Jim Hall, creator and developer of FreeDOS, on the eve of the project’s 25th birthday
In 1994, I read articles in technology magazines saying that Microsoft planned to do away with MS-DOS soon. The next version of Windows would not use DOS. MS-DOS was on the way out. I’d already tried Windows 3, and I wasn’t impressed. Windows was not great. And, running Windows would mean replacing the DOS applications that I used every day. I wanted to keep using DOS. I decided that the only way to keep DOS was to write my own. On June 29, 1994, I announced my plans on the Usenet discussion group comp.os.msdos.apps, and things took off from there.
FreeDOS – alongside DOSBox – are staples of the DOS community, and it’s great to have them available as free software.
I love free dos.
Back in an old job, we had a product that ran on top of DOS, but not MS-DOS, but Data Lite ROM DOS. It was awful. The shell utilities were broken, we re-wrote our own. I begged with my manager to let us replace it with Free DOS, which completely and totally worked, flawlessly. But, he couldn’t because his manager would be pissed to see us replace our licensed version that we paid for (absolutely huge amount of money) and terrible support. It was so dumb.