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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: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @03:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @03:44PM (#439193)

    I had this acer laptop whose firmware would not let me run 64 bit linux (nasty overheat and shutdown if I did)
    Went to acer, got updated firmware, but alas, it required windows.
    The first thing I had done upon buying the laptop was getting rid of its vista which I would have never used.
    So I crossed my fingers and ran the bios update utility through freedos.
    It worked, I had no need to touch MS derived stuff since.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @05:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @05:21PM (#439250)

    I think most people would be surprised as to how many of the different utilities use FreeDOS, especially when they require a reboot to work. For example, every firmware and BIOS installer for my laptop embeds FreeDOS, the disk checking utility that came with my HDD has an option to scan on reboot, which launches FreeDOS. Of course, this is slowly becoming more rare due to UEFI and Windows providing a similar environment to do such updates and scans, but we all know how long momentum can keep certain practices going.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by frojack on Friday December 09 2016, @06:53PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 09 2016, @06:53PM (#439314) Journal

    Freedos It saved your laptop's life, not yours.

    I had the same situation with a brand new Gigabyte Mother board. Came with buggy bios, and I had the option of sending it back (and waiting for a replacement) or installing the manufacturer's newly minted bios upgrade. That required Windows, or DOS.

    I had a bootable flash drive that I retain just for these occasions. (This was like the third time I've been through this exercise).

    I've never run any other thing with FreeDos. As far as I'm concerned they might as well rename it FlashBiosDos, and call it a day. Adding features seems pointless.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Friday December 09 2016, @11:49PM

      by jmorris (4844) on Friday December 09 2016, @11:49PM (#439490)

      What? The Gigabyte boards I have dealt with recently had flashing built into the BIOS itself so as long as you could get the BIOS to start up you could invoke the flasher. Just put the file on a USB stick and go. Sad to hear they have lost functionality.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @08:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20 2016, @08:33PM (#444023)

        He didn't say it was recently, just it was brand-new at the time he had to flash the bios.