FreeDOS 2.0 (or 1.1?)

2007-07-01

On to FreeDOS 2.0 ... or 1.1, or whatever label we eventually give it. I have been giving some thought lately to the next version of FreeDOS. I was, obviously, very thrilled when we finally released 1.0. But it's been a while, and we really should think about what comes next.

Post "1.0", I'd also like to see more utilities to make it possible to replicate some of the advanced features we take for granted in modern operating systems, such as Linux. I want to revive GNUish and replicate a modern UNIX-like environment under DOS. I want DOS to be usable by everyone, not just DOS geeks. Linux users should feel at home.

I'd like FreeDOS to appeal to Windows and Mac geeks, but for that we'd need to have a strong GUI. GEM is already out there, and is a fine, stable GUI for DOS.

The installer also needs work. When I first wrote the installer, it was text-only, very basic, text scrolling up from the bottom of the screen. But it did the job, and it was our first installer. By version 3 of the installer, I'd added a simple TUI, but it was still a pale imitation of where I wanted to go with the installer. The installer we have in 1.0 is basically the same look-and-feel as the original installer. The updated installer should be built with TurboVision or another standard TUI toolkit.

For features, Blair and I had put together a small "wish list" for the updated installer:

-jh


More thoughts from the freedos-user list are below ...


someone writes:

How about free defrag, has it been fixed yet? Can anyone give me pointers to help me understand the source code to free defrag so I can fix it myself? Out of all the software for Freedos 1 when it initially came out, what doesn't work?

What has been fixed so far? It would be nice if Freedos had something like yum or apt for doing automatic updates off the Internet.

Eric Auer:

Yes! We should make a FreeDOS 1.1 soon :-). Rugxulo reports that he found dozens of updates (thanks!!) for the programs which are included in FreeDOS 1.0, so we would need some HELPERS who can download all those updates and, where needed, put them in nice ZIP files with the right directory structure. The "right" dir structure is simply "as in the ZIPs that came with FreeDOS 1.0"... For most core FreeDOS components, the ZIPs will already be in the right structure.

When this is done, by one or several helpers, we have to collect the ZIPs at one place, and can put them all into a new ISO. I would like to help with the ISO, but I do not have the time to help with downloading all updates.

[Free Defrag] When I last looked, there were some bugs left, and nobody said they were fixed. Current version is 1.22?

I can answer questions by mail, but I cannot say "the bug is in file X" - otherwise I would even know how to fix it already :-).

[what doesn't work?] You should assume that all software that has been updated since 1.0 - see above - became better now.

In addition, please look at our bugzilla to see what probably does not work:

www.freedos.org/bugzilla/cgi-bin/buglist.cgi?bug_status=__open__

I recommend that you hit the "Assignee" link to sort the list by Assignee. When you hit "Sev", you will see that about one third of the 108 known bugs are enh. wishes or trivial or minor bugs. Note that quite a few bugs MIGHT be fixed already but simply nobody CHECKED if the reported problem is gone yet.

In short: We need testers! If anybody wants to test any of the reported bugs, please report your test results in bugzilla. If it is too much work for you to learn how to edit bugzilla entries, please send your test results by email. You can email the list or email me directly... Thanks a lot :-). You can also mail which bugs you want to be fixed FIRST :-).

[automatic updates] Many people do not have internet on their DOS PCs, but one thing that will happen is that we create a directory on the download server where you get all updated ZIPs since 1.0, so you do not have to download the whole 1.1 if you already have 1.0... Should we also have one big zip with all the contents of that update directory there?

Florian Xaver:

I don't like FreeDOS-FDISK. I am using Extended FDISK, it is very good and has a boot manager included.

Another choice would be JEMM, which includes both, JEMM386 and HIMEM in ONE driver.

Eric Auer:

[boot manager] I prefer the Linux or even Windows boot managers... One problem with xfdisk (I assume you mean xfdisk?) is that it failed to recognize a SATA disk in a case where SPFDISK did recognize the disk. This is why I recommend SPFDISK.

