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Life After MS-DOS: FreeDOS Keeps On Kicking

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the the-nineties-never-left dept.

Microsoft 255

angry tapir writes "FreeDOS — the drop-in, open source replacement for MS-DOS — was started after Microsoft announced that starting from Windows 95, DOS would play a background role at best for users. Almost two decades later, FreeDOS has survived and, as its creator explains in this interview, is still being actively developed, despite achieving its initial aim of an MS-DOS compatible OS, which quite frankly is somewhat amazing."

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255 comments

Not surprising (5, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42801169)

To recreate something is to understand it, and msdos is worth understanding. Tons of legacy applications still depend on dos and are still in use! This is a step towards long term support of those applications.

Re:Not surprising (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801267)

It would work well in VirtualBox, if it weren't for a stupid VirtualBox bug. [sourceforge.net]

Re:Not surprising (4, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#42802081)

At least the bug has a work-around fix:

The fix

FreeDOS developer Eric Auer has provided a fix that corrects the buggy behaviour of the VirtualBox PCI BIOS. It can be downloaded at:

http://lazybrowndog.net/freedos/files/vbox-fix.zip [lazybrowndog.net]

His solution is a small TSR program that comes with new handlers for two PCI BIOS scanning functions, that make them scan only existing PCI bus numbers. VBOX-FIX.COM is supposed to be loaded in AUTOEXEC.BAT. The program checks if it is running inside a VirtualBox guest and loads only if it can verify that. Eric Auer writes:

It does up to two PCI scans by vendor:device ID (int 1a.b102 calls) to check for two VirtualBox specific PCI devices. Only if at least one of them is present, the faster-on-VirtualBox int 1a handler for int 1a.b102 and b103 (scan by vendor:device or class- subclass-interface) is installed as a TSR. The VB vendor:device ID values are 80ee:beef and 80ee:cafe.

VBOX-FIX.COM needs 416 bytes of DOS memory and can be loaded high.

Gosh. "...can be loaded high.". I got a little tickle of nostalgia thinking about that. All those wonderful "load high and remain resident" hacks.

Wait. Why is this good?

Re:Not surprising (0)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#42802247)

I read the page and there's a fix for it. So... your issue was?

Re:Not surprising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802335)

The work-around uses some high memory, and boot-up is still slower than it needs to be.

Re:Not surprising (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42802385)

I read the page and there's a fix for it. So... your issue was?

Yes, there's a workaround, but wouldn't it be better to fix the bug in the first place?

Re:Not surprising (4, Interesting)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#42801317)

Not only legacy- I had updated my aspire 5720's bios to suppress a bug which prevented 64bit linux using freedos because I had already got rid of the Vista installation (30 minutes after started using it, I think 8 will last less). Worked flawlessly but I acknowledge it's a risky procedure.

Re:Not surprising (4, Informative)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#42801501)

Legacy applications?
I've a 2010 intel motherboard with an integrated nic that reports "bad eeprom checksum" every time there's a power failure.
Intel only provides a DOS utility to re-flash the firmware, if it weren't for FreeDOS, I'd have a useless nic (on a mobo with no free PCIs, BTW).

Lots of hardware vendors still provide DOS-only BIOS updated, and similar utilities, regrettably, so FreeDOS still has plenty of uses - though not for the average user.

Re:Not surprising (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42801659)

The ones I'm familiar with, such as SeaTools, just use DOS as bootable environment. I don't see any real reason they couldn't have used Linux or even a light version of XP if there were no modern DOS. Where there's a competent programmer and a problem, there's a solution.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42802019)

All motherboard manufacturers provide a way to update bios from within bios, even from within windows if you can install / download the updater and trust it. With more recent boards, it's even impossible to brick them. So where does FreeDOS factor into all this? Do note that running apps at boot using FreeDOS and using FreeDOS as an OS are very different things. For example: Ghost boots in DOS, but you're not using DOS, you're using ghost.

