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Author Topic: FreeDOS - any users here?  (Read 1376 times)

Offline PDP-8

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FreeDOS - any users here?
« on: February 11, 2021, 04:31:49 AM »
Just wondering if anybody here is using FreeDOS?

I ran it a few years ago for fun, digging out some old favs, like the VDE editor and putting a whole bunch of unix-like utils on it.  Elvis and VI too of course.

But I haven't kept up, and apparently, it is possible to boot it from a usb-stick now?  I haven't tried to see if it can run from one.  I think you still have to install to an HD, but I'm not sure.

I haven't kept up for years now, but it is weird/fun to boot it on modern hardware, and have all that available ram go to waste. :)

I have no interest in retro-gaming with it, and wonder if anyone is/has used it for more conventional ops like running unix-like utils on it in some way like I did -- gotta' have a different kind of mindset running dos on purpose...



That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline jazzbiker

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2021, 12:02:04 PM »
Hi, PDP-8!

    I have FreeDOS on Toshiba 480CDT with Pentium MMX and 64M of RAM. This old box has USB1.1. FreeDOS docs say that this system can deal only with one type of USB hardware among OHCI, AHCI and UHCI (I don't remeber which of them exactly). I really don't understand, what these *HCI's are, but FreeDOS can do nothing with USB on my old (ancient?) box. In fact when I wanted to copy retro-games :) to the FreeDOS partition, I was booting TC6, copying from USB-drive to HDD, and rebooting back to FreeDOS. I guess it is not possible to boot some system from the drive, accessed through interface not supported by this system.

Sorry, I can not imagine the job for FreeDOS. I'm happy it is the kind of time machine, bringing me 30 years back for a while :) This is its task, and it is doing it well :)

Offline PDP-8

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2021, 02:38:20 AM »
Yep - time machine.  It was a painful reminder when years ago I bought one of my earlier laptops used, a Tandy 1200 with *lead acid* batteries (I had to rebuild that) and put FreeDOS and a bunch of unix utils on it.

As much as I enjoyed the nostalgia, it was just too much of a pain to share data with more modern machines - having to resort to floppy sneakernet, where floppies just became a pain to find.  Almost like trying to find 9-track magtape reels from an earlier generation. :)

I feel the same about cd/dvd roms these days - just too much of a pain except for museum pieces / nostalgia.  And more importantly, some arbitrary distro size limitations based on that when you can get an ssd, or even a huge usb/flash drive to last you years if treated correctly.  Like TC does.

« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 02:46:10 AM by PDP-8 »
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline jazzbiker

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2021, 03:41:27 AM »
Hi, PDP-8!

    I found some hardware specifications of the Tandy 1200 and didn't found any ports mentioned. Does it really have not a single COM? Probably  it is meant to be an expansion card. In the pre-internet era I prefered to use COMs to share data between my laptops and PCs instead of those dances with floppies. If You will succeed in adding some COM port to Your Tandy, I think the soft complying some common protocol may be found both for FreeDOS and Linux, I have uncertain reminiscences of xmodem, ymodem, zmodem...

    Your Tandy is definitely the right place for FreeDOS. My oldest box is able to run TinyCore, so FreeDOS entry in the bootloader menu is just a kind of placeholder.

    Maybe this is the waste of time, but if You will decide to give Your Tandy COM connectivity, it will be interesting to me too.

Regards!

Offline PDP-8

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2021, 01:10:14 AM »
Machine is long gone.  It was a 1400HD model actually.  Maybe not lead-acid batteries but nicads, but sure weighed like it. :)

But man, the sculpted keyboard and tactical feel made you want to type at it.

Then again, it was offline most of the time, since my online data service was $6 per hour at night, and $10 per hour during business hours.  1200 baud.

The rebuild with FreeDOS was fun, but at the end of the day, using unix-like utils, it became apparent that the hardware was an abstraction.

Makes me wonder how many people would use say TinyCore Core only (or text mode only) with no net connectivity and see if they could find some use and joy in that simplicity.

Make their own programs, perhaps just shell scripts to do stuff just for personal gratification.  Maybe nothing but poems written in vi - whatever.  I'm not sure people could cut the cord and become creators rather than consumers, without a pass/fail grade attached.

Getting way OT.  But kudos to the people at FreeDOS for doing what they do.
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline jazzbiker

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2021, 06:30:20 AM »
Hi, PDP-8!

But if they are having fun offline how can we know about them here on the forum ;) ? They may have captured the whole world with the help of their offline battle-mechs, we, online sitters, will be the last to realize this shocking truth!

But I suppose, that one day the will feel themselves unable to resist an appeal to invent some OffLineNet :)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 06:37:14 AM by jazzbiker »

Offline jazzbiker

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2021, 07:46:07 AM »
The rebuild with FreeDOS was fun, but at the end of the day, using unix-like utils, it became apparent that the hardware was an abstraction.

According to the specifications I've seen it was driven by 8088 running 4.7 MHz :) and not a single Hz less!

Offline Rich

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2021, 07:59:52 AM »
Hi jazzbiker
I heard it was 4.77 Mhz.

Offline jazzbiker

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2021, 08:17:04 AM »
Hi, Rich!

You are precise, as usual :) !

Hi, PDP-8!

So it appears I'm alone happy FreeDOS keeper here?

Offline jazzbiker

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2021, 11:47:07 AM »
    Thinking around various processor types (supervisor+MMU or flat fun), application types (embedded  executing limited routines set or operating system typed), general architecture (von Neumann, Harward), possibilities of self-hosted development, I came to unexpected conclusion, that TinyCore extension-based design is to the great extent implementation of Harward architecture! And due to its availability on von Neumann's type hardware, it accumulates the best features of both architectures.

    About boxes, driven by MMU-less CPUs I think they can serve as the great customizable terminals, connected to the appropriate host through serial channel, and FreeDOS seems to be the best suited "firmware" for such a client.

Regards!

Offline nick65go

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Re: FreeDOS - any users here?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2021, 04:21:48 PM »
Makes me wonder how many people would use say TinyCore Core only (or text mode only) with no net connectivity and see if they could find some use and joy in that simplicity.
Me! I "play" offline to glue pieces from TC 4.7-6.4 [kernel 3.0 -3.8.] using gtk1 (try to avoid gtk3 as a cancer) and use file-manager, audio player, video-player, pdf-reader, archive/compression, hlml-reader, even gnumeric, abiword, DOS-emulator.

So, offline means no need to patch kernel for meltdown/spectre (low speed). For missing real drives, run it in Qemu, all virtio drv. With a collection of DOS-games, mp3, PDF, TXT, HTLM on UBS storage (HDD extern) is a back-up for retirement time, nostalgia music year 1980+, when rainning, or else walking in the nature.

PS: My DellMini10 (BIOS, 1GB RAM, 16 GB SSD) from 2008 is still functional today, running youtube /movies on firefox85, for fun.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 04:32:29 PM by nick65go »