[JEMM] I think you mean JEMMX... Which is a bit too experimental at the moment. But I agree that we should include it. For the default, I recommend JEMM386 and the "tuned by Japheth" version of classic FD HIMEM. You also have to be aware that people like things which are similar to MS DOS, as they are used to that one. So for example one might say that J-FD-HIMEM "breaks" some old DOS games, because it has different defaults compared to MS DOS HIMEM, but in fact those are based on Win9x-HIMEM. As long as you KNOW that, you can adjust your configuration settings...

Anyway. Let us include both JEMM386 and JEMMX.

Bernd Blaauw:

yay QEMM386 , now only the Fastboot option as well please :)

Eric Auer:

[Fastboot] Bart has added support for that to the CVS/SVN version of our kernel. I hope Japheth noticed :-). The changes are: On int19 ("prepare for warm boot / warm boot / run boot sector" or however you want to call it), FreeDOS now un- hooks all hooked BIOS interrupts. And on boot, FreeDOS now stores the original vectors of several hooked BIOS interrupts at traditional 70:something (or 50:? 60:?) place in RAM. The latter is later used for int19 later, but can also be used directly. As said, the original BIOS interrupt vectors are stored at a "well known / standard" place in RAM by the CVS/SVN version of our kernel now :-).


Florian Xaver:

What should change with FreeDOS 2.0? Some ideas, I think, they have to be a must :-)

I also think, that it shouldn't be a BIG collection of all free DOS programs. The distribution should contain less, but powerful programs. (Download via WGET for additional tools could be possible.) If there are more than one (like file managers) we could make a poll at freedos.org where user and developer can choose them.

Network: Latest Arachne (a much more advanced version should be distributed soon) is a ''must", also tools like WGET. And one big problem still exists: a driver. So there should be a note at the installer, which points to FreeDOS Wiki or another site, where a good documentation exists (about installing such a driver).

And the GUI? I would say OZONE :-) Even with the drag'n'drop-bug it has many features and developing of programs isn't difficult.

Robert Riebisch responds:

Updated FED has been announced to a small audience only so far. For all others: It's at http://www.bttr-software.de/fed/ :-)

[One standard file manager (my choice would be FW or NDN)] http://sourceforge.net/projects/doszip/ evolves... :-)

[No more 386- support] I don't like this idea, because DOS was made for 808x CPUs. So FreeDOS should run on these CPUs too. That doesn't mean, that you can't distribute optimized binaries for later CPUs.

[Network:] Yes, please also include other networking (ping, nslookup, tracert, FTP client) from, e.g., Watt-32.

[And the GUI?] I don't need a GUI. Sorry. ;-)

Florian replies:

[doszip] I don't like it. First time I tried it it looked ok...but there are much better file managers out there.

[No more 386- support] Most changes, maybe all, which has been made, are for 386+ computers. So one can use FreeDOS 1.0.

[And the GUI?] Every OS needs a GUI. Also if you don't use it :-)

Geraldo Netto:

IMHO, we should list small and simple things to do first, Specially because it is faster and we have not enough manpower :(

while we all want many things, we have to take care of our dreams otherwise we can stall just like gnu Hurd, which is a *really* amazing project but is almost dead :(

Also, we already did the brainstorm a long time ago just before FreeDOS 1.0 release, so, let's merger Jim's/Blair's/others doc and take small and simple things and do it, step by step, I know sometimes we just want to work on our own projects, because they are funny for us I mean, our own projects are funny for us because they are interesting for us, but would be possible other developers join some project which needs more help?

I hope it helps :)

Mateusz Viste adds:

[4DOS] 4DOS is okay, but I would prefer to have Freecom by default, and the choice to switch to bash/4DOS, because Freecom is the most similar to MSDOS COMMAND.COM..

[JEMM] Good point here. JEMM is the natural evolution of Michael's EMM386, so it should be included as default.

[HX Extender] HX Extender in a default instalation? I would say no... it should be rather available as an optional package.

[PythonD] For me, batch is just okay :)

[FED or SETEDIT] The MS-EDIT from W98 is the best editor I've seen so far. To bad there aren't any free clone of it :(

[file manager] File manager should be optional. Personally, I don't use such tools, I prefer to COPY / DEL and REN my files. Of course there should be at least 2-3 choices for file manager.

