Feeds

Apple releases previously SECRET OPERATING SYSTEM SOURCE CODE

OK, fanbiois, start your assemblers

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

The Computer History Museum has scored something of a coup, publishing – with Cupertino's permission – the source code for the Apple II's DOS, version 3.1.

The archeological code, posted here, is the whole 4,000-plus – that's thousands of lines of code, not millions in a misprint – complete with comments like “if it ain't 3 don't reloc”.

As Computer History Museum notes on its release page, the DOS – which included a file manager, a BASIC interface, and various utilities – was written for US$13,000 (a little over three dollars a line) by Paul Laughton, a contractor for Shepardson Microsystems.

The code was written between April and June 1978 – a fair achievement for a brand new DOS – and by October, according to meeting minutes posted by the Museum, Apple and Shepardson were already working through the bug fixes and discussing the documentation. This kind of discussion still rings true to anyone looking at software development.

For example, there's this exchange involving Laughton and Randy Wigginton (employee number six, and creator of MacWrite):

“Paul has received questions directly regarding our DOS. Evidently he has been in computer stores, etc. when someone was asking questions about the Apple DOS. He also was surprised that we were shipping documentation on the Read/Write a track and sector routine. He felt that documentation on interfacing to the file manager portion of the DOS was more useful. Randy pointed out that documentation does not exist on the file manager.”

Another amusing insight covers “bug #1”:

“There was some controversy as to whether bug #1 was or was not actually specified in the original spec. Paul felt that bug #1 involved some major rework, and was a result of not having a written spec on the DOS.”

As the Museum notes, the Apple II couldn't compile anything, so Laughton had to write the DOS on punch cards for compilation on a National Semiconductor IMP-16, which would spit the assembled code out onto a paper tape. Steve Wozniak, who was responsible for creating the disk controller for the machine, also made a plug-in card to read the paper tapes so that Laughton could debug the code.

Laughton describes more of the history here. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.