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Microsoft Posts Source Code For MS-DOS and Word For Windows

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the historical-sources dept.

Microsoft 224

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft, along with the Computer History Museum, has posted the source code for MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0, and Word for Windows 1.1a. It's been a long time coming — DOS 2.0 was released for IBM PCs in 1983, and Word for Windows 1.1a came out in 1990. The museum, with Microsoft's consent, has made the code available for non-commercial use. They've also explained some of the history of this software's development: '[In August, 1980], IBM had already contracted with Microsoft to provide a BASIC interpreter for the PC, so they asked them to investigate also providing the operating system. Microsoft proposed licensing "86-DOS", which had been written by Tim Paterson at Seattle Computer Products (SCP) for their 8086-based computer kit because the 16-bit version of CP/M was late. When SCP signed the licensing deal [7] with Microsoft, they didn't know for sure who the computer manufacturer was. Paterson said "We all had our suspicions that it was IBM that Microsoft was dealing with, but we didn't know for sure." [1] He left SCP to work for Microsoft in 1981. "The first day on the job I walk through the door and 'Hey! It's IBM.'" Microsoft originally licensed 86-DOS in December 1980 for a flat fee of $25,000. By the next summer they recognized the importance of owning it and being able to license it to other companies making IBM-PC clones, so they purchased all rights for an additional $50,000.'"

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224 comments

Why are they posting old source code? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576673)

Why not DOS 6.22? They're not making a bundle on that, either.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (5, Insightful)

counterplex (765033) | about 4 months ago | (#46576727)

I'm not sure that's needed really. Projects like FreeDOS and the like seem to be fine on their own. The DOS 2.0 source code is more of a curiosity, nothing more.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576739)

I guess DOS 6.22 is still somewhere part of their Windows 8.1 64 bits system. Releasing that code might give vulns. to current systems. :)

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 4 months ago | (#46576809)

Great minds think alike. Came here to post this.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 4 months ago | (#46577029)

Great minds think alike. Came here to post this.

Yes, great [slashdot.org] minds [slashdot.org] think [slashdot.org] alike.

Other minds think there's still DOS in the core of Windows, rather than a bag on the side to run old DOS programs, sort of like the VDM in Wine [winehq.org] . Srsly, the late '90's called, they want their "Windows is still a hack on top of DOS" meme back.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (5, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#46576843)

To the best of my knowledge, the last version of Windows to actually be based on DOS was Windows ME. 2000, XP and later followed the NT base.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#46576871)

IIRC, DOS still runs in a VM, even on Windows 8.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577061)

Which in no way implies that Windows is still based on DOS.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (5, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 4 months ago | (#46577149)

That doesn't mean that Windows 8 is 'based on Dos' anymore than a Linux box with the Dosbox emulator running Dos apps in a windows is.

Incidentally in 64 bit Windows there is no NTVDM or support for 16 bit Windows - you can have 16 bit apps running on a 32 bit kernel via a thunking layer (Windows On Windows), or 32 bit apps running on a 64 bit kernel via a thunking layer (WOW64) but you can't have 16 bit apps running on two thunking layers on a 64 bit kernel. Since Microsoft won't support memory above 4GB using PAE on 32 bit Windows you pretty much have to use 64 bit Windows on a machine with more than 4GB. In fact even on a 4GB machine you'll have more usable memory with a 64 bit OS than a 32 bit one - there's a hole under 4GB for PCI memory mapped space. The only way to get access to the memory the hole covers up is to see it about 4GB. With current Microsoft OSs that is only supported on 64 bit OSs. So in the long run most machines are going to come with a 64 bit OS and that means no NTVDM.