[No more 386- support] Wow, not so fast! The purpose of FreeDOS is to reproduce a MSDOS system on x86 CPUs... Go read Jim's manifesto ;-)

[And the GUI?] Command-line is enough for me.

Florian responds:

[4DOS] But 4DOS is very compatible ... all batch files should work with 4DOS.

[HX Extender] why not? There could be a choice of "standard configuration" and "enhanced configuration". HX Extender should be a must :-) Also FDAPM & XDMA should be included in the enhanced config.sys.

[And the GUI?] Of course...but it could be installed too. New users should come to FreeDOS.

[File manager should be optional.] Why optional? If it is installed, you need not use it.

[The purpose of FreeDOS is to reproduce a MSDOS system on x86 CPUs.] Wasn't it the purpose of FreeDOS 1.0? What changed with 8086 code? I think nothing. So FreeDOS 2.0 wouldn't bring new things to this computers....

Joris van Rantwijk writes:

[No more 386- support] I don't like this.

[...] Since FreeDOS 1.0, support for 8086 actually improved. A few executables were unnecessarily incompatible with 8086 and have been fixed through trivial changes to compilation/compression settings.

Also I'm quite sure that there were real bugfixes for at least one 8086 compatible program. And of course there will be future bugfixes for programs that are currently 8086 compatible.

Mateusz Viste "Fox" adds:

[FDAPM & XDMA should be included in the enhanced config.sys] Yes, if you are talking about an "enhanced conf", then I will agree. But by default (basic conf.), the user should get something similar to an MSDOS clone, without bells and whistles...

[Why optional? If it is installed, you need not use it.] Don't like to have things I will never use :-P

[Yes, but new users like GUI, I think.] I'm not sure there are much "new users" in FreeDOS... it's rather "old MSDOS users which discovered a free alternative", and I think they are expecting to replace their MSDOS installation, not a desktop OS... Of course, a GUI should be available IF the user wants it (again, "enhanced install"?)...

I think there should be 3 "modes" of installing FreeDOS:

  1. Basic install = kernel + freecom + move/format/fdisk etc... The user get a clone of a MSDOS install - not more, not less. Of course things like FDAPM/XDMA should be included anyway. It's my prefered way of using FreeDOS :-)
  2. Enhanced install - All the above + some GUIs / HX ext / maybe few games etc...
  3. Custom installation - let the user to choose (check/uncheck) what packages he exactly wants to install.

Derek Newhall:

I rarely post on the list at all but I think that there has been a trend recently to add features to FreeDOS but skip over the fact that it's supposed to reproduce DOS as faithfully as possible. I wasn't all that happy with FD 1.0 and still use my custom install of beta-9 rc5.

Bernd Blaauw:

While FreeDOS isn't something like Gentoo (or Linux at all), I'd love to have some kind of build system so we ensure the 8086 compatibility. Right now all programs have to be compiled by their own makefiles (and compilers, linkers etc), and I got no idea on how to make it like a batch job, some kind of master script for compiling (and compressing) all programs for a certain platform.

The suggestion of 4DOS seems fine as both usable shell, and as a way to have additional functionality during installation time (for example creating diskettes from the CD). On the other hand, 4DOS is worthless for diskettes for example due to size of its binary (200KB?) and requiring swapping to XMS, EMS or disk.

Once I can get my hands on VmWare Workstation 6 I'll do some DOS-related stuff again, provided I dont lack time. It's still a nice project and it would be a shame if it was stalled at the magic 1.0 label.

Eric Auer:

[4DOS] I still think FreeCOM is the better default, has most compatibility. But the others should certainly be included. As for example ReginaRexx and Perl for DOS and FreeBasic.net :-).

[JEMM] Very good idea. And JEMMX as option - it has plugins, one might eventually write a "virtual SB16 to AC97 hardware" plugin for that plugin system. Another candidate might be DISPLAY, as that uses quite a bit of RAM.

[HX Extender] I would just include it, but would not load any DOS extender as TSR by default.

[PythonD] Why not...

[FED or SETEDIT] Maybe not as default - SETEDIT is really big - but SETEDIT should nevertheless be INSTALLED by default. And/or FED.

