Monday, December 18, 2017

Talking about FreeDOS 1.3

Following up from the previous post asking "What is FreeDOS 2.0?" we heard from a lot of FreeDOS developers and users about what the next version of FreeDOS should look like. A few thoughts:

The FreeDOS Project builds consensus via the freedos-devel email list, so most of the discussion occurred there. I also forwarded comments from Facebook and other sources to the discussion. In the freedos-devel email discussion, the consensus is that compatibility is key—and therefore, the next FreeDOS should not deprecate packages into a "Compat" package group. The "Base" package group should contain everything that replicates the functionality from MS-DOS. As Ralf commented: "One should be able to just replace a MS-DOS 5.0/6.22 set of disks with a Base FreeDOS disk set and have identical functionality."

Several folks suggested the install CDROM should be a live disk. Tom suggested this: "there is literally no good reason that FreeDOS must be installed to experience the beauty of a C:> prompt. just put every binary on the CD as it would be installed … I'd leave the sources in zip archives, though."

Not many comments on what programs should be "promoted" to the "Base" package group. Suggestions included Zip/Unzip, and the MD5 and other hash functions.

Since the changes would be incremental, we agreed the next version would be "FreeDOS 1.3."

Aside from that, we also heard recommendations to update certain packages (for example, Help). There's also continued interest to include development tools, and free games. More on that:

Development
Certainly we want to make it easy for developers to get involved and make contributions in FreeDOS, so providing options for compilers and assemblers makes sense.
Games
This can be more flexible. We included many games in FreeDOS 1.2, and I agree we should continue to include free software games in the next FreeDOS. I don't consider the list of games to be static; we can change the list of games with each distribution.

What do you think? Join the discussion on the freedos-devel email list. You are also welcome to leave a comment here. Note that to limit spam, you must be signed in to leave a comment.

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