Hello there FreeDOS community, I've been a FreeDOS user for 3 years so far, and I'd like to thank the developers for their effort and their amazing job. The reason I first looked out for a free/open source version of DOS, was that, being a retrogamer, I had grown up tired of dosbox and wanted to have a real DOS system to run all my games and possibly, the old programs I owned back in the 90s when I was a child and had a pc with MS-DOS 5.0 atop of it (as well as, later on, another pc with Windows ME).
Anyway, as clearly stated on FreeDOS home page, the purposes for ever installing it are in fact legacy softwares, dos-games, and embedded systems. I'm sure this comes from some sort of survey carried out among FreeDOS users. In light of that, I bet as well that the idea of making a "modern version" of a MS-DOS\Dr-DOS\CP/M-86 like system (maybe 32 bit, multitasking, real-mode, with modern software compatibility), was dropped after having seen what people really needed, which was a true old-school dos, running on newer hardware, being able to be burnt on a USB flash-drive and to be installed even without a floppy disk. So, since there's plenty of good modern and even free OSes out there, the only reason for FreeDOS to be still developed is to one thing and do it well: to be a powerful DOS with many enhancements, an active community and a good support. I can confirm that, I would never exchange FreeDOS with MS-DOS, whereas there would be too many things I'd miss: starting from FAT32 support, passing through the FreedDOS additions (the drivers, jemm, wcd, shsucd*,xfdisk, ntfs, fdapm, nnansi, unzip, foxtype, devload, dos /32a, swsubst, and many others)to all the UNIX-like utilities (dosfsck, touch, tar, sleep, wget, du, lynx, the ports/repository system, clamav, the syslinux bootloader, freemacs, alpine, grep,etc). The reason that brought me about to start that thread is to discuss about another possible employment of FreeDOS: a pocket, portable system for everyday use; and that's mostly what I've been using it for in the latter year. I'm a Medicine student, and personally I like carrying my own system with me wherever I go, especially in case I decided not to brig my laptop with me. It's good to have all of your files on a USB bootable drive, so that you can boot in your operating system, with all the programs you feel comfortable with, a system you can feel free to mess with, without (mostly) worrying about the machine you're currently running it on (and that's all the more true with University's computers, libraries' and internet points' ones, computers of relatives and friends that contain important work and files). There are many other portable OSes available for that purpose on the Web, many of which I tried out throughout years: TinyCoreLinux, PicoBSD, DamnSmallLinux, PuppyLinux, KolibriOS, Minix and others. KolibriOS is in the best in terms of stability, system requirements, speed, boot time, space occupied (insanely small); however, it's a lone standing system, which means you have to accept it the way it is, with anything aside from the few softwares provided. Hence I'd say Tiny Core Linux is best, and it's the one I used almost always, if not for PicoBSD before it died out. As I mentioned I recently started adopting FreeDOS as my portable OS. The reasons why I ended up choosing it include the possibility to bring my dos-games with me, the fact I'm really fond of FreeDOS, its reliability and speedy boot. I guess people who commonly use Windows, and don't feel comfortable with Unix/Gnu-Linux, and people who used to work with MS-DOS, would benefit from trying FreeDOS as a pocket system. On youtube videos talking about FreeDOS, FreeDOS reviews online, I saw many comments of people trying to use it as everyday OS. Many argued about the lack of good GUI and criticized the fact OpenGem was no more installed by default (it's a one minute work though). Others looked disappointed after failing at making their optical drive available (I had a similar problem with a sata drive,though I worked it out loading gcdrom.sys and setting Native IDE mode on bios; I guess for most of those people it is just a matter of switching between AHCI and IDE mode, and letting UDVD2 d o the rest of the job). Undoubtedly it would have been great if FreeDOS were a more modern, up to date, 2017 reimplementation of DOS; however as we discussed above, this unlikely ever to happen, as if that's was the case, FreeDOS would lose its very reason of development, and, nonetheless, as Eric Auer told me, its simplicity and retro-compatibility would be gone, alongside its speed. I think that using windows 3.1 or 3.11 in enhanced mode would be enough to make FreeDOS more user-friendly and more likely to be a very good choice when dealing with everyday task involving a computer (see below why). It's true that windows 3 is not freeware nor shareware, but it's arguably the most easy to find not freeware operating system (environment) on the web. You can find it everywhere and many people, like me, still own their own copy. It is that old that I do not think microsoft would ever blame anyone for using it, but I recon as well that this is the most important con of making FreeDOS more compatible with it (would it be against FreeDOS policies?). When I speak of making FreeDOS and Windows more compatible, I'm talking of allowing the user to run windows in enhanced mode. It's