Microsoft Releases MS-DOS 4.0 Source Code: A Milestone in Open Source and Tech History

Explore the historical release of MS-DOS 4.0 source code by Microsoft, marking a significant open-source collaboration with IBM. Dive into tech history!

Based on reports from April 26, it has been confirmed that Microsoft officially declared the MS-DOS 4.0 system open source today, partnering with IBM to release its source code under the MIT license.

microsoft open sourcing ms dos 4.0

A decade earlier, Microsoft had made the source codes for MS-DOS versions 1.25 and 2.0 available to the Computer History Museum, with the first version released in 1982 and the second in 1983. Released in 1988, MS-DOS 4.0 was a collaborative effort between Microsoft and IBM, necessitating a joint decision to make it open source.

Microsoft disclosed that recently a young British researcher named Connor “Starfrost” Hyde had been in communication with Ray Ozzie, a former Microsoft CTO, regarding Hyde’s collection of software. During this, Ozzie discovered previously unreleased beta binaries of DOS 4.0 among the floppy disks sent to him while he was at Lotus.

microsoft ms dos 4 beta disk

Starfrost reached out to Microsoft’s Open Source Programs Office (OSPO) to discuss the potential release of the MS-DOS 4 source code.

Scott Hanselman, vice president of Microsoft’s developer community, brought in internet archivist Jeff Sponaugle to help digitize the original disks and meticulously document the original printed materials from the “Ozzie Drop.” Colleagues at Microsoft and IBM saw this as an important piece of operating system history to share.

Following this, Jeff Wilcox, director of Microsoft’s OSPO, went to the Microsoft Archives, the company’s official repository of historical data, where he discovered the MS-DOS 4.0 source code along with additional beta binaries, PDFs of documents, and disk images, which he then uploaded to GitHub for public access.

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Aditya Nath Jha is an Engineer from New Delhi, India. His areas of interest include Gadgets, WordPress, speed optimization & latest technology. When he is not busy blogging he loves to write poetry, compose his own songs and has a taste for music! Find him on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Instagram. And watch his videos on YouTube.

Microsoft Releases MS-DOS 4.0 Source Code: A Milestone in Open Source and Tech History

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