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Thread: Has anyone tried using FreeDOS, OpenGEM or FreeGEM operating systems on an old PC?

  1. Default Has anyone tried using FreeDOS, OpenGEM or FreeGEM operating systems on an old PC?

    Has anyone tried to use FreeDOS, OpenGEM or FreeGEM operating systems on vintage hardware? If so, what kind of experience did you have? What can't you do with them that you can do with MS-DOS or Windows for example?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Run windows programs directly. Non of them natively support any type of multi-tasking at all. Win3.* does co-operative multi-tasking like early MacOSs. For example I can run a terminal, ftp session and irc session windowed in my 286/12 running win3.1 no problem plus a Works package if I so desired. On my 386 I can do all and run a windowed Dos session.

    FreeDos hick ups running win3.* I believe anyway, is more suited to 386s or above although there are 8088 ports of older versions and does not allow as much free conventional memory as the more traditional Dos.
    Last edited by Caluser2000; June 12th, 2019 at 05:20 PM.
    Thomas Byers (DRI)- "You'll have a million people using the A> [MS-DOS prompt] forever. You'll have five million using [nongraphic] menu systems such as Topview, Concurrent PC-DOS, Desq, and those types. But there'll be 50 to 100 million using the iconic-based interfaces."

  3. #3
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    I've run FreeDOS on old 486 and Pentiums and it generally works fine. There are some issues with their versions of memory managers that cause crashes on certain machines, but you can generally work around them. When you can get the memory management working correctly, you often have over 700k of conventional memory free, which is great for programs that make heavy use of conventional memory and otherwise require special configs to free up memory. One game that comes to mind is Duke Nukem II, which requires something like 600k to run.

    Sometimes I've had issues with disk drivers, but only dealing with SCSI.

  4. #4
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    I use FreeDOS on 486 PCs with good results. Everything I thrown at it but Windows 3.x works fine (win 3.x should work in standard mode but I did not have much luck with it). MS Network and LAN Manager Clients work fine. You will want to use latest HIMEM/JEMM386 memory managers with it, though.

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/himemx/

    https://github.com/Baron-von-Riedesel/Jemm

    FreeDOS COMMAND.COM it's a bit weak but there are ongoing bug fixing efforts:

    https://github.com/FDOS/freecom

    4DOS 8.00 works better and has int 2e support if you need that.

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