Keep your shirt on, people, it’s just the earliest versions! But a good gesture is a good gesture, and this is something that technology enthusiasts and nostalgic programmers will appreciate.

Redmond announced that it is releasing the original source code for MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0, along with Word for Windows 1.1a, to the public for the first time.

In a blog post announcing this noble act, Microsoft says that it worked with the fine folks of the Computer History Museum on this project. In the words of Roy Levin, engineer and managing director for Microsoft Research:

“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.”

Great things come from humble beginnings, as Roy notes that MS-DOS back then had less than 300KB of source code. Yes, kilobytes, simple photos are ten times as heavy these days!

The source code is actually available on the website of the Computer History Museum — go here for MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0, and here for Word for Windows 1.1a.

It comes with a couple of directives, basically that people that download the code must agree to only use it for noncommercial purposes, and secondly the code may not be posted anywhere else on the Internet. Makes total sense.

Now the next big question is when will Microsoft open up the source code for Windows XP? Probably within the next couple of decades, be my guess!

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  1. Definitely a cool release for computer/windows fanatics! I’m awful at programming and code, so not my cup of tea, but neat nonetheless.

  2. Man, this is great. I’ve never been super into codes and programming, but this would be a great time to start. I wonder if it’ll become a collector’s thing starting here and eventually onto XP and so on. If that’s the case, I may invest.

    • Bill Franklin / March 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm /Reply

      Certainly looks like a collector’s item. Those boxes look like they’re straight out of the 80s! Lol

  3. What can you do with this code, exactly? I’m not the most computer literate person out there and I can’t tell if this just a novelty or can you actually use it for something?

    • It’s possible people, like myself, would look at it and (attempt) to understand how DOS worked (studying programming as part of a college course for Uni and yet, I’m not a good programmer. Irony abounds).

      There would also be those who would try and compile it with sections of their own code to see what would happen. Seemed to happen when DOOM’s source was released.

  4. How can you use this code for commercial purposes? Maybe I don’t know enough about code, but what can someone code and use for a financial gain with this program that they couldnt with others?

  5. Pingback: Microsoft Should Make Windows XP Open Source, Says CIA Expert

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