Feeds

Apple releases previously SECRET OPERATING SYSTEM SOURCE CODE

OK, fanbiois, start your assemblers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.