I would like to know which original Operating Systems that run on retrocomputers are still being actively maintained and updated. This only applies to retrocomputer OS's that may still be used on original hardware.

  • Assuming the OS vendor has long-since dropped support, the updates would have to come from some community project which continues to develop the OS by adding modular enhancements, or by reverse-engineering the OS and releasing an enhanced version.
  • Modern replacements for the original OS that are in no way compatible should not be included.
  • Updates should be able to run on the original retrocomputer hardware without need for modern hardware or emulators.
  • Updated ROMs are Ok, since this may be the pathway to update the OS.
  • 1
    This probably shouldn't have hardware tags... but I'm not certain what it should have instead. I'll remove them whilst replacements are being found. – wizzwizz4 Mar 1 '17 at 17:10
  • I thought list-based questions were a no-no. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good question. – cbmeeks Mar 1 '17 at 20:46
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    This is a list question, which sounds like it would be a good candidate for being community wiki. There would be one answer which anyone could edit to add additional information. – JAL Mar 2 '17 at 0:39
  • VMS is still developed. – Martin Schröder Mar 2 '17 at 16:05
  • @MartinSchröder Cool. Can you link to a recent release that runs on retro/old DEC branded hardware? Like a MicroVAX Model I/II? – Brian H Mar 2 '17 at 18:20

My previous research into retrocomputer OS updates has led me to the following list. For each retrocomputer OS, the date and version of the latest update released at time of posting is included. The link for farther information about the update is also included.

ProDOS 8 for Apple II, originally released Jan 1983

GS/OS for AppleIIGS, originally released Sep 1988

OS-9 for Tandy CoCo, originally released 1979

AmigaOS for Amiga, originally released Jul 1985

TOS for Atari ST, originally released Jun 1985

MS-DOS for IBM PC, originally released Aug 1981

Atari DOS for Atari 8-bit, originally released Sep 1979

RISC OS for RiscPC, originally released Jun 1987

MSX-DOS 2 for MSX, originally released 1988

OS/2 for IBM PC, originally released Apr 1987

MINIX for IBM PC, originally released 1987

  • MINIX 3 is still currently maintained as of 2019. It requires an i586 CPU, which is closer to original than modern hardware is.

Linux for IBM PC, originally released Aug 1991

BeOS for IBM PC, originally released Oct 1995

Microsoft Windows 95 for IBM PC, originally released Aug 1995

Sinclair QL (and compatibles) SMSQ/E, originally released as Qdos 1984.

GEOS for C64/C128 and Apple II, originally released Jun 1986

PC/GEOS for PC clones, originally released in 1990

Digital Alpha machines

They don't have any paying customers with pre-Alpha machines.

Oric-1 / Oric Atmos

Sedoric has been maintained and improved :

Multics, first deployed in 1969

Multics 12.7 is now (2021-02) getting ready for release, a follow-on to Multics 12.6 which was released in 2017. It would surely run on the original hardware if you have a 6180 in your garage. Lacking that, it does run on an emulator ...

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    I believe RISC OS is relatively alive. riscosopen.org/content – Muzer Mar 1 '17 at 17:06
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    Definitely a possibility to include. I don't know much about the Archimedes and haven't seen definitive evidence that the latest RISC OS can still be run on them. Are they mostly focused on RPi? – Brian H Mar 1 '17 at 17:15
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    Current releases of RISC OS are still available for RiscPCs, without needing any expansion (it's available on ROM chips which replace the original chips, or as a softload variant which can be loaded from disk). I listed the very first release of RISC OS, for older systems than RiscPCs. – Stephen Kitt Mar 1 '17 at 19:57
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    Standard, full-fat Linux will still run on an i486DX, which was available at the time of Linux' original release. Apparently only very minor patches (to GCC) are needed to get a modern distro like Gentoo to run. So I've added Linux to the list. I also added MINIX, since the i586 CPUs needed to run the latest version were available before Win95, which is also in the list. – Chromatix Aug 17 '19 at 21:38
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    FreeDOS is a clone, not the original. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Aug 31 '20 at 13:38

Not sure if this counts as being "maintained," but MS-DOS 6.22 still is easy to get.


You could continue to buy licenses and distribution media direct from Microsoft for at least a decade after they stopped supporting it. It was widely used on industrial PCs during that time. (Don't ask me how I know!)

  • 2
    The same goes for PC DOS 7, PC DOS 2000, and PC DOS 7.1. However, I don't think either MS-DOS or PC DOS fit with the OP's question in that they are not currently maintained. – RichF Mar 2 '17 at 19:31
  • No, this doesn't count as maintained, as RichF has said. Maintained implies that it's still being developed, but it's no longer supported and therefore not. I'd recommend reading the generic tour then trying to answer some other questions. – wizzwizz4 Mar 2 '17 at 21:12
  • At a bare minimum, I'd expect a "still maintained" MS-DOS to support USB drives, the FAT32 filesystem, and long filenames, and not need the "Legacy OS" setting enabled in the BIOS in order to talk to a keyboard. – Mark Mar 2 '17 at 21:34
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    @Mark MS-DOS was always dependent the BIOS for all device support, including drives and keyboard, so I wouldn't expect USB support unless it was provided by the BIOS. – user722 Mar 3 '17 at 0:00
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    @StephenKitt Either way MS-DOS didn't support any sort of drive without external support, whether by the BIOS or a third party driver. So I wouldn't expect a "still maintained" version of MS-DOS to support USB drives (or USB keyboards) without BIOS support or a third party driver. – user722 Mar 3 '17 at 17:46

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