From the original announcement:
A few months ago, I posted articles relating to starting a public
domain version of DOS. Â The general support for this at the time was
strong, and many people agreed with the statement, “start writing!”
So, I have…
And how does it measure up? Â Well the current release version is v1.1Â and I tested it in both Qemu and VMWare Player. Â First the installation process is SLOW. Â Extraordinarily slow. Â I really have no idea why, but 10+ minute installs in either environment were the best I could do. Â The one thing I did do on installation was to disable a FAT32 drive, defaulting to the older FAT16 file-system. Â Why? well because ..
Once installed, I thought I’d torture the environment, and install Stacker 4.0. Â The installation went ok (I modified my system to boot up with option #3 as the default (Load FreeDOS including XMGR XMS-memory driver). Â The installation went smooth, I setup a 300MB compressed drive, rebooted and the drive was not available. Â I think this was because MS-DOS uses a config.sys file, and FreeDOS uses fdconfig.sys. Â Although at the same time the autoexec.bat file was not modified as I had requested. Â So I ran ‘config.exe’ and it walked me though additions to the c:\stacker.ini and what needed to be added to the (fd)config.sys (device=c:\stacker\stacker.com). Â I did that, and rebooted, and I had my compressed D drive.
Then I installed DOOM v1.1 onto the compressed drive, and it runs perfectly fine! (is a screen shot really necessary?) Â Seeing that DOS4G/W works (I also tested Descent, and Wolf4GW). Â Oddly enough Wolf3d just hangs at a black screen, and Descent runs too fast although I think both issues are more specific to the games running on Qemu/VMWare than FreeDOS. Â And if you want to skip the lengthy install, you can download my stock VMDK right here.
Seeing that 32bit DOS extenders seem OK, I thought I’d try TradeWars 2002 with it’s 16bit DPMI version, and it ran fine as well.
Now when it came to multitasking, Windows 3.0 won’t work outside of realmode. Â Windows 3.1 however will run in standard mode. Â 386 Enhanced mode still doesn’t work correctly (is that even an issue)… So to useÂ this for a BBS you’d need a network and some nodes… maybe fun for another day. Â Excel 3.0c works under Windows 3.1 Standard mode, while Word 2.0c does not.
Another weird thing is that the FreeDOS partitioning program (fdisk) chooses a NON-DOS partition type by default, so if you were expecting to dualboot between MS-DOS and FreeDOS I think you need to install MS-DOS first, although I guess in the age of virtual machines does it matter that much?
For basic MS-DOS program compatibility it seems pretty much there, even with weird stuff like stacker.