Talk:FreeDOS Road Map

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FreeDOS Alpha versions

Alpha 1: 16 September 1994

  • The page suggests Alpha 1 was late 1994. Looking across the page, the "A1" entry is on the same line as "Paragon 11/94" so perhaps Alpha 1 should be updated to 11/94. That also suggests that Alpha 2 might have been a month later in 12/94, since we know Alpha 3 was released 1/95. This would be around once a month, which sounds right.
  • NOTE: From an announcement on Usenet (!topic/comp.os.msdos.misc/ma_-d6KhL8E) the "Alpha" was released 9/16/94

Alpha 2: assume December 1994

  • The page suggests very very early 1995 or very late 1994. See also below for additional suggestion.

Alpha 3: January 1995

Alpha 4: between 20 May 1995 and 18 June 1995 .. assume "June 1995"

Alpha 5: 10 August 1996

Alpha 6: November 1997

  • A mailing list discussion from 11/96 ( says we were discussing Alpha 6 in 11/96. So I wonder about the dates below:
  • POSSIBLE RESOLUTION: Alpha 5 was released Aug 10 1996, and Alpha 6 was probably released 11/97 (that is, the 2006-doshist.txt file probably has a typo to talk about Alpha 5 when it should have talked about Alpha 6).

FreeDOS Beta versions

We created the "codenames" for the Beta releases because we thought it was an interesting "beta-ish" thing to do. I think a number of us were using Red Hat Linux, which also used codenames (like RHL 5 "Hurricane" or RHL 4.96 "Mustang") and we wanted to mimic what they were doing. Mostly it was just fun. But unlike Red Hat Linux which connected the codename to the previous codename in some way ("Mustang" was a car and a WW2 fighter, "Hurricane" was a WW2 fighter and a mixed drink, ..) we just assigned a codename to whatever was relevant at the time.

Beta 1 "Orlando" (24 April 1998)

  • At the time that I created the first Beta distribution for FreeDOS (the first distribution to actually have an install program, rather than being just a huge zip file) I was about to take a vacation to see my brother. Since he lives in Orlando, FL I thought it would be cool to name the distribution based on that trip. I think I literally uploaded the new release then finished packing so we could fly down the next morning.
  • See the 2000 Slashdot interview ( where I talked about the Beta 1-4 names
  • This Wayback snapshot says the Beta1 was released 24 Apr 1998 (

Beta 2 "Marvin" (28 October 1998)

  • I was starting to wax nostalgic for FreeDOS's roots. When I started the FreeDOS Project, I was a physics student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Marvin was a VAX system that was being de-commissioned at about the time I announced FreeDOS.
  • This Wayback snapshot says the Beta 2 install instructions were written 29 Oct 1998, but I think I wrote them after the fact. Assume 28 Oct 1998 for Beta 2 release date. (

Beta 3 "Ventura" (22 April 1999)

  • I live in Minnesota, and we had elected former WWE wrestler Jesse Ventura as our governor the previous Fall, and he assumed office 4 January 1999. By April, he'd probably done something really dumb, and for whatever reason I memorialized it in the Beta 3 codename. (NOTE: I did not vote for Ventura.)
  • This Wayback snapshot shows a news item dated 22 Apr 1999 for Beta 3. Install instructions are dated 21 Apr 1999, but there's another news item that the updated kernel was worth delaying Beta 3 to include it, so assume the install instructions were written ahead of time and the release made on 22 Apr 1999. (

Beta 4 "Lemur" (29 December 1999)

  • I've always wanted to have a mascot for the FreeDOS Project (it's a gimmick.) Linux has the penguin, BSD has the daemon, and GNU has the gnu. I hadn't pushed the idea of officially adopting a FreeDOS mascot because I didn't want to get distracted by the noise that would create. Not when I could be hacking code. I named the "Lemur" distribution as a way of "adopting" a mascot when we really didn't. Plus, I've always thought lemurs looked cool.
  • This Wayback snapshot says "The Beta4 distribution was released on 29 Dec 1999." Assume that is the correct date. (

Beta 5 "Lara" (11 August 2000)

  • I played a lot of Tomb Raider on the Playstation in the late 1990s. I think the "Lara" codename came about because I was really looking forward to the new Tomb Raider Chronicles (released 24 November 2000). I think this was advertised as the last Tomb Raider game they were going to make, so I probably memorialized it in the Beta 5 codename. The title character in Tomb Raider is Lara Croft.
  • This Wayback snapshot shows the Beta 5 was released on 11 Aug 2000. Assume that is more correct. (

Beta 6 "Midnite" (30 March 2001)

  • Not sure. This might be shortly after our beloved cat Midnight died. I would have changed the name slightly so I didn't get sad every time I looked at the codename. (Will look into it.)
  • This Wayback snapshot says "The Beta6 ("Midnite") Distribution of FreeDOS was first posted on Friday, March 30, 2001!" Assume that is correct date; any earlier dates on install instructions or release notes are because I would have written them beforehand. (

Beta 7 "Spears" (8 September 2001)

  • Did I name this, or was there a new release person for this one? I think this had something to do with Britney Spears. Her self-titled album Britney would be released November 2001, and in September 2001 we would have heard a ton of her music on the radio to advertise the new album. So we probably had that on our minds when we picked the codename.
  • This Wayback snapshot has a note that "9/8/01 FreeDOS Beta 7 ("SPEARS") Distribution is now available on ibiblio." So 8 Sep 2001 is more correct. (

