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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) by Unixnut on Friday December 09 2016, @04:15PM

    by Unixnut (5779) on Friday December 09 2016, @04:15PM (#439216)

    Really useful for embedded systems. You can write software in C that is fast and with fixed latency. Very close to a real time system there. I used to use it a lot for this, but things like the raspberry pi finished that (You can't get FreeDOS for rasbpi, and the x86 embedded systems are too expensive in comparison).

    Apart from that, good as an emergency boot setup, firmware flashing, etc....

    Haven't used it much lately I am sad to say, but have fond memories of it.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by LoRdTAW on Friday December 09 2016, @05:42PM

    by LoRdTAW (3755) on Friday December 09 2016, @05:42PM (#439262) Journal

    The fun days when you could wire wrap an ISA card with a few logic chips and light up some LED's, control relays and whatnot with a few in/out instructions. Even the parallel port was just a buffered/latched interface right to the ISA bus.

    I'd go as far to say that it is easier than most of the complex crap you need to do with a raspi: []. Of course there are libs. But still, a hell of a lot of code to do what you could do in a few lines of basic or even assembler.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @06:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @06:41PM (#439305)

      > The fun days when you could wire wrap an ISA card

      "Fun" and "wire wrap" are two things that can never exist in a single sentence together in the real world.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @05:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09 2016, @05:50PM (#439264)

    You can't get FreeDOS for rasbpi...

    I'll just point out that CP/M-68K is written in C and, with a bit of work, can be shoved through gcc.

    I've run it on Cortex-M3 and ARM. Haven't done a Raspberry Pi port yet, but there's no reason it shouldn't work.

  • (Score: 2) by turgid on Friday December 09 2016, @11:08PM

    by turgid (4318) on Friday December 09 2016, @11:08PM (#439476) Journal

    I seem to remember seeing many very small, free real-time(-ish) kernels about a while ago. There was one called FreeRTOS IIRC. Was probably going to try it for an embedded project but left that company before we needed to try it.