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Microsoft

MS-DOS 1981-2002 RIP 582

Posted by timothy
from the then-it's-the-undead-phase dept.
Biedermann writes "This is not exactly hot news, just a quick reminder to count the last days: A table in this article tells us that MS-DOS (as well as Windows 3.x, Windows 95 and NT 3.5x) reach their "End of Life" (as defined by Microsoft) on December 31, 2002. Come on, even if you loathed them, they were good for jokes at least."
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MS-DOS 1981-2002 RIP

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  • by Profane Motherfucker (564659) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @03:40PM (#4744498) Journal
    DOS wasn't that bad of an OS. That's no bullshit. It has its high points, and has been around *much* longer, and been magnitudes more popular than nearly everything else that rose to compete with it.
  • Re:Good riddance. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@CURIE ... minus physicist> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @03:46PM (#4744539)
    Or.. gasp.. something better than the UNIX command line.
  • by Marxist Commentary (461279) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @03:46PM (#4744540) Homepage
    You would be able to easily see Windows for what it is - a toy.

    Seriously, my first experience with computers was on some old SGI workstations that a teacher at school let us play with after school. We hacked away, not knowing what in the hell we were doing, but happy to have the opportunity to learn.

    Alas, the fun ended when our local warez BBS was discovered and the SPA shut us down... Luckily, we didn't have to spend time in juvenille hall, and the hi-jinks didn't end up on our permanent records!
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @03:47PM (#4744550) Journal
    Laugh all you want about the poor unsupported platforms but they are quite old. I believe redhat 1.0 and 2.0 are from this time frame.

    This leave another question. Do any of you still run old distro's?

    Now, how many people still run Windows 95 or NT 3.51 at work?
  • by foonf (447461) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @03:50PM (#4744578) Homepage
    Windows 98 and ME still boot off of DOS. In the case of 98 you can still boot it into pure DOS mode if you like, it is rather better hidden in ME but with some hacks it can also be done. So we have a couple of MS end-of-life dates to go before we can say its really dead.

    But then there is FreeDOS [freedos.org], which looks to be alive and well, and being GPL'd free software, is unlikely to stop being so any time soon.
  • by delta407 (518868) <slashdotNO@SPAMlerfjhax.com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @03:55PM (#4744623) Homepage
    The DOS command line sucks. It has a handful of useful features (pipes, output redirection, etc.), but does them poorly, since it lacks multi-tasking. Furthermore, batch files suck. Quoting sucks, no command line history, horrible inconsistency on intrinsic commands versus separate executables, and so forth.

    Guess what? The DOS command line is a stripped down, sodomized version of most *nix shells. If you liked DOS, install your favorite UNIX variant, and try out bash. (Feel free to use ksh or csh to your liking.) You get pipes that work in parallel, input and output redirection (plus separating stdout and stderr), wildcard expansion, tab completion, and a consistent quoting syntax. Also, very complicated pieces of software -- including ./configure scripts and even a package management system -- can be done using shell scripts.

    DOS is well and good, but it's a poor substitute for a Real Command Line (TM).
  • Re:Uh oh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T-Kir (597145) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:00PM (#4744671) Homepage

    What about poor old DR-DOS?

    He had a slight accident when someone referred Windows to MS-DOS for it's needs, and made it so that Windows could no longer be seen working with the good DR (followed up by the malpractice suit, and MS-DOS cheating on and paying off of Stac).

  • by swb (14022) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:01PM (#4744679)
    Its a shame that a version of the braindead DOS command line lives on in modern versions of Windows and hasnt been replaced with something closer to what Unix has.

    What's surprising is that DOS *hasn't* been replaced by something better and more similar to the shells available under Unix. One of the first things people talk about as being reasons to use UNIX over Windows is the power and flexibility of the shell.

