I started FreeDOS in 1994, when I was still an undergraduate physics student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Almost immediately, other developers contacted me, and we began work creating our own version of DOS that would be compatible with MS-DOS. I packaged my own extended DOS utilities, as did others, and we found other public domain or open source programs that replaced other DOS commands. A few months later, we released our first FreeDOS Alpha distribution. This interested new developers to join FreeDOS. From there, FreeDOS grew very quickly.
FreeDOS has always been about developers coming together to write code. In the beginning, we used to post "To Do" lists on our website, so new developers could find suggestions for how to contribute to FreeDOS. In that spirit, I'd like to suggest a few things I think would be great for the next release of FreeDOS.
If you're a beginner:
- Test FreeDOS programs and report any bugs that you find
- Test other DOS programs and report a bug if they don't work properly on FreeDOS (usually if the program relies on some MS-DOS feature or compatibility that might not exist in FreeDOS)
If you've got some programming experience:
- Port FreeDOS utilities to OpenWatcom C and NASM (currently our preferred C compiler and Assembler for FreeDOS)
- Port GNU utilities to FreeDOS
- Create a new alternative shell, similar to COMMAND.COM but with more advanced features.
- Add international language support to a FreeDOS program that currenly only supports one language
- Update the FreeDOS Help, either as a complete re-write, or an update to the existing HTML Help program or its content.
- Fix open bugs in FreeDOS programs
- Become the maintainer of a FreeDOS program that no longer has a developer
If you're a highly skilled DOS developer:
- Create a DOS package of the GNU C Compiler (GCC) that is capable of creating 16-bit DOS applications (no extender)
- Add new features to FreeDOS, such as a good GPL-licensed CDROM driver
- Add some kind of UEFI bootstrap BIOS emulator, perhaps implemented as an IPL