Surprise, surprise! It does seem that Microsoft is really going through major changes. Not only have we heard about rumors about a free version of Windows 8.1, but now, Microsoft has released the MS-DOS source code to the general public. Free AND Microsoft? Strange bedfellows, huh?

Arguably, MS-DOS is the foundation that Microsoft built its world on, and I suppose no one really ever thought that the company would make the MS-DOS source code public, but yes, it is not an early prank for April’s Fools Day. And not only that, in addition to the MS-DOS source code, the same thing has been released for Word for Windows.

MS-DOS

Specifically, the source codes for MS DOS 1.1 and 2.0, as well as Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a are now accessible to anyone who wants it. There are, of course, “rules” to follow. The source codes are under a non-commercial license, and re-publication anywhere online is not allowed.

Microsoft engineer and director of Research Roy Levin is quick to highlight just how important this is – not that we don’t realize that, do we?

“It’s mind-boggling to think of the growth from those days when Microsoft had under 100 employees and a Microsoft product (MS-DOS) had less than 300KB (yes, kilobytes) of source code. From those roots we’ve grown in a few short decades to become a company that has sold more than 200 million licenses of Windows 8 and has over 1 billion people using Microsoft Office. Great things come from modest beginnings, and the great Microsoft devices and services of the future will probably start small, just as MS-DOS and Word for Windows did.

Thanks to the Computer History Museum, these important pieces of source code will be preserved and made available to the community for historical and technical scholarship.” (Source)

Indeed, if you think about the good old days of MS-DOS, the green font against a black background, and the blinking cursor…that makes one nostalgic, doesn’t it?

You can check out the MS-DOS source code (and Word for Windows) here.

[Image via extremetech]