years, then posted our first beta in 1998. By this time, Microsoft had all but eliminated MS-DOS, so FreeDOS didn't have to chase a moving target and shifting compatibility with new MS-DOS versions.

[...] We posted the FreeDOS 1.0 distribution on September 3, 2006, and released FreeDOS 1.1 over five years later, on January 2, 2012.

[...] Big-name computer vendors like Dell and HP shipped it as a default operating system on some PC desktops and laptops. Even today, you can find popular manufacturers pre-installing FreeDOS on some computers. But the story doesn't end there. Soon, we'll have a whole new version of FreeDOS--and I'd like to tell you about it.

[...] The Utilities package group includes several new useful tools. For those who use FreeDOS to play classic DOS games, we provide SLOWDOWN to let you run certain older games on a fast CPU. We provide several image processing programs such as GIFSICLE and PNGCRUSH. If you wish for a more Unix-like environment, we also include several familiar commands such as SED, GREP, HEAD, TEE, and BC.

[...] One major change is the inclusion of a new Games package group. We've avoided games in previous FreeDOS distributions, but since so many people prefer FreeDOS to play their favorite classic DOS games, it seemed a good idea to include a variety of open source games from different genres.

[...] The official FreeDOS 1.2 distribution will be available on Sunday, December 25, 2016.

In the comments there, someone mentions the popularity of FreeDOS for doing firmware updates. (It always seemed crazy to me to be running a multitasking OS when doing something that has the potential to brick your box.)
Any Soylentils using FreeDOS for that or something other than that?

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by aim on Friday December 09 2016, @03:18PM

    by aim (6322) on Friday December 09 2016, @03:18PM (#439178)

    My current laptop is from the german supplier (aka Terra computers). Being a GNU/Linux user I didn't want to send any money to Redmont, so I opted for "no operating system". The laptop came preloaded with FreeDOS and OpenGEM, which reminded me of olden Atari ST times - I didn't even know there are a couple of FOSS implementations of GEM.

    It was quite refreshing testing the Laptop with that combination for a short while before installing Kubuntu, it felt more than blazing fast. It sure shows how many levels of cruft have been added to current OSs, in normal interactive use they don't really feel any faster than what we used to have with DOS (yes, I know we do much more now than back then).

    Thanks for keeping DOS alive this way.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by FatPhil on Friday December 09 2016, @03:44PM

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {}> on Friday December 09 2016, @03:44PM (#439192) Homepage
    Laptop? Way too big a machine for a lightweight OS like this! You should be sticking it on your smartwatch or smartpen (I assume there's such a thing).

    How does FreeDOS, and the apps it supports, handle the huge amounts of memory in modern systems. Can I write code that does calloc(60000, 60000)? calloc(70000, 70000)?
    Back in DOS days, djgpp (a GCC port designed to link with a DOS extender) would probably have permitted the former, but not the latter, obviously. Now we've got 16 GiB laptops, what does FreeDOS let you access? The webpage implies "very little" with its "or develop embedded apps", which agrees with my first sentence. It certainly has its applications, there's nothing wrong with being small.
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Friday December 09 2016, @10:27PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Friday December 09 2016, @10:27PM (#439438)

      It is interesting that you are imagining a DOS program that needs 16 GB of memory to run. Just what are you thinking of doing? I thought the most they needed was 640k...