Of course part of it is probably that 16 bit Windows and Dos apps have pretty much ceased to be commercially important. And if you want retro games you've been better off with something like Doxbox than NTVDM for some time.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576887)

64 bit Windows does not have the VDM (virtual DOS machine). It is still in the 32-bit versions, but IIRC it's based on DOS 5 and not DOS 6.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (2)

Jugalator (259273) | about 4 months ago | (#46576889)

MS-DOS no longer exists in Windows. I don't think it was compatible with the NT kernel. The "Command Prompt" is confusingly similar though, but I don't think they share code.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 4 months ago | (#46577023)

32bit Windows 8 can still run DOS apps. There's got to be some DOS 6.22 code in there.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (2)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 months ago | (#46577055)

It uses the NTVDM, which emulates DOS. Windows doesn't actually run on top of DOS anymore.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577333)

Jugalator's statement: There's got to be some DOS 6.22 code in there.
Your response: Windows doesn't actually run on top of DOS anymore.
My conclusion: You can't read.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Sun (104778) | about 4 months ago | (#46577027)

Windows, including the most up to date one, still have a 16 bit personality able to run DOS programs. This means there is something there that is able to catch int 21 and process it, as well as allow programs to direct interrupts.

While it is true that cmd.exe (as well as the black screen dumb terminal that it usually runs in) are not DOS, DOS is certainly still in there, somewhere.

Which is not to say that I think the "vulnerability" angle has any merit. Just that your statement isn't entirely true.

Shachar

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577097)

The shell call that executes files looks at the file header of executables and opens it with NTVDM if it isn't PE format. NTVDM is the Windows NT Virtual D Machine. It is not part of the operating system any more than notepad or paint are.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (4, Informative)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 4 months ago | (#46577247)

Windows, including the most up to date one, still have a 16 bit personality able to run DOS programs. This means there is something there that is able to catch int 21 and process it, as well as allow programs to direct interrupts.

Modern computing fail. I can run ARM Android binaries on my Windows box, doesn't mean that Windows has Android vulnerabilities or that Android is part of Windows.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#46577389)

Windows, including the most up to date one, still have a 16 bit personality able to run DOS programs. This means there is something there that is able to catch int 21 and process it, as well as allow programs to direct interrupts.

While it is true that cmd.exe (as well as the black screen dumb terminal that it usually runs in) are not DOS, DOS is certainly still in there, somewhere.

Nope, 64-bit versions of Windows do not have the 16 bit personality anymore because the CPU cannot run 16-bit code in 64-bit mode. Virtualization programs typically run 16-bit code in a software emulator as it's comparatively very little code before the OS jumps into 32 bit mode or 64 bit mode.

cmdhost.exe, the command prompt host, is just a program that generates the GUI-less environment for a command line program to operate in (since the concept of stuff like "stdin" and "stdout" aren't applicable). It's not DOS at all, just a program that emulates what used to be called a DOS box by providing various services like clipboard to stdin/stdout, scroll back buffers, mapping text draw commands and cursor control commands, etc.

Other than that, cmd.exe is a regular 32-bit program making regular Win32 API calls as needed.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#46577541)

I've run the 16 bit ver 1 of cmd.exe under NT (W2K). Being a protected mode OS/2 16 bit application it ran fine though Windows didn't honour the full screen bit in the file header and ran it in a window. I'm sure it would not have given it as much hardware access as it was capable of using either.
They did remove the capability to run the older versions after W2K but it could most likely easily be put back if there was a need though only in the 32 bit versions of Windows.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577833)

Windows 2000 still had the OS/2 1.x subystem, that would not run on modern versions of Windows.

For those not aware, CMD.exe is a native program and has nothing to do with DOS, despite the similar command language. Both OS/2 and WinNT also had a copy of command.com.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577147)

I couldn't tell if you were joking or not until the :) - but it's true, DOS code lives on in 32 bit versions.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576763)

the Computer History Museum

Because there is historic value in early versions. There is also value in seeing how the apparent problems changed, but where things began is pretty significant.

