MS-DOS Source Code on GitHub
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Tuesday, 09 October 2018

MS-DOS v1.25 and v2.0 are both now available on GitHub for anyone to fork - either for historical purposes or for practical application.


This isn't the first time that the MS-DOS source code has been shared. Back in 2014, see Microsoft Opens MS-DOS Code, we reported that Microsoft had made it available in the Computer History Museum. That's why the announcement from Rich Turner on the MSDN blog refers to "re-open-sourcing MS-DOS".

Anticipating the likely question, Turner writes:  

Why? Because it's much easier to find, read, and refer to MS-DOS source files if they're in a GitHub repo than in the original downloadable compressed archive file.

As the repo's readme makes explicit, the source files will be kept static, so users are asked not to send Pull Requests for modifications, however they are encouraged to fork it and experiment. The previous open source code was under a custom "look but don't touch" license. The new code release is under the MIT(OSI) license.

While Microsoft's announcement suggests that MS-DOS  is being open-sourced for historical reference, it could be that it gets a new lease of life. In situations where all you want is to issue instructions from the command line, MS-DOS is well up to many IoT tasks. Perhaps this comment might be more than a joke:


The versions of MS-DOS that have been released are fairly early - no CD-ROM support because CD-ROMs weren't around in those days and no 386 support for the same reason.

If you want a modern MS-DOS then try FreeDOS. This is full featured open source DOS that runs on modern machines. It will run original MS-DOS programs and if it can't then you can now compare its code to the original to see what the problem is.

MS-DOS is more than a relic. Even though the command line prompt has been replaced by PowerShell, the operating system is deeply embedded in Windows and its heritage will be with us for years yet.



More Information

MS-DOS on GitHub

Re-Open-Sourcing MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0 

Microsoft MS-DOS early source code 


Related Articles

Microsoft Opens MS-DOS Code

30 years ago - Microsoft signs contract with IBM to create MS-DOS

PowerShell Replaces Command Prompt 

Gary Kildall Memoir Available to Download 

What's In A DOS


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 October 2018 )