    At the very least I would have expected something more sh(1)-like, even if it did choose to include a lot of older MS-DOS commands. At the most I would have expected something that was *compatible* with sh(1) with a lot of the extensions from bash or zsh that people have come to expect, along with the kinds of things that would make it useful in a Windows GUI environment, like some *very* basic GUI dialog features that could prompt for yes/no or single line input without a invoking a cmd shell, but no complex windowing behavior or event-driven programming.

    MS has responded with the "improved" features of the NT command shell and Windows scripting (which I presume is a VB script derivative), without realizing that DOS batch file compatibility isn't terribly helpful and complex VBScript and GUI interaction won't get used.

    People, especially admins, want a fair amount of power (loops, variables, substitions, output redirection, etc) and no complex GUI interaction or dependencies. But they want security and stability, too, and MS hasn't always made it a priority to deliver those features either...

  • by gmack (197796) <[gmack] [at] [innerfire.net]> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:15PM (#4744772) Homepage Journal
    "What's surprising is that DOS *hasn't* been replaced by something better and more similar to the shells available under Unix."

    You mean like 4Dos or the version of bash they ported to win32?

    Just because you can't get them from MS doesn't mena you can't get them.
  • by coryboehne (244614) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:15PM (#4744776)
    Ok, a definition for you:
    OS: Operating System
    DOSDisk Operating System

    Now, to tear you apart like a hungry lion on a small lamb...

    DOS wasn't that bad of an OS. That's no bullshit.

    Well, DOS was hardly an OS in the first place.

    See above definition


    Most of the stuff that is part of OSes simply do not exist in DOS: sound drivers, GUI, system services, etc.


    I hate to destroy your perception of things, but... System Services = Bloat
    Sound Drivers = Multimedia Support (Which was actually available in MS-DOS)
    GUI=Graphical User Interface... (known as a UI not an OS, the UI is a *part of an OS, but it has nothing to do with it either being or not being an OS)


    Is there really anything DOS could do, except launch programs?


    Actually yes, many things... I know of companies that still use DOS for many things to this day for accounting, customer tracking, or other important tasks.

    Now, other than that... I will admit that programming programs to use only 64k of memory was indeed a challenge, but hey it's the challenge that what makes things worth doing.
  • by hector13 (628823) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:16PM (#4744777)
    Now which is more intuitive
    a: or /dev/fda
    c: or /dev/hda
    c:> or $
    dir or ls
    format c: or mke2fs /dev/hda

    Those are all pretty stupid comparisons. Obviously any partitions would be mounted somewhere meaningful and not used from /dev/hd* On the other hand, how big of a pain in the ass is it to be limited to having each physical drive mapped to a different drive letter? In unix, any number of physical drives can be mounted in the same directory structure. So my home directory can be on a completely different drive than yours, but they will both be accessible from /home/. As for your prompt, it can be anything you want it to be. Also, dir vs. ls is as simple as alias dir="ls -al" (this is what I use on our solaris box at work). Linux even has a dir command out of the box, so to speak.
  • by IntlHarvester (11985) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:17PM (#4744786) Journal
    Since you could never get it to network to anything

    Hey, just yesterday I used an old DOS Netboot disk to copy some files over to a machine I was setting up.

    Microsoft can obsolete DOS, but as of yet they haven't introduced a replacement that can get a machine on the network with a single floppy disk. I doubt they'll ever get a version of NT working from read-only media.
  • by Profane Motherfucker (564659) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:20PM (#4744807) Journal
    Comparing a server OS (in 1981) and workstation OS to something written for puny, and comparatively inexpensive desktop machines for consumer use is soentirely bogus that it's a shame that I have to point this out.

