The DOS Zone
FAT System Guide
A Joke, Right?
Please view my Notices page before viewing this area, it is not complete!
This is work in progress.
DOS? You Have To Be Joking, Right?
No I'm not! What's wrong with DOS? It's surprising what can
you can do with it when you stop and take a look.
Yeah But DOS Is Only 16 Bit, Newer OS's Are 32 Bit And So Better.
Well to start with that argument isn't really correct. Although
new OS's run under protected mode it doesn't follow that they are 32 bit.
Besides which why is a "32 bit" program any faster than a 16 bit equivalent?
OK when it comes down to pure number crunching a 32 piece of code would
probably win but how many tasks are that demanding? You can only read
data from a keyboard as fast as the user types, you can only write/read
data to disk as fast as it can go which is slower than the processor.
A program written to run in real mode can still make use of 32 bit
instructions, although I don't know if DOS does this. The main
difference of course is with the memory, when in real mode an x86
processor can only address the first 1MB, in protected mode it can
address much more. Even though DOS can't run in protected mode (as such),
DOS programs can with the use of a DPMI server, allowing them to take full
advantage of the extra (easily accessible) memory. Due to all the extra
things that the processor has to do when its in protected mode it executes
instructions slower than it does when in real mode!
But DOS Doesn't Do Much.
Correct, why should it? It's an OS not a complete solution to every
task conceivable. In my view Internet browsers, calculators, games
etc. should not be bundled with an OS, it just wastes disk space.
Half the features bundled with new OS's are not likely to be used,
they just sit there. An operating system should be small and efficient.
(And the system files should preferably fit on to a single floppy disk)
DOS Doesn't Do Multitasking.
No, but neither do you. OK, I concede that it is still handy to have
certain programs running in the background. Although it's not easy to do
so DOS programs can be written to run behind the scenes as well. Admittedly
this isn't very handy when compared to new OS's, but still the possibility
Later versions of DOS and some 3rd party software allows you to have
several programs in memory at the same time, which you can switch between
obviously. Task switching rather than multitasking but this is all
that is required for a lot of applications anyway.
DOS Commands Are Cryptic And Hard To Use.
I have just
discovered that DR-DOS does do multitasking!
Well yes, it's probably not immediately obvious to use "copy" or "move"
to copy or move files. I'll agree that's unfair, there are some cryptic
commands and switches can obviously cause confusion. At the end of the
day if you can't cope with that then use a GUI instead. Dosshell used
to be quite popular before being replaced by Microsoft Windows. Obviously
Win 9X is now probably the most used DOS GUI around even despite its
excessive loading times and system requirements.
No One Uses DOS Anymore Its Dead.
Which is why there are still companies/individuals developing DOS and
DOS software. That also explains the fact that you can still buy DOS from
certain computer shops. Some programs run better in DOS, anything which
by its nature is single tasking in my view should be written to run under
DOS. Take games for instance, who really needs lots of unnecessary
OS related tasks going on and slowing things down?
DOS Does Not Support Much Hardware.
Well there's no way around that one. The important thing to note though
is that it's mainly due to the perceived lack of demand for DOS support
rather than impossibility.
With Modern Technology Its Not So Important To Have Efficient Software.
Lets put it like this who in their right mind would buy a high performance
car and attach weights to slow it down? Many newer OS's promote the use of
take LINUX and C for example. Many DOS programs were, and are, written
in assembler or at least parts of them. Before you start on about C
being quite low level (and inferring that its almost as efficient as
assembly) I've seen identical tasks coded in both and trust me assembler
is much more efficient.
Here endeth the lesson.