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FreeDOS Is 20 Years Old

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the commander-keen dept.

Operating Systems 133

Jim Hall (2985) writes "In a June 29, 1994 post in comp.os.msdos.apps on USENET, a physics student announced an effort to create a completely free version of DOS that everyone could use. That project turned into FreeDOS, 20 years ago! Originally intended as a free replacement for MS-DOS, FreeDOS has since advanced what DOS could do, adding new functionality and making DOS easier to use. And today in 2014, people continue to use FreeDOS to support embedded systems, to run business software, and to play classic DOS games!"

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Best DOS game... (1)

bswarm (2540294) | about 3 months ago | (#47354837)

LHX Attack Chopper

Re:Best DOS game... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47354899)

Fucking troll. Who the fuck cares what your favorite DOS game is.

Re:Best DOS game... (0)

StankeyoSmith (3715761) | about 4 months ago | (#47357339)

Fucking troll. Who the fuck cares what your favorite DOS game is.

I the fuck care.What I dont the fuck care about is that you dont the fuck care.

Anyways, I remember playing LHX in the early 90's on a 486 with much fondness, was a kick ass game back then. Then Falcon 4 came out, and in the early 90's, that was mindblowing.

Re:Best DOS game... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357989)

Fucking troll. Who the fuck cares what your favorite DOS game is.

Screw you bro. Games are cool.

Re:Best DOS game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47354903)

I can't choose:
Wing Commander
Commander Keen
Warcraft II

So many greats.....

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47354929)

You forgot Quake, you insensitive clod.

Re:Best DOS game... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47355083)

I didn't forget it, Doom was 10x the game Quake was.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

thebes (663586) | about 4 months ago | (#47355899)

And Doom went to my little league games!

Re:Best DOS game... (0, Offtopic)

sillybilly (668960) | about 4 months ago | (#47355941)

I never really played doom back in the day, my cousin went to the last level, so two years ago I get freedoom, and finish that, (it takes a good few weeks of afterwork time and weekends,) in windows (the freedos I had had a rudimentary version of freedoom, and no sound on a dell C840 laptop, but the win32 version had sound and all that. I left 4 snakes alive through all the levels, 2 with their backs in early levels who never shoot unless you walk near them, and you have an alternate route around them, and 2 blind ones, each in a different level, that you could get really close and look at, in late levels, and they scratch you if you get too close, but they don't shoot to a distance, like they went blind. Even amidst blood and gore and hate and enemies there is time to stop and admire beauty of life, even if enemy life, & protect noncombatants as either civilians or POW's, You leave 4 of them alive. That's like Alexander marrying an enemy woman, which is like that Mad TV episode of OJ Simpson on a date, "dangerous fun," same with Atilla, marrying an enemy woman. As in I've accomplished my life's goals and I don't mind dying. Or even if I have the capacity to stay alive, I'm not gonna do everything and everything to survive, and sometimes let other people decide it for me. If you finish doom without leaving any snakes alive, you end up all alone in the end. With 2 blind ones, the world is not so empty. I don't know about the ones with their backs turned, but otherwise fully able, if you ever meet them they prolly just kill you. Hmm. Hopefully they've had time to meditate over why they weren't killed, and might become friends with you. Kinda like Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson, in the end, after all the blood and gore, the native american waves to him from a distance. Blood and gore because someone walked through a sacred burial ground. Among other things. A native american has a lot of excuses to be angry at a white guy like Robert Redford. So, anyway, they say one of Solomon's faults was not exterminating his enemies fully, but, like letting the king go, or stuff like that. As in like that's a fault. As if that's agains't bible principles. True, stuff like that can later bite you in the ass bad. Not always though. There is a story about Thracians capturing an enemy king, and making him eat with his golden spoon when everyone else at the table ate with wooden spoons. To make a short story short, he ended up marrying his daughter to his enemies that didn't kill him, instead, told him, let's be friends. How nice and naive that is. Stuff like that is very much up in the air. Like, there is a nature video, I don't think I could find it, where a lion pride goes under when the males are exhausted from a fight with an invading pride, and an outsider lioness that joined the pride takes the 2 pups of the pride on a walk, and they turn up dead, and there goes the future, the hope of the pride, because they were not xenophobe enough. The story ends with the enemy pride moving in taking over the territory. Leaving noncombatant blind snakes alive in freedoom? Leaving combat able but with their backs turned snakes alive? How about leaving any POW alive in any war? Shouldn't you just kill any POW and exterminate the enemy, else they may bite you in the ass later? Like Richard the Lionheart executing the whole civilian population of Tyre. Making sure he don't get bitten in the ass later. Unlike Alexander or Attila, who are out of their freaking minds marrying and trusting enemy women. Well, it's like survival is important, but it's still an arbitrary rule. The Thracians could have killed the enemy king. Instead they lucked out by making a friend and a marriage of the princess into the tribe. But somehow it's not too hard to understand the natural tendency of racism and xenophobia that surrounds you every day. There is some good justifications behind it. Just don't trust your kids to an enemy babysitter, after all, your kids are your everything. Jesus said love your enemies. And that's what the Brits did at Trafalgar pulling any Spaniards from the water, they also had a really low POW death rate in the other wars, however, brotherly love this and that, they came up with the idea of paying the native Americans per scalp, so that sick idea did not come from the native Americans, but it was a simple and effective "proof" without having to carry the body. A lot of scalped white people stayed alive, some succumbed to infections, but their scalp was highly prized because the royalist Brits paid good money for it.

