Microsoft makes MS-DOS and Word for Windows source code public

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Microsoft have teamed up with the Computer History Museum to make source code for two of their ground breaking programs available. In this case, we’re talking about MS-DOS and Word for Windows. In a blog post outlining the deal, Roy Levin, managing director of Microsoft Research, said the company granted the museum permission to make the code public for 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.”

MS-DOS, which was originally code named “Chess”, came to power in 1980 when IBM asked Microsoft to produce an OS to run on their computers. Word for Windows was released in 1989, and with in four years had captured half of the revenue of the word-processing market, according to Levin.
Both programs marked the beginnings not only of great successes for Microsoft, but also the PC industry as we know it today. The museum’s Chairman, Len Shustek, had this to say about the effort: “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.”

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