September 7, 2006 7:44 AM PDT

FreeDOS finally hits 1.0 milestone

The FreeDOS project, an attempt to create an open-source alternative to Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system, has finally reached a major milestone.

After years of work, version 1.0 of FreeDOS is now available for download from the project team's Web site.

The operating system can be installed on a PC and used to run DOS programs. It can also be used in embedded devices such as cash registers.

The FreeDOS project began 12 years ago, after Microsoft released the last official standalone version of MS-DOS.

"FreeDOS 1.0 is a major milestone that has finally been released. By now, we have a stable and viable MS-DOS replacement," the project team said this week. Recent improvements to the package include long file name support in several applications, including a free CD-ROM driver, FAT32 file system support within the kernel and most other applications, and improved stability within the HIMEM device driver and EMM386 memory manager.

Earlier versions of FreeDOS have been available for some time and are sometimes shipped on PCs that don't come with a commercial operating system.

Microsoft recently urged system vendors not to sell so-called naked PCs, though such computers can appeal to people who want to run Linux on their new machine or IT managers who have a volume-licensing deal with Microsoft and don't want to pay for another copy of Windows.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
FreeDOS, milestone, Microsoft MS-DOS, open source, Microsoft Corp.


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now They have a stable core...
Now that they have a stable core they can easily build on top of it to build a stable windows like OS, that will most likely have excellent support for windows apps, That was MS's problem in the beginning, They built bad code on top on bad code and more bad code on top of that and so on.. And then they charge 200 bucks for it.
Posted by G.Nuisance (10 comments )
Link Flag
Oldies but Goodies
I have an old CASE tool that still can do yeoman's work--but it only runs on DOS. I will be purchasing a new Intel-based Mac and Parallels, with a view to loading Windows XP ...and DOS, so I could run this CASE tool. I was going to use an old copy of DR-DOS v6, but I'd try this out. Worth it to me!
Posted by vbeast (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Colossal waste of time
I'm all for people wasting time on whatever makes them happy, but this just seems completely ridiculous. Maybe if they start now on a replacement for Windows 95 they can get it done by 2020.
Posted by ss_Whiplash (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ignorance is Bliss
Obviously you have never had to do any real PC work. FreeDOS is great when Windows is broken and you need to do get into the PC and poke around. Also, many dianostic tools (like those given out with hard drives and other devices that might need configuration or work PRIOR to having an OS installed) use these so you can easily Boot up with full CD support and run custom application in a controlled environment. It has also been used for a while even through the final release was just complete.

Yes, it might be a waste of time to a person that is just going to break their computer and throw it away; however, for PC repair technicians and hardware vendors this is not only useful: it is mandatory functionality.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
> Maybe if they start now on a replacement for Windows 95 they can get it done by 2020.

The ReactOS people have hit their 10th anniversary in redoing WindowsNT. Only 14 more years to go...
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
Link Flag
A waste of what?
Microsoft still actively develops and markets its OS/2 kernel as the OS for point-of-sales (POS) systems. I worked with MS OS/2 v1.2 and v1.4 when I worked at Fujitsu-ICL. I think they are up to OS/2 v1.6 (or higher) now.

Microsoft also developed Xenix (for IBM).

The overwhelming majority of new-age geeks forget that computers at Home Depot are running some pared-down OS. In fact, most folks never give it a second (or even a first) thought.

FreeDOS has now entered a stage where it can directly compete in a number of specialty computing environments where MS has a significant presence.

Not a waste of time at all...though I understand that you might not be running it.
Posted by justwally (32 comments )
Link Flag
Why a waste of time?
I am an IT Manager for a company that has thousands of dos boxes out there.

We sell little ivr's to pharmacies. These boxes don't need to run windows. We use a different dos then ms or free but it has a ftp server, web server, mail client on it, it does everything we need.
Posted by djnightraven (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
FTP server and Web server?
Are you sure that's DOS? Sounds like Linux to me.
Posted by bananaguyc (5 comments )
Link Flag
Up next.... Free Windows 3.11!
haha, just kidding.

Still, FreeDos sounds like a great accomplishment. Many businesses still rely on DOS boxes to reliably perform critical tasks each day, 24x7. Not everything requires a full blown Windows install, and in fact, certain types of apps (real-time) really need something like DOS.

Here's to you, Mr. DOS Box!
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Programming FreeDOS
The question is, do I still have my old Clipper 5 install disks? That'd bring back some memories!
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
will it have all the bugs 3.11 had? BLUE SCREEN
IT'll be easy to make - just blue screen everything! buahahaha
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Link Flag
actually, free Windows NT workalike is coming...
check this out:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Now at version 0.30

It's useable now, but will be fully ready in about a year or two. They're targetting basic productivity and gaming, without the overhead of Windows "features," and built-in applications (IE, WMP, etc.).
Posted by Maccess (610 comments )
Link Flag
DOS is still useful
I recently worked in a payroll company and the software we used was built on top of dos and runs on dos. Hard to believe? Not really because many of the best accounting software out there still uses dos. Why? Because it is extremely stable.
Posted by alaaji (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
name a few of those "best accounting software" packages for us please.