Oh, sorry, mod this down, I accidentally thought you might even take the half-second to read the first sentence of the summary before commenting. I forgot where I was for a moment there.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (4, Insightful)

dacut (243842) | about 4 months ago | (#46576963)

Why not DOS 6.22? They're not making a bundle on that, either.

Distributing the source code to a proprietary product has a number of potential legal hurdles. If there are parts of the source which were licensed from another company (as would be the case with MS-DOS and SCP, IBM, Stac, and possibly others), those agreements need to be revisited and you may need to get permission from that company (or its successors) to do so. (I include IBM because, I believe, they took over much of the development for the 4.x series.)

MS-DOS 2.x might be the latest version they (currently) feel confident in being able to release free of these restrictions.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 4 months ago | (#46577045)

For example:
/* We copied this from CP/M but we don't know what it does */

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#46577171)

That's expressly covered in the Computer History Museum's article - it was confirmed, by a computer forensic engineer no less, that DOS is not copied from CP/M.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577771)

How do we know they are releasing the actual source code? It can no longer be compiled.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 4 months ago | (#46577017)

Why not DOS 6.22? They're not making a bundle on that, either.

You don't expect them to give access to advanced features such as file system subdirectories for free, do you?

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#46577115)

Heck, even ProDOS had subdirectories.

Re:Why are they posting old source code? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577335)

Because Microsoft is ideologically opposed to releasing source code to the public. They only do it when they absolutely have to or, in this case, for a publicity stunt.

Where's the source? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576691)

None of the links are to the source???

I call BS.

Re:Where's the source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576717)

www.computerhistory.org
But it's been /.ed.

Re:Where's the source? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576749)

No it hasn't. Slashdot does't have the user base to slashdot any site anymore.

Re:Where's the source? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 4 months ago | (#46576841)

I saw it posted to hacker news earlier today so they may have /.ed it

here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577065)

http://www.computerhistory.org/ms-dos-early-source-code/agreement/

Source code for 3.3 was out there long ago.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576713)

I'm pretty sure it was 3.3, but I remember snatching up MS-DOS source code off of usenet or maybe some rogue FTP probably 15 years ago. I have no idea where my copy is these days, but I think there was also some newer Windows code in that "release"

Re:Source code for 3.3 was out there long ago.... (3, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#46576855)

I'm trying to find DOS 3.3 on a 5.25" floppy somewhere. Have an old Tandy that has a slightly DOS install on its ancient hard disk that I'm looking to repair. Once I get it running, I plan on keeping it in my office for when people come whining about wanting a new PC.

Re:Source code for 3.3 was out there long ago.... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#46576877)

As far as I can recall, the Tandy 1000 series had its MS-DOS in ROM, you don't even need a floppy or hard drive in order to boot it.

Re:Source code for 3.3 was out there long ago.... (1)

rujasu (3450319) | about 4 months ago | (#46577365)

It varied from system to system with Tandy. My still-working Tandy 1400 LT boots DOS 3.2 off a 3.5" floppy. It has no hard drive and the ROM only holds a simple BIOS.

Re:Source code for 3.3 was out there long ago.... (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | about 4 months ago | (#46577645)

I got rid of my LT 1400 long, long ago. Don't know if I still have any early 90s vintage floppies lying in a box somewhere in my basement.

Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576725)

Tried to download the MS DOS source code- got a guru meditation error from the webserver. Mind = blown.

FreeDOS (1, Informative)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#46576743)

Stop asking Microsoft for the source code to MS-DOS when there's already a compatible DOS available for free [freedos.org] .

Re:FreeDOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576819)

I can't remember the name of it, but I think someone ~8 years ago partially re-implemented DOS as a 32-bit operating system with flat addressing, but whose general scope and layout was limited to the capabilities of DOS + BIOS. I think it was abandoned after he realized he'd just spent months developing an inferior alternative to Linux for no real reason.

Re:FreeDOS (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 months ago | (#46576821)

FreeDOS isn't done until Lotus won't run.

