SVARDOS HELP SYSTEM ver 20230217[freedos]

*** Why would I want to use SvarDOS instead of FreeDOS? ***

The FreeDOS project is a free, open-source operating system that aims to be 100% compatible with MS-DOS. And it is awesome. So why would I want to use SvarDOS instead?

Long release cycles

The FreeDOS project began 29 June 1994. Version 1.0 came around in 2006. Version 1.1 has been released in 2012, and the version 1.2 followed in December 2016. Version 1.3 was released in February 2022. This translates roughly to a 5-years release cycle. Granted, the DOS scene is not as active as it used to be, but still, many things happen during a few years. Such version-centric approach also requires users to perform full-system upgrades every now and then. SvarDOS is very different in this regard: there are no versions at all. Whenever a new program is included into or updated within the distribution, it becomes immediately available through the SvarDOS repository and may be pulled either through the SvarDOS website or SvarDOS' pkgnet tool. Already installed systems can be easily kept up-to-date using the distribution's package manager.

Constraints of legal nature

The FreeDOS project mimicks a proprietary operating system, with all its APIs and peculiarities. For this reason, the project always had to be extremely careful about what can and what cannot be included within the FreeDOS distribution. As a result, only "free software" (as in freedom, think GPL, BSD, and so on) can make its way into the official distribution. While such cautious approach is sane and legally safe, it is far from practical for users. Allowing exclusively free software means that a high number of useful programs, tools and games are left behind. For example "freeware" tools (as in "gratis but no source included") are a no-go. Even open-source programs can be rejected, if they do not clearly state that they comply with an OSI-approved license. SvarDOS, on the other hand, is much more liberal about including packages. Basically, anything that is objectively useful, of reasonable quality, free/gratis and can be legally distributed in the form of a package, can be included in SvarDOS. The only exception is for the "core" system (ie. the operating system itself), which must be based exclusively on free/libre software. Read more about SvarDOS package inclusion rules.

FreeDOS included!

It must be noted, that although the goals of SvarDOS and FreeDOS may be slightly different, SvarDOS wouldn't exist without FreeDOS. Indeed, SvarDOS uses the excellent FreeDOS kernel, as well as a few other utilities borrowed from the FreeDOS ecosystem. Read also: SvarDOS origins