Plain text version

Chapter : About OpenDOS

What is OpenDOS?

OpenDOS is a clone of the popular MS-DOS operating system. Like MS-DOS, it is a 16 bit OS, and includes the full range of standard utilities (sort, chkdsk, etc ), most of which are improvements over their counterparts supplied with MS-DOS. The supplied game, NetWars, is far better than MS-DOS"worms"!

Where can I get it?

The OpenDOS full-featured evaluation release can be obtained from The sources are not yet available, but they will b e. The full evaluation version, including a copy of Personal Netware, weighs in at 7Mb; the reduced non-networking version is around 2Mb. They are available as floppy disk images to install from floppy or as sets of files to install from the hard disk.

Who owns OpenDOS?

OpenDOS is the sole property of Caldera, but they are releasing a free "evaluation" copy which can be used for non-commercial use and evaluation. They plan to release the sources to the public within the next month or s o, too.

What's the catch?

So far, no "catch" has been found. OpenDOS is stable - some of us have been running it for more than a month. There are known to be some bugs (see, but nothing really serious has turned up.

I've heard something about Gene Buckle. What/Who's that?

Gene's a real live human being. He is more or less running the effort to get the sources into a releasable format, and is the main liason between Caldera and the DJGPP crew.

What's the EDC?

European Development Center. That's where all the OpenDOS work is being done. It's in England.

And GEM is...?

GEM is a graphical user interface. It stands for Graphical Environment Manager. It isn't quite as flashy as the Windows 95 shell, but it certainly gets the job done.

What's DJGPP?

DJGPP is a freely available 32-bit development system based on the GNU tools. See

What's WINE?

A Windows Emulator for X running on Intel platforms. Written by the Internet Community.

Isn't that what WABI is?

Almost. WABI is a Windows Emulator for X that runs on any platform, written by Sun Microsystems.

What's an IFS?

In this context, it's an Installable Files System - a file system module that can be installed after the system boots. For example, NWCDEX is an IFS, as would be any NFS software. In other contexts, it's an Iterated Function System.

What's "loading high"?

A trick used to free up more DOS memory by moving drivers and parts of the system into other memory areas.

What's FAT32?

FAT12, FAT16, an FAT32 are all cluster-based disk layouts. FAT12 is usually used on floppies and FAT16 on hard drives (more clusters). FAT32 is new, and supports more (and thus smaller) clusters, making disk storage more efficient.

What's XFree86?

An X11 server that's available in source format. Runs on many platforms.

Is there an IRC channel for discussing OpenDOS?

I hoped you'd ask that. *opendos on EFNet.

I'm having trouble finding it

You probably have an old page. You need to go to

I've found it but it never downloads completely

This is due to the way that Caldera's web server is set up - it times out. If you have access to a high-speed network at your ISP or work, download it there and then transfer it over your modem. Until Caldera modifies their license, no mirrors can be set up. Send email to if you really need it to find out what the current best way to get it.

I found the right page and downloaded it... but IBMBIO.COM and IBMDOS.COM are missing!!!

Please re-download the binaries. They aren't really missing. Honest.

Is there any documentation available?

Run the program dosbook that comes with OpenDOS.

What's FaX?

FaX - yes, the name's a ripoff of TeX - is the FAQ formatter created especially for this FAQ, but is showing signs of usefulness for FAQs in general, so I'll be making a nice public release sometime. Any one who's interested should mail

I can't find what I need in dosbook or this FAQ. Help!!!! is still around; it may also have information still useful to OpenDOS. Then again, you could just ask away on the mailing list or IRC channel.

Did you say "mailing list"?

Yes, handles all subscriptions for the three OpenDOS mailing lists - ope and - all at Some discussion happens on the DJGPP mailing lists as well. The mailing list is archived at DJ's page. See the introduction. Also, take a look at the O penDOS Mailing Lists page at

Is there a newsgroup?

Not yet. A few people have shown interest, but there probably will be eventually.