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14 Years & Kicking: FreeDOS Is Still Alive

Free Software

Published on 29 December 2012 10:34 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
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FreeDOS, the open-source DOS operating system, is still alive and seeing activity around the GPL-licensed project though the FreeDOS SVN code repository hasn't seen any activity in nearly one year.

In writing yesterday about Automake looking to drop MS-DOS and Windows 95/98/ME support, some Phoronix readers were quick to comment that dropping MS-DOS support would also be bad news for FreeDOS.

The last time that FreeDOS came to my mind was nearly one year ago when writing about the release of FreeDOS 1.1. With not having heard much out of the FreeDOS camp in about a year, I was curious to see where they're at today.

When looking at the FreeDOS SVN repository on SourceForge, the operating system hasn't seen much activity since its 1.1 release at the beginning of January. FreeDOS though isn't known to be developed at a expedited pace seeing as FreeDOS 1.0 came six years ago and the project was originally conceived back in 1994 while the initial release happened in 1998.

When looking at the freedos-devel list, there's much more to see from 2012. The mailing list messages range from people asking how they can contribute, announcements of new utilities for FreeDOS, to people asking questions like if the Btrfs file-system can come to FreeDOS.

There does also continue to be new announcements on the site in the form of notable programs/utilities for FreeDOS being released/updated. Some of the recent announcements on the FreeDOS web-site include updates to JWasm and JWlink (forks of OpenWatcom's assembler and linker), a new Blocek editor (an international text editor), DOSLFN, FDNPKG (the FreeDOS Network Packager), and Regina (an ANSI Rexx interpreter). Those new FreeDOS program updates all came in the past two months.

So while it's not in your favor to bet on a FreeDOS 1.2 release coming anytime in the near future, the community around this open-source DOS implementation is still very much alive, at least for the time being. Fetch the latest release or find out more information at FreeDOS.org.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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