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Ever wonder what made MS-DOS tick? Soon, interested geeks will be able to root around inside the original source code for MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0, as well as Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1, as a part of a partnership between Microsoft and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

The announcement means that people interested in seeing how the PC operating system has evolved will be able to take a trip back to the 1980s and see the foundations of today’s PC ecosystem. It also gives us a glimpse into how far computing has come since then: MS-DOS 1.1 only takes up 12 kilobytes of disk space, while Microsoft says users need at least 16 GB of space on their hard drives to run Windows 8.

MS-DOS began as a collaboration between IBM and Microsoft, code-named Chess, after Microsoft purchased the rights for QDOS from Seattle Computer Products. It launched in 1983 as PC-DOS for IBM computers, and MS-DOS for computers from other manufacturers.

Word for Windows, first released in 1989, went on to unseat WordPerfect, which was the dominant word prcessor at the time, and helped start Microsoft’s dominance in the realm of office productivity software.

Microsoft’s code will join the museum’s existing archive of other historic source code bases, including the Apple II DOS, IBM’s APL and Adobe Photoshop.

Comments

  • Ryan Parrish

    Interesting. I imagine there will be a few people attempting to vindicate Gary Kildall and his claims about CP/M.

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