Microsoft has announced the publication of the source code for MS-DOS, the software that could be said to have been responsible for the tech giant's success. Both MS-DOS and Word for Windows are available for download as a result of a partnership between the Redmond, WA-based company and the Computer History Museum. "Thanks to the Computer History Museum, these important pieces of source code will be preserved and made available to the community for historical and technical scholarship," wrote Microsoft Research Director Roy Levin, in the blog post that announced the release yesterday.
The source code originates from the 1.1 and 2.0 versions of MS-DOS, and the 1.1 Word one has been published under a strict non-commercial license that limits republication on any site other than the museum's. "It's mind-boggling to think of the growth from those days when Microsoft had under 100 employees and a Microsoft product (MS-DOS) had less than 400KB (yes, kilobytes) of source code," wrote Levin. "From those roots we've grown in a few short decades to become a company that has sold more than 200 million licenses of Windows 8 and has over 1 billion people using Microsoft Office. Great things come from modest beginnings, and the great Microsoft devices and services of the future will probably start small, just as MS-DOS and Word for Windows did."
MS-DOS was first shipped out with IBM's PC release in August 1981, in its earlier PC DOS version 1.0; version 2.0 followed in March 1983. Microsoft later licensed the code to other OEMs under the name MS-DOS. Word for Windows was released in 1989, as a successor to the Word for DOS of 1983.