Re:Not surprising (5, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#42801515)

I have clients who still are using systems, like sales and inventory sales databases, running on DOS and now using FreeDOS.

The owners don't want to replace something that works for new and shiny.

Re:Not surprising (4, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#42801793)

Real Time Systems: a certain PLC vendor (won't name whom, but they're American, and huge) only provides 16-bit drivers to one of their backplane products, if things haven't changed in 3 years, and I bet they haven't. If it wasn't for FreeDOS, third party licensors would be screwed. With FreeDOS and a real time ASIC, these licensors can create products that work with the main vendor.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42801971)

-100 to innovation & the tech curve...

+100 to lazy / incompetent IT must be your point.

I won't bother going into detail on why you should update your systems, but do let me know which bank it is so I can ensure I stay as far away as possible from these "owners" who have the foresight of mole.

Re:Not surprising (4, Interesting)

mvar (1386987) | about a year ago | (#42802029)

I second that. Years ago I worked for a company where we installed-supported logistics & accounting programs from a specific vendor. The main software, the vendor's "best-seller" was DOS-based. When they released the newest, Windows-only version which completely changed the user experience by the introduction of the mouse, most customers went nuts upon hearing that the DOS version was going EOL. They were used to the keyboard and having to re-learn everything and memorize where and what to click in order to go to the next field or print an invoice was considered unnecessary by the majority of the customers. The vendor eventually had to recall the EOL and to this day they still support & release updates for this decades-old software.

Re:Not surprising (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#42802167)

OrCAD never recovered from the transition from dos to windows.

The mouse thing got better with time, but the killer was that they broke keyboard macros. What replaced them (VB script) wasn't fit for purpose. A decade of carefully crafted tools to auto generate symbols from libraries got thrown in the toilet.

Re:Not surprising (2)

rbprbp (2731083) | about a year ago | (#42801577)

Not only legacy: for BIOS/firmware updates it's often the only choice. There is flashrom (http://flashrom.org/Flashrom), for flashing from within Linux, but I don't dare using it.

That's cool, I guess ... (5, Funny)

0racle (667029) | about a year ago | (#42801173)

The graphics suck though.

Re:That's cool, I guess ... (5, Funny)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about a year ago | (#42801625)

Still looks better then Windows 8 though

American cretin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802377)

You seriously wrote "better THEN"?

So what does the word "than" mean? American moron.

Re:That's cool, I guess ... (5, Funny)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#42801845)

Agreed. Just check out this screenshot:

C:\>_

Re:That's cool, I guess ... (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#42801915)

Whoa, what command prompt code did you use to get your command line in inverse color? Mine's the standard white on black.

Re:That's cool, I guess ... (3, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42802153)

If it works like MS DOS, you need to have the ANSI.SYS driver loaded, and can then just use the ANSI code for inverse video: $E[7m (where $E generates an escape character)

Re:That's cool, I guess ... (3, Informative)

Dahan (130247) | about a year ago | (#42802239)

Whoa, what command prompt code did you use to get your command line in inverse color? Mine's the standard white on black.

If ANSI.SYS is loaded, PROMPT $e[7m$p$g$e[m

That's awesome! (3, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year ago | (#42801175)

If only I hadn't used all my 5.25" floppies trying to decapitate attacking zombies...

Re:That's awesome! (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#42801977)

If only I hadn't used all my 5.25" floppies trying to decapitate attacking zombies...

Ha! you call that a floppy disk? [pulls out and brandishes an 8" floppy disk]

Re:That's awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802027)

Oh please. 8" floppy disks are the way to go for decapitating zombies.

Bloody Americans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801201)

"Admittedly, we don't have as many developers today THAT we had 10 years ago,"

It's "as many... AS"... not "that". Bloody Americans - why can't you understand what simple words mean? Why are you constantly substituting 'then' for 'than', or 'that' for 'than', or even 'than' for 'then'? Are you so stupid that you can't even understand simple words like that? It's all over the internet. Idiots.

