The FreeDOS project, an attempt to create an open source alternative to Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system, has finally reached a major milestone.
After 12 years of work, version 1.0 of FreeDOS is now available for download from the project team's Web site.
The operating system can be installed on PC and used to run DOS programs, and can also be used in embedded devices such as cash registers.
The FreeDOS project began 12 years ago, after Microsoft decided to stop developing MS-DOS in favour of its Windows platform.
"FreeDOS 1.0 is a major milestone that has finally been released. By now, we have a stable and viable MS-DOS replacement," said the project team this week. Recent improvements to the package include: long filename support in several applications, including command.com, a free CD-ROM driver, FAT32 support within the kernel and most other applications, and improved stability within HIMEM and EMM386.
Earlier versions of FreeDOS have been available for some time, and are sometimes shipped on naked PCs, which don't come with a commercial operating system.
Microsoft recently urged systems vendors not to sell naked PCs, though such PCs can appeal to people who want to run Linux on their new machine, or IT managers who have a volume licensing deal with Microsoft and don't want to pay for another copy of Windows.