Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Word For Windows 1.1a and Early MS-DOS Source Available (Really)

The Official Microsoft Blog - Microsoft makes source code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows available to public


On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.

The museum has done an excellent job of curating some of the most significant historical software programs in computing history. As part of this ongoing project, the museum will make available two of the most widely used software programs of the 1980’s, MS DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a, to help future generations of technologists better understand the roots of personal computing.

In 1980, IBM approached Microsoft to work on a project code-named “Chess.”...


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 300KB (yes, kilobytes) of source code. 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.

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.

Computer History Museum - Computer History Museum Makes Historic MS-DOS and Word for Windows Source Code Available to the Public

Mountain View, Ca—March 25, 2014— The Computer History Museum (CHM) announced today that it has, with permission from Microsoft Corporation, made available original source code for two historic programs: MS-DOS, the 1982 "Disk Operating System" for IBM-compatible personal computers, and Word for Windows, the 1990 Windows-based version of their word processor.

IBM went outside the company for many hardware and software components of their 1981 personal computer. Though most vendors were kept in the dark about the project, code-named “Chess,” IBM developed a unique relationship between their Boca Raton-based team and Microsoft, then a small company based in Seattle.

Microsoft, which was providing the BASIC language interpreter, agreed to also supply an operating system. Without their own operating system already in place, they licensed a product from nearby Seattle Computer Products and worked closely with IBM to make the changes they wanted. It shipped as "PC-DOS" for IBM and "MS-DOS" for other PC manufacturers. We are today releasing the source code of MS-DOS version 1.1 from 1982, and of version 2.0 from 1983.

"Version 1.1 fits an entire operating system – limited as it was – into only 12K bytes of memory, which is tiny compared to today's software," said Len Shustek, CHM Chairman.

Microsoft's DOS-based version of Word, first released in 1983, was not a success against the dominant word processor of that era, WordPerfect. The 1989 release of Word for Windows changed all that: within four years it was generating over half the worldwide word processing market revenue. It was a remarkable marketing and engineering achievement. We are today revealing the technical magic by releasing the source code to version 1.1a of Word for Windows.

“MS-DOS and Word for Windows built the foundation for Microsoft’s success in the technology industry,” said Roy Levin, distinguished engineer and managing director, Microsoft Research. “By contributing these source codes to the Computer History Museum archives, Microsoft is making these historic systems from the early era of personal computing available to the community for historical and technical scholarship.”

"We think preserving historic source code like these two programs is key to understanding how software has evolved from primitive roots to become a crucial part of our civilization,” says Shustek.

For a blog posting surrounding the release of this source code, please visit:




These links don't appear to be working as I write this... I hope this isn't an early April Fools thing...

Okay, the links appear to be working now... kind of. Think they are being slammed.

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