DOS (formerly Free-
DOS and PD-DOS) is a free operating system for
IBM PC compatible
IBM PC compatible computers. It intends to provide a complete
DOS-compatible environment for running legacy software and supporting
embedded systems.[not in citation given]
DOS can be booted from a floppy disk or USB flash drive. It
is designed to run well under virtualization or x86 emulation.
Unlike MS-DOS, Free
DOS is composed of free and open-source software,
licensed under the terms of the
GNU General Public License.[need
quotation to verify] Therefore, its base distribution does not require
license fees or royalties and creation of custom distributions is
permitted. However, other packages which form part of the FreeDOS
project include non-
GPL software considered worth preserving, such as
4DOS, which is distributed under a modified MIT License.[not in
2.1 Commercial uses
2.2 Non-commercial uses
DOS and Win32 console
3.3 DOS-based Windows
3.4 Windows NT and ReactOS
5 See also
7 External links
DOS project began 29 June 1994, after
Microsoft announced it
would no longer sell or support MS-DOS. Jim Hall who at the time was a
student posted a manifesto proposing the development of an
open-source replacement.[not in citation given] Within a few
weeks, other programmers including
Pat Villani and Tim Norman joined
the project. Between them, a kernel (by Villani), the COMMAND.COM
command line interpreter (by Villani and Norman), and core utilities
(by Hall) were created by pooling code they had written or found
available. There have been many official pre-release
distributions of Free
DOS before the final Free
DOS 1.0 distribution.
GNU/DOS, an unofficial distribution of FreeDOS, was discontinued after
version 1.0 was released.
DOS 1.1, released on 2 January 2012, is available for download
as a CD-ROM image: a limited install disc that only contains the
kernel and basic applications, and a full disc that contains many more
applications (games, networking, development, etc.), not available as
of November 2011[update] but with a newer, fuller 1.2. The
legacy version 1.0 (2006) consisted of two CDs, one of which was an
8MB install CD targeted at regular users and the other which was a
larger 49MB live CD that also held the source code of the project.
DOS is used by several companies:
Dell preloaded Free
DOS with their n-series desktops to reduce their
cost. The firm has been criticized for making these machines no
cheaper, and harder to buy than identical systems with Windows.
HP provided Free
DOS as an option in its dc5750 desktops, Mini 5101
netbooks and Probook laptops. Free
DOS is also used as
bootable media for updating the
BIOS firmware in HP systems.
GRC's SpinRite 6, a hard drive maintenance and recovery program,
Intel's Solid-State Drive Firmware Update Tool loads the FreeDOS
DOS is also used in multiple independent projects:
FUZOMA is a FreeDOS-based distribution that can boot from a floppy
disk and converts older computers into educational tools for
FED-UP is the Floppy Enhanced DivX Universal Player.
DOS Version History
16 September 1994
10 August 1996
25 March 1998
28 October 1998
21 April 1999
9 April 2000
10 August 2000
18 March 2001
7 September 2001
7 April 2002
28 September 2004
3 September 2006
2 January 2012
25 December 2016
DOS itself requires a PC/XT machine with at least 640kB of
memory. Programs not bundled with Free
DOS often require additional
DOS and Win32 console
DOS is mostly compatible with MS-DOS. It supports COM executables,
DOS executables and Borland's 16-bit DPMI executables. It is
also possible to run 32-bit DPMI executables using
DOS extenders. The
operating system has several improvements relative to MS-DOS, mostly
involving support of newer standards and technologies that did not
Microsoft ended support for MS-DOS, such as
internationalization, or the Advanced Power Management TSRs.[not
in citation given] Furthermore, with use of HX
DOS Extender, many
Win32 console applications function properly in FreeDOS, as do some
rare GUI programs, like
QEMU and Bochs.
DOS is able to run
Microsoft Windows 1.0 and 2.0 releases. Windows
3.x releases, which had support for i386 processors, can not fully be
run in 386 Enhanced Mode except partially in experimental FreeDOS
kernel 2037.
Problems running Windows result from Microsoft's efforts to prevent
their products running on non-
in citation given]
Windows 95, 98 and ME use a stripped down version of MS-DOS. FreeDOS
cannot be used as a replacement because of undocumented interfaces
DOS 7.0-8.0 and Windows 4.xx not emulated by FreeDOS;
however, it can be installed and used beside these systems using a
boot manager program, such as BOOTMGR or METAKERN included with
Windows NT and ReactOS
Windows NT-based operating systems, including Windows 2000, XP, Vista
and 7 for desktops, and Windows Server 2003, 2008 and 2008 R2 for
servers, do not make use of MS-
DOS as a core component of the system.
