On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 6:53 PM, Bob Cochran <bcochra...@verizon.net> wrote:
> I am pretty ignorant of how FreeDOS is used by the community as I am
> sure my previous posts show. I would like to build a better
> understanding of FreeDOS. What is it used for most commonly? I know it
> is an operating system, of course, but I don't know why it is used as an
> operating system compared to other operating system choices. I would
> like to understand the user base for FreeDOS better. Are there many
> users, or just a small base of users, or somewhere in between?
I can't speak for the community, but can detail my usage.
FreeDOS is a "legacy" operating system. It's intended to be an open
source clone of MS-DOS/PC-DOS. DOS is a 16 bit operating system
developed for machines far slower and less powerful than the current
norm. The vast majority of users don't need DOS. Those who do need
to support legacy DOS apps or just like playing with retro-tech.
On 32 bit machines, you don't necessarily need FreeDOS to run DOS
apps. Windows through XP will run DOS apps in a window, using NTVDM.
The exceptions tend to be DOS games, which historically accessed the
PC hardware directly to get performance. This is a no-no under a
multi-tasking OS, as your app cannot assume it owns the machine and is
the only thing running. There are a couple of "virtual machine"
packages - DOSBox and DOSEmu - that are intended to address this,
making legacy apps think they own the machine, but it's sometimes
simpler to just boot directly to a flavor of DOS, and FreeDOS is one
I have FreeDOS installed on an old notebook, multi-booting with Win2K
Pro and two flavors of Linux. I can run most of the DOS apps I have
on the FreeDOS slice in a window in Win2K or in DOSBox under Linux as
well, but booting to pure DOS is faster. I started using DOS ion the
days when the original IBM PC was first taking over the corporate
desktop, and it can be fun to flex some long unused muscles.
> Bob Cochran
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