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Date:      Sun, 09 Feb 2020 02:09:59 -0600
From:      Scott Bennett <bennett@sdf.org>
To:        freebsd-questions@freebsd.org
Cc:        ralf.mardorf@rocketmail.com
Subject:   Re  updating BIOS
Message-ID:  <202002090809.01989xgi025440@sdf.org>

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     On Thu, 6 Feb 2020 21:04:23 +0100 Ralf Mardorf <ralf.mardorf@rocketmail.com>
wrote:

>On Thu, 6 Feb 2020 20:54:26 +0100, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>>On Thu, 6 Feb 2020 11:24:48 -0800, Martin Glazer wrote:
>>>Freedoms is the correct program. I use it. Good luck  
>>
>>FreeDOS probably was required to update a PC BIOS, the time when I
>>didn't use a PC, but a C64 or Atari ST. IOW that was a long, long time
>>ago. I'm not aware of any 64 bit architecture PC, that requires
>>more than a FAT 32 formatted device, to update the BIOS or UEFI thingy.
>>IIRC I even updated a decades old 32 bit machine, just by using a FAT
>>32 partition. That time the computer just supported PATA (IDE), no SATA
>>and I still used a floppy disk for some purposes. AFAIK updates on even
>>relatively aged machines doesn't require an operating sytsem at all, it
>>could be done by the BIOS and a FAT 32 partitioned device. It's just
>>important to read the vendor's hints. Sometimes updating from a very
>>old release to the latest release might brick the machine, it might
>>be required to upgrade from one release to another and IIRC sometimes
>>it could be impossible to downgrade, if an upgrade should suffer from a
>>regression.
>
>FreeDOS is not a program, it's an operating system.

     The first part of the above, mispunctuated pair of sentences is
correct, but the latter part is not.  FreeDOS, like PC-DOS and MSDOS
before it, is/was not an operating system, but rather a more primitive
creature known as a monitor system.  It offered no access methods,
scheduling, or storage separation (whether through storage protection keys,
protective mapping in address translation tables, or some other method),
or accounting, any one of which might have been grounds to argue that it
was an operating system.

>For my Atari ST's 80286 hardware emulator I used DR-DOS
>[ https://i.imgur.com/lx5pucp.jpg ].
>
     I recall only three OS that ran in native protected mode on 80286
machines:  IBM's OS/2 version 1, Microport's UNIX System V/AT, and XENIX/AT
by...hmmm...I think possibly Micro$lop, but I no longer remember for sure.
None of these was terribly usable because of the hardware limitation of
potentially thousands of small address spaces per process.  All address
spaces were limited to a maximum of 65535 bytes in a segment and segments
were *not* contiguous in any sense, but were essentially separate address
spaces.
     But they were interesting to play with at the time.


                                  Scott Bennett, Comm. ASMELG, CFIAG
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