back to article As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

Retro-computing fans got a treat on Tuesday when Microsoft donated the source code of MS DOS 1.1 and 2 to the Computer History Museum (CHM), along with the first version of Word for Windows. "Version 1.1 fits an entire operating system – limited as it was – into only 12KB of memory, which is tiny compared to today's software …

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  1. Joseph Haig

    For a moment I thought it might be XP, and Microsoft were hoping that the community would pick it up to fix any security holes that are found after April 8th.

    1. Jordan Davenport

      Are you insane?

      Black hats would be combing it over for vulnerabilities applicable to Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 too. The community might be able to fix vulnerabilities in XP, but they definitely couldn't with the newer operating systems.

      1. Simon Brady
        Coat

        Re: Are you insane?

        "Black hats would be combing it over for vulnerabilities applicable to Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 too."

        So the same as MS-DOS 1.1 then.

        1. P. Lee

          Re: Are you insane?

          > So the same as MS-DOS 1.1 then.

          Yes. But without the joke.

      2. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: Are you insane?

        Actually people would stop using the newer systems after Windows XP was open sourced. After all open sourcing would mean that it's going to get a thorough cleanup while still making it compatible.

        Just imagine an operating system 100% compatible with Windows, but without all the useless crap added in the newer versions?

        1. Lusty

          Re: Are you insane?

          "Actually people would stop using the newer systems after Windows XP was open sourced. After all open sourcing would mean that it's going to get a thorough cleanup while still making it compatible."

          Rubbish, the first 10 years of effort would be retrofitting some kind of skinning, then the community would start work on four hundred Notepad replacements...

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Are you insane?

            You forgot forking it in at least five different distros each with its own GUI and its API...

          2. Mark .

            Re: Are you insane?

            And we can look forward to releases every six months, with major annoying changes far more frequent than the long periods of Windows, and a much shorter period of support forcing us to upgrade. If we're lucky, the new version won't black screen on boot, and we won't have to spend ages editing graphics card config files to get it working again.

            (I use and like Ubuntu, but I find it odd that the criticisms to Windows here apply far more to distributions like Ubuntu.)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Are you insane?

              ITT People proving they know little about computers and are mostly fanboys vomiting their drivel into the echo chamber.

              Apart from a handful of exceptions of course.

          3. Christian Berger Silver badge

            Re: Are you insane?

            "Rubbish, the first 10 years of effort would be retrofitting some kind of skinning, then the community would start work on four hundred Notepad replacements..."

            The Windows fanboy community probably has a head start on it. I'm sure there are _way_ more than four hundred Notepad replacements, and skinning already was a feature of Windows XP.

          4. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

            Re: Are you insane?

            Yes, that would be my open-source wet dream. To me, XP was the fiat 500 of the OS world. It might break down occasionally, but it was nice to use. (Please don't tell me to use Linux)

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Are you insane?

          >>Just imagine an operating system 100% compatible with Windows, but without all the useless crap added in the newer versions?

          Like performance and security features - yeah what a waste of time.

          1. hplasm Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Are you insane?

            "Like performance and security features - yeah what a waste of time."

            Well it's not like they actually did anything...

        3. Michael Habel

          Re: Are you insane?

          Just imagine an operating system 100% compatible with Windows, but without all the useless crap added in the newer versions?

          A better Windows then Windows....

        4. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Are you insane?

          100% compatibile with which version of Windows? The newer versions has a lot of kernel changes and optimizations for newer hardware - multicored CPUs, virtualization support, large memory address spaces, high speed PCIe buses, MSI interrupts, SSD disks, etc etc. - and introduced newer APIs to support new features. But of course many "experts" here can't see beyond the GUI... when they hear the word "interrupt" they think about a birth-control method...

          Do you believe a 100% XP compatible OS would be interesting but for very low-end users who still want to run a thirteen years old operating system on old hardware? Why not run Windows 3.1 or MS DOS 5.0, then?

          I have no interest in writing software that can't take advantage of actual hardware features and power - and we're dropping XP support as well, it will allow us to write better software.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Are you insane?

            >I have no interest in writing software that can't take advantage of actual hardware features

            >and power - and we're dropping XP support as well, it will allow us to write better software.

            Err, what? Unless you're writing to the metal for some game engine or highly optimised DB , then API changes aside your code should be hardware agnostic. Its the OS that worries for example about which CPU core to use or how to best buffer the data to the disk and when , not you.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              Re: Are you insane?

              It's clear you don't know what there's new in 7 and 8 at the API level. I'd suggest you to read the relevant documentation, because it's too long to write it here:

              http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh920512(v=vs.85).aspx

              http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh920510(v=vs.85).aspx

              It's pretty clear that many "experts" here still think Windows is a GUI only and not a whole operating system. Even if you don't write games engines or DBs, these new APIs:

              Processes and threads: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd405527(v=vs.85).aspx

              Services: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd405528(v=vs.85).aspx

              Synchronization: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd405529(v=vs.85).aspx

              Help you to write better highly parallel and scalable software. Of course if you just write "web applications" only in javascript all these doesn't apply to you, somebody else is already taking care of it for you.

              I guess I will see more downvoters here, because being shown their ignorance will sting them.

              1. GranvilleA

                Re: Are you insane?

                Perhaps you get down voted because snarky smart *ss comments are considered juvenile and rude but perhaps that is too simple for your far superior mind.

                1. LDS Silver badge

                  Re: Are you insane?

                  No, the problem here is when you point out that 7 and 8 have many improvements over XP you get automatically downvoted by Linux smart*ss as you call it, who are afraid they can no longer compare their shiny latest distros with a thirteen years old OS and have to face what new Windows releases are capable of - no matter if the Metro GUI is awful or not.

                  Otherwise I can't understand why you get downvoted if you simply point out (and also add sources) that of course 7 and 8 supports hardware that was not available when XP was released, and of course see improvements in their features and APIs as well - everything chages with time and I guess latest Linux kernels are far better and improved over kernels of five or ten years ago - would you run your latest hardware using a very old kernel?

                  But I would never think that downvoting someone telling what new features the latest kernel have is "cool" because I need to feel superior. Is juvenile and rude showing someone else pure ignorance and prejudices? Or is juvenile and rude being full of ignorance and prejudices?

              2. F Seiler

                Re: Are you insane?

                I'm not going to vote either way, but think the "synchronization" list filled with functions that deal within the same process. As such they better not actually switch to kernel mode to do their magic and thus can be implemented by anyone else without additional win API support. I prefer to use the C++ language features (where available, and newer versions really add a lot of useful stuff in that regard) than bolting myself onto the win API very firmly. Of course MS's stdlib may or may not use the win API calls under the hood. Or the win API functions use their stdlib under the hood, who knows.

