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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: 1) by krait6 on Friday December 09 2016, @07:50PM

    by krait6 (5170) on Friday December 09 2016, @07:50PM (#439353)

    I recently had to flash a BIOS and the motherboard manufacturer (ASUS) has a BIOS flash utility that works under DOS. As others have said, there are some common issues where Windows won't run without a BIOS update first, and using FreeDOS is a good alternative. BIOS updates are possible to do under Linux too but it's not as simple: []

    Another common use for DOS are hard disk utilities, such as SpinRite. [] INT 13 still seems to work with SATA hard disks. This allows running programs that operate at a lower level than a larger more complicated OS such as Windows or Linux. It's less common today for people to run these programs, but they can be a lifesaver in some circumstances.

    I also occasionally use FreeDOS for playing a few old DOS games. I use DOSbox on Linux more often for convenience, but if you want to get the "actual' feel of the game in its original form then running an older machine on actual DOS gives a more "real" experience. Thankfully some of the old DOS games, such as X-Com: UFO Defense, have been ported to modern hardware, like OpenXcom: []