[file manager] To be more exact: At least one file manager and GUI should be part of a "recommended" install.

[No more 386- support] It does not make much difference to compile most apps for 8086, so I would only optimize those for 386+ where you get a real gain from 32bit and/or protected mode usage. Dosfsck and the caches are good examples of 386+ modules. While only few people use pre-386 CPU, I still prefer to keep using FreeDOS as such useable on ancient PC. Of course you can always say "PC XT users can use FreeDOS 1.0"...

[shouldn't be a BIG collection] Agreed, for example bootablecd.de has a separate games CD anyway, and there are piles and piles of freeware, shareware and abandonware for DOS. It is certainly not our mission to throw all those in some ISO or anything. Our distro should fit on 1 CDROM, at most a few 100 MB installed, with mostly open source and other very free software. Possible with 1.0, when you skip the few largest packages, you get a 100 MB DOS.

[...] I see no problem in including 2-3 file managers, but before we would include 10, we should better vote for the 2-5 best.

[...] We should really talk about internet with DOS more - it seems many people do use their old PC with DOS and Arachne to have a second "surf PC" around, so FreeDOS should make a statement that we do support that use of DOS, too.

Eric adds:

[something similar to an MSDOS clone] I got similar feedback and also think that a base / default install should not, like, install 20 TSRs for the new XY 3d popup GUI or anything ;-).

[...] I got the following feedback (rough translation) in German:

"Normal USERS need: verbose docs in their own language, also printable and online, help during install, checks of the system during install, a package selection, and a tested complete suite of software"

So they want better docs and something that feels familiar to MS DOS experienced users. The installer COULD contain some config / dual boot wizards, but I think it SHOULD not contain complex attempts to help with fdisk, format, dual boot, usb, similar. Just too easy to get wrong, see WinXP ;-).

My personal idea of an install wizard will help you to dual boot on a FAT partition but will neither fdisk nor format anything at all nor would it access non FAT drives at all.

Mikiya Matsuzaka:

[internet with DOS] Definetely. And folder sharing with Windows Network also. Debian can access both internet and Windows Network by default. Yet, I don't find better default than MS LanMan's 'NET' command.

Eric adds:

[JEMM] Not as default, by the way ;-)

[...] Dos is much more than a FAT driver, but a JEMMX plugin version of DOSLFN would be an idea... For example if you let FreeDOS move the "list of lists" to UMB or even HMA, you get, afair, 10 kB more low DOS RAM free, but get less compatibility. So a virtual kernel would have similar problems. You would get more something like dosbox than something like dos ;-).

Japheth responds:

[DOSLFN] why should this be better than a full VFAT driver? AFAICS DOSLFN suffers from not being tightly integrated into the DOS FAT driver.

Florian adds:

[...] I read some of such arguments in the past (not from you, Eric :-). Like "this wouldn't be DOS anymore..." or "then it would be like Linux...." or "I only want to have a MS-DOS replacement" etc. I like the idea of a modern OS called DOS. I am using all of new software/drivers which are available. If FreeDOS 1.1 or 2.0 will not include an "enhanced configuration" I will think of an own distribution.

DOS stands for me: compatiblity of old and new software, modular design, possibility of 16-Bit, 32-Bit, real and protected mode. And of a very very fast and small operating system.

tom ehlert:

[DOSLFN] that's right; but (as a wild guess) LFN integrated into the kernel shouldn't use more then ~5 K. no real problem - there's still space in the HMA.

Alain M:

I believe that we should then have more than one "DISTRO", like Linux, this could be BigFreeDOS, while a basic FreeDOS distro should remain basicaly the same.

I believe that some "Distro" should come as close to the original MS-DOS as possible.

chris evans:

Freedos needs to remain backwards compatible with 8086 cpu. Perhaps, a protected mode 386/486 kernel can be made and allow user or real mode kernel to decide (autodetect) which to use at boot up.

Nick Warren:

You know what would be really awesome in FreeDOS? multitasking. There are no open source multitaskers for DOS. They used to have some programs that did that a long time ago, but they were all proprietary. When I say "multitasking", I don't mean "task switching" like in MS DOSShell. Can this be done?