          2. Mark .

            Re: Are you insane?

            I agree - I not only love the history revisionism that portrays Windows XP (hated by geeks at the time) as now some golden age of Microsoft operating systems, but you have people actively wanting to run an OS targetted on machines less powerful than three year old smartphones. Apparently all those years when MS was criticised for the security model was just a joke.

            Yes, it's a shame that people do have to upgrade once every 10 years even if they don't care for the new "up-front" features, and yes software companies do therefore get to earn money in return for continuing to upgrade the OS for new hardware, and fixing security issues. But personally I love living in a future where even my phone runs rings around my Windows 2000 desktop PC, let alone the hardware I have in my laptop. I wouldn't trade that just to save an upgrade fee that's required to take advantage of it, and if I was that against it, there are free operating systems that people could use and stop complaining. I'd be curious to know how many people here really are running Windows XP on their home machines, or are just Windows-critics in disguise...

        5. kraut

          Re: Are you insane?

          Like http://www.reactos.org/ ?

        6. Mark .

          Re: Are you insane?

          But I thought XP was just 2000 with useless crap and a fisher price interface. And had huge security holes like everything being run as admin, and programs being able to write to each others' folders. Funny how its now praised as being great.

          I never was much a fan of XP; it didn't offer much over 2000, and was only an improvement to those who were previously on 9x/Me. Windows 7 onwards meanwhile does have improvements under the hood, whether better support for newer hardware like SSDs, improved security model, and I like being able to launch programs by typing the name or clicking on the taskbar, rather than scrolling through a big list of every app. Anything was better than DOS or Windows 9x though.

          If you don't want the extra crap, go get NT 3.5.

          1. NogginTheNog

            Re: Are you insane?

            "If you don't want the extra crap, go get NT 3.5"

            Before Win2k you had to restart WinNT if you plugged in a network cable in order to start up the networking subsystems. And the common Type 2 printer drivers would crash the whole OS. Do you really suggest we should go back to that sort of crap??

        7. Primus Secundus Tertius

          Re: Are you insane?

          By all accounts XP was a rats' nest of bodged code. In particular, concepts of layered software were repeatedly broken in order to get a quick "solution".

          That's why after about three years the developers came back to Gates to say, "sorry, old chap, we can't keep this software upright and pile ever more goodies onto it". MS has had to redevelop cleanly layered software to get to Vista and Windows 7.

          So if XP were open sourced it would require an even bigger rewrite than the transition from Netscape to Firefox, another notorious example.

      3. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Are you insane?

        "Black hats would be combing it over for vulnerabilities applicable to Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 too. The community might be able to fix vulnerabilities in XP, but they definitely couldn't with the newer operating systems."

        I'm not sure why people seem to be under the impression that you need the source code to find vulnerabilities. There's this old fashioned tool called a disassembler and any black or white hat worth their salt can speak assembly language. All you need is the binary. Yes, its more work but it can be done.

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Are you insane?

          @Boltar

          But a disassembler doesn't nicely highlight all the bits that say /* BUGBUG */

      4. Joseph Haig
        Happy

        Re: Are you insane?

        I'm not insane but I was not really serious and am slightly amused that my comment has achieved so many "thumbs-up"s and generated such a discussion.

      5. Thomas Whipp

        Re: Are you insane?

        Historically MS made source code available under restricted terms. There have been documented leaks in the past. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3485545.stm]

        I think its fair to assume that copies have made their way into some restricted "blackhat" groups (any government agency that *really* wants a copy for example!)

        The only difference here is that its a freely available release, but as I say above - the people you'd be worried about having this will already have done so.

    2. Vociferous

      Microsoft is not interested in having the community taking care of XP, and thereby competing with Win8.

      1. P. Lee
        Trollface

        > Microsoft is not interested in having the community taking care of XP, and thereby competing with Win8.

        More to the point, it is XP in different suit.

        Ok, in a hipster beret, daggy shorts and a flat sheet for a shirt.

        Ooh? What is this? NT 3.51?

      2. Mark .

        Like most software companies then.

        Meanwhile, how well does http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReactOS work, if that's what you want?

    3. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      I have free copies of XP...

      ... That is, the characters "X" and "P" I can email to anyone.

      Deceiving headline is deceiving.

      1. Chika

        Re: I have free copies of XP...

        Sounds like that woman that sold mobile phones on eBay. Only she put a little rider in the small print, one that guaranteed that the successful buyer only got photos of the phones.

        Nikki something or other...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great - they can hopefully use this to bring Open Office up to the capabilities of Word 1.0

    5. Michael Thibault
      Facepalm

      For a moment I thought it was definitely going to be the source for XP, and Microsoft were hoping, in releasing it, that the wide world would realise that there was no longer any hope for XP, nor any future, and that now really, really, and truly is the time to move on to absolutely anything else posthaste. IOW, releasing the XP source is the most noble thing MS could do.

      Another missed opportunity.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Someday when your lookin' back on your life this is gonna be one of those nights"

  3. Gannettt

    As far as text-mode word processors went, WordStar was better. Just saying!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WordPerfect? Or if you really better than Word (regardless of o/s), View?

      1. A J Stiles

        Wordwise Plus

        Wordwise Plus on the BBC. WordStar under MS-DOS. Both used a similar principle, with commands to control printing embedded right in the text. Wordwise on the BBC even used a 40-column editing mode with automatic reformatting for printing; true abstraction of presentation from content.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Wordwise Plus

          Arnor's ProText

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Anybody else ever used brown-bag word processor?

            I got the disk for HFL 4,- (less than 2 euro) and my wife wrote her MSc thesis on it. Simple, but it worked. I was more of a Wordstar user, as my documents (text data files from our image processing system) exceeded 64kB frequently. The column-mode editing in Wordstar was ideal for certain tricky manipulations with columns of data. I did like the first Word for Windows editions, but have switched to LaTeX since. I only ever use Word or Open/LibreOffice if I get documents from our management.

        2. Wilseus

          Re: Wordwise Plus

          Not that it's entirely relevant to this article, but I read somewhere that Wordwise was the first WP ever to have a scripting/macro language built in.

      2. P. Lee

        re: WordPerfect? Or if you really better than Word (regardless of o/s), View?

        How much would you give to be able to run an enterprise's productivity software on a single server?

        Framework III anyone?

    2. ukgnome
      Coat

      Pen and paper - word processing for blondes

    3. Tompkinson

      Yes but Z80 was better than 6502, 68k better than x86, Betamax superior to VHS, Apple System 6 & 7 better than DOS, Windows 3 & 95 but Gates' marketing and tactics were waaay better than everyone else's.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Z80 was better than 6502

        Hey, them's fightin' words, pal...