Would that be quickbooks, People Soft, SAP, Lawson, the new MS accounting software? I did not know they had Dos versions these applications???????? Maybe they are not really used that much:)

I did find the disks to my DOS version of Quicken the other day when cleaning out my basement.....I should have saved them!!
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Windows PE or Knoppix are much better for doing any PC repairs. And any real technician already has MS DOS floppies, or access to XP machine which can create MS DOS boot disk in case he needs to work with an ancient PC that can't boot from CD or USB. If he tested all his utilities with MS DOS, why switch?

Maybe some guys will find FreeDOS useful, but PC technicians don't need it - WinPE/Knoppix/MSDOS work great.
Posted by Mike E. (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get it now and recieve a FREE 8-track tape!
Such a deal!
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So, now that Microsoft has....
... "released the last official standalone version of MS-DOS"; when will the world see the release of OS/2 Warp Codes into the Open Source Community.... Duh!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow the timing...
What they are only 10 or 11 years too late. What a joke. Sure, I am drop windows and go back to DOS. Now I can... what the heck can I do in DOS. Nothing is made for DOS any more. Oh, oh, I know I can run Pong! Oh thank god I was about to die without that.

Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now if I can find programs that can run on these...
Really, maybe it's free but the only reason I can think of that's beneficial to this is to run those old programs that does not exist anymore, or maybe Norton Ghost.
Not only that, the memory leaks and flaws in the Dos OS will still be there.
Now, Can it run on a 64 bit CPU? how about dual core stuff? are there drivers for even the 3 year old audio cards?
Posted by rxbudian (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Memory Leaks & Flaws
&gt; Not only that, the memory leaks and flaws in the
&gt; Dos OS will still be there.

Would you mind elucidating? Thanks. Fact is, FreeDOS would NOT exhibit the same memory leaks and flaws unless exactly the same bugs were introduced into the same places in the same code. While this isn't patently impossible, it certainly is _practically speaking_ impossible.

FreeDOS is not based on Microsoft, IBM, DR-DOS or any other derivative. Most of the codebase has its behaviour extrapolated from reading the fine manual and using Ralf Brown's Interrupt List. None of the code could possibly be based on anything other than "behavioural inspiration".

So much for your memory leaks and flaws for the OS.

I suppose I'm biased. I contributed two FreeDOS utilities: which and sleep.

Sure, it can run on a 64-bit CPU, just not in 64-bit mode. Sure, it can run on a dual-core system, just not take advantage of it. If the 3-year-old audio cards have DOS drivers, chances are rather good that they'll work fine on FreeDOS.

So there. Pbtbtbtbtbtbtbtbttttt. ;-)

(Grin already, a free DOS is FUN!)
Posted by Trane Francks (936 comments )
Link Flag
Yes it is useful indeed!
After reading all the comments I would like to say I also work on a whole lot of computers as an IT Specialist. I also work on a lot of machines for the medical research industry that use small embedded PC's with limited drive space. DOS is very useful here in these applications. Also computers have indeed become quite complex these days and I do know a few programmers who love having a DOS slice on their computers to actually handle a few mundane things and actually play arond with the DOS only BASIC programming. Personally I not being a programmer by trade appreciate using a DOS shell from time to time and even play a few DOS only games that are out there. The point is DOS is not for everbody but is still important to many of us. When DOS and Windows 3.11 where out I had both loaded on my computer but could neve bring myself to use windows at all. I had XTree Gold for the file manager, used Direct Access for the menusystem and other specialized programs for memory management. All I remembered is having a whole lot of fun when I was not working on my Amigas 1000 and 2000.
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
! ! ! 2006, the year of the FreeDOS Desktop ! ! !
FreeDOS will sweep the country as everyone discovers this amazing operating system. Windoze and Linsux will crumble and whither as their pathetic bloated userbase rides the waves of momentum of FreeDOS. No longer will we need gigabytes of hard drive space and megabytes of memory to support useless graphical user interfaces! No more will we have to deal with windows registries or linux distro's! No longer will we have to wait a lifetime for the computer to boot! Download and install your copy now before you're left behind with the mindless sheep. Free yourself from Windows and Linux and you'll never go back. FreeDOS will cover the face of the globe. Gates and Torvolis should whip themselves, engage in self mutilation, make humiliating appearances on Jerry Springer, move to a trailer park in a swamp in Louisiana, THEN kill themselves to avoid the impending humiliation they will receive. Anyone who would dare dissagree is a stupid idiot FanBoy.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Enjoyed the "tongue in cheek"
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Link Flag
Free Me from DOS
I have tried my best to forget DOS. Now some group who is stuck
on DOS wants to bring it BACK? OMG NO!!!!
Posted by jesmac418 (35 comments )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.