CD-ROM drivers and FreeDOS

Aitor writes:

I have found this: free IDE CD-ROM driver for DOS. Looks like a good remedy for our lack of such driver. It seems to be freeware. Problems: (a) not open-sorce (b) reliable? (I haven't tried it!) Go for it and let us know, testers!

...

Would any of these work as a "generic" for most of the CD drivers? Does anyone know anything about this?

Jeremy Davis responds:

From glancing it looks like several of these could work as generic CD drivers for IDE/ATAPI CD-ROM drives, I say could as I have not actually tried them, but if they really are ATAPI drivers, then there is a good chance they will work with other ATAPI CD drives. My only concern is what does a license of 'Free' mean - free for personal use, free for any use, free to do what? The TEAC IDE/ATAPI driver for example is clearly copyrighted, with no mention of rights to use/distribute included within their archive, and if you look at their online document that is about the same as the text document included, it even adds a notice about this document or parts of it can not be reproduced without permission. Sony's ATAPI driver archive simply contains the copyrighted driver without any accompaning documents. Most other CD driver archives I have seen are like these. These drivers may be labeled as freeware by cnet, but without some document from the copyright holder indicating the legal right to do so, I am reluctant to redistribute them (you will notice, even cnet simply links to the manufacture's site - whether for purely technical or legal reasons I'm can't say). Please someone - correct me if I am overlooking/misunderstanding something, as I have been looking for an IDE/ATAPI driver I can 'legally' redistribute without violating copyright/etc law for some time now. (It is my understanding that if something is copyrighted then it can not be redistributed/reproduced without permission from the copyright holder - and I have yet to see any CD drivers that include such permission other than for use with a CD drive manufactured by/for said copyright holder).

And Florian Xaver also writes this about a USB CD-ROM driver for DOS:

Maybe this will interesst you:

There's a driver for accessing USB CD-ROM drives from DOS. It's called USB_CD.SYS.

A quick search with google should bring you the URL.

Ralf Quint responds:

Well, i found this one on one of IBM's web sites: web site, but this page mentions also some limitations, mostly as caution during the setup of Windows 98/2k, but that are most likely to apply for plain DOS use as well: III. Precautions in using the USB CD-ROM drive The driver for Windows 98 supports only one unit of the USB CD-ROM drive. Although the USB CD-ROM drive conforms to hot plug, avoid removing while operating it. Avoid removing and reconnecting the USB CD-ROM drive in rapid succession. Use the Hot Plug Icon on the Status Bar before removing the USB CD-ROM drive in Windows 2000. Avoid removing the USB CD-ROM drive while setting up Windows 98/2000. When a CD-ROM drive other than the USB-CD-ROM drive is connected, be sure to eject the media from it if the USB CD-ROM is used for Windows 2000 setup. We recommend that using a ATAPI CD-ROM to setup Windows 2000 if a ATAPI CD-ROM is connected on your system.

When using the driver for Windows 98 Setup(USB_CD.SYS) Connection of the USB CD-ROM drive via a hub is not supported. Be sure to connect the drive to the USB connector of the system. When using the driver for Windows 98 setup(USB_CD.SYS), other USB devices(mouse, keyboard, etc.) cannot be used. Be sure to start the system after connecting USB CD-ROM drive.

Maybe someone with a USB CD-ROM can give it a shot an let us know how usable this driver actually is.