See the Wikipedia article on Dos at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSDOS and LearningDos
MS-DOS stands for MicroSoft DiskOperatingSystem. It was a very early text-based operating system and also known as PC-DOS when purchased (retail) from IBM. Windows 3.1, 95, 98, and ME were all programs that were built around DOS (Note 1). Windows XP and 2000 are completely free-standing programs and do not use DOS at all, though a DOS-like command prompt is still available (Note 2) (and some hope will always be available).
By modern standards, DOS wasn't much of an operating system. It offered no memory protection or multi-tasking. Basically, it was a command interpreter, a program loader and a file system. MS-DOS 1.0 was modeled heavily on CP/M (though not as directly as CP/M-86 from Digital Research). MS-DOS 2.0 added some concepts borrowed from Unix, such as subdirectories, I/O redirection and (clumsy) pipes.
You could almost get a real OS by adding DesqView.
The question remains: Is the Tao in the MsDos?
Certainly DOS wasn't revolutionary, even in its time. At least I can't think of anything that was not implemented (even better) in other systems when DOS originally came out. The Macintosh opened the door to Windows, Minix opened the door to Linux.
- True. Those of us programming in CP/M and MP/M and who had seen the VIC-64 and BBC Computer could not believe how lame the original DOS (and associated hardware) was. DOS did not pave the way for Linux, that was Minix and other Unices. The fusion of DOS and Unix (Microsoft OS/2) was ditched by MS (making it IBM OS/2) in favor of what would become Windows 3.0 and 3.1 sitting on top of DOS. Windows is not a descendant of DOS. It simply absorbed DOS. Current Windows (NT-derived) versions embody bits of VMS, Unix, PARC/MAC stuff, and quite a lot of other "just stuff" but no DOS, other than the virtualized "Command Prompt" environment.
Who is the DOS curator nowadays?
Surely Microsoft still owns MS-DOS (though IBM must have rights to PC-DOS as variants are still used in some of their cash registers). They've recently begun asserting intellectual property rights for the FAT file system.
DR-DOS (Digital Research's MS-DOS-compatible product after the marketing failure of CP/M-86) was sold via Novell to Caldera, who made it freely available to end users and cheaply licensable to manufacturers. Caldera spun off this business as Lineo which retained DR-DOS. (Caldera subsequently purchased the Santa Cruz Operation, renamed itself SCO and is now attacking Linux.) DR-DOS is now owned by DeviceLogics (http://www.drdos.com/).
- This appears to be in error. Win95 and later were developed as different core operating systems according to Microsoft. They retained a certain amount of MS-DOS compatibility for legacy reasons, but used new file systems and internal conventions.
This is strange, since Win98SE has an MS-DOS mode - when you go onto the Windows Shutdown window, it has an option to restart in MS-DOS mode (doing the first stages of Windows startup). When in it, the command 'win' would do the final stages of startup and loads Windows. Maybe they 'think' differently, but Win98SE will always be a DOS program, not written to run on a convertor just above machine language. --SimonMould
- On XP, this does not work to do anything but run .com and DOS format .exe files. Attempting a batch file, or a command interface reliant application, will NOT work. On 2000, it is either non existent, or deliberately hidden. --SimonMould
- In Win95 and Win98 and also, I think, WinXP, if you run a DOS shell ("Command Prompt"), and press Alt+Enter while selected in that window, it would immediately go full-screen and exhibit old DOS behaviors. I will have to test that on a WinXP box to be sure. --GarryHamilton
CategoryOperatingSystem, CategoryMicrosoft, CategoryOldSoftware