Or something.

Re:FreeDOS (4, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#46577207)

Irrelevant. The source code for MS-DOS 1.0 is interesting as a curiousity, a piece of history if you will. It's most assuredly not useful as the basis for any modern work. And FreeDOS is, well, not a piece of history, a curiousity. Hence, FreeDOS is irrelevant to this discussion.

I'm In Trouble Now (4, Funny)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 4 months ago | (#46576753)

I told my dad about this post pointing on my Touch Screen; now he's calling my doctor and asking about a Tetanus Shot, and he looks worried?!

True to their genesis (2, Insightful)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 4 months ago | (#46576771)

This short history summary shows that Microsoft's roots are in marketing, not programming. Once they obtained their license from SCP, they were responsible for DOS' development alone, and we eventually got MS-DOS 4.0, 4.01, 4.02.....4.22, 5.0 (( don't remember any bugixes for that one), 6.0, 6.01, 6.02, etc. NB: some of the interim 6.x changes series were for stealing compression technology from a competitor.

Thier buggy software continued right the 20th century till XP (2001)

It took them a long time to learn to program, and, now, their marketing is shooting themselves in their feet.

Long live MS (not.)

Re:True to their genesis (5, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | about 4 months ago | (#46576883)

This short history summary shows that Microsoft's roots are in marketing, not programming

No, their roots were in programming. This was their foray into marketing. Anybody who used a Radio Shack Model 100 (or its brethren) knows that Microsoft was capable of developing an excellent product at one point.

Re:True to their genesis (4, Interesting)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 4 months ago | (#46576977)

In the interests of truth, you are right; I left out their contributions to BASIC (I believe it was jointly developed at some point with Apple) and Bill Gates himself did some work on that groundbreaking program, but probably it was others who did most of the programming work with Gates being the bulldog who tried to drive payment for the program, which had gotten into the wild. There are some charming emails from Gates warning users about pirating BASIC circulating om the internet.

However, their huge success in relicensing seems to have driven their business plan after 1982.

Re:True to their genesis (2)

Quila (201335) | about 4 months ago | (#46577261)

Yep, they were good at one point. That Model 100 was the last Microsoft product that Gates' own code went into. Maybe that's it, maybe Gates was a great coder, but a poor manager of coders where quality is concerned.

Re:True to their genesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576897)

they were responsible for DOS' development alone

IBM would disagree with you.

Re:True to their genesis (2)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 4 months ago | (#46577329)

Yes, I remember. I misspoke. IBM gave a lot of code to MS-DOS (which, when sold by IBM, was called IBM-DOS). So MS was not the sole developer of DOS, and it is possible IBM contributed the buggy parts.

But if that is so, why was OS/2 (developed FOR IBM BY MS originally) so, well, weird?

Re:True to their genesis (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 4 months ago | (#46577667)

Not IBM-DOS but PC-DOS.
OS/2 got a bad start due to IBM trying to keep a promise that it would run on a 286. Getting a 286 to multi-task and run a VDM was not easy. Still OS/2 looked like DOS when you fired it up, with basically the same extra commands as cmd.exe still has, things like start to launch a program in the background. The graphical interface that came with OS/2 1.1 was what Windows 3.x and Win NT 3.x copied though they did remove things like folders in the Program Manager.

Re:True to their genesis (5, Funny)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 4 months ago | (#46576975)

/Oblg. M$ joke

Windows 95: 32 bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16 bit patch to an 8 bit operating system originally coded for a 4 bit microprocessor, written by a 2 bit company, that can't stand 1 bit of competition.

Re:True to their genesis (5, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#46576985)

Their roots are in brokering deals. They bought some rights from Patterson and got them cheap by concealing their end customer (IBM). They then hired Patterson and tossed him another $50K for the remaining rights to distribute. $75K altogether. If Patterson had said "No thanks" to the employment offer and hung onto distribution rights, SCP might have done a better job building upon DOS and they'd be the rich people. Microsoft would have gone on to be one of many apps developers in a diverse DOS-based ecosystem.