) So when I land in the nuthouse, a voice in my head says this is punishment for playing Doom. I swear I'm in some dream world, like Alien laid some eggs in me and wrapped me in a cocoon and monitors my thoughts, and it's like 3 billion years into the future from now, and she don't want me playing doom, instead get into number theory or quantum physics, she gets totally pissed when I waste my time on useless crap.

And by the way the powers that be like Microsoft are just realizing what a wonder DOS was, even if they hated Mr. Dr DOS, Gary Kildall, who actually did have a PHD in computer science, unlike Bill Gates who dropped out. So in order to resurrect it and sell it you have to kill the competition first, the most important being FreeDOS. The most important thing about DOS is the poweroff method is simply cut the power, or pull the plug on it. No shutdown bullshit. Which also means it's ready to be abused, the power to be cut on it, the military style fail-safe behavior shines, as soon as it's off, it reboots super quick. It used to be in a ROM-chip with QBasic back in the day. BIOS + ROM Chip DOS. ROM means read only memory. Cannot be tampered with, at least not easily. Like in windows, someone physically grabs my laptop when I'm away from it, and modifies files on it, operating system files. I'm fucked. If the basics were on a ROM chip, he'd have to desolder the 197 pins that it comes with, and install a rigged copy, displaying same serial numbers and such. Now you're talking computer security like it's meant to be, there is no such thing as pure absolute security, but only degrees of security.

Re:Best DOS game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356887)

Somebody please get this boy back on his meds, stat!

Re:Best DOS game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357807)

Your talents are wasted here.

Re:Best DOS game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47358001)

Don't worry about the couple of other angry comments that you apparently got. The only problem here is the "wall of text" -- your message is kind of laborous to read.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

jshackney (99735) | about 4 months ago | (#47356305)

Doom, that's awesome. That's pretty much when I started getting bored with games and the race for frame rates.

That was a fun game, though. Flight sims were more my thing. I enjoyed the heck out of F-19 Stealth Fighter (yeah, C64) and FPS:Football. Wish I could find a working copy of the latter. Also, been looking for a flight sim I had purchased, but never got to install (would like to see what I missed) as hardware evolved too rapidly and backward compatibility was super sketchy at that time. Wish I could remember the name of that sim.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 4 months ago | (#47357125)

Falcon 4.0

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 months ago | (#47358167)

As a game? I vaguely recall enjoying Doom on release more than Quake on release. I enjoyed Duke Nukem 3D a lot more than either. The thing that made Quake special wasn't the game, it was that it was an off-the-shelf game engine with a free SDK. All of the game-specific behaviour (including things like the flight paths of projectiles) was contained in a bytecode file that had the source and compiler provided. For a while, I had about 500MB of mods for Quake installed (the game itself was around 50MB). Doom had all of the game behaviour hard coded, so all that mods could do was change the visual appearance. People wrote rally games and flight simulators in the Quake engine as mods. There was nothing like QTank, AirQuake, Quake Horrorshow, or Quake Rally for Doom. There definitely wasn't anything like Team Fortress, which accounted for the majority of the time I spent playing Quake.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47355693)

That would be QuakeWorld for MS-DOS [] . Too bad it was born out of a bored and rainy day, but yeah, no more B&W non-existant TCP/IP or trying to rely on Windows95, No this version includes it's own TCP/IP stack, and best of all it works.

