Why You Should Use DOS
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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Why You Should Use DOS release 3 by Burnin' of UNKNOWN Prez Oct 16th, 2001 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- -=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Introduction -=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Most people have heard of DOS. And most people don't use it. And that's INSANE, because DOS simply RULES!!! -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The misinformation -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- One of the reasons why people don't use DOS nowadays is because they have a certain image of it: hard-to-use--commandline-only--has-no-software--needs- too-much-intention--crashes-all-the-time--SIMPLY-TOO-DAMN-DIFFICULT. That image is completely wrong and this chapter is meant to clear up the misinformation. * DOS is commandline only --EEK!--WROOONG!-- In case you don't know: DOS is probably the shell- richest OS there is. There are user interfaces from primitive text mode shells which only show directory listing to very complicated SVGA shells which aren't usable without a mouse. And one other thing (if you don't know it yet): until 1995 MicroPlot (in English: Microsoft Corp.) Windows was nothing more than a DOS shell (advanced, 32bit, with it's own file formats, but still just a shell). Try to remember, when was the last time you actually saw somebody working with a DOS command prompt on a regular basis (and I'm talking about actual "every day" usage here and not about attempts to recover from a HD crash or viral attack)? Well, can you remember? Thought so, you can't! That's simply because nobody uses the command prompt anymore, there's no need for that * You can do nothing in DOS I once asked MiKE The Hacker to name ONE thing that can be done in Windodgeball95+ and can't be done in DOS. He failed. That of course doesn't mean that everything's possible under DOS, but the "can't do" list is quite limited: - video recording/editing the reason for the non-existence of this kind of software is very simple: as such software is run on a PC only by home users (professionals do such stuff on powerful workstations under *NIX systems) and because by the time PCs got powerful enough for this task there already was Windgoes (a "userfriendly" shell specially for home users) then the DOS market didn't promise enough profit. - watching full-length movies several DOS viewers support VideoCD but you usually won't get far with those 600MB movie files you can find on the Net. But that mostly applies to MPEGs, AVIs can be shown without problems. And the latest versions of QuickView Pro (NOT the Wincrash toy) support (atleast partly) the new and favored DivX;-) decoder. - watching RealVideo the Real software appeared after release of WWin955555..error_loading so no wonder that the company behind the technology didn't want to bother with a DOS version. But you can get the source code and binaries of a DOS RealSound player from iNet. - get MP3s with Napster I'm not completely sure that there're no DOS clients for Napster or any of it's clone-networks, but I haven't stumbled onto any yet. But Napster is a relatively new technology, so who says it's going to stay that way? - running Java applications the most used programs of this kind are Java based chatrooms on the iNet. The main problem is that JVMs (Java Virtual Machine, basically a whole operating system that runs the Java program) need quite a lot of resources and DOS, as you should know, ain't mostly run on very powerful systems. While there exist some JVMs for DOS (for example Zhaba) they aren't widely available and are still under development. But that's actually not such a big problem, because many Java chatrooms are simply "shells" for IRC channels so it would be possible to use them from the webbrowser. And IRC clients for DOS are nothing new. - run Windoom programs THE ultimate thing missing in DOS. But who wants to run Wipingyourhd9x programs when he/she has DOS programs which can do exactly the same? Well, that's about it. Maybe there are one or two more things but I can't remember any. All the usual stuff that one uses his/her computer for like listening to music, working with a wordprocessor/spreadsheet/database, surfing in Net, painting, looking through the JPEG collection, writing e-mail, etc., etc., etc. and also somewhat more advanced stuff like CAD, writing CD-Rs, etc., etc. can be done in DOS * DOS crashes all the time Most DOSs have been around for ages (MS- and PC-DOS for example) so most of their bugs have been fixed and so a crash is (probably) not the OS' fault. What crashes all the time are actually user programs. The reason for this is that programmers often don't have enough knowledge to predict the one or other bug and/or don't test the software throughly enough. But that is the fault of the coder and not the OS. As Winmurder is a 'controlling' OS then small errors which under DOS would (probably) cause a hang have no "effect" under it. But Winbelton is relatively new and that means it's relatively buggy so every program (even the bug free ones) still can crash. And there's always the problem of the simplicity: because Windude is a very complicated piece of code then there might be incompatibilities between software one couldn't ever imagine. And DOS, unlike Wannabe9x, has MANY crash recovery programs, of which some only consume as little as 400 bytes memory. * Only one program can run at a time There are at least two different DOS distributions which have built in multitasking features. To be honest then I'ven't succeeded in obtaining these DOSs. But I do have one which has support for multitasking and can perform this if a special TSR is loaded. And several shells like DESQView and SEAL can perform task switching which from the viewpoint of a user is almost the same as multitasking * No support for documents made under Widiot Several advanced viewing programs which can handle Word/WordPerfect/etc. files are available. They are usually shareware thus you have to pay for them, but that's still A LOT cheaper than buying M$ cOffice. And there are also a couple of programs for editing the documents * There is no office-software for DOS Yes there is: NewDeal Office or M$ Works for example * DOS is limited to 8.3 characters filename That's not true. First there're some DOSs which support LFNs (DR-DOS has a special TSR for that and RxDOS has LFN support built-in) and for second it's possible to use the commandline LFNTOOLS (or something similar) or resident tools like DosLfn which use Winburns LFNs. By LFNTOOLS you are tied to this particular utilities, but in case 1 or DosLfn you can use a file manager which can handle LFNs (CONNECT, DN-OSP, VC 5.x etc.) * DOS needs too much intention Another wrong assumption. Actually DOS is a lot easier to maintain. For starters we don't have that 'stores stuff in