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February 12, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

Digital Research Inc is continuing its efforts to square up to Microsoft Corp and increase its share of the personal computer operating systems market, releasing version 3.4 of its DR DOS operating system for iAPX-86 family machines. Originally launched last June, (CI No 951), DR DOS provides MS-DOS 3.3, 4.0, and PC-DOS functionality, and can also be used in portables, laptops, process control systems and diskless and network workstations. DR DOS is claimed to be half the cost of MS-DOS, and, unlike the Microsoft operating system, it can be executed from Read Only Memory, offering a 39Kb saving in RAM, and the freeing up of disk space that can then be used for other applications – unless you want to dispense with the disk altogether. DR DOS was originally developed at Digital Research’s laboratories in Hungerford, Berkshire, where it is also being packaged. The ROM version was engineered in conjunction with Award Software Inc, Los Gatos, California as part of a deal signed last July (CI No 1,000). It comes in four 64Kb ROM chips on a plug-in board costing $250. You can put this card into a PC, pull out the disks, and run with it, according to Award president Rene Vishney. New features include a menu-driven installation routine, LIM 4.0 memory driver support and upgraded text editor. English, French and German language versions are already available – Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese releases are set to follow soon. UK chain of fashion shops Next Inc, is reported to be amongst the first customers for the new DR DOS which it is to run on point-of-sale terminal controllers in its branches. Two million DR DOS licences have now been sold to 27 suppliers according to Digital Research’s director for Northern Europe Ian Dunn. He forecasts 100% growth in revenue for the Monterey, California company for its 1988-1989 fiscal year, and said the company has also been approached by some US companies on the West Coast interested in taking DR DOS as the MS-DOS environment for their Unix systems, and it has also excited interest in Japan, where it is distributed by Kanematsu Semiconductor Co. Meanwhile Microsoft is trying hard to keep pace with Digital Research and is due to release a ROM version of MS-DOS sometime next year.

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