Microsoft has always feared the independent developer. They have become adept in killing off potential competition or buying up expertise and burying it somewhere in the Redmond campus.

Re:True to their genesis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577183)

Slashdot is full of bitter idiots. Long live Slashdot and its crap ass parent company Dice - NOT.

Re: True to their genesis (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#46577233)

Not marketing, except from the perspective of engineers to whom any portion of the business processes not related to technology gets called "marketing". IBM did all of the marketing relevant to the success of MS-DOS. Microsoft's coup was in brokering a deal with IBM and being smart enough to make it a per-copy licensing deal rather than selling the software outright.

Re:True to their genesis (0)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 4 months ago | (#46577269)

I love you tools. Microsoft 'stole' compression technology technology from a competitor...as opposed to Open Source which is _totally_ not based on anyone else's ideas or code.

Free software wants to be free, man, don't patent software, maaaan! Oh, unless it's Microsoft - they 'stole'.

Tool.

Re:True to their genesis (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577423)

I thought everyone knew this. There was more history that I remember. When IBM first saw the code M$ had bought from SCP (it was first called QDOS for "Quick and Dirty Operating System), it had 8000 lines of assembly code, and IBM pulled out 6000 lines of bugs, then gave it back to M$. The only reason IBM was so generous was that they didn't want to get caught up in Sherman (Antitrust) Act problems, so they made M$ their beneficiary. Little did they know that their friend and partner would become their fiend and back-stabbing competitor. M$ got caught intentionally breaking their products when run on DrDOS, and had to not just buy "Doublespace" but all of Stac Electronics after M$ stole compression technology from Stac. There were a lot of other things that M$ did later on that gave them a bad name (screwing with IBM over OS/2, Killing Netscape by bundling IE) with Gates lying to the judge "oh noes, its unpossible to remove....(cross fingers), threatening to 'wack Dell' if they tried to offer any computer with Linux bundled instead of windblows, killing FoxPro (and FoxSoft), killing WordPerfect, killing dBase (and Ashton-Tate), killing CorelDraw, killing Borland", but these were early dirty tricks. Later they would move on to ruining standards bodies by rigging elections on their OOXML (a target standard even M$ can't hit), and trying to screw with hardware bootloaders to only accept M$ operating systems. The list goes on and on. There are real reasons why so many people in the industry want them dead. Their mission statement is "mendacium,
fallere furtum", and translates to "lie, cheat, steal".

Re:True to their genesis (2)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 months ago | (#46577791)

killing WordPerfect

It's not dead yet!

This is on the shelf at my local Wal-mart:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Core... [walmart.com]

Downloads are at the computer history museum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576823)

Link. [computerhistory.org] Server is currently overloaded.

Fork? (2)

Jugalator (259273) | about 4 months ago | (#46576875)

Eagerly awaiting the first fork! MS-DOS for Linux? Mac? It can finally happen!

Re:Fork? (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#46577243)

Not legally allowed. The license prohibits distributing derivative works - it's for research and educational purposes only (though you can make your own derivative works).

Re:Fork? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 months ago | (#46577399)

MS-DOS for Linux? Mac? It can finally happen!

To quote Londo Mollari, "I can only assume that you have not been paying attention! [dosbox.com] "

Re:Fork? (1)

Daniel Oom (2826737) | about 4 months ago | (#46577831)

"Most of the source code was built with a proprietary "csl" compiler that generated "pcode" that was run through an interpreter at runtime."
This will prove hard to port to modern systems.