      2. Wilseus

        Yes but Z80 was better than 6502

        Was it? Not much evidence for that...

    4. Ian 55

      Borland Sprint

      Emacs without the pain = the best text editor I have ever used, coupled with a formatting program that enabled you to say 'make this 13.9 pts high' (so it fits on the page) and 'include this bit of PostScript' (for the images).

      You could also pull out the power plug on your PC with it running, and when you restarted, you'd have lost no more than ten seconds of work.

  4. Hurn

    Correction

    "Version 1.1 fits an entire operating system – limited as it was – into only 12KB of memory"

    No, the 12KB of memory only held the "resident in memory" portion of the OS. Larger commands, which were also part of the Operating System, were loaded from storage (floppy, later HD) as needed, and then "forgotten" once done with.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Correction

      And it was properly a D O S not an O S.

  5. Ole Juul

    What was 2.0 really known for?

    Two years later Microsoft released MS DOS 2.0, rewriting it to allow support for hard drives of up to 10MB and restructuring the filing system. Sadly it was known for being buggy . . .

    Where does that come from? Yes, there were bug fixes in 2.1 but if you were having problems then it could also be because of something else. 2.0 did not have the right timing for the newer 1/2 height floppy drives, for example. I've got 2.0 here, and it works fine - even with a lot of programs that came after that. What it was really known for is the superior file structure and support for device drivers as well as I/O redirection and piping. Those things made it very powerful and really functional compared to the previous version. That's what 2.0 is really known for.

    1. John Gamble

      Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

      Did this version still have the environment variable that allowed changing '\' directory separators to '/' (can't recall the variable name, or I would search on it). I and others were unhappy people when MS dropped that option -- I was given to understand they dropped it to avoid complicating that new thing called "Windows".

      1. Charles Manning

        Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

        The big problem was that some MSDOS commands used / to introduce flags. That made parsing flags & file names problematic.

        Stuff like:

        FOOBOX /F a:\file

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

          > The big problem was that some MSDOS commands used / to introduce flags.

          They all did. This was copied from CP/M which copied it from DEC's RSTS/E or similar.

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

            It was probably more like RT-11, which was a precursor to both RSTS/E or RSX-11, or whatever the OS was called for the PDP-6.

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

              Yes, RT-11 KMON used options and all it's clones and successors used them and they could process them much better than MS-DOS ever could. You were not restricted to using 1 letter, so you could remember a meaningful name and then abbreviate if you wish. In MS-DOS you had to use 3rd party command processors like 4DOS to achieve that.

              It is also very simple to program a command parser to do this kind of things, so Gates was just lazy.

              I remember I was appalled by the dumb command parsing when I first used a PC.

            2. Long ago and far away
              Headmaster

              Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

              Them's fighting words, my brother. You know much better than to suggest that a PDP-6 ran any of those operating systems. Mind you ... I'm not quite sure exactly what the original OS for the -6 was myself !

              (the hint is in RT-11, RSX-11 etc)

          2. Nugry Horace

            Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

            CP/M itself didn't use the slash. Microsoft's development tools for it did, though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

        @john - It was a config.sys setting, called switchar (yes with that spelling too - I guess someone at ms thought switchchar looked odd)

        1. Anomalous Cowturd
          Facepalm

          Re: What was 2.0 really known for? @AC

          No, it was because filenames were limited to 8.3 character format...

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

      It was known for being followed by 2.1 and 2.11

      20 years later, and they are still afraid / too cheap / too foolish to release the code for any version that was actually popular.

      I admit I can see that if they released the code for DOS 3.0 or Windows 3.11, people might actually use it for something useful, but do they actually think that would compete where they are selling Win7 and Win8? Would lead to loss of revenue in any possible world?

      Thank you for the historical code samples. But the dog-in-the-manger mine-all-mine attitude makes you look cheap and nasty.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: It was known for being followed by 2.1 and 2.11

        Which when you get right down to it, was also the case for 6.x. I don't recall running version 6.0 for very long at all. I do remember 6.22 being rock solid.

        1. Mr. Flibble

          Re: It was known for being followed by 2.1 and 2.11

          Novell DOS 7 was waaay better than 6.22 (unless you tried to use the multitasking part, which was rather buggy)....

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: It was known for being followed by 2.1 and 2.11

            > Novell DOS 7 was waaay better than 6.22 (unless you tried to use the multitasking part, which was rather buggy).

            Which was tragic. DRI (which Novell bought to get DR-DOS*) had great multiuser/multitasking back to MP/M in 1978. This went through MP/M-2, MP/M-86, Concurrent-CP/M-86 (1982) to Multiuser-DOS. DR-DOS was derived from the multiuser systems. Initially it was DOS-Plus which retained some multi-tasking then DR-DOS 3.4 and 4 which has source code from Concurrent-DOS. DR-DOS 5 from Multiuser-DOS. DR-DOS 6 added back a task switcher, TaskMax, so you could run multiple programs and switch them with one actually executing at a time.

            Novell DOS 7 added multitasking but instead of using DRI's from Multiuser-DOS** they invented their own buggy and poorly performing one.

            * When Bill Gates announced a new version of 'MS Advanced Server' (originally an IBM product) he also said that "The next version MS-DOS/Windows might not support Netware". This was to scare users into dropping Novell for MS. Novell responded by buying DRI and announcing that each Novell server would be supplied with DR-DOS for each client. They agreed that MS would support Netware and Novell would drop Novell-DOS.

            ** I used Multiuser-DOS as a desktop for many years as well as having many clients running it. It could run Windows 3.11 as one (or more) of its tasks, including in 386 mode).

    3. Ian 55

      Re: What was 2.0 really known for?

      For Microsoft promising that it'd be like Unix, certainly with multitasking if not multiuser, and delivering the mess that 2.0 was over a year later than promised.

  6. Nuke
    WTF?

    Word User Friendly ?

    FTFA - "[Word] went on to bury established players like WordPerfect through a combination of user-friendly features and Microsoft's massive clout in the industry"

    User friendly? Not as I remember it, compared with WordPerfect. I recall Word replacing WP at work (to the digust of those who used it), and the reason seemed to be that the managers thought it somehow improper that different brands of software were being used on the same machine, like they didn't fit together properly.

    Like a Volvo driver insisting on having a Volvo branded picnic basket in case having some other brand on board would break something.

    1. Ian 7

      Re: Word User Friendly ?

      The branding thing sounds entirely feasible, I've seen that happen elsewhere. Plus WordPerfect for Windows was a dog (cue rabid attacks on MS for not releasing some of the APIs they used in Word for Windows) when the whole world was going GUI, WYSIWIG and WIMP mad. But when MS bundled Excel, Powerpoint and Word together in an Office suite not much more expensive than the price of an individual application they caught the competition totally off guard and sewed the market up before anyone could effectively compete. Surprisingly good marketing; they commoditized the office apps market overnight.