QuakeWorld for MS-DOS, the way it should have been.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

iced_773 (857608) | about 4 months ago | (#47355207)

Utopia: The Creation of a Nation. I've considered remaking it without the limits indicative of fixed-length arrays ("you cannot build more buildings at this time", etc.).

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

armanox (826486) | about 4 months ago | (#47356363)

What, no Kings Quest? I remember playing them in DOS (up to KQ VI)

Also, The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall....lost lots of time there.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 months ago | (#47357243)

I seem to recall that someone did a FOSS port of KQ IV for Windows.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#47358015)

I'm not sure about that...but KQ III did recently get a remake [] .

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

StankeyoSmith (3715761) | about 4 months ago | (#47357371)

Syndicate Wars.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

Sowelu (713889) | about 3 months ago | (#47355001)

Just rediscovered Alien Legacy, a true Sierra golden age underdog from 1994. It's a space colonization game that's not a 4X, how novel!

I really really wish I could find all those old DOS TSRs from the mid-late 80s. I had one that put a bunch of ascii smiley face characters on the dos prompt that careened around and bounced off of lines of text; hold ctrl or alt to make them go in circles. I would not be surprised if it was really, truly lost in time with no remaining copies.

Re:Best DOS game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356017)

There's a bunch of old DOS stuff on CD collections at: and/or

Google: dos tsr utilities

Good luck. Have a nice day!

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 4 months ago | (#47355297)

Surprised to see someone mention one of my favorites. One of the few games where even losing was fun. Took a hit to the oil line? Now you've gotta get back to friendly borders before you crash.

I found the copter controls/weapons management to be a nice balance between complex and arcade. I also loved getting to pick my loadout for each mission. Was a fun game for a computer that had only 512Kb ram.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 4 months ago | (#47356125)

Disagree ...

* Castle Adventure []
* Doom
* Master of Magic []
* Master of Orion
* Shamus []
* Sopwith (went open souce!) []
* Sorched Earth
* Zork

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47356933)

gunship 2000 is a way better chopper game.

besides, Star Control II. and frontier first encounters.

Re:Best DOS game... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47357289)

I'm gonna go with Comanche: Maximum Overkill. Flying the Comanche through voxelized canyons on ground effect with the Thrustmaster HOTAS was one of the great joys of the DOS gaming era.

Hurd is still unusable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47354841)

Good job, Stall-man.

Unknown Lamer takes it in the pooper (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47354843)

He gets it anally from Dick Cheney and doesn't even ask for a reach-around.

Can I play Descent on it? (1)

thechemic (1329333) | about 3 months ago | (#47354845)

I wonder if FreeDOS can run in virtual machine. Oh Google...

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about 3 months ago | (#47354867)

dosbox of course []

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356989)

dosbox of course []

Does dosbox work on FreeDOS? jk

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (5, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | about 3 months ago | (#47354889)

I wonder if FreeDOS can run in virtual machine. Oh Google...

Yes, you can run FreeDOS in a VM! I usually recommend installing FreeDOS in a VM, especially if you don't plan to commit that computer to FreeDOS full-time. For Windows, I think most people prefer QEMU [] or VMWare [] or VirtualPC. [] On my Linux laptop, I run DOSemu. []

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 3 months ago | (#47355131)

I use FreeDOS with grub in it to multi-boot thin clients that can only boot from a FAT formatted partition. funny some HP thin clients require that, others don't. I make "servers" out of thin clients, usually with OpenBSD

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 4 months ago | (#47355719)

I have not been able to install FreeDOS in VMWare Player. Google has hits for instruction with regular VMWare. So far, I haven't found a ready made appliance.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (2)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47357175)

I'm installing it right now... I chose the "Microsoft Windows" profile, and selected "Windows 3.1"... You need to make sure that the CD-ROM has the highest boot priority in the BIOS... (hammer F2 on reboots), eventually you'll catch it...

the install is SLOW... no doubt about it.

I also installed it on QEMU, and yeah terribly slow.

With QEMU thought, I did get DOOM v1.1 with sound working, so that is nice!

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 4 months ago | (#47357285)

Well... it installs, it's DOS4G/W (I'd forgotten!) and it'll run with all drivers disabled (I didn't test otherwise) ... Setup the sound card as a sound blaster

  Complete the Sound Blaster 16 Configuration.
  IRQ 5
  8-bit DMA 1
  16-bit DMA 7
  MPU-401 I/O address
  Disable (MPU-401 MIDI device is not supported)

Once the game loads up the ship bounces around like crazy, and you get destroyed within seconds.. So, I'm guessing Descent doesn't handle fast machines, so while it 'works' it's not proper.. It'd probably better off in something like PCem, or just old fashioned DOSBox...