    That's not valid. And reread it: the word "NEARLY" appears in the original, you've neglected to mention that. It was not an absolute statement for the very purpose of placating the frothing legions of fools. Unix, in the manner which you use it, is not a cohesive operating system, but rather a generic term used to describe operating systems with UNIX (tm) as their base.
  • by sconeu (64226) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:29PM (#4744864) Homepage Journal
    So I'm gonna have to wait 3 years before someone can get the performance they had back in 1984?
  • by JebusIsLord (566856) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:31PM (#4744879) Homepage
    If i named my dog DOS, would HE be the definition of an operating system as well? What an absurd argument.
  • by rseuhs (322520) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:34PM (#4744900)
    Actually yes, many things... I know of companies that still use DOS for many things to this day for accounting, customer tracking, or other important tasks.

    DOS can do accounting and customer tracking?

    It's amazing. If it's from Microsoft all 3rd party-effort (like accounting or customer tracking applications, or in the case of Windows drivers.) all of the sudden is credited to Microsoft.

    Face it: DOS is a very, very primitive OS. Even in 1981 when it was released, it was already outdated. A decade later, when it was still shipped on most PCs, it was even more outdated. multi-user, multitasking... As a die-hard Microsoft user you probably don't know, but those existed long before Windows - and also before DOS.

  • by drwho (4190) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @04:56PM (#4745050) Homepage Journal
    End-Of-Life = abandonedware, so they're going to make it public domain, huh! Thanks guys!
  • Re:bleh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djmurdoch (306849) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @05:19PM (#4745195)
    every system call was documented,

    Someone should have told that to Andrew Schulman [undoc.com] and his co-authors, and they wouldn't have wasted time writing Undocumented DOS (Addison-Wesley, 1990) [amazon.com].
  • by Decimal (154606) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:05PM (#4745599) Homepage Journal
    Face it: DOS is a very, very primitive OS. Even in 1981 when it was released, it was already outdated.

    Do you judge Windows 2000 / XP today by how outdated Windows 1.0 was when it was released? After all, it didn't even have overlapping Windows! That's just holding a grudge, wouldn't you say?

    A decade later, when it was still shipped on most PCs, it was even more outdated. multi-user, multitasking... As a die-hard Microsoft user you probably don't know, but those existed long before Windows - and also before DOS.

    It would really depend on how you define "primitive", and how necessary those (often bloated) "advanced" features are. If the user doesn't really need more than what DOS offers, no multi-tasking, no bells and whistles, runs a large collection of existing software, then does it really matter how old it is? A battery-powered, 5 speed Model Uber-2000 screwdriver would still be passed over today by most people for a simple philips that fits neatly in a small toolbox.

    DOS still has its fans today. See the FreeDOS project [freedos.org]. If such a project can improve DOS (I've been under the understanding that it stands for Direct Operating System) to a 32-bit operating system that does many of the things that modern operating systems do today while still maintaining the simple and efficient elements of older DOSes, why should it ever "die"?
  • by NineNine (235196) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:05PM (#4746195)
    First off, I never commented on Win 98. Win 98 is a piece of shit. I'm commenting on W2K, MS's best OS currently, and the only one that I'm using right now, which does have a good bit of scripting support, including the ability to create shares via the command prompt.

    Secondly, MS has nothing to do with command prompt interfaces of third party utlities. I have several utilities that I wrote for myself, and they all have command line interfaces so that I can fire them with an AT job. Work just fine. If the utility has no command line interface, then that's the fault of the utility. That's like me saying that Mozilla is a buggy, slow, pile of crap, so Linux is too. Makes no sense.
  • by dublin (31215) on Monday November 25, 2002 @03:59AM (#4749520) Homepage
    Of course any power MSDos user used 4DOS but even that's not as nice as as the real thing.

    No, *real* power users loaded the MKS or Thompson toolkits and had real, functioning Unix utilities and sort-of functioning shells on thier PCs... I still have a Win16 version of the MKS Toolkit out in the garage somewhere - I think it cost around $400, and was worth every penny. (But the way it handled remapping of slashes to backslashes produced some "interesting" problems, IIRC...)

    Kinda like *real* power users replace the crap GNU utilities in Linux with the true Unix-style BSD utilities even today... :-)

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