image Microsoft makes MS-DOS source code available

Little History:

Its been 30 years since Microsoft released MS-DOS. It was the beginning of the personal computer era. MS DOS started with IBM giving the contract to Microsoft to develop an operating system for their PC. Initially, Microsoft had provided BASIC language interpreter to IBM. This early relationship paved the way for IBM hardware and Microsoft software in the coming years. At that time Microsoft had 100 employees out of which 35 worked hard on the early MS DOS.


Well, the early MS DOS did nothing more than managing the files and loading programs. The later versions added more functionality like installing device drivers, input redirection, etc.

Computer History Museum:

Some of you may be surprised but there’s a museum to preserve all the computer artifacts and the stories that had led to computer evolution. Its located in Mountain View, California (yes, the same place where Google has its HQ). A must visit for computer people if you ever travel to US. Its this museum’s project to make the source code available.

Downloading the source code:

The zip file contains four subdirectories:

  • v11source: 7 assembler code files, and an explanatory email from Tim Paterson
  • v11object: 27 files, some binary programs and some sample programs
  • v20source: 118 text files, mostly assembler code and some documentation
  • v20object: 38 files, some binary and some documentation

Its written in Assembly for 8086, which some of you maybe familiar with. You probably won’t understand all of it. But look at what this represents, this is the source code that made millions of dollars and is the foundation of what most people use today.


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