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357443)

You're definitely better off in DOSBox with the cpu speed turned down to 386 levels.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 3 months ago | (#47354907)

Descent is currently on Steam, I would be shocked if they did not bundle it with some mechanism for modern systems (probably DOSbox, as others have mentioned).

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47355113)

Yup. A lot of those Steam/GoG re-released titles are running a version of DOSBox

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47354991)

What does google have to do with this?

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47355147)

Probably thechemic's perception that Google finds more relevant resources on how to get old DOS games working on modern PCs than Bing or Yandex/DDG does.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47355723)

Probably thechemic's perception that Google finds more relevant resources on how to get old DOS games working on modern PCs than Bing or Yandex/DDG does.

OIC. I thought he was asking Google Inc. to provide him a technical solution to his problem, like building in a Chrome extension or something.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 months ago | (#47357045)

There is one. Bookmark this in Chrome, same thing. []

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47357387)

i don't use chrome. it's like saying the orwellian telescreen is handy because its reflective surface doubles as a mirror.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357475)

that works in any browser with javascript. GP was tryihg to be cute

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

arcctgx (607542) | about 4 months ago | (#47355443)

Apart from nostalgia, what is the reason to play Descent in FreeDOS? Better options are available, like the GoG version or source ports such as DXX-Rebirth. And of course there's dosbox, which I bet is much easier to set up.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

thechemic (1329333) | about 4 months ago | (#47355461)

No reason at all. I'm definitely open to suggestions, and I'll check out your suggestion for sure!

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#47356111)

Last time I tried, I had to use DosBox and FreeDos (or maybe DOS 6.22) on a VM to run Descent and the Devil level editor. The game would only run on one, and the level editor on the other. I can't recall which was which. I used a floppy image on a file to share data between the two. Pretty nostalgic going back and playing that old game.

Re:Can I play Descent on it? (1)

thechemic (1329333) | about 4 months ago | (#47356509)

Nostalgic for sure. I miss that and Command & Conquer. I just may use your tips here and give it a go.

A popular laptop OS? (5, Informative)

systemDead (3645325) | about 3 months ago | (#47354897)

To add to the summary, FreeDOS is probably the 3rd or 4th most popular preinstalled OS for laptops, behind Windows and Mac OSX and maybe Chrome OS, but certainly higher than Ubuntu or any other desktop Linux. My HP laptop came with some version of FreeDOS that I since wiped off the disk. Installing FreeDOS gives OEMs the chance to have a nominally functional unit that can be tested for obvious hardware defects while not restricting the eventual user to their choice of a non-Windows OS.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (5, Interesting)

Jim Hall (2985) | about 3 months ago | (#47354953)

FreeDOS gets used in several pre-built computers. HP is one example - HP EliteBook [] comes with a FreeDOS option. And Dell used to do this, don't know if they still do. There are a bunch of vendors (especially in Europe and Asia) that pre-install FreeDOS, too.

Alas, these pre-built computers have FreeDOS on them mainly as a clever way to get around a licensing agreement with Microsoft. I understand that Microsoft put a term in their Windows OEM license that prohibits system builders from selling "naked" computers - systems without operating systems. If you want to get the huge discount on Windows OEM licenses, so you can sell pre-built computers with Windows already installed, you may not also sell these "naked" computers.

But there are plenty of people out there who don't want an operating system pre-installed (I presume these people are like me who prefer free software, and who would install a Linux distribution on their new computer) so system builders started shipping computers with FreeDOS pre-installed. I think the premise is that customers will reformat the drive and install Linux anyway, but the system builder didn't technically sell a "naked" computer.

I actually think this is very clever and I like the idea. A few users do keep FreeDOS installed on their system; occasionally I get emails from people who decided to keep FreeDOS installed (and probably dual-boot into Linux) so they could use FreeDOS to play old DOS games.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (2)

sremick (91371) | about 3 months ago | (#47355079)

Dell most certainly does still offer FreeDOS. Perhaps just on some of their business line, but it's there.