several directories' "feature" which many WinNose programs have. DOS programs usually have all their files in one (the main executable's) directory. Second is the registry problem. As DOS doesn't have such a thing (ok, AUTOEXEC.BAT/CONFIG.SYS can be looked at as registry) then we don't have to worry about it getting messed up. Another good thing is that most DOS programs ask if the user is OK with changing the startup files (very few Winston9x/ME/2000/NT applications do that). And the only thing that is changed is usually the PATH. The un-installation is also easier because one can simply delete the un-needed lines by him/herself (DOS startup files are small textfiles so there's no problem with looking them through). By many Waste9x applications the installation is necessary for the correct and full working of the program so it's not possible to just copy them to HD and run. Another point for DOS is that basically the only shared-between-different-software parts are DOS extenders like DOS/4GW. So the well known WheallyIll9x problem "missing DLLs" simply doesn't exist. * DOS is simply tooooo difficult Can you use a text editor? Can you boot your computer? Can you read? Yes? Then you can install new software. The only significant difference from amousecollectioncalledWindows is that instead of putting little birdies into small boxes you write/change lines in(to) configuration files (although newer programs allow you to change the behavior of the program through "making birdies"). And installing is the only thing that's different. Using some application is exactly as by Winoise. And you don't think it's difficult there -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The advantages -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Of course, DOS has several advantages when compared to Winkwink, it doesn't rule just like that without any reason :) * Smaller hardware requirements From my own experience I can say that Win<puke>95 won't run well unless you have a Pentium. You probably don't know that because everything runs well on your 700MHz Pendelum III. But think how fast DOS programs would run :) But seriously, the kernel (basically the whole DOS) is only 2 or 3 files (depends of what DOS you have) which usually occupy less then 200kB. You did read right, 200 kilobytes, not megabytes. To get the full power of DOS you will need some more files but often the whole system will fit on one 1,44MB floppy. And the small size applies to most DOS software. As you see there's no need to waste a HUGE amount of money to a 40GB hard drive. The same is true when talking about memory. 8MB is enough (although I suggest 16MB or more to advanced users). Because the software needs less resources the whole system works faster * Smaller price For starters you can get the operating system for free (and even with source code if you're interested in it). Also a lot of DOS software is under GPL which basically means free and source released (I've never seen a Winsane program under GPL (although I believe there are some)). Even if the software ain't source released it's still often free * Possibility to choose Let's start with the operating system again, shall we? I for example have 6 different DOSs on my CDs and that's not even everything there is. On the other hand, how many different Winsux beside the notorious Wacky9x can you name? (I mean different distributions and not versions). Basically two: Winlame 2000 and WindoN'Tdoit. And that's the only ones there are (maybe you named also Winhuge 3.x, but this is just an earlier version of Ww-ww-win9x). And Windog 2K ain't nothing more than a messed up hybrid freak from Whining98 and WinNoT. If you don't like your Windoze9x and don't have enough cash for the "New Technology" (yeah, right) or the Y2K (bug :) distribution then the only thing you can do is to move to another OS. Or add all kind of small utilities to tweak your precious OS until it fits your needs/wishes. By DOS you could simply try out some other distribution. And because DOS has been around for a longer time then there's also MUCH more software for it * Possibility to use floppies Floppies are out of date, that's correct. But so what? True, compared to, let's say CD-Rs, they are EXPENSIVE (one good diskette, that's ca. 1,44MB of storage space, can cost as much as one CD-R, which can store ca. 720MB). But you shouldn't forget that the floppy drive is included in the standard configuration while the CD writer has to be bought additionally. There's also the thing that you can (theoretically) get old floppies without any fee from friends (or other nice people) * Enhancing Most people agree that DOS is a relatively primitive operating system. But just because of that it's quite easy to enhance it. You can for example format your floppies up to 1,9MB or make the floppy drive faster by modifying it's parameter table. Or you can set things so that a reboot takes only 20 seconds (I'm talking about a 486 which loads ca. 25 programs by starting). Tell me, how do you accomplish those things in Wiagra9x? * DOS is as complete as ajokecalledWin The only thing I remember never seeing in any DOS distribution is the character map. Everything else from user interface and LAN software to disk maintaining tools and web browser has been present * Less chances to get infected with a computer virus If you know ANYTHING about viruses then you'll say: "But the majority of viruses out there are DOS viruses". Absolutely true, but don't forget a couple of things: a) most DOS viruses aren't iNet aware, so they don't use it to spread; b) most DOS viruses are incompatible to WinS*** so they are usually killed off by others before they can reach you. You won't get infected with such notorious things as CIH or Melissa or any other Willagepeople9x virus so you don't have to be paranoiac about every CD-R a friend (who had a CIH attack lately) gives you -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The disadvantages -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- As it's so by EVERYTHING, DOS too has some disadvantages when compared to Winter9x * Very few large/well known companies still support DOS This doesn't mean that there ain't any new software, just most of it is from smaller (mostly mail-order) companies * You can't play newer games Most of them use additions like OpenGL or DirectX and these are things which are not present in DOS -=-=-=-=-=-=- Conclusion -=-=-=-=-=-=- If you have just bought a high-end PC which cost several thousand dollars and had pre-installed Wingadget then I don't say that you should wipe your HD and install DOS. If you on the other hand are thinking about buying a computer and discover (or already know) that your financial resources are rather limited then I do suggest buying (or rather finding) some used 486 or rather-low-MHz Pentium and using DOS as operating system. If you can live without Half-Life or Age Of Empires II then DOS certainly deserves a chance.