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Pulled DOS emulator lives on as a jailbroken app

The iOS app that brought a very early version of Windows to iPad users didn't last long before being pulled, but the app will remain in development and for sale through a third-party.

iDOS on iPad.
The pulled iDOS app could run executable files, among other things. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

If you weren't one of the 6,551 users who grabbed a copy of iOS app iDOS before it got pulled from the App Store, you're in luck. It will continue to be developed and offered through third-party application store Cydia.

The app, which made headlines last week for its Microsoft DOS emulation capabilities, was pulled down after less than a day of being on the store. Among other things, it could run DOS games and a full-blown version of Windows 3.1. People even got Windows 95 to boot on it, though it was completely unusable.

Besides the fact that iDOS contained a full working version of DOS and read-only access to some of iOS' system files, the app was destined to be pulled given the fact that it could launch executable code--a no-no, and one of the top listed banned items in Apple's App Store Guidelines document. What also didn't help was the inclusion of two game titles: Ms. Pac-Man and Dig Dug, which are the intellectual property of Midway and Namco respectively. The two are also available as standalone apps on the App Store.

Developer Chaoji Li, who CNET got in touch with shortly after the app was pulled, says iDOS will continue to be offered free of charge through third-party app store Cydia (where it's known as DOSpad), though that solution is far from ideal. "Publishing on Cydia is not the optimal option because many people don't want to jailbreak their device, but they really want to play on iDOS anyway," he said.

On the plus side, the jailbroken version will continue to be developed to eventually include things like support for external keyboards--a feature that did not make it into the initial release of the software. For something like Windows this would let you hook up a keyboard and use your iPad as a highly outdated PC workstation, though one with a touch screen and keyboard interface. Li says another goal is to make the software "more playable, so people can actually enjoy the game."

Li's company, Fast Intelligence, has a handful of other apps that remain on the App Store, including Page Scanner--a $5.99 app that turns your phone's snapshots into scans, and a word trainer for the GRE test.