No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – we have actually have not one, but two news items on hobby/small operating systems on the same day! You thought the day would never come again, but hey, here we are. You’re welcome. Now, what are we talking about? FreeDOS – a test release has been, uh, released for FreeDOS 1.1.
It’s been a while since we saw a FreeDOS release – version 1.0, released in 2006, to be exact. So, we’re looking at 5 years ago, but then, this is essentially DOS we’re talking about, and since this project is not aiming at moving DOS beyond what DOS is supposed to do, development doesn’t need to include flashy animations and other nonsense.
“FreeDOS is a free DOS-compatible operating system for IBM-PC compatible systems. FreeDOS is made of up many different, separate programs that act as “packages” to the overall FreeDOS Project,” the project states, “Right now the main use is running old games and software, but you might encounter it on some freshly sold computers, motherboard setup CDs, BIOS flashing diskettes, embedded hardware and other uses.”
Yes, FreeDOS is indeed not ‘just’ a small hobby project; it is used by many large OEMs as optional installations, and is also used by some BIOS update tools. Most people, however, probably use it for running older games.
So, what has changed since 2006’s version 1.0? Other than the usual performance improvements and bugfixes, it comes with the initial work on USB controller support, a newer kernel version with bugfixes, some limited USB flash disk support, and several other things.
The team advises to only use this test release in a virtual machine. You can get it from their website.