Busting the Biggest PC Myths

28 Jun 2004

Busting the Biggest PC Myths

DOS is dead. [myth]

Microsoft's MS-DOS, introduced in 1981, has earned the computer equivalent of a senior citizen's discount. But it ain't dead yet. According to research firm IDC, just over a million copies of DOS will be used at the end of this year, but that's down from 2.2 million in 2003.

IDC's best guess is that about 1000 new copies of all DOS flavors--MS-DOS, PC-DOS, and the rest--were installed last year. This year? Effectively zip. "There's still some life in it for real specific purposes," says IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky, "but there's zero growth in usage."

If you look hard, though, you can spot DOS in the real world. We've peeked at screens that look decidedly DOS-like in hotels (running ancient reservations systems), restaurants, car repair shops, and dental offices. DOS's most frequent use these days is in embedded applications where the computer does a fixed set of functions. But even there, DOS is getting the boot in favor of Linux.

Microsoft doesn't sell DOS at stores, and there's no way to acquire a new license in the United States or in many other countries; DOS is sold only in India and Singapore, and only through computer builders. The closest equivalent to it is the MS-DOS-compatible FreeDOS. Or bid for DOS on EBay.