Re:Bloody Americans... (2)

Stormwatch (703920) | about a year ago | (#42801513)

Calm your tits. If it was a spoken interview, such lapses are forgivable. If it was written, it could be a problem of editing. For example, maybe he intended to say: "we don't have the number of developers today that we had 10 years ago". Then he thinks: it would sound better if I said "we don't have as many developers today as we had 10 years ago". So he edits part of the phrase, but misses just one word, and you have a weird mix of versions.

Some mistakes are a bit harder to forgive, though. Such as "alot", or using "y'all" as singular. Those are quite annoying indeed.

Re:Bloody Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801589)

Internet is spelled with a capital I. Idiot.

Re:Bloody Americans... (1)

Frojack123 (2606639) | about a year ago | (#42801683)

Maybe its like Australians saying
      A is different TO B
when they mean
      A is different FROM B

The language dictates
Similar TO
Different FROM

Still, we simply smile, and not jump down the throats of our Australian friends, or call them names.

Re:Bloody Americans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801707)

It's "as many... AS"... not "that". Bloody Americans - why can't you understand what simple words mean? Why are you constantly substituting 'then' for 'than', or 'that' for 'than', or even 'than' for 'then'? Are you so stupid that you can't even understand simple words like that? It's all over the internet. Idiots.

Last I saw I wasn't leaking any sort of life sustaining fluid. But I guess your colloquialism of "Bloody Americans" is OK since it happens to align with your culture. Word usage changes over time. Not that he is correct, but word usage and even definition changes over time. Get used to it.

Argh! Fluff piece! (0)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a year ago | (#42801217)

Great, development is ongoing. What, exactly? What sort of interesting things have happened in the development? What sort of 'bugs that have become features' had to be included?

Re:Argh! Fluff piece! (0)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#42801795)

The backslash is used as the directory heirarchy separator.
The drive letter is part of the path specification.
The current directory is implicitly first on the execution search path.

Stuff like that.

Dosbox or freedos (1)

Boronx (228853) | about a year ago | (#42801227)

What's better for retro gaming: DosBox, or a virtual machine running FreeDos?

Re:Dosbox or freedos (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801275)

What's better for retro gaming: DosBox, or a virtual machine running FreeDos?

Dosbox.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#42801309)

Neither, UAE is the one to use.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42801661)

Neither, UAE is the one to use.

Unrecoverable Application Error? :-)

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802139)

Neither, UAE is the one to use.

Unrecoverable Application Error? :-)

No silly, UAE is the United Aerospace Corporation logo. They were a total monopoly, as evidence by UAE stamped on every crate in the original Doom. Eventually, two competitors appeared, the MIXOM and MOXIM corporations. Their names were problematic, however, as Mars shipping personel would
get the stencils reversed, so a MIXOM container could be from MOXIM and vice-versa. It was a real mess up there.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801327)

DosBox, no need to worry about hardware I think.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (4, Insightful)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | about a year ago | (#42801339)

Last I looked, FreeDOS couldn't slow down the environment to emulate old hardware. This is basically a requirement for many old games, and is the reason I use DosBox.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (4, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#42801461)

In prehistoric times, when I upgraded from my olde 8088 to a speedy new 286, several of my games became nearly unplayable.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42801593)

I actually had the same problem with Mechwarrior 3. Its physics engine did crazy things if the computer was too fast.... I suspect the problem of games that behave oddly or unplayably on hardware far faster then their developer had access too will be an ongoing on.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801753)

Was one of them Arkanoid?

Re:Dosbox or freedos (5, Informative)

Parafilmus (107866) | about a year ago | (#42801453)

You can have both!

