When comparing Gentoo Linux vs FreeDOS, the Slant community recommends Gentoo Linux for most people. In the question“What is the best desktop OS?” Gentoo Linux is ranked 12th while FreeDOS is ranked 18th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Full control of the software
Pro Portage's emerge is powerful
Pro Can be officially systemd-free
Gentoo's default init system is OpenRC. Gentoo also officially supports systemd-free Gnome and udev. Users are free to choose any init system they want.
Pro Great for anyone who is serious about learning the intricacies of Linux
It's useful for both beginners and professionals. For the installation, Gentoo offers various types, which are referred to as stages. Basically meaning how in depth you would want to go into the process of installation. For beginners it's useful to choose for a starting distro due to its various stages that can be very time consuming but beneficial as you learn the composition in general of Linux.
There are many architectures available for Gentoo : i386, x86-64, PowerPC, PowerPC 64, sparc, DEC Alpha, ARM, MIPS, PA-RISC, S390, IA-64, sh, m68k.
Pro Documentation and community are second to none
Provides a whole handbook to refer to during setup and usage.
Pro A very large collection of software is available
There are more than 19.000 packages available in the official repository. And even more with overlays.
Pro Gentoo does not impose a standard look-and-feel
Pro Live USB
Pro Fully customizable
The usage of advanced features like USE flags makes it more customizable than any binary distribution.
Pro Can by optimized to any given CPU by using proper compile flags
Since everything is being built on your PC you can tune the code to make use of your CPU.
Pro Easy to dual-boot, either with any Linux distro or Windows
If you install a Linux distro after Freedos, GRUB2 will automatically detect it. As for Windows, newer EasyBCD releases implemented FreeDOS and automatically recognize it.
Pro Extremely lightweight
Takes less than 10 seconds to boot.
Pro Highly portable OS
It takes ten minutes to make a portable, USB FreeDOS drive, All you need is a USB device FAT or FAT32 formatted (128 Mb should be enough, but a 2 GB device would be better). First make a FreeDOS bootable USB drive with a program like Rufus (on Windows) or UnetBootin (on linux or Mac). Select it at boot and run fdisk to make a Primary DOS partition and install FreeDOS on it. Final step: reboot and run fdisk again to make the new partition active (optional: delete the installer partition). After that, the system is ready to boot with any computer.
Pro Large and friendly community
You won't be let alone, any question submitted on FreeDOS forums will be detailedly answered in a few hours time.
Pro Supports FAT32 partition
As opposite to every MS-DOS version equal or older than 6.22, or any DR-DOS version, you won't be restricted by a 2 Gb large FAT16 partition.
Pro Open Source
Pro Compatible with MS-DOS apps
Con Not beginner-friendly
You have to read a lot of instructions to start, even if you are familiar with Linux.
Con Customized package installation can take a long time and cause installation failures
The Gentoo package management system allows you to configure what compilation flags packages should support - i.e. specific processor flag support (SSE, SSE2, etc.), -O1, -O2, -O3 optimization, etc.
If you accept one of the default flags, Gentoo downloads binaries from the server. However, if you decide to optimise, it can and will download all source packages and start compiling allthe programs and libraries on your system. If your chosen flags don't work with a particular library, installation will fail.
Con Has no live images with graphical interface
Full installation is hand-made with a CLI (Command-Line Interface)
Con Since everything must be compiled it takes a lot longer to update
And if you have to update the kernel or some heavy software like Chromium it can takes hours if not more on weaker hardware.
Con Unlikely going to be your PC main OS
If looking for a lightweight OS, and thinking of FreeDOS as a possible option, consider that it will only useful when having to deal with legacy software, or other dos-based programs still commonly used at workplaces. Nonetheless it's a fantastic solution for Retro-Gamers who still own a a supported sound card. However the lack of modern software makes it hard to accomplish common everyday tasks, such us opening a document written in UTF-8, not mentioning, obviously docx and pdf files. The best choice is to install it on a USB drive, in order to have a portable OS, with basic hardware and all your files (and if you want games) ready to be launched with every machine. Useful to edit partitions, as well as restore MBR, check errors, install a light bootmanager on any kind of FAT partiton of every IDE-mode compatible hard-disk.
Con Obvious lack of sound card drivers
If you own a sound card produced after than 2000, you won't find a driver to make it work.