      I seem to remember a WordPerfect demonstration at some computer show where they tried to bang on about their new acronym WYSBYGI (what you see before you get it) - the acronym never caught on but previewing changes certainly did. That and watermarks on their Mac and NeXT (but not Windows) versions seemed to be their main claim to any feature superiority at the time.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Word User Friendly ?

      I was an expert in WordPerfect 5.01 key commands, macros, the whole 9 yards. We had it installed as an enterprise copy where I worked. I still hate Word, even without the ribbon.

      Most important feature of all for me back in those days was Reveal Codes. MS still can't do it properly. The reason it was critical was another app I used at the time called Ventura Publisher. Publisher let you add codes neither word processor could and it was important for the documentation I produced. Problem was,it also tried to support the processor format codes, but sometimes merged the codes in such a way that they didn't parse correctly. For example, if you added a Ventura superscript code to something that was italics Ventura would merge the end flag for the italics with its end code for the superscript. Which was fine until someone "fixed" it in Word or worse you wound up losing a paragraph of text when it got pulled into Ventura. To fix it I'd turn on reveal codes, find the problematic tags and add spaces to separate the codes in word processor document. Never could do that with Word.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Word User Friendly ?

      Oh, and I don't think it was the branding. I think it came down to they could pay $400,000 to upgrade the WordPerfect package for the office, or $99,000 for Word.

  7. Stu 18

    – a trend it finally broke with the sixth version of the operating system.

    Yeah, every version has been crap since then... :o)

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: – a trend it finally broke with the sixth version of the operating system.

      6.22 was amazing!

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: – a trend it finally broke with the sixth version of the operating system.

        DOS 6.22 + 4DOS command processor FTW!

        1. Anomalous Cowturd
          Megaphone

          Re: – DOS 6.22 + 4DOS command processor FTW!

          It was DR-DOS 7.04 + Hyperdisk cache for me.

          Beat the crap out of MS's lame efforts. Three disk swaps to copy a 1.44 floppy? Yeah right.

    2. davidp231

      Re: – a trend it finally broke with the sixth version of the operating system.

      It's also a major contradiction lol... Vista was NT6.0 and we all know how good that was...

  8. Steve Knox

    Trend?

    MS DOS 2.0 ... began a history of even-numbered versions of Microsoft's DOS operating systems being poorly received by the developer community – a trend it finally broke with the sixth version of the operating system

    So two data points is a trend now?

    1. mhoulden

      Re: Trend?

      Actually 6.0 was pretty buggy as well. The combination of DoubleSpace and SmartDrive could cause a lot of problems with data loss. They got it more or less right with DOS 6.22, but it was supplanted by Windows 95 (and DOS 7.0) just over a year later. MS-DOS 8 came with Windows ME, which should have been a warning.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Trend?

        OK, I suppose one can argue over what OS means, but I used 6.0 for a while back then and like many people didn't indulge in using every one of their crappy utilities that they bundled with their OS. Those are just utilities, and one could chose anything one wants from a huge selection. Remember Simtelnet? I run DOS 6.22 to this day and it only has 3 files (and the one that is the shell can be substituted). In my opinion, talking about the stuff they shipped with the OS, like DoubleSpace is not really relevant in real life. BTW: there is a DOS 6.22 machine on 24/7 sitting right here and networked with this desktop machine. It's a very viable arrangement and it solves a lot of problems.

        1. Snake Plissken

          Re: Trend?

          DoubleSpace was very relevant in real life, as PCs were regularly beginning to hit limitations on disk space and RAM. My memory is fading (ironically) but wasn't there some kind of disk limit in DOS which was causing issues?

          (Could be 32Mb hard disk size limit in DOS and off the shelf disks were getting to 40Mb+ or something, but might be wrong.)

          1. mhoulden

            Re: Trend?

            FAT 16 has a theoretical maximum of 2 GB but it is very inefficient with a sector size of 64 KB (the 32 MB limitation was removed in DOS 4.0). However the main reason RAM and storage space were limited is that in the early 90s they were very expensive. I remember in 1992 a generic SIMM costing about £30 - £40/MB. In 1995 Seagate's first 1 GB drive was $849. RAM manufacturers overestimated the demand for memory when Windows 95 was released, so there was an oversupply which brought the prices down a lot.

            1. Salts

              Re: Trend?

              @ mhoulden

              Ram seen a major price increase just before the release of windows 95, this, if memory serves me correctly was due to the earthquake in Kobe, Japan that produced the resin for the outer packaging of chips at the time, or at least it was a good excuse for the vendors to hike prices.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Trend?

            The filesystem limitation of DOS was a natural consequence of FAT, but I suspect you are actually thinking of the BIOS LBA limitation. These naturally have been repeated over the years.

            1. Liam Proven

              Re: Trend?

              The LBA limit was an early 1990s thing.

              The BIOS hard disk handling was by cylinders, heads and sectors-per-track (CHS). Various revisions and vendors limited these to different numbers, but effectively, the limits were something like 1024 cylinders, 16 heads and 63 sectors per track, meaning a max disk size of 504MB.

              Changing from CHS addressing to LBA allowed more - depending on implementation, either 4GiB or 8GiB. 8GiB was the limit for a while - e.g. the 1st 2 generations of G3 Macs could only boot off the first 8GB of a hard disk, because of early EIDE controllers.

          3. Liam Proven

            Re: Trend?

            No, the DOS limits were /much/ earlier and older.

            From old old memory:

            MS-DOS 1.x didn't support hard disks.

            MS-DOS 2.x did, but just one, of up to 10MB.

            MS-DOS 3.0 supported a single hard disk partition (per drive) of up to 32MB.

            MS-DOS 3.2 supported two partitions per drive, so 2 x 32MB.

            MS-DOS 3.3 supported one primary and an extended partition containing as many 32MB "logical drives" as you wanted. (I built an MS-DOS fileserver with a 330MB hard disk ones - it had drive letters C:, D:. E:, F:. G:, H:, I:, J:, K: and a leftover 11MB L: drive. Messy as hell but all you could do without 3rd party "disk extenders" such as Golden Bow's one. The server OS was 3Com 3+Share if anyone rememembers that.)

            Lots of vendors implemented hacks and extensions to allow bigger disks, but they were all mutually incompatible and many failed to work with some 3rd party software. Of course, anything that directly accessed disk data structures, like a defragger or a disk-repair tool such as Norton Utilities was 100% guaranteed to catastrophically corrupt any such extended disk setup.

