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MS-DOS still wins (except when it doesn't) (Miscellaneous)

posted by Rugxulo(R) Homepage, Usono, 09.04.2009, 14:39

> > And let's be honest, without an active developer or sources, it's dead.
> and
> > It's amazing how little FreeDOS is used by you guys. Oh well, whatever.
> To each his own.
> This isn't "amazing", it's reasonable and a matter of course. Let's see
> the FD pros and cons:
> [talkative]
> + FD is "free" and "open source".
> Fine - but virtually a non-issue for 99.97% of the FD users ( as you can
> see, I'm optimistically assuming that there are 10.000 FD users and 3 of
> those are able to understand the sources). Additionally, FD costs nothing,
> but since there are at least 1 billion of WinXP or Win9x licenses around
> which include MS-DOS 8 or 7.1, it isn't that big an advantage for private
> users.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of people that don't have licenses for Windows (yes, it surprised me too), esp. those who buy computers to manually assemble or recycle old ones. A lot of them prefer GNU/Linux, which I'm sure you've heard of. And MS isn't too keen on sharing files with non-subscribers, so FreeDOS is your only choice there. (Now if only somebody somewhere would actually include DOSEMU + FreeDOS in a distro!)

Besides, OEM licenses of Windows are get stricter by the version ("this computer only"). And even if "only 3" understand the sources, at least they can learn and fix it eventually (unlike MS-DOS). I think FreeDOS is a bit stagnant only because it's "good enough" for those who worked on it. Also, they don't do this for money, so they do have other responsibilities and jobs. Plus, as even Linux devs will tell you, you can't keep up a frantic developing pace forever, it wears you out. Sometimes you have to take a hiatus.

> + FD is "alive"
> There is reportedly a maintainer remaining for the FD kernel, but I'm
> unable to see "progress" - on the contrary, the recent versions of the FD
> kernel are now incompatible with HX, and I don't believe this will change
> anytime soon.

What kernel has what incompatibility? I've never heard anything about this. (Although, to be fair, you also said OpenWatcom 1.8 wasn't compatible anymore either. I don't know why.) E-mail the freedos-kernel mailing list if you have to.

> - FD is slow(er)
> This was the result of a test a couple of years ago and since nothing has
> changed on the FD side I assume it is still valid. The differences were
> "significant".

As I recall, this was just a COPY test. There are many third-party tools that will be much faster. We're just talking defaults here. And since most people don't need that, it hasn't been worked on.

> - FD isn't fully compatible
> some things are implemented differently (syntax of config.sys),

Actually, MS didn't implement DR-DOS' syntax correctly (since they invented it first). So I don't know which was supposed to be preferred by FreeDOS (although I think there was a patch in the works at one time by Arkady to mirror MS-DOS MENU syntax).

> some
> things are missing altogether. Anyways, some apps won't run, or at least
> won't run properly. Regrettably at least one of those apps (OW's WD) is
> frequently used by me.

Won't run at all or just has quirks? There are some minor incompatibilities, yes, e.g. TC++ 3.0 last I heard, and it's a shame, but it's not nearly as bad as you make it sound. This isn't set in stone, guys. If you have a problem with it, either find somebody to fix it or try fixing it yourself.


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