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DOS King

Without the fluffy interface, we could actually use the immense hardware power of today's computers.
  (+6, -7)
(+6, -7)
  [vote for,

When I built my first computer, it was a 286-16 with an impressive 80 mb of hard drive space and 4 mb of ram. My new Dell Inspiron 4000 doesn't run much faster than that machine ran because it has so much TSR crap and graphical interface that does everything but wipe your nose for you. We could start a computer company that did nothing but sell today's systems with software akin to that of 1984: Dos, WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, etc. We could design DOS based software and a DOS-based program for every non-AV application and just think of how fast the computers would run!
Vecini, Jan 11 2001

(?) FreeDOS project homepage http://www.freedos.org
[francois, Jan 11 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) Lineo DR-DOS FTP ftp://ftp.lineo.com/pub/drdos/
Free for non-commercial use [francois, Jan 11 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

(?) All DOS http://www.chebucto...1/DOS/DOS-Head.html
All Day [thumbwax, Oct 17 2004]

The whole kit 'n kaboodle http://www.klabs.or...Processor/index.htm
Including - Laptops In Space - which usually use Windows 95, which replaced DOS. Some stuff is NT server. Though Apple and Linux have been there and back. [thumbwax, Oct 17 2004]

(?) Contiki http://www.dunkels....pps/webbrowser.html
web browsers on pre-PC and OS-less computers [mr2560, Oct 17 2004]


       It's too bad a lot of old software is no longer readily available (one big plus with shareware is that it usually remains available on archive sites). PC-Write 3.02 is the text editor I've used for more than 12 years and for any file small enough to fit in a 640K DOS session it's my editor of choice. In fact, it runs just as nicely on a Pentium as it did on my 4.77MHz 8088.
supercat, Jan 11 2001

       There is an active project to create a free DOS clone. They have a beta version available on the project site, but I'm not sure how usable it is. DR-DOS, the version of DOS created by digital research, has changed hands several times, and was at one point freely available for non-commercial uses from Caldera. Caldera spun of an embedded solutions company, Lineo, which inherited the rights to DR-DOS. I believe Lineo is still providing DR-DOS, but I can't seem to find it on their site anymore.   

       Of course, if you are running DOS for any reason other than nostalgia, you are clinically insane.
francois, Jan 11 2001

       At least if you make loading xwin optional.
badoingdoing, Jan 11 2001

       Oy, please. Rabid Linux advocacy is so 1997! Next you'll be talking about "Micro$loth Wind0ze".
egnor, Jan 12 2001

       Someone explain to DafyddRees that there is a big difference between MS-DOS (which is what he was talking about) and a DOS (which is what this idea is about)
davros42, Jan 12 2001

       A decent file system would seem a nice addition. The FAT system was probably the best floppy-drive file system out there, and (when used with 16-bit FAT entries) it's perfectly decent for drives up to about 255MB. Unfortunately, it scales poorly beyond that and since the problems go beyond the 16-bit size of FAT table entries and so upgrading to FAT32 does not really fix them.   

       When using 4K clusters, the FAT of a drive takes up a meg per gig. While a 0.1% storage overhead is quite reasonable, maintaining the validity of such a large amorphous data structure can be dicey; storing two copies of it (as the DOS underlying Windows 98/ME does) may help protect against one copy getting totally hosed, but provides little or no insurance against less severe corruption.   

       Related wish-list item: having SCANDISK rename possibly-corrupted files. This would allow a user to try to recover data from them, while ensuring that their corruption doesn't "spread" to other files [look for a new entry under Other: Words for "Prions"]
supercat, Jan 13 2001

       Nerds! *points* Neeeeeeeeeerds! I can't believe you're talking about this!   

       ...where can I sign up for ACUG?   

       Man, my favourite game is -still- Alley Cat, so don't go bagging MS-DOS. Pink, white, cyan and black... sleek.
Detly, Jan 13 2001

       A snappy retort to the volume above written:   

       Here is why this is a good idea. Does anyone know how much RAM is in the computers in the space shuttle? I heard 512k. That is it because there is no graphic interface. No talking paperclip to tell you not to stick your tongue in your IO port. In addition, we have a huge market of computer nerds in this country, and they all want powerful computers. If we could create text based software that does all the normal stuff plus text base software with a graphics component to do internet and AV stuff, we could maximize the power of systems. In addition, we would encourage a more computer literate audience.   