These systems can make use of the FAT file systems, which are used by
DOS and earlier versions of Windows; however, they typically use
NTFS (New Technology
File System) by default for security and
other reasons. Free
DOS can co-exist on these systems on a separate
partition or on the same partition on FAT systems. The Free
can be booted by adding it to the
Windows 2000 or XP's NT Boot Loader
configuration file, boot.ini, or freeldr.ini equivalent for
FreeDOS's default text editor—a clone of the MS-
DOS Editor with
FAT32 is fully supported and is the preferred format for the boot
drive. Depending on the
BIOS used, up to four LBA (Logical block
addressing) hard disks up to 128 GB, or 2 TB, in size are
supported. There has been little testing with large disks, and
some BIOSes support LBA but produce errors on disks larger than 32 GB;
a driver such as OnTrack or EZ-Drive resolves this problem.[citation
DOS can also be used with a driver named LFN
DOS to enable
support for Windows 95-style long file names, but most old
programs before Win95 do not support LFNs even with driver loaded
unless they have been recompiled. There is no planned support for
NTFS, ext2 or exFAT, but there are several external third-party
drivers available for that purpose. To access ext2fs, LTOOLS
(counterpart to Mtools) can sometimes be used to copy data to and from
ext2fs drives.
Blinky, the mascot of FreeDOS.
Blinky the Fish is the mascot of FreeDOS. He was designed by Bas
Windows Command Prompt
List of computing mascots
free software portal
DOS Spec". Free
DOS Wiki. Freedos. 2008-12-24. Retrieved
^ a b c "The Free
DOS Project". SourceForge. 2006-05-21. Retrieved
^ a b c Free
DOS History; freedos.org
^ Villani, Pat (1996). Free
DOS Kernel. Emeryville, CA, USA: Miller
Freeman. ISBN 0-87930-436-7.
^ "Software List » UTIL". FreeDOS. The Free
^ "Main Page". Free
DOS Wiki. The Free
DOS Project. Retrieved
^ Franske, Ben (2007-08-21). "Booting
DOS from a USB flash drive".
Archived from the original on February 18, 2010. Retrieved
^ "How to Create a Bootable Free
DOS Floppy Disk". 2005-07-19.
^ Gallagher, Sean (2014-07-14). "Though "barely an operating system,"
DOS still matters (to some people)". ArsTechnica. Condé Nast.
Retrieved 2017-02-09. But Free
DOS has become much more friendly to
virtualization and hardware emulation—it's even the heart of the
^ "4DOS". FreeDOS. The Free
DOS Project. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
^ Jim Hall interviewed on the TV show FLOSS weekly on the TWiT.tv
^ Hall, Jim (1994-06-29). "PD-
DOS project *announcement*".
Newsgroup: comp.os.msdos.apps. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
^ Hall, Jim (2002-03-25). "The past, present, and future of the
DOS Project". LinuxGizmos.com. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
^ Hall, Jim (2006-09-23). "About". FreeDOS. The Free
Archived from the original on 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
^ Adams, David. "Introducing GNU/
DOS 2005". OSNews. Retrieved 27
^ Marinof, Mihai. "GNU/
DOS Project Discontinued". Retrieved 27
^ Hall, Jim (2012-01-02). "Announcement on official Free
SourceForge. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
^ a b "Free
DOS 1.0". FreeDOS.org. The Free
DOS Project. Archived from
the original on 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
^ Vance, Ashlee. "How
Dell repels attempts to buy its 'open source'
PC". The Register. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
^ "HP Compaq dc5750 Business PC". Hewlett-Packard. Archived from the
original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
^ "First Look at HP's Low-Cost Pro
Book Laptop Lineup". EWeek.
^ McCracken, Harry (2009-06-23). "HP's Mini 5101: Netbook Deluxe, With
All the Trimmings". Technologizer. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
DOS Bootable Media". HP. 2010-10-25. Retrieved
^ Leon A. Goldstein (2004-07-19). "SpinRite 6.0 for
Linux Journal. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
^ "Intel® SATA Solid-State Drive Firmware Update Tool". Intel.
Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 27 November
^ "FUZOMA Educational Software". Retrieved 2009-12-18.
^ "Floppy Enhanced DivX Universal Player". Retrieved 2009-12-18.
DOS software package comparison; ibiblio.org
^ Jim Hall (2007-10-02). "Removing old distributions from ibiblio"
(Mailing list). freedos-devel. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
^ Lowe, Scott (2003-07-22). "Configure IT Quick: Use Free
DOS as a
replacement for MS-DOS". TechRepublic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved
^ Broersma, Matthew (September 4, 2006). "
DOS lives! Open source
reinvents past". Techworld. Archived from the original on November 2,
^ Grech, Andreas. "HX
DOS Extender". Archived from the original on
October 3, 2014.
^ Aitor (2014-09-03). "Windows on FreeDOS?". FreeDOS. Retrieved
^ Lea, Graham (2000-01-13). "Caldera vs
Microsoft - the settlement".
BBC News. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
^ Herbert, Marc (2004-10-01). "Install Free
DOS without any CD, floppy,
USB-key, nor any other removable media". Retrieved 2009-05-26.
^ "FreeLoader -
ReactOS Wiki". reactos.org. Retrieved
^ Hilpert, Dominik (2015-05-07). "Creating a Bootable
DOS USB Stick".
^ Mueller, Scott (2013-03-22). Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 21st
Edition. Que Publishing.
^ Gallagher, Sean (2014-07-03). "Old school: I work in
DOS for an
entire day". ArsTechnica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
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