From West Elmira Computers Museum
FreeDOS logo.png
DeveloperJim Hall, FreeDOS team
Added to
1.3 CD: July 16, 2022

FreeDOS, formerly known as PD-DOS and Free-DOS, is a free DOS operating system for computers that run on x86 architecture.

Jim Hall releases a manifesto for a free version of DOS

In June 1994, following the release of version 6.22 of MS-DOS, Microsoft announced that it discontinued the development of the aforementioned operating system.

As a result, on June 29, 1994, Jim Hall posted a manifesto on the comp.os.msdos.apps newsgroup that outlined his intention to create PD-DOS, a public domain version of DOS.

On July 16 1994, the name of the project in the manifesto was renamed Free-DOS as the source code for the OS was to be licensed under the GNU General Public License, rather than as public domain.

Release of unstable FreeDOS builds

On January 12, 1998, alpha 0.5 of FreeDOS was released. On March 25, 1998, beta 0.1 "Orlando" was released.

The kernel source code was written by Pat Villani, the command-line interpreter was written by Pat Villani and Tim Norman, and the core utilities were written by Jim Hall. The source code for these was either created by the FreeDOS team or ported from sources that they found available.

The first alpha and beta releases were followed by beta 0.2 "Marvin" at some point around October 29, 1998, beta 0.3 on approximately April 29, 1999, beta 0.4 "Lemur" at a date near April 9, 2000, beta 0.5 "Lara" on August 10, 2000, beta 0.6 "Midnite" on March 18, 2001, beta 0.7 "Spears" on September 7, 2001, and beta 0.8 on April 7, 2002.

In 2003, release candidates began to be released. The first release candidate, 0.9rc1 "Methusalem" was released around July 2003. This was followed by 0.9rc2 on August 23, 2003, 0.9rc3 on September 27, 2003, 0.9rc4 on February 5, 2004, 0.9rc5 on March 20, 2004, 0.9 on September 28, 2004, 0.9sr1 on November 30, 2004, and 0.9sr2 on November 30, 2005.

An unofficial build titled "Odin" was released in 2006. Official 1.0 testing versions were released in July and August 2006. Another unofficial "Balder" build was released in March 2007.

Stable versions of FreeDOS

The first stable version of FreeDOS, FreeDOS 1.0, was released on September 18, 2006. FreeDOS 1.1 was released on January 2, 2012. FreeDOS 1.2 was released on December 25, 2016. FreeDOS 1.3 was released on February 20, 2022.