GitHub Source (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576879)

Someone posted a mirror to GitHub: https://github.com/Incognito/msdos

Re:GitHub Source (1)

gwstuff (2067112) | about 4 months ago | (#46576895)

"Someone" :-)

GitHub Source (1)

DeeEm (209892) | about 4 months ago | (#46576893)

Someone posted the source to GitHub for easy browsing: https://github.com/Incognito/m... [github.com]

Re:GitHub Source (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 4 months ago | (#46577251)

Microsoft is going to fire a takedown at that - guaranteed.

DOS 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576917)

is the last version Bill Gates wrote.

Just FYI.

recompile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576925)

How about the original MS word for mac.

or, I'd like to see someone port this old version to a modern system just for the heck of it.

"Non-commercial use" (1)

EricTheGreen (223110) | about 4 months ago | (#46576935)

I don't think they needed to worry....

Re:"Non-commercial use" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577237)

I don't think they needed to worry....

I think you underestimate the tendency for organizations to hold on to old stuff. OK, maybe not the original version of DOS; but was at a place where I had to interact with a DOS-based program in the late 90s. I bet there are still people interacting with DOS-based software for business purposes. Where I was, DOS was not a licensing bottleneck though. The software that ran on top of DOS was--there were a limited number of sessions from the server and you had to pay based on the number of sessions. We were sometimes chided for having two windows open at once because of that.

SCP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46576953)

"When SCP signed the licensing deal [7] with Microsoft, they didn't know for sure who the computer manufacturer was..."

Status: Euclid

Special containment:
The item is to be locked in safe with rotating passwords on the keypad.
No further safety procedures have been suggested due to the fact that most people cannot be around the device for any length of period.

Description:
Nobody truly knows the source of the device.
Some say it has been with us since the beginning of time, some say before that.
Some say that a man named [name redacted] found it in a [location redacted] in Egypt in the year 1822. Carbon-dating is not possible due to the odd lack of carbon in any of its structure.

The fear one gets when using it comes from the deepest depths of the mind, the animal side of the brain that senses it is a threat so against its existence, it must escape at all cost.
Experiments resulted in the total loss of consciousness of all subjects when held near the device for any length of time when sitting at the table with it.
The furthest distance the device seems to radiate is 17 meters in all directions.
Further experiments were able to take pictures of it when filtered from the intense radiation that is seemingly only visible to photographic devices.
When taken on to personal computing hardware, people still felt the effects of the device to an extent.
It also had a remarkable ability to make anyone go insane and somewhat addicted to actually using it, rather than pass out.
Many died due to exhaustion, not eating, and one experiment resulted in the subject repeatedly smashing his head off the monitor, they died shortly after.
They tried to reduce the effect of the picture, by embedding one pixel of the image instead of all of it, with much success. After repeated tests, only 1 out of the 100 tests resulted in total insanity.
See experiments log for detailed experiments.

A young man that worked at the company decided to use it in software in the late 80s, to see if it could be used to create money for the foundation.
So far, it has been very successful in the few products it has been placed in, resulting in a lot of sales.
More tests will be done by the end of the decade, with the creation of a full company to produce operating systems for personal computing devices.
Note: add this to the list of items useful as a profit-scheme for the company. This one in particular seems to be promising in producing a large amount of profit for the company.

Confirmed, Microsoft started by the SCP foundation

Re:SCP (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#46577039)

Nice - original? Always like the SCP stuff, as poorly-written as it can be. Real creativity there.

Tainting (3, Interesting)

Jiro (131519) | about 4 months ago | (#46576999)

Doesn't even looking at this source code create a minefield for open source developers? If you look at the source code, Microsoft can scrutinize all your open-source contributions claiming that since you read Microsoft's source code, you can't suddenly forget everything you learned, so all your contributions to open-source software are tainted by your knowledge. It will be impossible to prove otherwise. This may mean that if you look at Microsoft's source code, you are barred for life from working on the Linux kernel or anything even remotely related to operating systems. It could even affect your ability to get a job.

Re:Tainting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577083)

Meh... If you're writing code in 8086 assembler in 2014, chances are that your code will not be read by anyone, ever.