Jack Kelly:

If we're putting together a wishlist, I'd say a packet driver that works with PXE-booted machines so you avoid having to use the (huge - in low memory terms) MS network client to load some UNDI NDIS driver like 3Com's undis3c.dos and a NDIS-packet driver shim.

This thought has been around for a while: http://wiki.fdos.org/Blog/Bernd

and there's a commercial solution, emboot: http://www.emboot.com/

But as always, an open alternative is nicer.

Alain M responds:

[multitasking] I would personaly use a small Linux Distro and many instances of DOSEMU.

That way you have everything stable and well tested with a very good performance.

IIRC there was such a thing: http://www.magma.com.ni/~jorge/lios/

It would be nice to have a modern port of that :)

Nick Warren adds:

Another thing that would be really great woudl be an equivalent of QBASIC. QBASIC is a great old language, but I don't think there's an open source equivalent and if there was, it should be part of FreeDOS. I guess there's FreeBASIC, but it's a compielr, QBASIC was an interpreter.

Robert Riebisch replies:

[QBASIC] There are already the bwBASIC or Regina Rexx interpreters included with `fdfullcd.iso'.

Eric responds:

[bwBASIC] We once made an attempt to add sound/graphics/... support to bwbasic, but there was not enough interest to keep that project going. I think FreeBasic.net is way better than bwbasic. The only good thing of the latter is that it runs on 8086. Maybe you could motivate the freebasic people to add an interpreter mode. Actually it might be possible to write a BASIC program that uses some eval(string) like calls for that?

For now, what FreeBasic needs are DOS-experienced testers. Please grab your old collection of Basic sources and try how well they run in FreeBasic. I think it even has a "behave more like qbasic" compatibility mode. But you often need only few changes to port Qbasic sources to FreeBasic anyway :-).

Please get FreeBasic 0.17b testing for DOS from http://www.freebasic.net/index.php/download and then unzip the daily updates from http://drv.nu/freebasic/dev/ on top of them. Much better than 0.16b stable but needs feedback before the daily builds can lead to a new stable version :-).

Thanks for testing! Enjoy FreeBASIC :-).


someone writes:

I want the focus to be on fixing defrag along with other utilities and implementing a package management system similar to Slackware's.

What some of the programs do could be documented better. I get the impression that people are expected to have old manuals lying around, but dos died a long time ago and people probably threw software out fearing Y2K incompatibility.

I got a backup copy of WP 6.0 dos to work in Freedos 1.0, no printer support though.

Ultima VII does not work. No matter what memory configuration I try, it insists that there isn't enough memory. There is the Exult project, but it died. For the Fedora Core 1 port, getting sound to work is almost impossible. Maybe Exult can be ported to Freedos. The other option is figuring out why Ultima VII is insisting there isn't enough memory and trying to fix that.

I am impressed with what does work such as Commander Keen Goodbye Galaxy and Ultima Underworld.

The focus that I think is needed:

Wish list:

Eric Auer:

please explain the package mgmt suggestion. At the moment, we have a system where each package is in a ZIP and you could simply use "unzip" and "zip -mf" to install and un- install a package. But we even have a package mgr with support for batch scripts and dependencies :-). Which is almost a bit overkill, as DOS apps have hardly any deps.

[documentation] We have the htmlhelp, and the bootablecd.de webmaster is working on a big project to update it and provide a German translation. Any help with that would be very welcome!

[Ultima VII] Yeah, http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=104706&cid=8917871 writes: "These days, U7 is nothing more than a nightmare with which to scare DOS emulator authors. For playing the game, there's Exult."

I think Ultima7 has a special DOS extender which is EMM386 incompatible (also SBPCI/SBLive incompatible as those are only virtual SB16 and have AC97 hardware for which U7 has no driver). You may want to experiment with the HIMEM options to limit the amount of reported memory. Sometimes the problem is having too much RAM. Try the HIMEM (and maybe EMM386) from www.japheth.de :-).

You say that Exult is dead / has "no" sound in the Fedora Core version. Can you explain the details? I think it would be a lot easier to repair Exult than to port it to DOS. See also: http://exult.sourceforge.net/

[no more betas] Which utilities are affected?

