Are We Leaving DOS in the Dust

Are We Leaving DOS in the Dust

Do you remember DOS, with its simple black screen with the patiently blinking cursor? Its full name is Disk Operating System and a week ago marked its 30th birthday. To celebrate, I thought we should reflect on the changes it has undergone in the past three decades. DOS could be past its prime but is it gone from our lives? Was it merely a stepping-stone in the evolution of other operating systems?

 In 1981 IBM released the PC and the following choices for operating systems (OS).

  • IBM Personal Computer Disk Operating System – cost at the time: $40
  • Digital Research CP/M-86 – cost at the time: $240
  • SofTech USCD p-System w/Pascal – cost at the time: $695

For the price tag, DOS was the economical choice and DOS was also the only one immediately available.  DOS dominated the market by a landslide and DOS became the operating system of choice for those who were fortunate enough to have a PC.  DOS enjoyed its status until the release of Windows in 1985, a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that required DOS as a platform to run it on. Newer versions of Windows continued to be released and they needed DOS less and less.

Eventually, a version of Windows was developed that could run independently from DOS as it contained its own standalone OS, this was MS-Windows 95. It did, however, possess a tiny bit of the 16-bit DOS code. I guess Windows still needed a little bit of help from its trusty old friend DOS.

But all things must come to an end and in 1996 a version of Windows was released that did not need DOS. This was Windows-NT and from that point on Windows and DOS would part ways, but it has not left our lives.

There are lots of die-hard DOS users still out there that prefer its efficient and simplistic nature. They feel that the more “user friendly” interfaces have too many features that can muck up the system. For this reason we are still seeing new versions of DOS being developed, a few of these are FreeDOS, ROM-DOS, and DR-DOS. Some computer manufactures still make computers with DOS as the main OS. We have seen DOS change however I do not believe it will go the way of the eight-track so long as people still want the simple functionality of cmd enter.