First post, by mattrock1988
I recently stumbled across my old copy of Datalight ROM-DOS 7.1 from back in the day when it was given away as a free download (nowadays, acquiring a copy requires a payment of about $60 to attain a single user license for personal use, which I think is a bit silly).
I've been playing with it some on my Pentium III retro build, and it has some neat features going for it, namely:
1. Built-in support for long file names, or LFNs, at the kernel level with no driver necessary.
2. FAT32 and LBA support are native to ROM-DOS 7.1.
3. Included DOS utilities have a very reasonable memory footprint.
4. Offers a TCP/IP stack that can be used to attain access to a local network, Internet resources, etc.
5. Said to offer virtually 100% compatibility with software titles written for MS-DOS.
So far, I do like how well put this particular flavor of DOS is. However, one sticking point has to be the EMM386 driver they pack with ROM-DOS. It doesn't seem to behave the same as the version provided with MS-DOS and PC-DOS. Free UMBs aren't as copious in my initial tests, and EMS memory generated after defining a frame doesn't appear to work at all, causing games that rely on EMS to bomb out.
Does anyone have experience with ROM-DOS? It seems rather promising in a lot of ways, but the memory situation is rather perplexing. If I can't figure this out, I may switch either to MS-DOS 7.1 (CDU) or FreeDOS.
Also, Vetusware appears to have the last known free-as-in-beer release of ROM-DOS, both in version 6.22 and 7.1 flavors if anyone is curious about downloading a copy to try.
Retro PC: Intel Pentium III @ 1 GHz, Intel SE440BX-2, 32 GB IDE DOM, 384 MB SDRAM, DVD-ROM, 1.44 MB floppy, Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4600 AGP, Creative SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold, Aureal Vortex 2, DreamBlaster S2