On Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 6:18 PM, David Hedlund <pub...@beloved.name> wrote:
> I would love to have your operating systems listed in
> https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-non-gnu-distros.en.html

One GNU Emacs guy (Reuben Thomas) asked back in 2014, but nothing ever
came from it.


> however the Free Software Foundation staff said that those who want their 
> distros listed
> have to request it. Being listed involves a commitment to remove any nonfree
> software present" to quote Richard Stallman. Please mail to this address if
> you would like to get listed: campai...@fsf.org
> Can you do that?

What about hardware? Even ignoring obvious problems (hardware patents,
UEFI, Management Engine), you still need an x86 cpu with an IBM-style
BIOS. One guy (Kevin O'Connor) claimed that FreeDOS can run on some
Chromebooks with CoreBoot/SeaBIOS:


As far as the FreeDOS software itself goes ....

The bare minimum DOS is kernel and shell. The kernel itself (GPL) is
compiled by OpenWatcom (OSI but non-free):



The popular shell (FreeCOM) is also GPL but uses proprietary tools
(TurboC). There was an OpenWatcom port, but it wasn't finished and is
buggy. You can compile a simpler shell (Centroid, GPL) with DJGPP
(GCC), but it lacks many features that .BAT files require.


So that's bare minimum (not counting drivers / extensions like XMS or
DPMI or mouse or ...).

But, even then, FSF hates mentioning or linking to proprietary
software, yet FreeDOS is meant to be binary compatible with as much
legacy software as possible. So it's the same problem as ReactOS:


So, outside of the main FreeDOS 1.2 distribution (which honestly has
way too many files to vet), the logical choice (to me, since I made
it) is MetaDOS:


I tried to be 100% "open source", so that's as good as it gets. While
it doesn't include non-free software, it still partially needs
non-free tools and has indirect links to non-free software. Sure, you
can massage it, change it, remove functionality, port stuff to
different compilers, etc. It'd just be a lot of work, even for
something so lightweight.

If someone who is involved with the FSF really wants FreeDOS to be
included, I implore them to take a look at MetaDOS, which is quite
minimal. If even that isn't good enough (or close enough to fix), then
nothing else will be either. (I do actively maintain it, 0.5 is in the
works, but I'm not a miracle worker. I'm not quite smart enough to
rewrite everything from scratch or port all sources to other

So, in summary, FreeDOS overall still needs some work to port to
"Free" tools (compilers, etc). Sadly, this was unavoidable in the
early days, and there still hasn't been a huge effort to fix that yet.
It's harder than it sounds (but certainly not quite impossible). We
just don't have enough developers to solve every hurdle.

Check out the vibrant tech community on one of the world's most
engaging tech sites, SlashDot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot
Freedos-devel mailing list

Reply via email to