Install FreeDos in the c:\dos folder of your DosBox machine. You'll get most of FreeDos' new functionality, while keeping the useful features of DosBox.

see here: http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/TOOLS:FreeDOS [dosbox.com]

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801627)

But Control Break still won't work correctly.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801643)

Try dosemu, its even better for that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOSEMU

RPM downloads for all platforms:
http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/updates/17/i386/repoview/dosemu.html

Re:Dosbox or freedos (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801711)

DosBox will be better because it's specifically built for retro gaming. It supports all the hardware needed for gaming including joystick, mouse, soundcard, and networking. Many years ago DosBox was too buggy to use, but I loaded the latest build about a year ago and it is awesome. Everything just works. This weekend my brother and I did some Doom2 Co-op using IPX tunneling, and it worked flawlessly.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#42801721)

what's better: DOS Box or sex with a mare?

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801911)

I've used DOS Box. Please tell us what sex with a mare is like, so we can compare.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801919)

A software vs. sex argument. Well duh! Which one would you choose?

Re:Dosbox or freedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802083)

This is /. ... clearly, everyone here has chosen the software.

Re:Dosbox or freedos (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | about a year ago | (#42802231)

In my experience, DOSbox or DOSEMU with FreeDOS utilities and userland apps. A VM running FreeDOS will run pretty poorly in a 64-bit OS due to all the trapping and translation of 16-bit code, and DOS hasn't been a major target of optimizations for most virtualization solutions. If you're just planning to play video games, it would be foolish not to try DOSbox first.

Nostalgia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801301)

This just makes me miss DR-DOS...

Re:Nostalgia (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42801749)

This just makes me miss DR-DOS...

Especially the integration of editing including history function not in the command line interface, but directly in the console was great. It meant you could get back old input in all programs reading from the console, not only when entering commands, automatically.

Good for embedded systems (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#42801321)

Why not? For embedded systems, when you need more than a boot loader, don't want all the excess baggage of Linux, and don't want to pay for one of the embedded OSs like QNX, it's a good option.

You also know that FreeDOS doesn't have a "phone home" feature, a HTTP server, a mail server, or something else on an open port running in the background without your knowing about it.

Re:Good for embedded systems (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#42801463)

I can't really see there being a situation where a minimal install is required, but a minimal Linux or BSD install is "too big". Especially with the "embedded" flavours.

Still, much kudos to FreeDOS. I always feel a little bad for it whenever I buy a computer with "no OS" on it, and it comes with FreeDOS. It's a real OS too!

Re:Good for embedded systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801983)

I have to say, I've made pretty damn small minimal installs using buildroot [uclibc.org].

Re:Good for embedded systems (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802021)

The said baggage probably refers to OS overhead like task switching, which for some applications, is probably too much even with linux/bsd and probably even realtime linux.
DOS is about as bare metal and real-time as you can get while still having filesystem access. There are probably people out there who need it to be that low level, unencumbered even by timer interrupts if desired. I'm not one of those people but I'll still speak in defense of freedos for that purpose.

Re:Good for embedded systems (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#42801549)

Exactly. For an embedded system, a MS-DOS variant with FAT32 is good enough [1] for a lot of tasks. Done right, it can be close to a realtime OS as one would need for most tasks, with very little overhead, especially with hardware saving every CPU cycle can be important.

Security? The OS doesn't even have a TCP/IP stack unless explictly loaded. No finding ports open that shouldn't be.

Malware? Within the realm of possibility (Stuxnet showed us that), but without physical access, highly unlikely, especially if there is no Internet connection. Done right, the embedded code could write via a serial port, and another machine (or a VM) could read that, making those files accessible to a TCP/IP network for audit purposes.

[1]: It would be nice to have ExFAT available as sizes of disks and other items get larger, but the IFS code to handle the complexities of a modern filesystem can be larger than the rest of the DOS kernel combined.

done right it *is* a realtime OS (2)

Chirs (87576) | about a year ago | (#42801639)

since if you avoid TSRs you have full control over the hardware.

I once implemented a digital PID controller (with a few extra bits) using Turbo C on a 486 with an A/D card. The drivers for the card sucked, so I had to rewrite them but the result was a read/calculate/write cycle that was 4x faster than the stock driver.