       One final note: text based commands, once you learn them are way way way way way way faster than point and click.
Vecini, Jan 13 2001

       //Does anyone know how much RAM is in the computers in the space shuttle? I heard 512k.//   

       No way. You're off by at least an order of magnitude. I think it was either 4K, 16K, or 48K (or else they upgraded between missions or something).
supercat, Jan 13 2001

       You know not of what you speak.   

       First of all, the Space Shuttle has been in operation from 1981 through now (2001). That's 20 years, people. In 1981, the Apple II was king. Do you think they haven't upgraded the Shuttle's computers in all that time? Are you surprised that your fuzzy, unverified, undated "heard-it-on-the-Discovery-channel-once" recollections vary a little bit?   

       Secondly, the Space Shuttle is not controlled by a single computer. There are multiple systems, there are redundant systems, there are engine controllers and climate controllers and navigation computers and communications servers. There are Windows laptops and there are handheld calculators and there are the radiation-hardened triple-redundant systems that monitor crew oxygen flow. Each spacesuit has its own computerized electronics. Are we just supposed to add these together and use it to support some kind of argument?   

       Thirdly, the requirements for "embedded" avionics in something like the Space Shuttle are so incredibly different from the requirements for your desktop PC that it doesn't make any sense whatsoever to draw any sort of comparison. The main engine controller on the Shuttle has a 68000-based CPU and 128KB of RAM. It also doesn't have a graphical user interface; its primary output device is a continuous hydrogen/oxygen explosion providing 500,000 pounds of gimballed thrust. It doesn't do very much, but it needs to be absolutely, positively reliable. That 128KB of software is approximately 50 times as expensive, on a per-lines-of-code basis, than any commercial software product.   

       What's your point, again?   

       Oh yeah -- that you wish you had DOS running on your PC instead of Windows. Well, go right ahead and hold down F8 the next time you boot Windows. Nobody's stopping you...
egnor, Jan 13 2001

       Egnor - that isn't the point at all. The point is to create a computer company that designed text based systems that can functionally do all the things that you can do with graphical interface applications, but without the bells, whistles, and pats on the back for people who want faster machines and don't need the hand holding.
Vecini, Jan 14 2001

       No, I think they're talking about a OS that people write things for...
StarChaser, Jan 14 2001

       Okay, i just can't believe that somehow DOS got compared with the workings of the Space Shuttles. The amount of memory in a device is such a small component when determining it's overall usability.   

       I believe there are a few items undelying a computer system beside the operating system that some people aren't taking into consideration. There has been some mention of scalibility and redundency, ideas which DOS was totally ignorant of.   

       I'll take windows 2000's protected memory over DOS or Win 9x any day!
Skai, Jan 14 2001

       egnor: Do they really use a 68000 in the shuttle? I'm surprised. I would have thought that they'd use a somewhat simpler processor with fewer internal states to get zapped by stray cosmic rays.   

       Actually, what I"d expect in something like the shuttle would be a redundant collection of very simple computers to handle the real-time functionality, and nowadays a somewhat fancier graphical-based CPU on the front end, with provisions for bypassing that CPU in case of malfunction (talking directly to the control processors).   

       As to what they actually use these days, though, I have no idea how that's changed over time.
supercat, Jan 14 2001

       Well, it's a special embedded, reliable, radiation-proof version of the 68000, naturally.
egnor, Jan 14 2001

       A note on the shuttle software and hardware [from NASA's site: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/sts-av.html]: 5 computers running HAL/S (High-order Assembly Language/Shuttle). Each weighs 64 pounds and draws 550 watts of power. The CPU's themselves are IBM AP-101S processors (not available in stores, only through this amazing TV offer). Total memory of these fancy new processors? 1 Megabyte. The old ones had 406.25 K available to them. Of course, these are highly specialized systems running an assembly-level language, not much in the way of interface for these devices, nor are they general purpose computers. Still, it's a compelling idea to make a new DOS to see what one's machine can do given a task and all the hardware at its disposal. Of course, single-tasking machines are pretty lame insofar as usability is concerned, and Linux or FreeBSD provide the same feature set (and a whole lot more) for a slightly larger install and memory footprint.
GroovyDave, Feb 09 2001