We've chosen it to save money when we were just going to put our own non-MS OS on there. Ubunutu is also an option on a number of models. RHEL too, but that'll cost you.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (2)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 months ago | (#47356881)

RHEL too, but that will cost you

I have downloaded before a full version, non-evaluation, fully working copy of RHEL before.... I believe this option still exists for those seeking it, but it is one of those well kept secrets and the link is burried deep somewhere at Red Hat's site. i.e. RHEL can be used for free, without support. It is possible Red Hat may have discontinued this for the "30 day evaluation" variety of free download, and that download link is gone forever, but regardless, Red Hat does not sell operating systems, they sell support, and that is what you pay for that costs. However, CentOS [] is identical to RHEL and is free to download and use, i.e. costs nothing. Oracle Linux is also RHEL, and also free to download and use, I believe. So no, if you don't pay for the support, using RHEL will cost you nothing.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (2)

thetagger (1057066) | about 4 months ago | (#47355195)

Isn't DOS a horrible operating system to run these days? It doesn't support any energy management, so your computer will run really, really hot. It's better to boot Linux and run dosbox.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (3, Interesting)

chipschap (1444407) | about 4 months ago | (#47355945)

Good point. I've observed this too.

I have a bootable USB stick which boots into FreeDOS. The only thing on the stick, besides the OS and some utilities, is a copy of an old, simple word processor called Better Working Word Processor. When I really want distraction-free writing, I boot this up and there is simply nothing else to do but write (somewhat a la Jonathan Franzen, though I'll never quite have the reputation to go with it).

But I do notice that even with the hard drive spun down, battery life is little better than running my full Linux Mint installation.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47356559)

Isn't DOS a horrible operating system to run these days? It doesn't support any energy management,

false []

Re:A popular laptop OS? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 4 months ago | (#47357959)

I don't think APM works on most modern machines though. There is the DOS idle utilities which execute the HLT instruction which is not much but is better than nothing.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357855)

>Isn't DOS a horrible operating system to run these days? It doesn't support any energy management, so your computer will run really, really hot.

Does it *actually* make your computer run really really hot? It sounds like dont know and you're assuming it does; because you're asking, not telling.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (2)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 4 months ago | (#47355705)

Yup, that's exactly it. Another thing about those computers is that they are often more 'geek-oriented' overall. I got a vostro 1320 laptop with freedos, for instance, and it has a backside panel for easy access to the fan and heatsink assembly. Cleaning the computer is literally a matter of just removing a pair of screws. Compare to some other laptops where you virtually have to disassemble down to the bare motherboard just to get the fan clean. It was also about $90 cheaper than the windows version, even though the specs were almost exactly the same. It's nice that companies still make computers like this. I wonder when it will end.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356335)

There is another reason ( atleast here in India ) that people buy laptops with FreeDOS - to install a pirated copy of Windows. Windows XP was the choice of pirates and apparently they have cracked windows 7 here as well ( even the pirates didn't like Vista, and the pirates don't like Windows 8 )

Having said that, there are systems pre-loaded with Ubuntu available here ( I personally own a Dell Latitude with Ubuntu pre-installed ) - so that is another good option, but customers prefer to stick to "No OS machines" ( as FreeDOS is called here ) and the dealer then offers "free softwares" ( note the plural, in fact there is an empahsis of the plural because you get not ONE but MANY "softwares" ) - which typically means pirated Windows, Office, Photoshop ( these 3 are a must) and others. Often the pirated software "loaded" on the machine will cost 5 times the cost of the machine.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 months ago | (#47356787)

so they could use FreeDOS to play old DOS games

That's not dumb or anything, but superfluous, considering this exists [] .

Re:A popular laptop OS? (1)

chipschap (1444407) | about 4 months ago | (#47357345)

True about games (dosbox as an easy alternative) but not business software. dosbox doesn't support printing (I think there is one mod that does, but the mainstream doesn't) so if you want to use your old Lotus Agenda or Ventura Publisher or Xywrite, etc., FreeDOS may be preferred.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 months ago | (#47356749)

But if you ask the typical user of OS X that never questions anything and always insists on new shiney, any OS older than 2 years old is "obsolete." So this OS is obsolete 10x over!!

disclaimer: I am a UNIX/Linux Windows & OS X systems admin, and prefer OS X for desktop, and even I can't stand the moronic whiney bullshit that the self-proclaimed "expert" mac users puke out... please see comments here [] to see what I mean, as if you didn't know already.

