Early source code of MS-DOS and Word for Windows are now part of the Computer History Museum, Microsoft announced early this week as part of an ongoing project “to help future generations of technologists better understand the roots of personal computing.”
Software companies always keep source code under locking key, but for the first time Microsoft is making available to the public MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Word for Windows 1.1a under a non-commercial license that limits publication of the software.
Back in the days (1980’s) Microsoft provided the BASIC language interpreter to IBM, then Microsoft started working on a project codenamed “Chess”, but later on IBM needed an operating system and asked Microsoft to provide the answer. The software giant made to versions: PC-DOS, the Personal Computer Disc Operating System, which was licensed to IBM, and MS-DOS, another flavor of the OS designed for other PC outlets.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft didn’t fully create the operating system, the company used an operating system licensed from Seattle Computer Products as the basic for DOS.
Word for Windows was the other milestone for Microsoft as it only took four years from its original release in 1989 to generate half of the world word processing revenue.
If you ever wondered, which pieces of code made what Microsoft is today, you can head over the Computer History Museum to download the bits. Perhaps, if you have an 8086 based-PC, you can make MS-DOS work.