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Microsoft gives away ancient DOS and Word source code

Teams with Computer History Museum
Wed Mar 26 2014, 09:53

OVER 20 YEARS LATER, Microsoft has blown the dust off some ancient DOS and Microsoft Word source code and made it available to anyone who might want it.

The Microsoft Word for Windows Version 1.1a source code is a museum piece, and thanks to a museum it is finally free.

Roy Levin, distinguished engineer and MD of Microsoft Research, said that Microsoft worked with the Computer History Museum on the source code liberation project, and praised the museum's work.

"The museum has done an excellent job of curating some of the most significant historical software programs in computing history," he wrote.

"As part of this ongoing project, the museum will make available two of the most widely used software programs of the 1980s, 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."

The museum is hosting the code in a Software Gems collection. It described Microsoft Word 1.1a as an early also-ran that lived in the shadow of Wordperfect.

"The dominant word processing program for personal computers in the 1980s was DOS-based Wordperfect. Microsoft Word for DOS, which had been released in 1983, was an also-ran," the museum said.

"That situation changed dramatically with the introduction of Microsoft Word for Windows in 1989. By 1993 it was generating 50 percent of the word processing market revenue, and by 1997 it was up to 90 percent."

The code is available through the museum, under certain terms. You can only take it for non-commercial use, and you should not post it back onto the web.

If you do download it you should expect a 7MB zip file with 1,021 files in 33 folders. The source code for MS-DOS, IBM's APL programming language, Apple II DOS and Adobe Photoshop is also available at the museum.

While encouraging interest in an old version of Word, Microsoft is trying to kill a later Windows version, Windows XP, and is showing customers scare screens that advise them to leap onto Windows 8. µ


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