commonly known in fact that FreeDOS is unable to run win /3, since Windows would ask for Himem.sys and EMM386.exe to be loaded first, and those two not only are prorietary but fail to load on FreeDOS, because they recognize it as a "not correct MS-DOS version" (damn Microsoft). Unfortunately this is not an issue limited to Windows: I discovered that some softwares that require expanded memory (some games like Colonization, Master of Orion, some media programs like Quickviewer) only look for EMM386 and completely ignore another memory expander, resulting in JEMM386.exe and HIMEMX.exe to be useless in those cases. I imagine, but I could be wrong, that a large part of the current FreeDOS community doesn't even use JEMM386 because the Legacy software they need doesn't require expanded memory (perhaps that's untrue for embedded systems?) and they prefer, as op posite, not to load it and have the maximum conventional memory available for a better performance. Hopefully the only thing (maybe too hard?) to do is to make JEMM386 more retrocompatible with it predecessor EMM. Windows3 is a very good GUI for DOS (although sometimes I prefer GEM). It is highly customizable, multitasking, and I like its tile window manager stile and its file manager more than explorer and start button of the later windows releases. It has many interesting and useful programs inside, all written in the new executable format. It can use the Microsoft network client and the NDIS drivers (many are available still now, I use one for my broadcom 57xx, and e1000.dos for my intel card on a another, 1 year old, desktop), whereas all the browsers for DOS only look for a packet driver to be loaded (and this makes internet on FreeDOS less versatile, unless you buy a old external network card). Moreover, with the svga patch (available online on various sites), you can run it with 1024x768 resolution, 256 colors and small fonts, on any monitor supporting it (almost any), with no effort. As opposite any windows 9.x, if used as a portable OS, on any modern computer, would boot in 640x400, or something like that and 16 colors, due to the lack of a proper video card driver. Many linux distros as well lack a proper driver and fail sometimes to reach the display (sometimes the vesa driver does not work, sometimes they detect a wrong card and load a wrong driver, like the nouveau driver for the latest Nvidia cards). One would argue why someone would ever need windows 3 to run in enhanced mode on FreeDOS, here I say why I personally would: - win32 extension allows the user to run early 32 bit applications. These include some win 95 programs, but, on top of all, the microsoft office 97 freeviewer for windows 3. One major problem having to deal with DOS is reading doc files, and MS-WORD has a WORD97 compatibility option when saving the document (sadly not a Word6 compatibility option). It's true that you can export your doc (or odf or others) files as txt, with dos compatibility, but this trick applies only to English-speaking users; I need to read instead documents full of accented letters which are lost and replaced by symbols during the conversion from UTF-8 to ASCII. FreeDOS adds foxtype (thank you very much for this, it was really appreciated) which resolves the issue, but, as a text displayer, doesn't allow any modification of the file. - AbdobeReader 3, runs in enhanced mode, and is able to easily open pdf files if previously saved in legacy compatibility mode (one thing Adobe reader 1 cannot do). This saves huge time if you really want to open the pdf in DOS (otherwise you would have had to convert each page to an image, or use dospdf, which automates the process, but is just able to correctly show a file no longer than 9 pages). - Internet Explorer 5 and the java extension for windows 3 also need it to be run in enhanced mode. Internet explorer is faster, more user-friendly, better-looking than Arachne or Dillo, and above all, can rely on a ndis2 driver. - Many other useful software require enhanced mode: calmira project, media player 5, irfan view, winzip, catfish, winbench, totalcommander, visualbasic, and others - There are many nice games designed for windows 3 and most of the run in enhanced mode by default: enhanced version of Civilization 1 for windows, enhanced version of Quake, GTA I, DarkSeeds 2, Chessmaster turbo 4000, Pirates, Blade oF Exile, Outpost, Warcraft 2 Hope those consideration are kind of help, I would be glad to hear others' opinions about any of the things I said and the experiences of other users who commonly use FreeDOS. It would be nice if there's anyone who tried to run windows 3 in enhanced mode. Finally I hope to hear the point of view of any developer, explaining why my proposition is whether a viable option or not. I'll keep enjoying FreeDOS meanwhile, thanks again for your attention (I know it's a long mail) Cheers Ps: if anyone plays at Supertuxkart on Linux, don't forget adding blinky among karts :) -- Paolo Vincenzo Olivo <p...@outlook.it> Sent from Sylpheed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Check out the vibrant tech community on one of the world's most engaging tech sites, Slashdot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot _______________________________________________ Freedos-user mailing list Freedosfirstname.lastname@example.org https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/freedos-user