       "A note on the shuttle software and hardware [from NASA's site: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/sts-av.html]: 5 computers running HAL/S (High-order Assembly Language/Shuttle). Each weighs 64 pounds and draws 550 watts of power. The CPU's themselves are IBM AP-101S processors"   

       --So which ones do the chimps use?   

       seriously, i thought stripped down OS is what linux was for?
darth_smoothies, Feb 13 2001

       Last i heard the shuttles had just had 486-or-equivelant cpu based sytems installed. and a few of the shuttles *DO* have a GUI, anyone heard of the "glass cockpit"? nasa replaced the dials and metres of some of the systems with LCD displays in at least one of the shuttles, try takin a look at http://oea.larc.nasa.gov/PAIS/Glasscockpit.html   

       and another thing, why do they not send a shuttle to the moon to start a colony?
monolithix, Feb 15 2001

       I volunteer for the colony.   

       Unlikely, though...No reason not to, as 'keep people alive in unfriendly locations has been baked for 50 years or so...Submarines have been doing it that long.   

       Would be hard to send a shuttle, though, as it wouldn't be able to take off again. No runway, no fuel. <deletes rant on how to do it...>
StarChaser, Feb 15 2001

       it's so weird how when you say "linux." no one hears you.
gnormal, Feb 15 2001

       Oh, come on ... we've moved FAR beyond the days when computer users were all technogeeks. Joe Blow who can barely read beyond the fifth grade level has to be able to use the damn thing, and as any newspaper designer will tell you, graphics are less intimidating than nothing but text. c:\run get_over_it.exe (yes, I know that violates 7+3 naming ... sue me. I'm a Mac user.)
arghblah, Mar 30 2001

       flamewars can't be good
all your DOS are not belong
mouse clicks on "against"

       for the record, I like DOS. I'm in process of learning unix, too. I am forever against /unnecessary/ fluff. I'm just voting this thread down because of the rampant religiosity that does not become HB.
absterge, Mar 30 2001

       What Absterge said.
StarChaser, Mar 31 2001

       Actually remnants of DOS are still hidden in Windows OSes, Maybe not the entire DOS OS, but still... something.

As for the space shuttle, various OSes and computers are used both on and off of the shuttle to do pre-flight and in-flight checks. At one time OS-9 (not to be confused with Mac OS-9) was one of the OSes. It ran on 68xx series CPUs. Later I am sure they upgraded to 68000 CPUs as a version of OS-9 called OSK was available for those CPUs Another factor is 68000 CPUs are compatible with 6800 series components.

Finally Linux is not related to DOS. Linux is a Unix related system and started out multitasking where Windows/DOS systems did not. Even early Windows versions did not 'multitask'. And technically even if all MS-DOS code was removed from Windows, Windows and ALL other OSes that can access a disk are DOSes.

DOS=Disk Operating System
n3pla2000, Apr 12 2003

       What in the name of Satan, that's Bill Gate's snot-nosed kid brother, is <<MS DOS>>????   


       Kidding. I'm kidding.
Eugene, Apr 13 2003

       Hey, I know: How about a version of Windows that doesn't use all the bloated GUI stuff, just a command line---with simple plain-text configuration files in each program's actual folder... Oh. Never mind.
Ander, May 08 2003

       //Hey, I know: How about a version of Windows that doesn't use all the bloated GUI stuff, just a command line---with simple plain-text configuration files in each program's actual folder... Oh. Never mind.//   

       Is there any way to have a Windows machine start up running the Windows OS (memory management etc.) but without the GUI and associated services? A number of my development tools run as WinNT console applications; it's annoying not being able to use them when running DOS, but conversely sometimes booting fully into windows is bothersome.
supercat, Dec 19 2003

       BASIC is ms's most useful OS. The Average person can use it. That was the point. It typically requires only 8192 bytes, but GWBASIC and QBASIC which came with dos versions were bigger. GWBASIC is probably the fastest/easiest programming language available for PC's. No reason it can't do multimedia if you know how, I used GWBASIC for sound editing before anyone else had a PC with speakers. Basic typically stores programs on audio tape without dos.   