Beta 8 "Nikita" (7 April 2002)

Beta 9 RC1 "Methusalem" (19 July 2003)

  • I wasn't the release manager for this version, so I'm not sure why we picked this name. I suspect this is because the Bible says Methusalem lived the longest at 969 years old, and the new release manager might have been making a joke at how long DOS had been around.
  • This Wayback snapshot says "2003-07-19" as the release date for "FreeDOS Beta 9 Prerelease 1 ("Methusalem")." Released by Bernd Blaauw. (

Beta 9 RC2 (1 September 2003)

  • After FreeDOS Beta 9 RC1, we decided the codenames thing had run its course, so we stopped giving codenames to releases. The FreeDOS Beta 9 RC2 distribution was the first since the FreeDOS Alpha releases not to have a codename.
  • Wayback says "2003-09-01 - Bernd Blaauw has released the FreeDOS Beta9 pre-release 2 distribution." (

Beta 9 RC3 (28 September 2003)

Beta 9 RC4 (5 February 2004)

Beta 9 RC5 (20 April 2004)

Beta 9 (28 September 2004)

  • Wayback shows a news item dated "2004-09-29 05:43" that says "Bernd Blaauw has posted the FreeDOS Beta9 (Final)." (
  • NOTE: That news item was pulled from the Sourceforge news servers (we used their news posting service) and I'm pretty sure that their servers were GMT. I would have written that in US/Central, 6 hours ahead, so just shy of midnight on 28 Sep 2004. Assume 28 Sept is more correct, since that date shows up elsewhere on the Internet.

Beta 9 SR1 (30 November 2004)

Beta 9 SR2 (30 November 2005)

FreeDOS Logos

The FreeDOS website has had several logos. I'll try to document the history here. Don't take these labels as official names of the logos; I'm just trying to describe them:

Oval logo (6 November 1996 - July/August/September 2001)

  • This was the first logo for the FreeDOS website, created by M. "Hannibal" Toal.
  • The logo would have been created around 1994 or 1995. I don't have an exact record, and the Wayback (Internet Archive) doesn't go back that far (FreeDOS pre-dates the Internet Archive).
  • There's a minor variation that I don't count as a separate logo, with the original oval logo with "The FreeDOS Project" written next to it, with four faint lines running through the background. This look was borrowed from a work project I was involved in, which used the "faint lines" motif on the website. But it's not really a different logo, just a graphical element added to create a title.
  • NOTE: This archived email from 2001 indicates that I previously researched the first date of the website, as part of the trademark discussion. First website was 6 Nov 1996. I recall that Hannibal said he created the original logo when he put up the website, so assume 6 Nov 1996 as origin date for this logo (
  • Last seen on the website 20 July 2001 (

Blue stamped logo (July/August/September 2001 - February/March 2004)

Boxed wordmark with FreeDOS fish (February/March 2004 - 31 December 2009)

  • Created by Bas Snabilie and donated to the FreeDOS Project for use on the website.
  • Bas had heard that I was looking for a mascot for the project. Someone else (I think John Green?) submitted a different unofficial logo some time previously that looked like a fish; he said the fish was a symbol of freedom. (His fish logo looked like the "Christian fish" emblem.)
  • Bas wanted us to have a nicer looking fish mascot, so he drew this one. He also created a "wordmark" version where the fish replaced the letter "O" in "FreeDOS" for us to use on the website.
  • I really wanted a seal mascot (see notes on Beta 4 distribution) but Bas's fish mascot looked really good, so I decided to go with it!
  • First snapshot on Wayback with the new boxed wordmark logo is 25 Mar 2004 (

White wordmark with FreeDOS fish (1 January 2010 - present)

  • Used original art from Bas Snabilie, combined the FreeDOS fish with the wordmark text from one of Bas's other FreeDOS fish mascot images that included the word "FreeDOS."
  • First snapshot on Wayback with the new white wordmark logo is 9 Jan 2010 (
  • That Wayback snapshot also has a note about the new website redesign, late 31 Dec 2009. I would have used the new logo on the redesign. Assume 1 Jan 2010 as the effective date for the new logo.
  • I'm pretty sure nodethirtythree (professional web designer who created the new website redesign) re-mixed the wordmark and the fish to create the updated logo.
  • By this time, I think Mateusz Viste had created pixel-perfect SVG reproductions of the FreeDOS mascot images, so the re-mixed work probably came from that.

FreeDOS and Free-DOS

When did we change the name from Free-DOS to FreeDOS? We aren't exactly sure, but we assume around January 1996.

Alpha 1, 2, 3, 4 announcements use the name "Free-DOS" and Alpha 5 uses the name "FreeDOS" so the name change was after June 1995 and before August 1996.

Also, The FreeDOS Kernel (book) published January 1996 uses the name FreeDOS. So the name was at least January 1996. But likely earlier than that.

I can't find a more precise date. The FreeDOS Project pre-dates the Internet Archive (the Internet Archive started 1996) so I can't find anything about the "Free-DOS" to "FreeDOS" switch on the archive. Wayback's first snapshot of our site is 1998, which is long after "FreeDOS" (

We also switched mailing lists several times in there, and I can't find any existing archives that go back to 1995. For now, assume The FreeDOS Kernel (book) publication date of January 1996 as the "FreeDOS" name change.