            The one that caught on was Compaq DOS 3.31. It used an extension of FAT16 that allowed bigger clusters - still just 65,535 of them, but multiple 512 byte sectors per cluster, permitting bigger partitions. The max cluster size was 16KiB so the max disk size was 65535*16KiB = 2GiB.

            This is the one that IBM adopted into MS-DOS 4 and it became the standard. However, disks over 512MB used inefficient 8KiB clusters - i.e. files were allocated with a granularity of 8KiB and even a 1 byte file took 8KiB. An 8.0001KiB file would take 16KiB.

            This became disastrous over 1GiB where the granularity was 16KiB. Roughly 20-30% of disk space would be wasted because of this granularity as inaccessible "slack space".

            This was only fixed in Windows 95 OSR2 with FAT32, which permitted huge disks - up to 2TiB - with much finer granularity.

            But all of DOS 4, 5 and 6.x permitted disk partitions of up to 2GiB.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Trend?

              > However, disks over 512MB used inefficient 8KiB clusters -

              While large clusters may be wasteful when there are many small files they are more efficient when large files are being accessed. I had COBOL applications running on FAT discs (with DR-Multiuser-DOS and similar) using ISAM file systems. These DRI systems, including DR-DOS, allowed the cluster size to be chosen when formatting disks.

              Changing the cluster size from 2Kb to 8Kb improved the random access performance three fold.

              Primarily this speedup is because the only way to access a particular position in the file is to start at the directory entry and track down the FAT entries until the correct sector is found. The bigger the cluster the fewer FAT entries to be read.

              FAT also had no mechanism to have 'sparse' files - another inefficiency compared to a real file system.

            2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Trend?

              > This is the one that IBM adopted into MS-DOS 4

              IBM wrote this into PC-DOS because most of the OEMs already had this features. I had a machine with Wyse 3.21 that had a 80Mbyte partition. They passed the code back to MS.

              """Compaq DOS 3.31 and Wyse DOS 3.21 both support >32mb disk partitions in the same fashion as DOS 4.x. """

              I recall the advertising for MS-DOS 4: "It _finally_ breaks the 32Mb barrier." Like they weren't a couple of years behind the curve.

            3. david 12 Silver badge

              Re: Trend?

              >MS-DOS 2.x did, but just one, of up to 10MB

              MS-DOS 2 supported installable block drivers. IBM insisted on it: it was one of the major differences between DOS 2.1 and DOS 1.1 A single line of text in your config.sys loaded the block driver. Not only that, the interface was fully documented in the manual that came with every copy of DOS 2.1. Not only that, the line editor and compiler came with every copy of DOS 2.1

              The reason you didn't have disk bigger than 10MB is because you couldn't afford one. Every manufacturer who made hard disks also had a hard disk for the IBM PC. My Dad had a 40MB HD at home, and my work had a couple of 40MB HD as well.

              You had to boot of the first 10MB partition, or, in older systems, off a floppy disk. The time of hidden, hacked and partly incompatible device drivers that left you unbootable if they were damaged came later.

          4. davidp231

            Re: Trend?

            I think it was DOS 3.3 where you could have a hard disk as big as you like (to a point), but your partitions couldn't be larger than 32MB. DOS 4 removed that restriction and 5 (I think) brought in support for up to 504MB until DOS 6 let you play with 2GB partitions, if you didn't mind having 32K clusters and your BIOS supported said size, or you were stuck with only being able to use a quarter of your disk.

        2. I_am_Chris

          Re: Trend?

          Ha ha! That's a very interesting attitude you've got there. It's not Microsoft's fault for producing buggy, data-eating code, but the user's for being stupid enough to use the software that he paid good money for. <sarcasm>"Oh thank you, Microsoft, for letting me give you money and then corrupting my hard drive."</sarcasm> #fail

          In actual fact DOS 6.0 was a serious problem for Microsoft. They had to release two/three updates pretty quickly in order to fix the doublespace bug (6.2) and changing the code to avoid infringing a 3rd party's (stacker, was it?) patent (first by removing doublespace in 6.21 and then reimplementing it in 6.22).

          DOS 6.2 was a great OS (for the time) and was the last piece of software that I paid Microsoft full price for. I bought a 'discounted' copy of Win98 in Malaysia and more recently an OEM version of XP (for use by my wife in a Linux VM) on ebay for ~£12.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: I used 6.0 for a while back then

          More likely you used 6.x for a while and don't recall the exact version. My recollection is patches came out fairly rapidly for 6.0 for some serious bugs. I vaguely recall 6.01, 6.02,and 6.03 which don't seem to have made the official history list. It wasn't until 6.2x that it was stable.

          And yes Stacker and DoubleSpace were all the fan rage when they came out. Disks were expensive, software was cheap. If you could double your storage for half the cost people figured "why not?". I took one look at it and said "No way!" If you had a sector go bad on a regular hard drive you'd lose a file and chances were you could easily grab a copy from a working station or you had a backup. If you had a sector go bad with either of those compressor utilities you pretty much lost the whole disk and had to reinstall all your software. I didn't expect a problem a colleague ran into. He packed so much data onto the drive he couldn't decompress it. Wound up losing a drive's worth of data. After which he might compress for read speed, but he never compressed to get more drive space.

      2. Ian 55

        DoubleSpace and data loss

        When it wrote to disk, it looked at the returned value to see if it had succeeded or not, then threw it away and assumed that it had. Oddly enough, this caused big problems when it hadn't.

        See Geoff Campbell's work on analysing it, for example.

        1. John Young 1

          Re: DoubleSpace and data loss

          Is there a link to that analysis? Would make some good reading I expect...

  9. Stu 18

    re: Word User Friendly ?

    Some of that clout of course was the in depth understanding of the windows api, documented or undocumented that gave them a massive advantage.

    1. GranvilleA

      Re: re: Word User Friendly ?

      Actually it was that MS used the control of Windows and its updates to regularly and illegally break everyone else's application software with every update to the OS. This was intentional and designed to accomplish just what it did, take inferior MS Applications and make them the only thing users could depend on working vs. far superior and far larger competitors like WordPerfect, Lotus 123 (at that time the world's largest and most profitable software company), Ashton-Tate, etc.

      MS Word and Excel were afterthoughts and terrible, bloated buggy kludges but they were not breaking completely with every Windows Security update.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: re: Word User Friendly ?

        Minor nits:

        By the time Word was displacing WordPerfect, Lotus was losing out to Quattro. Also, they just called them "updates" (meaning bug fixes) back then as security was not a concern for anyone. But yes. I was a user of Quarterdeck products back then and each new update meant a new version of QEMM.

        1. Ian 55

          "DOS's not done until QEMM won't run"

          Alleged Microsoft development slogan.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: re: Word User Friendly ?

