FreeDOS Road Map

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The FreeDOS Road Map defines the next several release cycles of FreeDOS. The Road Map is generated through discussion and consensus on the freedos-devel mailing list.

FreeDOS Version History
Version Codename Date
Alpha 1 16 September 1994
Alpha 2 December 1994
Alpha 3 January 1995
Alpha 4 June 1995
Alpha 5 10 August 1996
Alpha 6 November 1997
Beta 1 Orlando 24 April 1998
Beta 2 Marvin 28 October 1998
Beta 3 Ventura 22 April 1999
Beta 4 Lemur 29 December 1999
Beta 5 Lara 11 August 2000
Beta 6 Midnite 30 March 2001
Beta 7 Spears 8 September 2001
Beta 8 Nikita 7 April 2002
Beta 9 RC1 Methusalem 19 July 2003
Beta 9 RC2 1 September 2003
Beta 9 RC3 28 September 2003
Beta 9 RC4 5 February 2004
Beta 9 RC5 20 April 2004
Beta 9 28 September 2004
Beta 9 SR1 30 November 2004
Beta 9 SR2 30 November 2005
1.0 3 September 2006
1.1 2 January 2012
1.2 RC1 31 October 2016
1.2 RC2 24 November 2016
1.2 25 December 2016

FreeDOS 1.2

FreeDOS 1.2 was officially released on December 25, 2016.

The FreeDOS 1.2 release is an updated, more modern FreeDOS. You'll see that we changed many of the packages. Some packages were replaced, deprecated by newer and better packages. We also added other packages. And we expanded what we should include in the FreeDOS distribution. Where FreeDOS 1.0 and 1.1 where fairly straightforward distributions with only "core" packages and software sets, the FreeDOS 1.2 distribution includes a rich set of additional packages. We even include games.

But the biggest change you are likely to notice in FreeDOS 1.2 is the updated installer. FreeDOS 1.2 uses an entirely new FreeDOS install program, which is simple and easy to use. While many DOS users today are experienced DOS programmers and DOS power users, we often see many new users to FreeDOS, and we wanted to make the install process pleasant for them. The default mode for the installer is very straightforward, and you only have to answer a few questions to install FreeDOS on your system. There's also an "Advanced" mode where power users can tweak the install and customize the experience.

FreeDOS 1.3

The FreeDOS Project builds consensus via the freedos-devel email list, so most of the discussion occurred there. See email list for archived discussion on this topic. Since the planned changes are incremental, the next version will be "FreeDOS 1.3."

Planned release date: not identified yet ("sometime in 2018")

Core assumptions:

  • Compatibility is key.
  • The next version will remain 16-bit.
  • The next version will retain focus on a single-user command-line environment.
  • The next version will continue to run on old PCs (XT, '286, '386, etc) but will support new hardware with expanded driver support, where possible.
  • The "Base" package group will contain everything that replicates the functionality from MS-DOS.

Possible changes: (under discussion)

  • Can the install CDROM be a live image?
  • Can we update the Help program?
  • Promote Zip/Unzip to "Base" (other programs?)
  • Included games may change (we agreed that games are not "core" in the same way as utilities, so we can be flexible what games we do/not include)

16-bit or 32-bit?

In 1994, FreeDOS aimed to create a free, compatible alternative to MS-DOS. FreeDOS 1.0 met that goal several years ago, and extended the feature set (utilities) beyond MS-DOS 6. But FreeDOS is still - essentially - a replacement of classic DOS.

There has been some discussion by new developers to move FreeDOS to 32-bit. In December 2014, an independent developer announced a project on Kickstarter, intending to update the FreeDOS-32 kernel for use in a future release of FreeDOS. This project must demonstrate 100% application compatibility ("classic" DOS programs) before The FreeDOS Project will consider including FreeDOS-32 in the FreeDOS Road Map.

If FreeDOS-32 will break DOS application compatibility, it should not use the "FreeDOS" name.

Support for UEFI?

Since Intel plans to end "legacy BIOS" support in their new platforms by 2020 (in favor of UEFI) users have asked if FreeDOS will be updated to support UEFI. The short answer is No.

Like any DOS, FreeDOS makes use of BIOS for video and disk functions. But even if these functions were moved into the FreeDOS kernel, note that there are many, many existing DOS programs that directly use BIOS to work. FreeDOS cannot "emulate" BIOS for these programs.