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 This could be the tech world’s version of a conviction being overturned by new DNA evidence.

A forensic analysis conducted for the latest issue of IEEE Spectrum magazine appears to have answered one of the biggest mysteries of the PC era: Was the landmark MS-DOS operating system that Bill Gates and Microsoft licensed to IBM an original piece of work, or stolen goods?

Sure, it’s ancient history, but it was a pivotal moment in the rise of the personal computer industry, and perhaps the most important business deal Microsoft ever made.

Gary Kildall, the late creator of the operating system CP/M, had accused Microsoft of profiting unfairly from his work, alleging that CP/M was copied by QDOS, the operating system that Microsoft acquired from Seattle Computer Products to create MS-DOS.

Not so, writes Bob Zeidman of Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering Corp., describing his analysis of CP/M and MS-DOS in IEEE Spectrum.

He concludes. “Every lead brought me not to Bill Gates but to a dead end. QDOS was absolutely not copied from CP/M, and MS-DOS showed no signs of copying either. Kildall’s accusations about Bill Gates were totally groundless.”

Read the full article here. It will be interesting to see if this finally puts the issue to rest.

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