Discussions on programming older machines

Re: FreeDOS

Postby Trixter » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:47 pm

No news, although FreeDOS just released version 1.2 recently, so maybe someone can give it another try. It will require installation onto a larger system, as they don't make a 5.25" DSDD distro available. In fact, it might need to be recompiled for 8086 because I don't think they default to that either.
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Re: FreeDOS

Postby jmetal88 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:04 pm

No news from me, I eventually just gave up on it.

Anybody else give it a go?
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Re: FreeDOS

Postby Brutman » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:22 pm

I have found FreeDOS to be kind of hostile to vintage computer collectors, which is maddening.

It is pretty much expected that you will be running an 80386 CPU or better because a lot of the new programming uses a DOS extender to allow for a large, 32 bit address space. To me with my 16 bit machines that is kind of maddening; people just don't want to do the extra work to make programs run on 16 bit machines because segmentation and small memory spaces are hard. I've written both an FTP and an HTTP server with gobs of features than run on a lowly PCjr, yet the FreeDOS network package installer needs a 32 bit machine.

There are FreeDOS distributions which are geared toward smaller 8086 class machines; some of them are linked from the FreeDOS web pages. There is often discussion about new FreeDOS variants on their mailing lists, but most of those variants are lame rehashes of the main project so they are not terribly interesting. Look for SVAROG at which is probably one of the better ones.

FreeDOS wants to be open source 'pure', but unfortunately that means that a lot of older software can not be distributed as part of FreeDOS. A lot of older software was just labeled as 'shareware', 'freeware', or 'public domain' without source code or without a license that meets modern 'open' standards. It's not bad software, but because it was written before the free software movement really took hold it often has the wrong or no license associated with it. I'd love to see a more pragmatic DOS software repository that allows for things that are not necessarily open source but are still 'free' enough to be distributed.
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Re: FreeDOS

Postby Shaos » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:17 am looks promising - will look at it later...
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Re: FreeDOS

Postby OldComputerGuy » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:08 pm

Shaos wrote:Any news on this topic? I'm interested in running FreeDOS on PCjr

Same here.
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