        There was no security updates then. Most machine were not connected to any network, but some company LANs.

  10. Lars
    Happy

    Nice

    You got me there.

  11. david 12 Silver badge

    Only half?

    A quick look doesn't show IBMIO.sys or any equivilant. Looks like this is the command processor and the eternal commands, not the whole Operating System?

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Only half?

      > A quick look doesn't show IBMIO.sys

      IBMBIO.COM is only found in PC-DOS for the 1.x and 2.x versions. Other OEMs would have their own specific IO system. The source includes IO.ASM which, apparently, is for SCP's Zebra S-100 bus systems.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Only half?

        > A quick look doesn't show IBMIO.sys OR EQUIVILANT

        -- yous3 the hole sentance.

        >IBMBIO.COM is only found in PC-DOS for the 1.x and 2.x versions. Other OEMs would have their own specific IO system.

        Other OEM's would have used their own specific IO system to make DOS compatible machines, running 2.11, which was the DOS compatible version. OEM's making clones would have included IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS

    2. Doctor Evil

      Re: Only half?

      You spell-checked your post in Word, didn't you?

  12. Richard Plinston Silver badge

    Version 1.1

    While it says v1.1 source it is actually MS-DOS 1.25.

    It is alledged that with PC-DOS 1.0 Gary Kildall was able to get it to produce a DRI copyright message. Both SCP and MS were full DRI OEMs and had everthing for CP/M that DRI would provide. SCP for the Zebra range of computers and MS for the Z80 Softcard.

    At the time there were 'decompilers with notations' for specific versions of software. While the CP/M BDOS had been written in PL/M the decompiler produced Assembly code. The program had all the comments and notations built in but required the BDOS binary to trigger the output of these to avoid copyright. It is alledged that CP/M 1.3* was decompiled and then put through Intel's 8080 - 8086 translator to be the starting point of QDOS.

    When the DRI copyright was demonstrated IBM settled by giving DRI money, rewriting code to replace DRI code, and giving DRI rights to use any mechanism in MS/PC-DOS**. This rewrite was PC-DOS 1.1 and passed back to MS who called it MS-DOS 1.2x.

    * 1.3 because that version had a bug in the FCB handling on a file close that existed in MS/PC-DOS 1.x but was fixed in CP/M 1.4.

    ** This is why DRI was never sued over DOS-Plus and DR-DOS using FAT file file system and other stuff.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: Version 1.1

      I laughed at the section on the ComputerHistory site too:

      "There were many similarities between CP/M and MS-DOS. Inspired by the 8-bit CP/M, Paterson’s 16-bit operating system used similar commands and some of the same programming interfaces, but it was a different internal implementation and used different file storage formats."

      'Inspired', that's a good word.

      'Some of the same programming interfaces': hey Tim, why did the QDOS/86-DOS/MS-DOS call to print a string terminate with a '$' character then?

      What MS-DOS had that CP/M didn't was use the FAT system... in a way that meant that if you swapped floppy disks in the middle of using a program, it would usually irretrievably corrupt the new one while losing changes to the old one. CP/M checked for disk swaps, MS-DOS didn't.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Inspired by cp/m

        >why did the QDOS/86-DOS/MS-DOS call to print a string terminate with a '$' character

        The $ is pronounced "string", and was a familiar idiom from what was, at the time, the most portable programming language available. Tim had previously worked in this area: the only software available for the hardware he built was a stand-alone (customized) version of that programming language.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Inspired by cp/m

          > The $ is pronounced "string", and was a familiar idiom from what was, at the time, the most portable programming language available. Tim had previously worked in this area: the only software available for the hardware he built was a stand-alone (customized) version of that programming language.

          You seem to be way off beam.

          Tim Paterson worked with 8080/Z80 machines running CP/M, such as the SCP Zebra range.

          The "most portable programming language" for CP/M (and later MS-DOS) was COBOL, available since 1978 from Microfocus and Microsoft with RM not far behind. Others available before 1980 were various Pascals, C and SmallC, Fortran, and many incompatible BASICs*.

          None of those are why BDOS function 9 requires its output string to be terminated by a '$'.

          (you seem to be confusing this with some BASICs marking string variable names with a '$' which was nothing to do with the question or the answer.)

          * Note: There may be many BASICs but there are only vague similarities between most of them.

          1. david 12 Silver badge

            Re: Inspired by cp/m

            >There may be many BASICs but there are only vague similarities between most of them.

            Wrong.

            >The "most portable programming language" for CP/M (and later MS-DOS) was COBOL,

            Wrong

            >Tim Paterson worked

            Time Paterson wes making machines running MS BASIC. And by the time BSD started (with Pascal), BASIC was already well entrenched in business.

            You shouldn't make such simple mistakes. It will confuse readers who weren't actually there at the time.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Inspired by cp/m

              >>There may be many BASICs but there are only vague similarities between most of them.

              > Wrong.

              I would suggest that you are rather limited in your knowledge of the many varieties of what are called 'BASIC's. Portability between them is not one of their strengths.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_BASIC_dialects

              >>The "most portable programming language" for CP/M (and later MS-DOS) was COBOL,

              > Wrong

              I am not sure of what you calling 'wrong'. COBOL, at the time, was one of the most portable of languages. In many cases, such as with RM COBOL, it was not even necessary to recompile to move an application between completely different systems, just get the appropriate runtime, it was byte coded.

              In the late 70s I used MicroFocus, RM and Microsoft COBOL on CP/M, MP/M, OaSys, DRX and later on MS-DOS, Xenix, Unix and others. Moving code between these was not a problem at all.

              >>Tim Paterson worked

              > Time Paterson wes making machines running MS BASIC. And by the time BSD started (with Pascal), BASIC was already well entrenched in business.

              I suspect that you really meant UCSD Pascal.

              SCP made machines, such as the Zebra CP/M and MP/M range, that could run Microsoft COBOL, Microsoft Pascal, and very many other languages.

              While there were quite a number of applications written in various BASICs the serious business ones were mostly done in 'commercial BASICs' : Pick BASIC, cBASIC2. It was necessary to rewrite code between these and several other BASICs in common use.

              > You shouldn't make such simple mistakes. It will confuse readers who weren't actually there at the time.

              You seem to have had a very limited exposure to the range of products available at the time. Just MS-BASIC was it ?

  13. NevinBR

    An idea

    How about this:

    Any time a company applies for a patent on a piece of software—or wants to obtain copyright protection for it—they must publish the complete source code.

    In the case of a patent, the source code is the technical description of the invention. In the case of a copyright, it is the creative work. By requiring that source code be published as a condition to obtain exclusive rights, there are numerous benefits:

    • The source code itself will enter the public domain when the term of protection expires, rather than potentially being lost as a trade secret.