Re:done right it *is* a realtime OS (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42802017)

You don't even have to avoid TSRs. Just avoid TSRs which take over hardware interrupts. A TSR which does nothing but sit there until you explicitly call it doesn't interfere with realtime.

TUI GUI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801559)

Is it just me or is the average textual user interface much more efficient and quick to use than the average graphical user interface?
This is speaking from my experience in retail back-ends.

Re:TUI GUI (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42801771)

If you're familiar with the system, a text interface will win in speed almost every time, although keyboard shortcuts and a well thought-out UI can make it neck and neck.

If you're unfamiliar with the system, then a GUI is usually better as pictographs can be much more intuitive.

What's next? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about a year ago | (#42801561)

But when we start work on 2.0, I'd prefer to take another look at FreeDOS and think about what DOS needs to do to take a step forward.

How about a GUI?

Re:What's next? (2, Informative)

MangoCats (2757129) | about a year ago | (#42801611)

http://www.metagraphics.com/metawindow/gui/mncppfaq.txt [metagraphics.com]

1. Overview
    1.1 What is Menuet/CPP.
        Menuet/CPP is the third generation in Graphical User Interface
        packages from Autumn Hill Software. Menuet/CPP is implemented
        in the C++ language which is clear and intuitive for GUI programming.
        Many of the features included with Menuet/CPP are discussed in later
        sections of this FAQ.
    1.2 Version.
        Autumn Hill is currently shipping version 2.0a of Menuet/CPP.
    1.3 Supported Operating Systems.
        Menuet/CPP supports MS-DOS 3.3, 5.0, and 6.0. Other versions of DOS such
        as PC-DOS, DR-DOS, Novell DOS, and CompaqDOS may also work, but are not
        explicitly supported by Autumn Hill Software.
    1.4 Supported Graphics Packages.
        Menuet/CPP supports several graphics packages for a wide variety of needs.
        MetaWINDOW by Metagraphics Corporation, BGI from Borland International,
        and the Microsoft Graphics Library are all supported. Section 1.5
        lists the compatability between compiler, extenders, and these graphics
        toolkits.
    1.5 Supported Compilers and extenders.
        See the file COMPILER.DOC for a description of supported compiler, extender,
        and graphics package combinations.
    1.6 Autumn Hill's development environments.
        Autumn Hill prefers two development environments for Menuet/CPP.
        The first includes the Borland C++ 3.1 compiler with all of the
        graphics packages. The Borland compiler is an excellent compiler,
        it is fast, creates compact code, and has the best debugger on the
        market. The Zortech C++ 3.1 compiler with Flash Tek's X32-VM extender
        is also used in development. The X32-VM is a
        great extender, it is royalty free, and works well with the Zortech
        compiler. Programming in protected mode is excellent for debugging
        purposes since many "bugs" in programs can be found as they will cause
        a program to crash when the "bugs" are encountered. For instance,
        in real mode a reference outside of an array will return bogus
        information. In protected mode a reference outside of an array will
        cause a protection viloation and the program will halt at that point
        of execution.
    1.7 CUA compliancy.
        IBM developed the Common User Access(CUA) paradigm to unify the many
        user interfaces in the world. OS/2 and MS-Windows are the major
        user interfaces that are CUA compiant. The full CUA documentation
        sets are available through IBM. Most of Menuet/CPP is CUA compliant.
        For instance, The ALT-F4 key combination will close a window. But
        There is no idea of a currently active control that can be changed
        by pressing the TAB key to move to the next control.
    1.8 Memory requirements.
        See the file MNSAMP1.DOC for a list of executable sizes for the "Hello,
        World" example program.

FreeXP and XPBox (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#42801567)

DOS is one of those things that is there like herpes if you dig deep enough under the skin of any enterprise and even a few home users you will find it there.

