What's New

FreeDOS virtual get-together (save the date)

Every month, we have a virtual get-together on video chat. It's another way for us to stay connected - and helps us put a face to the name, so we aren't just someone on the other end of an email. The next virtual get-together is this Sunday, January 16 at 11am US/Central. Use your favorite time zone converter to find your local time. We'll be live for 90 minutes. We alternate topics for each get-together. This month's focus is "social time." We may talk about tech items too, but the focus will be catching up and getting to know one another. Jim hosted the previous get-togethers from his Bluejeans video meeting account for work, but this time we'll experiment with using Zoom. We'll share the link when the meeting starts on Sunday.

2022-01-16 12:43pm Thanks to everyone for joining today's FreeDOS virtual get-together! I really appreciate getting to know everyone as more than just a name behind an email. Folks dropped in and out as they had time. I think we had a dozen folks during the get-together. We do these monthly, so if you weren't able to join today, you can join us next time. We alternate topics for each video call; this month was "social time," next month is "technical." See you then!

IA-16 GCC toolchain and libi86 library, Jan 2022 version

TK Chia has released the new version of IA-16 GCC and the Libi86 library. IA-16 GCC is a version of the GNU GCC compiler for 16-bit DOS. Programs compiled with IA-16 GCC will run on any PC, but requires a '386 or better to compile. From TK Chia's description: "This is a very unofficial DJGPP/MS-DOS-hosted (32-bit x86) port of the GNU C and C++ compiler toolchain to the IA-16 target (16-bit Intel x86) by Rask Ingemann Lambertsen, Andrew Jenner, myself, and various contributors. The toolchain itself is 32-bit, but it will output 16-bit code." A few changes in this release: options to check for '286 CPU when compiling for that target + Newlib with multi-byte character support + uname and realpath are implemented + bug fixes + other improvements. Full change log are in the release notes. You can find this new release at IA-16 GCC on GitLab. We've also mirrored this at the FreeDOS Files Archive at Ibiblio, under /files/devel/c/gcc-ia16.

At the same time, TK Chia also released an updated version of the Lib86 library. This is a library of routines for DOS programs, meant to be used with the IA-16 GCC toolchain. Full changes are listed in the release notes, but highlights include: new BIOS functions in bios.h + _searchpath in dir.h + _displaycursor and _setcolor in graph.h + _setbkcolor partially implemented + bug fixes + other changes. You can find the new release at Lib86 on GitLab. We've also mirrored this version at Ibiblio, in /devel/c/gcc-ia16/libi86.

Updated DWED editor for DOS

DosWorld released a new version of the DWED text editor. If you haven't used DWED, it's worth a try. Features include: Support files over 64k + Support syntax highlight (C / Pascal / Asm / Xml / Html / Txt etc) + Support multiple file editing at the same time + Support internal clipboard (up to 32k) + Don't require DPMI-server or 80286 CPU. Written in TurboPascal. Looks like the latest version is a minor update: added Windows clipboard support (via system2 lib) and can be used in Windows or Dosbox. You can find the source code and screenshots at DWED on GitHub and the new release on DWED release 2022-01-12. MIT License.

Recent articles to help you learn FreeDOS

Here are a few "year in review" articles from that may interest folks who are new to FreeDOS, or just getting started with programming on FreeDOS: Try FreeDOS in 2022 is a recap of the most popular articles from the the month-long series about FreeDOS, from June. These generally fall into "New to FreeDOS," "FreeDOS for Linux users," and "Using FreeDOS." 5 ways to learn the C programming language in 2022 provides some great resources if you're just learning about C programming. There's an article in there about curses programming on Linux, but the others should apply equally well to FreeDOS. 5tips for learning a new programming language in 2022 is another "best of" article about other popular programming articles from 2021. I recommend "How different programming languages do the same thing" and "How different programming languages read and write data" - both of which include C, which is great for programming on FreeDOS.

Codebreaker - a number puzzle game

I updated the Wordy game to create Codebreaker, a number puzzle game. The concept is similar: You have 5 attempts to guess a random 5-digit code. Each number is only used once in the code. Can you guess the secret number in time? It sounds simple, but it can be challenging because you only have 5 attempts, and the game only tells you if numbers are incorrect, correct but in the wrong position, or correct and in the right position. The code is under the MIT license. I've shared it at Codebreaker on GitHub. The "version 1.0" release also includes a DOS program you can play.

Previous news item about the Wordy game: I wrote a sample game that is kind of fun, so I wanted to share it. Wordy is a word puzzle game for DOS. You have six attempts to guess the mystery five-letter word. After each guess, the game highlights your letters: black if that letter does not exist in the mystery word, orange if the letter exists but not in that location, green if the letter exists in that location. I haven't added the code to pick a random word from a list of possible five-letter words. This was just some sample code so I didn't do that. But the code is easy enough to update; feel free to send a pull request. The code is under the MIT license, available at Wordy on GitHub.

New PvP Gem game

PvP Gem (or "Player v Player Gem") is a two-player match-3 gem game. Two players take turns. You select a "gem," that get is destroyed, and you get a point. Other gems fill in from above. If you can match 3 or more gems, you get points for those too. The first player to reach 25 points wins. But it requires a bit of strategy; be careful what gem you destroy, so you don't set up your opponent for an awesome move! Uses PC speaker for sound. Requires OpenWatcom to build. MIT license. You can find it on the PvP Gem repo at GitHub. There's a "v1.0" release that includes a DOS executable you can play.