How (And Why) FreeDOS Keeps DOS Alive

FreeDOS was originally created in response to Microsoft’s announcement that after Windows 95, DOS would no longer be developed as a standalone operating system, according to a new interview about how (and why) Jim Hall keeps FreeDOS alive. For its newest version, Hall originally imagined “what ‘DOS’ would be like in 2015 or 2016 if Microsoft hadn’t stopped working on MS-DOS in favor of Windows” — before he decided there’s just no such thing as “modern DOS”. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:

No major changes are planned in the next version. “The next version of FreeDOS won’t be multitasking, it won’t be 32-bit, it won’t run on ARM,” Hall said. “FreeDOS is still intended for Intel and Intel-compatible computers. You should still be able to run FreeDOS on your old 486 or old Pentium PC to play classic DOS games, run legacy business programs, and support embedded development.”

By day, Hall is the CIO for a county in Minnesota, and he’s also a member of the board of directors for GNOME (and contributes to other open source projects) — but he still remembers using DOS’s built-in BASIC system to write simple computer programs.
“Many of us older computer nerds probably used DOS very early, on our first home computer…” he tells ComputerWorld. Even without John Romero’s new Doom level, “The popularity of DOS games and DOS shareware applications probably contributes in a big way to FreeDOS’s continued success.” I’d be curious how many Slashdot readers have some fond memories about downloading DOS shareware applications.


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