       Bill hates basic because people demanded and insisted that it be free, and it allows anyone to make a program quickly and easily. GWBASIC runs warp 9 on a pentium but if you want warp 10 the usual method is to poke and peek and run some assembly language. DEBUG was the free dos assembler, and MASM the pro version. If you want your computer to Fly ... without crashing...or getting Sick (how stupid!), this is how. My Holodeck works in BASIC on a 286, see "3D Kube". The modern junk that just looks nice and slows down your machine to make you think it's "thinking" just makes me cry! Someone tell me why it takes longer to "install" windows than to copy a disk? Things shouldn't even need to install, they should just Go. Someone tell me what "install" does. I don't even know how to write an "installer" or why I'd waste the time!   

       It's like DVD. Tape, you put in and push PLAY. DVD you have to wait for the stupid FBI message that says you are stealing what you bought, and then fast forward past all the commercials which are what made good old aerial TV free and don't belong there.   

       What does it take to do video? Just A handful of 50- year old "tubes" and a big one that looks like a boob! See the holodeck! Keep It Simple Stupid!   

       By the way there were a lot of dos programs that looked like windows after the mac came out, and on macs and PC's the software fit on one floppy. Mac scared the $#!+ out of ms! DOS 6 QBASIC even has a WINDOW command.   

       Is BASIC too old?   

       Groovy records are too old right? Edison made them in the 1800's. And MOVIES too. Come on guys, it's after 2001! Where's the moon base? I got the holodeck!   

       Did you see the experiment where they were trying to get monkeys to communicate with people? Oh that was in the 70's. The monkeys had to touch a picture of a banana on a screen. Now we're the monkeys! What do we call this? Devolution? When XP first came out I thought it was the elementary school edition!
mr2560, Dec 20 2003

       I think everyone thinks they need a big gui os for internet access and web browsing. Not true, see Contiki link. But internet is all I use gui-os for. Also, APPLE II could do fonts and other text effects in "hi-res graphics mode" which was originally only available if you had more than 4K of memory.   

       I go ppppfh! at pocket PCs (PDAs) running winCE on AAA batteries while desktop pcs take hundreds of watts.
mr2560, Dec 22 2003

       // Of course, if you are running DOS for any reason other than nostalgia, you are clinically insane. [francois] //   

       I have excellent reasons to run DOS, and don't consider myself clinically insane. <Obligatory> The key word here being "clinically". </Obligatory> Around the hardware engineering lab there are many pieces of specialized and expensive hardware - microcontroller in-circuit emulators, programmable logic and DSP development systems, etc. that use DOS-based PCs for user interface and file I/O. I'm quite simply not going to plunk down (nor would management approve) $10,000 for a new DSP development system each time a new operating system comes out. It makes a lot more sense to dedicate an older PC that would otherwise be discarded.
Pernicious Wiles, Mar 26 2004

       I've been in that boat too. Not entirely by choice, though.
Detly, Mar 28 2004

       People seriously need to know about Linux.. Such a high quality, Open Source, Freedom loving Operating system is knocking at your doors , and you people are still.. (hahaha .. wait while i laugh and cry) .. thinking of DOS??? (Cry some more .. laugh some more)
kamathln, Feb 05 2005

       To add to what kamathln was saying, Linux runs multiple DOS-like (but UNIX-based) shells, which can be used to run many non-graphical programs, including editors [vi], e-mail clients, AIM and IRC chat engines [naim], web [lynx, elinks, links, even links2, which can handle graphics in text mode] and many other programs. Also, multiple users can be signed on, or the same user on switchable command prompts. Also, the X11-based graphical GUIs like XFce, and even big ones like GNOME and KDE tend to run faster than Windows.
kitsuneofdoom, Aug 07 2005

       Funny thing is, these days DOS stands for Denial Of Service, as in the website-killing attack.
5th Earth, Aug 07 2005

       That abbreviation has a lowercase 'o' though.
pooduck, Aug 07 2005


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