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Why You Should Use DOS

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                           Why You Should Use DOS
                                  release 3

                         by Burnin' of UNKNOWN Prez
                               Oct 16th, 2001


 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

* 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

* 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


 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.