Re:Tainting (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | about 4 months ago | (#46577089)

Are you intending to write an antique DOS system in assembler that uses some really, really primitive version of FAT - by the looks of it? Then probably best not to look.

The other 99.99999% of the planet, however, might find it interesting.

Personally, I find anything still written in assembler to be totally worthless. If you wanted that, you could have run it through a disassembler at the time of it's release and it's not-much-more work to get to something just as readable.

Like the original Prince of Persia code dump - only useful for historical reference and to find out how data and data structures were processed in terms of file compatibility etc. (so, long-dead OS and filesystems are pretty worthless, especially when we know almost everything about them already).

And honestly, from a first glance, it's SUCH basic code that if you were to program any kind of DOS, and needed to be MS-compatible, the only obvious way to do so would be a basically word-for-word re-writing of what they have. There's almost zero room for "invention" or "interpretation" here, so it's mostly uncopyrightable except as a collection of code. Most functions are literally a handful of lines of assembler on well-known data structures that do one quite obvious thing and the necessary - and prescribed by the way the OS works - register / stack shuffling to make it happen.

If I were on the FreeDOS team, yeah, I wouldn't want to read it. But honestly, the chances are I wouldn't bother - I'd have a much nicer, more modern, easier-to-read, collaboratively-written project that does an awful lot more than these antique DOS's could ever do sitting right in front of me, already written. There's nothing "useful" here, but it buys MS some "open-source" lip-service.

Re:Tainting (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#46577711)

That's not how copyrights work. That's how patents work...

Word 5.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577009)

Sigh, maybe someday Microsoft will release the code for the last version of Word for the Mac that I liked, 5.1a. I could actually run it (in emulation) on the early versions of OS X. Given the hardware performance enhancements over the previous decade, it was screamingly fast.

Yeah! (1)

musicon (724240) | about 4 months ago | (#46577021)

Long time or not, this is a good thing for Microsoft to do, as well as for the community in general.

Unfortunately, however, it's under a non-commercial license, so any FreeDOS developers still need to avoid contact with it to avoid any IP complaints.

Re:Yeah! (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 4 months ago | (#46577303)

Paranoia. Nobody, including Microsoft, cares what anyone does with any of that code.

That is a hell of a return on investment (1)

es330td (964170) | about 4 months ago | (#46577033)

$75,000 total cost for how many millions (billions?) in licensing revenue from PC manufacturers? This may go down as one of the best acquisitions in business history.

DOS 1.1x was significant (1)

linebackn (131821) | about 4 months ago | (#46577037)

The really interesting thing about DOS 1.1 (or actually very slightly later revisions) is that it was the first to be released to OEMs other than IBM. Early clone makers such as Zenith, Corona, Columbia Data Products, Eagle Computers, or Compaq (you might have heard of that last one), never would have gotten off the ground if Microsoft had not licensed it out to them.

Some of the early "MS-DOS" compatibles were not even hardware compatible with the IBM PC. All you could rely on was the presence of an 8088/8086 and MS-DOS provided I/O calls. And those OEMs had to customize MS-DOS to recognize their proprietary hardware.

I'm not so sure about the value of Word for Windows 1.x. It wasn't even the first word processor for Windows (Beaten by AMI and PageMaker).

Now, on the other hand I have heard some interesting things about the internals of Word 1.00 for DOS.

Re:DOS 1.1x was significant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577311)

> it was the first to be released to OEMs other than IBM.

That is not quite true. Before PC-DOS and MS-DOS SCP had released 86-DOS to several OEMs*. Microsoft was just another licensee until it purchased all rights.

* see Byte magazine adverts prior to IBM-PC release.

Re:DOS 1.1x was significant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577485)

> Early clone makers such as Zenith, Corona, Columbia Data Products, Eagle Computers, or Compaq (you might have heard of that last one), never would have gotten off the ground if Microsoft had not licensed it out to them.