Re:A popular laptop OS? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47357819)

FreeDOS was also a popular way to do firmware updates because it gets you to a well known state that's single tasking and nothing could interrupt the process. Especially nice was it was small and you could put it on a floppy with tons of space for your firmware and other things.

Though nowadays, since most people don't boot from floppies, they now use Linux based update software - sure it's multitasking, but it's a nice controlled Linux environment to do stuff in. Especially since it doesn't have to all fit in a 1.44MB floppy - a thumbdrive or CD will let you easily a large amount of space so you can even have multiple updaters so the user only needs to download one huge "do it all" that figures out what needs updating over downloading and making a half dozen update disks hoping to have the right model and revision.

And especially these days where DOS drivers are getting fewer and farther between, if you need drivers (e.g., SATA drivers), you're more likely to find it in Linux than in DOS. So for those things like SSD firmware updates, a Linux boot drive will likely be able to talk to most SATA controllers without the user needing to reconfigure their PC. For the leftovers, they can try using legacy mode, but the number of people who need it are far fewer.

FreeDOS is almost never used for production - they have specialized boot images running Windows or whatever, then just wipe it with the final OS image

Re:A popular laptop OS? (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 4 months ago | (#47357977)

I think UEFI is the best solution for things like this and many firmware update utilities already uses it for example.

Ah, the good old DOS days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47354927)

Anyone has links to Hercules-graphics porn, specifically animations? I remember a few of them, shouldn't be hard to view the whole list which someone surely has converted to animated GIFs by now.

Re:Ah, the good old DOS days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357785)

We sure do not miss that animations...

20 years old? That doesn't solve my problem... (-1, Offtopic)

bogaboga (793279) | about 3 months ago | (#47354939)

Look, that OS might be that old but this doesn't solve my problem. I need something to help me "fool" systems that throw messages like this: -

You must be using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or better in order to use Iatric Pay View.

To make matters worse, my computing platform of choice is now Google's Chromebook. I am sure there's a geeky slashdotter who can help, right?

Re:20 years old? That doesn't solve my problem... (1)

iced_773 (857608) | about 4 months ago | (#47355197)

Have you tried a browser extension that changes the user agent string?

Re:20 years old? That doesn't solve my problem... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 4 months ago | (#47355309)

One User-agent switcher worked on one site! Thanks a lot but on another one, the message I get is this:

To access this site your Internet Explorer parser must be MSXML 3.0 or greater. Please use Internet Explorer version 6.0 (and higher) or download the correct parser version in order to properly view the web pages located within. Current parser is not MSXML 3.0 or greater.


Re:20 years old? That doesn't solve my problem... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 months ago | (#47355641)

Can't you just change your browser's user agent string to identify as a MS desktop IE version?

Or does it require some plug in or something?

Surplus (4, Interesting)

RatBastard (949) | about 3 months ago | (#47354949)

Back when I processed computers to go to surplus I would DBAN the hard drives and install FreeDOS so that the guys at Surplus could show the customers that the computers would actually boot.

Re:Surplus (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47355003)

No wonder this crap has been surplussed! It's not a real computer because it doesn't run Windows!

Thanks (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#47355497)

Now i feel old. I was there in the beginning.

Re: Thanks (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#47355889)

you only need to feel old if you're still waiting for a working cdrom driver.

Re:Thanks (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 months ago | (#47356915)

Now i feel old. I was there in the beginning.

Some how I doubt that. []

praise freedos! (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 months ago | (#47355795)

With Commander Keen in my right screen, FreeDOS has hit me right in the childhood :) heres to another 20 YEARS!

Re:praise freedos! (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 4 months ago | (#47355957)

20 years, oh dear, commander Keen, oh gosh, I am feeling so old.

Congratulations FreeDOS! (1)

reshin (70987) | about 4 months ago | (#47355829)

Thanks for your contribution to the world, Jim! Makes me want to look for Scorched Earth now.

Don't forget about BIOS updates... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356039)

There have been several times that FreeDOS has saved the day for installing BIOS updates on older(-ish) Dell servers and whatnot.

Re:Don't forget about BIOS updates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357943)

Older, hell. Supermicro still ships BIOS updates for their servers as DOS executables. Thankfully, FreeDOS lives happily on a FAT32 USB stick, so all I have to do is copy the .EXE over from a modern system.

I'm waiting for ... (1)

Tamran (1424955) | about 4 months ago | (#47356323)

... FreeWinXP. I'm sure it'll be out any day now.

