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The End of MS-DOS?

(11/24/2000) With the new version of Windows, the Millenium edition, Microsoft has done everything possible to get rid of DOS. Is this the end for QBasic, or must we fall back again?

It might look attractive, but Microsoft has swept everything under the carpet once more...

Windows was first released as a mouse-based GUI based on DOS, even worse than DOS, developed by Microsoft in 1985. The system was a total disaster; Windows was like a DOS version of File Manager, and consequently it didn't sell well. A second version of Windows was launched in 1987, but that wasn't anything to write home about either. It took a third version to get on the market. Windows 3.0 was good, but it was still nothing but an GUI for DOS. In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, and the revolution that came with it. Working with simple computer tasks was no longer an art, with a new GUI. With rude methods, Microsoft soon secured their unofficial monopoly over the operating-system market. Even though Windows 95 did not require DOS to install, it was still based on DOS. The following OS, Windows 98, wasn't much better, except it crashed faster, better and more efficiently. Windows 98 was also based upon DOS.

Evil, very evil.

"The world moves on," they say. Microsoft wanted to get rid of the old 16-bit DOS code and base everything on the 32-bit code instead. Not an easy task, but did Microsoft rewrite all the code into something better? No, of course not. They've swept everything under the carpet once again. And the result? Unstable running of programs and the "removal" of DOS. The release has made some really nasty trouble for us QBasic/DOS programmers. Sure, DOS is there, but Microsoft tried to take it away, and they didn't even do it properly, so things are pretty messed up. For example, things that does NOT run in Windows Me, are:

DirectQB, and all DirectQB games.
Future.Library has had some problems with Win Me.
EMS memory functions, and most games using EMS.

This problem is huge. What this actually means, is that programs written in DirectQB or using EMS won't run! Are there no solutions then? Yes, there are. There are some ways of getting DOS back with Win Me, and they actually work. However, to make the games/programs run with Win Me, advanced manuvuers are required. It's hard to predict just how to juggle Window Me's various functions, and considering the ability of Windows Me to cause your system to crash or cause further damage to your DOS files, trying to get many of the best QBasic games to work in the hostile Windows Me environment is risky business.

Microsoft reminds us of the Borg, don't they?

Then is this the end of DOS? Will we adapt to Microsoft's operating systems? Even if we, the QB programmers, would stick to Win98, nobody else would be able to run the game, since Microsoft's monopoly will force people to use WinMe sooner or later. Hopefully, the libraries will find new ways, and active programmers will counter the problems. However, the old games, the classics, and DirectQB, might not be able to survive. Does WinMe bring the doom of QBasic? Hopefully, it's not just a matter of time. 

They destroy our programs, and we fall back. They ruin our efforts and we fall back. But no further, the line must be drawn here!

Article by AlienQB

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