This is a page about DOS. If you are looking for the DOS programs & games CD click here. So what is DOS? Wikipedia writes: IBM PC DOS (and the separately sold MS-DOS) and its predecessor, 86-DOS, resembled Digital Research's CP/M-the dominant disk operating system for 8-bit Intel 8080 and Zilog Z80 based microcomputers. DOS instead ran on Intel 8086 16-bit processors. Starting with MS-DOS 1.28 and PC DOS 2.0 the operating system incorporated various features inspired by Xenix, Microsoft's variant of Unix.
When IBM introduced the IBM PC, built with the Intel 8088 microprocessor, they needed an operating system. Seeking an 8088-compatible build of CP/M, IBM initially approached Microsoft CEO Bill Gates (possibly believing that Microsoft owned CP/M due to the Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard, which allowed CP/M to run on an Apple II. IBM was sent to Digital Research, and a meeting was set up. However, the initial negotiations for the use of CP/M broke down; Digital Research wished to sell CP/M on a royalty basis, while IBM sought a single license, and to change the name to 'PC DOS'. Digital Research founder Gary Kildall refused, and IBM withdrew.
IBM again approached Bill Gates. Gates in turn approached Seattle Computer Products. There, programmer Tim Paterson had developed a variant of CP/M-80, intended as an internal product for testing SCP's new 16-bit Intel 8086 CPU card for the S-100 bus. The system was initially named QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System), before being made commercially available as 86-DOS. Microsoft purchased 86-DOS, allegedly for $50,000. This became Microsoft Disk Operating System, MS-DOS, introduced in 1981.
Within a year Microsoft licensed MS-DOS to over 70 other companies, which supplied the operating system for their own hardware, sometimes under their own names. Microsoft later required the use of the MS-DOS name, with the exception of the IBM variant. IBM continued to develop their version, PC DOS, for the IBM PC. Digital Research became aware that an operating system similar to CP/M was being sold by IBM (under the same name that IBM insisted upon for CP/M), and threatened legal action. IBM responded by offering an agreement: they would give PC consumers a choice of PC DOS or CP/M-86, Kildall's 8086 version. Side-by-side, CP/M cost almost $200 more than PC DOS, and sales were low. CP/M faded, with MS-DOS and PC DOS becoming the marketed operating system for PCs and PC compatibles.
Microsoft originally sold MS-DOS only to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). One major reason for this was that not all early PCs were 100% IBM PC compatible. DOS was structured such that there was a separation between the system specific device driver code (IO.SYS) and the DOS kernel (MSDOS.SYS). Microsoft provided an OEM Adaptation Kit (OAK) which allowed OEMs to customize the device driver code to their particular system. By the early 1990s, most PCs adhered to IBM PC standards so Microsoft began selling MS-DOS in retail with MS-DOS 5.0.
The FreeDOS project began 26 June 1994, when Microsoft announced it would no longer sell or support MS-DOS. Jim Hall then posted a manifesto proposing the development of an open-source replacement. Within a few weeks, other programmers including Pat Villani and Tim Norman joined the project. A kernel, the COMMAND.COM command line interpreter (shell) and core utilities were created by pooling code they had written or found available. There were several official pre-release distributions of FreeDOS before the FreeDOS 1.0 distribution was released on 3 September 2006. Made available under the GNU General Public License (GPL), FreeDOS does not require license fees or royalties.
Under Linux, it is also possible to run copies of DOS and many of its clones under DOSEMU, a Linux-native virtual machine for running DOS programs at near native speed. There are a number of other emulators for running DOS under various versions of UNIX, even on non-x86 platforms, such as DOSBox.
DOS emulators are a popular way to run games or other DOS software under Microsoft Windows, as modern versions lack full compatibility with DOS. One of the best-known is DOSBox, designed for legacy gaming (e.g. King's Quest, Doom) on modern operating systems. Another alternative is running DOS applications in a copy of a DOS operating system on a PC emulator. This approach provides better compatibility at the cost of increased overhead. Visit Wikipedia to read even more about DOS.