Re:I'm waiting for ... (1)

Tepar (87925) | about 4 months ago | (#47356613)

Re:I'm waiting for ... (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#47356725) []

Oh ya, that. Maybe when it's 20 years old, it might be out of alpha...

Re:I'm waiting for ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356939)

Its not so much an operating system as it is a support group for masochistic linux developers.

Re:I'm waiting for ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357791)

Why, do you want a turd shinier and with more holes than the original?

Salute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356327)

I just want to salute FreeDOS in this great achievement.

At the 40th anniversary I will not be around in the flesh.

Perhaps a virtual me will be on the net in 30 years, I do

Best wishes and Happy Birthday. :-)

DOS Extenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356389)

Many DOS games used DOS extenders like DOS4GW.EXE and CWSDPMI.EXE.

An excellent (and free) replacement for DOS4GW.EXE is at Just download it, rename it to DOS4GW.EXE and you're good to go.

An updated version of CWSDPMI.EXE is available at Perhaps Rive Univ. will put the archive back online?

Another DOS extender of interest is the HX DOS-Extender at The advantage to it is that has built-in Win32 PE file format support, providing a win32 API so win32 console apps can run. More interestingly, it has a GUI extension that allows some simple Win32 GUI apps to be run as a "stand-alone" application without the need for Windows, for a Windows emulator or for WINE; there is 16-bit support as well. Opengl support is also provided, but is software only.

DOS Apps and Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356661)

Old Apps at provides old versions of popular software.

The 6.0 DOS version of Norton Commander can be downloaded at

DOS shareware versions of Doom and Hexen are here:

Other classic PC games mat be available from here:

SpinRite too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356663)

SpinRite, ( ) Steve Gibson's longstanding hard drive maintenance and recovery utility also uses FreeDos to boot. This means that it can work on all parts of the drive.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47356727)

1. With FreeDOS you can have 1280K!
2. When we say "FreeDOS" we mean Free as in "Freedom", not as in Price. Software Freedom is a set of concepts that merits an explanation....

As a retro gamer I can appreciate (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 4 months ago | (#47357333)

5 years ago I was given an old HP Vectra workstation (256k Ppro 180 upgraded to a 1MB Ppro 200 with water cooling), removed both Matrox Video cards, slapped in a Soundblaster PRO 2.0, an Ensoniq Soundscape Elite, a Voodoo Rush, and after upgrading the machine to 192MB RAM, installed Win 98SE. DooM sounds amazing, Tie Fighter never sounded better. OS/2 Warp 3.0, DOS 6.22, win 3.11 and 98SE.

For the really big games (Xwing Alliance/UT/Quake2), P3/800 , dual Voodoo2 in SLI, SB Live!. 513MB and 98SE with a Rage 128 Pro card. Those machines sit along my C64 and my PS/2 286 (and my 512k MAC)

I have an old VLB 486 with an overclocked amd 5x86 running at 160 (32MB RAM), that one I'v got to give FreeDOS a try :)

I would like to see FreeWin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47357477)

FreeWin, some form of reverse-engineered 32-bit Windows with the bare minimum essentials to run the older Windows games (mid-late 1990s to early 2000s).

As the world moves on to 64-bit OSes, and with Microsoft removing XP Mode from Windows 8, we need some contribution from the open source community. We want an elegant solution, not "Dude, just dual boot or install Win XP on another partition if you want to play old games!"

Re:I would like to see FreeWin (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 4 months ago | (#47357799)

You have got Wine, and commercial ports of it like CrossOver. They are not production ready, however they do run some binaries to some extent. The compatibility list is huge. However one thing is to emulate the APIs and bugs of DOS (much smaller fingerprint), and other to do the same to XP. Even Microsoft cant do it right.

Re:I would like to see FreeWin (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#47358097)

As the world moves on to 64-bit OSes, and with Microsoft removing XP Mode from Windows 8, we need some contribution from the open source community.

Well, take the proper responsibility and contribute yourself. I think open source is cool, but not when it is perceived as the magical software fountain which generates free programs while I just fiddle my thumbs. What you asked is a reverse engineered Windows to play old games. That would require extreme amounts of work. Are you willing to help by contributing code or giving donations?

Jesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47358087)

I remember this! I was on AOL and getting some AOHELL Kitty!

Update needed (1)

doctorsdad (1128689) | about 4 months ago | (#47358135)

Please somebody, start up FreeXP and rid me of this Win7 and Win8 madness!

Update needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47358163)

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