Gerry Hickman schreef:
Surely it's way ahead of any real-mode o/s Microsoft has ever written? I'm already using it (with the help of umbpci) to build production servers with the latest hardware. MS-DOS 5 and 6 are unusable on these boxes. MS-DOS FDISK isn't scriptable, and can't cope with huge hard drives, and EMM386 can't cope with SCSI and bootable USB devices properly. Nor can they manage the memory required for networking and NTFS drivers. FreeDOS runs all this like a dream without even switching to prot-mode.
If you have the opportunity to test EMM386 before taking a machine into production use.. Michael Devore will appreciate it :) In many aspects FreeDOS (or parts of it) is way beyond MS-DOS indeed. Finally a chance to implement additional functions in DOS core utilities that we want.
I don't really understand the interest in this. Why would anyone want to "install" it? I mean we all have CD-ROM and bootable memory sticks these days. Why not just release a bunch of files and let people write their own installers. It's a ten minute job. The convoluted SYSLINUX installer and crazy FDCONFIG.SYS menus just cause confusion. All you need is a boot sector, a kernel and a few pure-text config files. Some guys will create ready-rolled ISOs and that's fine, but I don't see why it needs to be part of the core o/s.
Some computers need a complete setup of the distribution, for example when you want to develop more software. Just like a full Linux distro comes with compilers etc though essentially, Linux is pretty easy to set up and lightweight. I'm aiming at a usable FreeDOS. If you merely need some binaries, just get ODIN, a single diskette binary distribution [ http://odin.fdos.org/odin2005/ ]. I never found the configuration of codepages, keyboard layouts and user's preferred language an easy thing, so I try to automate it.


if only diskettes were used, I would agree with a simply batchfile which does UNZIP or XCOPY /S for the contents of several diskettes.
being able to run Windows3.xx and installing Windows from
FreeDOS that are taking some effort.

Why anyone would run Windows 3.x I don't understand, but installing Windows from FreeDOS is a snap. I have 48 client PCs and 4 production servers all running Windows 2000 which were installed "hands-free" by FreeDOS. You can even use LBACACHE during the file copy phase and you get bags of memory. Way superior to Microsoft DOS.
I didn't know LBACACHE would be allowed by Win2000 setup process? Does it still want Smartdrv then? Setup process for Win9x is a bit more complex, you need the "SETUP /NM /IS" command instead of "SETUP", and even then you might still get some error. In these days, for Win3.xx goes the same as for DOS: there's a lot of applications written for it, and this version is pretty lightweight, unlike any later Windows and ReactOS.
Although I think Microsoft are trying to make it so you can't install Windows from real-mode anymore. They are trying to push people towards WinPE which is only available to rich corporations. You can still do Windows Server 2003 from FreeDOS, but I don't know about Vista and beyond...
Probably WinPE will boot from CD/DVD, then you can dump some preconfigured image file to harddisk, and then finish installation of Vista.
For me, the bigger issue would be native NTFS, UDF and NFS support, although I understand these are not really "DOS" as such. I mean how many FAT32 drives do you see these days? Not many, although I guess USB removables are causing a major FAT comeback!
true. these filesystems will never be native in DOS. There's not even an opensource SMB client for DOS. UDF is some kind of (read-only? packet writing?) filesystem for DVDs?
One thing that crosses my mind a lot is "Should I be using Linux for boot environments instead of FreeDOS?". I don't know the answer, but I imagine Linux will cope with very modern hardware such as x64 and protected execution, serial SCSI, USB and so on, but right now FreeDOS does everything I need.
Each operating system its own goals and uses :)

Bernd


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