[Improve compatibility] Examples?

[non tcp/ip network protocol] Non-TCPIP is non-easy. And there are good TCPIP libs for DOS. But maybe you mean something like INTERLNK or laplink?

[...] Japheth.de has a very good DOS extender which can even run some Windows apps in DOS. But I think a web browser would be asking too much. PHP is some server sided thing. If Arachne has a problem with a page, it is because of the generated HTML and not because PHP generated it. Maybe you can find out more. By the way, ReactOS is a WinNT/2k/XP replacement :-).

someone adds:

[package management] Slackware has pkgtool which lets you see all the installed packages in a text menu. At least this was true in Slackware 10.1 still. This tool is available after installation. I want the equivalent to slakware's pkgtool.

[documentation] What is dog? I am not impressed with the crynwr packet driver collection which has a number of useless docs. How do I work with the source code? How do I program fdconfig.sys and autoexec.bat? What is wrong with free defrag? Looking at source code to figure out what's wrong is working backwards. Looking at the algorithm behind free defrag might help me figure out how to fix it.

I had to google to figure out how to boot Freedos 1 from a non primary partition on a drive with Windows 2000 installed to it via boot.ini and a boot sector in a file. The ability to install Freedos natively on an NT drive without messing NT up or running it on FAT makes freedos more appealing than it would be otherwise.

[Exult] I don't think a 486 DX2-66 will run Fedora Core 1 and Exult smoothly. This is enough for Ultima VII running natively. It will work on a 386 running MS DOS 6.22... See http://exult.sourceforge.net. Fedora Core 1 isn't supported anymore. I couldn't get a true ISA Soundblaster 16 working in FC1. Forget about running Exult in Fedora Core 5 or newer. I tried to, FC5 didn't even like the source code RPM. Yuck on going to the source tarball. I can't get Ultima VII running on a 486 DX2-66 with 20 megs of ram in Freedos 1 with emm386.exe unloaded. It won't even run when himem isn't loaded. Freedos supports most old dos games where Exult only supports 1. It makes sense to port Ultima VII to Freedos so that it can run them all, if that isn't too much work. Sadly, all copies of MS-DOS that are available to me seem to have corrupted.

[no more betas] The free defrag program and possibly others as well. I thought a german beta release of Freedos had scandisk and I am wondering why Freedos 1.0 English doesn't?

[compatibility] I've had problems with the install command which opens a PKZIP archive for Populous II. I have a CD with like 10 games on it that came with a Soundblaster 16 or 32 kit.

Space Hulk is on the CD. Wing Commander Academy is on it (boring game IMHO). Mahjong is on the cd ( Free in Linux and no copy protection ). There is a copy of 7cities which works well in Freedos. Populous II works in Freedos, if you can get it installed. Out of Ultima VII, Ultima Underworld, and Ultima Savage Empire, Underworld works (Savage won't work in MS-DOS). Yeager's Air Combat doesn't work (annoying copy protection scheme anyways). Shadowcaster works well in Freedos.

I've had problems with Bolitare crashing. It works well on some computers but not others. It might be that certain memory configurations crash it.

I've had problems with Free doom crashing, especially on one of the higher levels. I don't know where all the secrets are where it's not clear where I can get hints.

Aside from games, the old cdrom drivers from the MS-DOS 6.22 days generally didn't crash the computer if you tried to directory list the contents of the drive when it is empty. You could change discs without rebooting. I've run a Toshiba driver with some success, but that's not a free driver.

Opengem is nice, but if a text document ends in something other than .txt it won't open it. If it could get a little smarter without getting a whole lot bigger, that would be great.

What are you supposed to read freedos's html help files with anyways?

Porting EXULT to Freedos would be nice because it is easier to get sound working in Freedos than it is to get it working in Fedora Core 1 these days. The OSS/ALSA changeover is still a mess.

[non tcp/ip network protocol] I mean a free replacement for IPX/SPX put out by Novell and foolishly abandoned in recent years for TCP/IP. The best TCP/IP firewall is a non TCP/IP protocol.

