FreeDOS

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by elvis, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    FreeDOS, as the name implies, is a 100% free, MS-DOS compatible operating system. It extends on MS-DOS with a stack of extra tools that give you TCP/IP networking, remote file browsing tools, and stacks of other stuff.

    Version 1.1 is the first milestone release since 2006, and brings with it a stack of bug fixes and performance enhancements.

    http://www.freedos.org/
    http://wiki.freedos.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

    FreeDOS is great for anything from flashing PC BIOSes off USB memory sticks to running old versions of MAME, to using inside a virtual machine (or even bare metal PCs) to play old DOS games. FreeDOS is used in the hugely popular DOSBox, and is also used by software publishers like GoG.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  2. alch

    alch Member

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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I've got a USB stick that I built a virtual machine running FreeDOS on. What was great about that was it had tonnes of space (not ~1MB, like most of the DOS boot images you get around the place).

    Once built, I can then mount it up on anything (Windows/Mac/Linux) and copy files to it (BIOS flash tools, etc). It then serves nicely as a DOS-bootable USB stick for flashing BIOSes in systems that still require it.

    As a Linux user, it's especially useful (seeing as most native BIOS flashing tools are Windows-only).

    Of course, it's far more interesting use is for playing old DOS games on native hardware. :)
     
  4. Mau1wurf1977

    Mau1wurf1977 (Banned or Deleted)

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    Not sure if this is still current, I tried the previous version on my Retro Pentium and the EMM386 memory manager that comes with FreeDOS crashed Wing Commander all the time.

    I switched to DOS 6.22 for that reason. But apart from that I had no issues.
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'm sure the FreeDOS team would love for folks like you to test and report back. That's exactly the sorts of feedback they need to make their next release rock solid.
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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  8. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Cool! Look at all this good stuff -

     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I know there are a lot of die-hard MS-DOS fans on these forums, but I urge people to try their programs and games in FreeDOS. It's bundled with so many cool features and tools, and all still 100% hardware compatible right back to XT and 286 hardware.

    But especially for folks wanting DOS on newer hardware with bigger disks and more RAM, FreeDOS is amazing. Better file systems, better compression tools, better network and Internet connectivity and clients. No need for DOS systems to be silos any more. Get these things connected to your NAS, downloading stuff from the Internet, all the while still offering full backwards compatibility with your original software and hardware.
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    One suggestion that's popped up is for the FreeDOS team to talk to the GoG team about some sort of interaction between the projects.

    I personally love the idea of a GoG Galaxy client for DOS. I don't consider it something that might ever happen, but damn that would be cool.
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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  12. flain

    flain Member

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    Just a random bit of info - Microsoft released MSDOS 1.25 and 2.0 source code this month. See here https://github.com/microsoft/ms-dos

    They've also already been asked if they will release any later versions and the answer was no. I can't remember any games working before msdos version 5 so not sure how useful it actually is.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Microsoft has released it previously, but under a restrictive license. This new release is now under the MIT licence.

    What that means is that the FreeDOS team are now legally able to inspect the code, and use what they learn to improve FreeDOS.

    Many open source authors sensibly choose not to read proprietary or leaked code to protect themselves from legal action. But licenses like the very unrestrictive MIT licence mean that these older DOS releases can finally work as real documention and a historical look into the minds of the DOS authors. Despite being very old and incompatible with MS-DOS 5/6/7, it may still help FreeDOS.
     
  14. darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    Are there any dark corners of the net where people are writing and releasing freedos drivers for modern or semi modern video/audio hardware?

    Would be nice to get cdrom era dos games working in freedos/msdos without having to have a 20 year old PC laying around.

    Pipe dream im sure and yes I do use dosbox and it is great, but wanted to take things next level.
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Video is generally not a problem. Find a VBE, and off you go.

    Audio is the tricky part. Full screen virtualisation might be your only hope if you can't get native audio drivers.
     
  16. darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    I’ll probably just stick with DOSBox :)
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I generally use DOSBox and Timidity or Fluidsynth. That gives me "good enough" soundfont midi for what I want out of a DOS setup.

    But if you're keen, our old mate philscomputerlab (who's sadly been missing from these forums for a while now) has tonnes of excellent videos. For all of these, you can interchange MS-DOS and FreeDOS at any time.

    Two quick examples here, but check out the rest of his channel for tonnes more.





    And Phil's own take on FreeDOS:

     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  18. darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    Awesome. Thanks Elvis. I’ll check those videos out.
     
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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  20. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    used freedos the other day to flash my new mobo, works great :D
     
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