    • Security professionals can more easily comb through newly-published software for vulnerabilities, so bugs and holes are caught and patched more quickly.

    • Other developers can see how things were done and can thus ask to license parts of the source code for their own projects.

    • Companies can more easily protect their legitimate software inventions by viewing the source code of other programs to see if anything has cribbed off them.

    • People who have paid for a software license can tinker with the product they bought and make custom builds for their own use.

    And probably a lot more benefits that I haven’t thought of yet.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: An idea

      The biggest problem is that even the shorter life of a patent is an eternity in software release versions.

      I'd use the basics of your concept, except enable the trademark "use it and protect it, or lose it" rule: if you stop selling and supporting the software your copyright/patent expires.

  14. Mashuganah
    FAIL

    Forgot Something

    How does a researcher miss the fact that MS Word started as a Mac only product? MS Office was eventually ported to MS Windows when Windows was finally able to handle it. I used Office on a Mac LONG before it was available on a PC.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Fail yourself

      Word was released for DOS in 1983, about a year before the Macintosh saw the light of day. And it started life at Xerox PARC; you could have gleaned this info from the article, had you bothered to read it.

    2. Tannin

      Re: Forgot Something

      Word, if I remember it correctly, had two different origins. Word for DOS came first and was just what you'd think - a DOS word processor. Word for Windows was the one that started on the Apple platform (not under that name and produced by a different company, name long forgotten). Microsoft bought the company and ported the product over to Windows.

      (Well, that's the way I remember it. YMMV. Mind you, I struggle to remember where I put my keys 30 seconds ago, so don't take it as gospel.)

      Have an upvote anyway for at least nearly remembering something most here seem to have forgotten.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Forgot Something

      Word for DOS and Word for Windows are unrelated. Yes the WINDOWS versions of Word and Excel were real MS software and on Mac first. But not the DOS version.

  15. king of foo

    dirty

    Really? I never once wondered what the D stood for...

    Kinky...

  16. Rule of Thumb

    Word for Windows ... exploded in popularity??

    I call bullshit on this. The article makes it seem like Word was a huge hit in 1989. I saw this bit in the MS blog about this release and I choked on it there too. Having been there, my observation is that Word was a small player until somewhere around WordPerfect 5.2 and I think most people were still using DOS (and the DOS version of WP or WordStar or something similar) until Windows 95 came.

    Wikipedia seems to agree with the article ("Word for Windows was released in 1989. With the release of Windows 3.0 the following year, sales began to pick up and Microsoft soon became the market leader for word processors for IBM PC-compatible computers"), but it doesn't match my recollections from the times at all. Am I misremembering? Or does "soon" mean several years later?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Word for Windows ... exploded in popularity??

      I don't recall Word being that popular then either.

      I recall Wordperfect, Wordstar and others, all DOS based.

      Offices were still mostly dependant on typewriters (even if electronic ones) and dedicated WP systems were still common (like Wang).

      It wasn't until Windows 95 that the MS Office applications rose into dominance. We were still using a lot of DOS based applications up until '97 (Financial Services).

    2. All names Taken

      Re: Word for Windows ... exploded in popularity??

      Agreed - Word, Excel and Windows 95 were bundled together with new PCs.

      Marketing seemed a bit of a winner MS make the OS, MS make the software ...

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Word for Windows ... exploded in popularity??

      MS Office took the market with Windows 3.1, well before Office 95 was released for Windows 95. Office 4 was broadly used, it contained Word 6, Excel 5, Acces 2.0 IIRC, which were already well above the competition. Laser printers were already common and inkjets like the HP Deskjet were available and not very expensive - Windows TrueType fonts and devie drivers allowed for easy setup and printing instead of having to rely on DOS applications proprietary drivers and fonts.

      Users were looking for the ease of use of WYSIWYG tools, and being able to embed an Excel spreadsheet or graph into a Word document easily was a very welcome feature. Also DDE and OLE allowed to use Office applications to create documents from custom applications easily.

      Sure, some hard-code Wordperfect users used the DOS version as long as they could, as some kept on using Lotus 1-2-3 for compatibility reasons and because they were highly used to those software, but tehy were fighting an already lost battle.

    4. Pat 4

      Re: Word for Windows ... exploded in popularity??

      Word for Windows did not become popular until Win95.

      Even then, WordPerfect was FAR superior but...

      Microsoft gave Novell (owner of WordPerfect at the time) a set of APIs to create a Win95 version of their software. Then a few short weeks before releasing Win95, after dev was done on WordPerfect, Microsoft "updated" the APIs making WordPerfect incompatible. Microsoft released Win95 and their new Office suite with Word for Windows while WordPerfect had to be rushed back into dev making them so late to the party that MS Word was already taking over the market.

      THAT is how Word for Windows "took over"...

  17. jake Silver badge

    Whatever.

    The first version of PC-DOS that I ever used on an IBM 5150 (Pilot Build 0.96, DOS was internally identical to PC-DOS 1.0) came with complete source.

    MS/PC-DOS internals have been well known for a couple/three decades, culminating in Free-DOS (look it up if you are unaware of the concept). It's not like the little program loader was all that difficult to figure out (DOS was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an operating system!).

    Once again, MS provides far too little, far too late.

  18. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Oh shame

    I was hoping for something a bit later so some schoolkid could do what MS haven’t in 15 years or so:

    get VB working on arm.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Oh shame

      I suppose you could try compiling FreeDOS for ARM (or even using DOSBox or QEmu, though that would be pretty slow), then running VB 1.0 for DOS on top.

      Some people have already managed to get Win95B, 98SE and even XP running on a Raspberry Pi via QEmu or DOSBox, so maybe it's not too slow after all:

      http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=10635

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge

    More of this please MS

    Now the community can look for that RTF bug in the source for WFW 1.1 and maybe get a patch out for Word 2003-2007-2010-2013 before MS does.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: More of this please MS

      That's the windows prime directive though: "Never, under any circumstances, completely implement a published standard for that will not lead to upgrades!

  20. Crisp Silver badge

    MS DOS Didn't get good until version 3.2

    But you still needed a separate boot disk if you wanted to play video games. Unless you were some kind of batch file wizard.

  21. Lord Lien

    Xtree.....

    ... was so much better than Windows 1.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Xtree.....

      But Xtree was not an OS - it was a file manager...

      I preferred Norton Commander and now, FAR - the best file manager there is for Windoze.

      1. Lord Lien

        Re: Xtree.....

        Please do your homework on what Windows 1 was...... it was a file manager for DOS & not a OS.

        Unless your just about to rock my world.... so please go ahead, I'm all ears so to speak.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Xtree.....

          You need to calm down and grab on to something before your world suffers an earthquake.