[Arachne] I have the horde framework running Webmail IMP. http://www.horde.org/ Arachne doesn't render it very well. The lack of IMAP support is also annoying. Arachne doesn't render html tables properly. I am very concerned that Arachne is owned by SCO which has been attacking Linux backed by Microsoft behind the scenes.

I'll add at this point that SCO purchased code from Arachne to create Caldera WebSpyder, a web browser for DOS. But they did not purchase Arachne itself. To my knowledge, SCO does not "own" Arachne or Arachne Labs. -jh

Eric Auer:

[package management] so in short, our package manager should show a list of already installed packages. After you set eg SET DOSDIR=c:\fdos you can use FDPKG /? to see that FDPKG /DISPLAY * will let you see all installed packages. It is a BUG that you need DOSDIR correctly set to even be able to use FDPKG /?

Having a menu which lets you interactively uninstall packages would be nice, too, agreed.

[dog ... crynwr] That is very harsh. WRITING the drivers probably was a lot of work. But you could HELP by improving their documentation.

DOG is an old shell, see the files in doc/dog/ ... :-).

[...] [Documented source code] varies, but I doubt that this is well documented for any operating system...

Run HELP and read the items about batch file commands and config.sys commands, or read doc/kernel/config.txt ... :-).

Is anything wrong with [Free Defrag]?

I doubt that the [Free Defrag] algorithm has a bug. It is the implementation which is bug-prone. You will have to read the source code, sorry.

[install on NT] So I assume you suggest that we should link that FreeDOS NT/XP/2k dual boot howto from our download page? Which URL would you like to be linked? Seems to be a good idea.

[games ... problems] More exact description please.

Nice to know that Ultima Underworld works and that Ultima Savage does not even work in MS DOS. So only U7 is the problem, also known as emulator nightmare.

What exactly goes wrong [in Yeager's Air Combat]?

Does [Bolitaire] work better on MS DOS? I assume Bolitaire itself is not overly stable. Same for FreeDOOM.

[CDROM ... problems] You have to update your SHSUCDX - the old version which comes with FreeDOS 1.0 does indeed have a problem with empty drives.

KNOWN BUG, mention on our web page?

[read html help files] With the command "help". Might require the helppath env. variable to be set, but the default autoexec / config will do that for you. SHOULD be easy to use.

chris evans:

[crynwr] Crynwr pkt driver collection sources are good for porting to other drivers. Atleast that is the use I find of them :) 1/3rd of the source for network.asm I nxdos comes from crynwr.

Unless you have a specific need to connect to to novell network servers then tcp/ip should be fine. They (Novell) has abandoned IPX/SPX in favor for more open protocols. I dont see them doing anything more with it.

someone replies:

[Free Defrag] For every machine I've tried it on, a red box pops up that says ERROR, undefined problem, and it halts.

I don't know how to be specific about what's wrong with free defrag with an error like that.

Free defrag has failed on an L440GX+ Intel dual PIII server board, An Asus P5S-VM AMD K62-500 system, and my 486 system.

I got my copy of Freedos 1 from linuxmall.com because every attempt I made to download it failed.

Eric Auer responds:

[Free Defrag] Did you try the newest version 1.22?

The failure should not depend on mainboard / CPU, only on the filesystem type and contents and on whether you have enough RAM / XMS free. I think FAT32 support is quite weak and easily runs out of RAM at the moment.


someone writes:

[1.1 or 2.0] Do both ;-)

Save Freedos 1.1 for all the bug fixes that have come out after Freedos 1.0's release.

For Freedos 2.0, accept new programs such as free scandisk and/or a 16 bit freedos compatible win32 emulator. A 2.0 release to me means that compatibility is being improved and that more of the famous MS-DOS commands from the 6.2 days and later are going to be replaced with comparable ones. I've love to see an effort to make a freedos friendly Ultima VII like game under the GPL that will work with a 386 on up capable of supporting up to three or more real players.

Replace memmaker anyone???

Alain M:

[memmaker] IMHO memmaker is not very inportant for new hardware (newer then 386!).

It was very important when UMB was complex and tricky made of many small memory areas. For some time now, it has become a contimous block of memory and so, a simple standard emm386 setup works for 99% of the machines...