Nonsense. Most of those were already producing computers before MS-DOS existed. Columbia, eg, was started in 1976 and """In 1980, Columbia Data Products made some Z80-based computers, most notably their Commander 900 series, which had several models some of which were multiprocessors and had graphics capabilities."""

86-DOS and MS-DOS were clones of CP/M for the 8086/8088. CP/M-86 was a better product that MP/M 1.x and 2.x and DRI had multiuser MP/M since 1978 and demonstrated Concurrent-CP/M the month that the IBM-PC launched.

> Some of the early "MS-DOS" compatibles were not even hardware compatible with the IBM PC.

Or putting it another way: The IBM-PC was not even hardware compatible with anything, not even the S-100 bus systems that had established a multi-vendor market years before and were running CP/M, CP/M-86, MP/M and other operating systems. Even SCP made S-100 systems in their Zebra range which is why they wrote (or stole) 86-DOS in the first place.

> And those OEMs had to customize MS-DOS to recognize their proprietary hardware.

MS-DOS, exactly like CP/M before it was composed of 3 parts: BDOS, CCP, and BIOS. The BDOS and CCP were standard and unchanging. _All_ OEMs had to have a custom BIOS. It happened that IBM put their BIOS in ROM along with a few other bits.

 

So sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577125)

I knew CP/M was in the running in the early PC days. Didn't realize it lost out due to a 16 bit version being late. I've always wondered how things would've been if CP/M had dominated on early PCs rather than DOS.

Who cares? (0)

rnturn (11092) | about 4 months ago | (#46577127)

Microsoft: "Hey! Look what we found in the back of the closet! Anyone want it?"

Great gesture, eh? MS is at least 10 -- and more like 20 -- years too late in doing this. Just why do they think anyone is going to want this code nowadays? One doubts that it really has any value to anyone -- which I'm certain is why they're doing it -- but it doesn't have much in the way of PR value either.

Now I have the source (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | about 4 months ago | (#46577157)

to the package that is sitting on my shelf... nice.

Damn!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577267)

I think I paid like $200 buck for DOS 2.0.

The point? (1, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#46577321)

Other than ( tainted ) history, is there a real point? FreeDOS surpassed the functionality long ago and is Opensource.. There are several editors that are available too, that are open and free...

Sounds like pandering to me.

Re:The point? (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 4 months ago | (#46577467)

read the summary, or at least the first line of the summary "Microsoft, along with the Computer History Museum"

It's been out there for a while (2)

Aug Leopold (1218486) | about 4 months ago | (#46577361)

It doesn't seem to be widely known, but the MS-DOS 6.0 source code was leaked at some point. However, if you look it up you will only see posts from late 2006 when it was indexed by google code search. There doesn't seem to be any information on how or when it was originally leaked it seems like for whatever reason it wasn't big news at the time.

Re:It's been out there for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577719)

.. I have it here somewhere.. was definitely the real deal.

MS-DOS.6.0.Source.Code.zip (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577789)

Finally something for the Ribbon haters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46577375)

Word for Windows 1.1a!

Re:Finally something for the Ribbon haters (2)

dfsmith (960400) | about 4 months ago | (#46577633)

I read "ribbon haters" and thought "hey, there are still people who use typewriters?"

Curiosities (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 4 months ago | (#46577433)

The routine for directory listing is called CATALOG (shades of Apple DOS, and Heath's HDOS); for deleting, the routine is ERASE (shades of CP/M).

Early, abandoned steps toward UNIX: MS-DOS 2.2 supported the SWITCHAR variable in config.sys; if set to anything but "/", the directory separator would be slash -- just like Xenix and UNIX; if set to "-" you would type "DIR -W C:/foo/bar" for a wide listing of what generally would be called C:\FOO\BAR

I found this statement (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#46577549)

12700 REM see, 640k is enuf 4 me - BG

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