On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM, Jack <gykazequ...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> Note on the FreeDOS "main page" that there are comments about FreeDOS
> offering "LBA" large-disk capability (48-bit disk addressing, not 24-
> bit "CHS"), which MS-DOS did not have, and which the "main page" says
> was unavailable except with DOS Windows.
> NOT quite true!

"FreeDOS lets you access FAT32 file systems and use large disk support
(LBA) — a feature not available in MS-DOS, and only included in
Windows 95 and newer."

> From having written and tested UIDE, I know that "LZ-DOS" and Wengier
> Wu's V7.10 MS-DOS both use "LBA" disk addressing.
> Luchezar Georgiev offered his multi-DOS "boot" diskette, which has an
> "LZ-DOS" option.

Presumably Bulgaria and China (and others) have laxer laws than the
U.S. (which enforces copyright until 70 years after owner's death).

> "LZ-DOS" is really V7.10 MS-DOS as a "VER" command
> will show.   Also, Wengier Wu of the China DOS Union offered a "full"
> MS-DOS V7.10 system, with the complete set of MS-DOS utilities plus a
> good system-installation scheme.   There may also be others.

Yes, AFAIK, LZ-DOS is just a compressed MS-DOS kernel ("LZ" for
Lempel-Ziv, I suppose). But it's probably not legal to download by
U.S. residents.

But just for clarity, "ver" is part of the shell, and if the shell is
clueless, it might just assume one particular DOS. I've never tried,
but I'm pretty sure using the DR-DOS COMMAND.COM would always say
"DR-DOS 7.03" even atop MS-DOS or FreeDOS kernels or similar. IIRC,
"set VER=3" would make it even say "DR-DOS 3.03"!

So this is not entirely conclusive. Presumably you'd have to find
explicit bugs or features in a particular kernel in order to truly
identify it (esp. if it is compressed and hacked with internal strings
modified). For trivia's sake, this is why most of us never knew that
ArrowSoft Assembler 2.00 was really MASM 4.0 in disguise.

> I believe Lucho's or Wengier's V7.1 MS-DOS systems can still be down-
> loaded from Internet sources.   They are NOT "bundled" with Win/95 or
> any other DOS Windows system.   Lucho's and Wengier's systems provide
> an "independent" V7.1 MS-DOS, which is still very useful.

Of course we all know that Win9x came with MS-DOS bundled. That was by
design. It was also by design that Win95's GUI portion was not
separate, i.e. even though PC-DOS and DR-DOS could run Win 3.1 just
fine, they could not (easily, directly) run Win95. I'm pretty sure
it's well-established that MS wanted to "control the standard" and
focus more on their own proprietary Win32 APIs than on older,
compatible APIs (e.g. DOS, that was fully supported by various
competitors, e.g. IBM, DR/Novell/Caldera). So DOS was only there until
they could replace it, e.g. XP [NT]. Although even XP will die soon
(no more security fixes after April, MSVC doesn't target it anymore,
etc.), but I doubt they'll ever give it away!

BTW, you can still make a DOS floppy in modern Windows via Explorer
[embedded inside DISKCOPY.DLL]. I tested this a few weeks ago atop
Win7 64-bit with my USB floppy drive. It's basically "MS-DOS 8.00"
(from WinME), but it has no SYS.COM, so you can't install to hard

> "Pundits" can say, as they wish, that V6.22 MS-DOS is the last "true"
> DOS officially released by Microsoft, and that there may be licensing
> issues over using V7.0+ MS-DOS.   But, Microsoft has never gone-after
> V7.0+ MS-DOS providers, like I doubt they ever will.   "DOS is dead!"
> has been their position since at least 1995 (maybe even 1987, as that
> was when they began writing Windows/NT).   I and others who work with
> V7.0+ MS-DOS should have few worries about it, 18 or 26 years later.

I would not trust "never gone after" as a reliable source. We don't
know who they've gone after, and certainly the U.S. is a fiercely
litigious society. It's not worth the risk. And I seriously seriously
doubt that anybody would sympathize with us if we did. It's safer to
just search eBay or old shops than download illegally.

> I believe the FreeDOS "main page" should be made a bit more ACCURATE!

Just use the "free DOS", i.e. FreeDOS. Don't waste time with MS-DOS.
Yes, I realize that's a bit biased. I'm not saying all the other DOSes
aren't good. Some have different advantages, weaknesses, bugs, etc.
Honestly, just use whatever you want to use, "whatever works!" I know
plenty of people still prefer MS-DOS (or DR-DOS) over FreeDOS.

But outside of explicit permission, you can't "freely" download,
modify, or redistribute any DOS besides FreeDOS. This is its whole
reason for existing. (Though I don't advocate anyone write software
that only runs on FreeDOS, that is not universally helpful.)

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