XP refuses to die on the otherhand and which came out when PCs were much more popular than during the DOS era. I wonder in 2023 we will be having XPBOX or FreeXP since it has so many die hard users who refuse to leave kicking and screaming the whole time.

Re:FreeXP and XPBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801691)

Never eard of Reactos do you? http://www.reactos.org

Re:FreeXP and XPBox (3, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42801805)

I wonder in 2023 we will be having XPBOX or FreeXP since it has so many die hard users who refuse to leave kicking and screaming the whole time.

I think that one is called ReactOS. [reactos.org]

Re:FreeXP and XPBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801979)

ReactOS --->http://www.reactos.org/

A FreeDOSH shell is what I want. (2)

mozkill (58658) | about a year ago | (#42801651)

What I want is a FreeDOS shell for Linux: FreeDOSH . If that existed, it would be exciting to write DOS batch scripts on linux. LOL

Re:A FreeDOSH shell is what I want. (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#42801801)

FreeDOSH would fit right in the Linux culture of giving things names with multiple meanings. (In this case, dosh is slang for money).

I have converted a few batch files to BASH. BASH is surprisingly inefficient for simple batch file tasks, but quickly makes up for it once you add any complexity at all.

Dos still essential in bios flashings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801737)

Dos is still required for bios flashings. I really like using Rufus ( http://rufus.akeo.ie/ ) and get a flash drive ready with FreeDos. A two clicks process and it's all FOSS.

FreeDOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42801773)

"640kb ought to be enough for anybody." -- Bill Gates

It now appears to be true.

booting stubborn thin clients (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#42801825)

many thin clients (e.g. some of HPs) refuse to boot from anything other than a ms-dos partition. to turn them into BSD or Linux appliances I have a FreeDOS partition on usb drive with grub in it, which chain boots the next partition. if you choose to boot into the FreeDOS there is editor for grub config and whatever other handy things you might need (like alternate flash images or whatever). need a very low power consumption domain/mail/web/vpn/unix shell server at home? those thin clients can pull 18W or less

Not At All Amazing - DOS Is Just The Way It's Done (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802033)

If you want to access PC hardware directly without any abstraction layers and OS latencies that screw up timing, a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 or FreeDOS is still the way to go. In fact, I just set up a machine last week with a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 and TurboCNC, which is sending stepper motor step commands at precise intervals to the motors on a CNC machine using the PC's parallel port. USB is as useless as Windows and the more recent Linux distributions for things like this.

Use it myself, in linux (2)

DCFusor (1763438) | about a year ago | (#42802045)

To run some older Protel CAD tools. The very old (and used to be free) pcb editor now costs in the tens of thousands of dollars, and for my use case, isn't even as good. The old one runs fine on freedos, is fast as crap on new hardware, and gets my job done. And, the graphics are great.

MSDOS history (2)

mvar (1386987) | about a year ago | (#42802095)

Irrelevant to FreeDOS, a few days ago I was searching about MSDOS and in which language it was written. For whoever might be interested, there's a nice read here: What language was MS-DOS Written in? [google.com]. Summary: MS bought the QDOS rights, QDOS was based on the CP/M OS which was written in FORTRAN

Re:MSDOS history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802295)

" the assembly language used by Seattle Computer Products wasn't FORTRAN but was built
in-house since it was the only thing available to them at that time."

Re:MSDOS history (4, Informative)

gaudior (113467) | about a year ago | (#42802353)

Fortran?! No. CP/M is written in 8080 Assembly code. Later versions took advantage of Z80 op-codes.

never heard of Free Dos or MS-dos (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42802115)

when is saw the letters DOS i thought of Denial of Service. opps. never heard of MS-Dos or Windows 95. Grew up with windows XP and later though. Thanks for sharing the links. i'm starting to show my age. lol

Re:never heard of Free Dos or MS-dos (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42802229)

when is saw the letters DOS i thought of Denial of Service.

That's because so many people get that wrong. Denial of Service is correctly abbreviated as DoS (note the lowercase o).

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