          Win 1 was a multi-tasking proto-OS overlay on DOS, just like Win 2 and Win 3. It run its own executables and drivers but relied on DOS for low level file management.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @ Vladimir Plouzhnikov (was: Re: Xtree.....)

            "relied on DOS for low level file management."

            And thus, all versions of MS-DOS, Win 1.x, 2.x 3.x and Win95/98/ME were not operating systems. They were program loaders.

            DOS "multitasking" was roughly no more than TSR functionality, with even more headaches caused by the addition of a bad attempt at integrating kernel, GUI and lack of memory management into user-space.

            To this day, I can't believe Gates managed to pull off the deception.

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: @ Vladimir Plouzhnikov (was: Xtree.....)

              "DOS "multitasking" was roughly no more than TSR functionality"

              To be fair, over-the-top Windows (what is plural of windows - windowses? :-) ) were more than just program loaders, they provided an operating environment distinct from DOS and they were doing their own device interface, memory management and task switching internally, but yes, "operating systems" - that was a bit of a stretch...

              1. davidp231

                Re: @ Vladimir Plouzhnikov (was: Xtree.....)

                "To be fair, over-the-top Windows (what is plural of windows - windowses? :-) ) "

                Win-die?

        2. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: Xtree.....

          Please do your homework on what Windows 1 was ... it was a GUI for DOS and not a file manager. I got a copy because it came as the run-time environment for a desk-top publishing program. Where did you get your copy?

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Xtree.....

            > Please do your homework on what Windows 1 was ... it was a GUI for DOS and not a file manager.

            While Windows 1 provided a graphics library that could be built into stand-alone programs or programs to run under Win1, when Windows itself was loaded it was basically a clock, a calculator and a file manager that was similar to, but not as good as, XTree. Both could run programs.

      2. Vociferous

        Re: Xtree.....

        > the best file manager there is for Windoze.

        You mean Total Commander. The best file manager there is for any OS.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: Xtree.....

          "You mean Total Commander."

          Well, TC is not bad but I still think FAR is better.

  22. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    640K ought to be enough for anyone

    MSDOS -- the operating system that inspired Bill Gates to say "640K ought to be enough for anyone" (and he's been denying it ever since!)

    1. Tom 13

      Re: 640K ought to be enough for anyone

      My recollection was IBM as it was a hardware limitation and actually 1G with the upper 360 reserved for system use. Later Quarterdeck and others figured out ways to scan the high memory for unused areas and swap out stuff from the low area to enable more RAM use for the DOS, especially with respect to TSRs.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @ IGnatius T Foobar (was: Re: 640K ought to be enough for anyone)

      The "640K" quote is often falsely attributed to Bill Gates. In all reality, when configured properly the original 5150 could access around 760K of "low" RAM (if you could afford it!).

      The real "should be enough" quote was from Steve Jobs, when demoing the original Apple Macintosh at the Home Brew Computer Club, a couple weeks before the official unveiling. He said, and I quote, "256K should be more than enough for home users" ... and he had a point. We had flight simulators running in 64K of RAM back then.

      Sometimes I look at the modern world and despair over the sheer waste ...

  23. DeVino
    WTF?

    Misleading headline. Surely not...

    Practicing for 1st April and don't call me Shirley

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ReactOS

    ReactOS is the closest you'll get to an open source Windows XP system... It is fully binary compatible and they are about to announce something big... http://www.reactos.org/

    1. All names Taken
      Paris Hilton

      ??? Re: ReactOS

      "The revolution is now here" as sales pitch of an OS that tries to do XP?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ??? ReactOS

        "The revolution is now here" as sales pitch of an OS that tries to do XP?

        You obviously only got far as the pretty coloured banner at the top of the page -

        based on the best design principles found in the Windows NT® architecture (Windows versions such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 are built on Windows NT architecture). Written completely from scratch,

        Hardly 'trying to do XP'. It is a lot more

      2. Piro

        Re: ??? ReactOS

        It aims at Server 2003 level XP, to be fair, and honestly, an open source version of that could be useful for many people.

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: ReactOS

      >they are about to announce something big...

      The tease! Oh $deity, the tease!

  25. Tom 13

    Stop telling lies!

    software went on to bury established players like WordPerfect through a combination of user-friendly features and Microsoft's massive clout in the industry.

    No it did not. MS did the same way they've borged everything else they've touched: by leveraging their monopoly position to undercut application software. In the US at the time the software was released WordPerfect was the dominant player having displaced the previous WordStar leader. The cost for a new copy of WP was around $400, $100-150 for an upgrade. MS introduced "the competitive upgrade" and undercut both prices at $99, but only if you turned in your WordPerfect disk #1. Wordperfect tried to counter, but without Microsoft's OS revenue stream couldn't withstand the monetary pressure.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Stop telling lies!

      You know we stopped a genocide in Lybia, right?

  26. Pat 4

    Ehhh...

    " the resulting software went on to bury established players like WordPerfect through a combination of user-friendly features and Microsoft's massive clout in the industry."

    You forgot "dirty tricks, monopoly abuse and illegal fraud" as reasons...

    1. Salts

      Re: Ehhh...

      WordPerfect and the ancient past.

      Does anyone else recall WordPerfect employing what they dubbed a "Hold Jockey" to play music to it's customers on hold?

  27. b 3

    release on the even, bug fix on the odd.

    "..a history of even-numbered versions of Microsoft's DOS operating systems being poorly received by the developer community" that was historically what all software houses did, release on the even numbers and bug fix on the odd. this was not specific to M$.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh... 6.12

    The even number kluge included the first roll of MS DOS 6.0. They didn't get it right until 6.12. It was stable by then, finally. It took less than a month for 4 revs from 6.0 to 6.12 to fix all the bugs.

  29. ecofeco Silver badge

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Goodbye security.

  30. The Grump

    XP was superior...

    because it remembered where your program windows were positioned when you closed them, and would seamlessly reopen them in the same place on your screen. Vista and 7 reopen program windows pretty much wherever they want, and tend to cascade windows on top of each other. Win 8 - why would I bother ? Since Vista and 7 are crap, and Win 8 appears to be even crappier, why would I pay good money for another bad OS ? I had to "upgrade" [sarcasm in quotes] to Win 7 in order to use software that wasn't compatable with XP. But I miss XP every time I have to rearrange my program windows.

    I can't wait to throw a "Microsoft Is Bankrupt" party, after Redmond comes out with Win 9, which will use eye movement to move the cursor, and click when you blink. As the WIN8 fanboi's say - you just have to adapt to it. I hope you don't have to blink too often. Eyes hurt? Itching? Red? Don't blink. DON'T BLINK. Oh crap - you blinked, and just deleted 4 hours of work.

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