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After 37 Years Microsoft Open Sources GW-BASIC


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"Having re-open-sourced MS-DOS on GitHub in 2018, Microsoft has now released the source code for GW-BASIC, Microsoft's 1983 BASIC interpreter," reports ZDNet, adding that GW-BASIC "can trace its roots back to Bill Gates' and Paul Allen's implementation of Microsoft's first product, the BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 computer." "Interested to look at thousands of lines of glorious 8088 assembly code for the original 1983 GW-BASIC...?" writes Slashdot reader sonofusion82, adding "there are not Makefiles or build scripts, just a bunch of 8088 ASM files." Or as Hackaday jokes, "Microsoft releases the source code you wanted almost 30 years ago." In the late 1970s and early 1980s, if you had a personal computer there was a fair chance it either booted into some version of Microsoft Basic or you could load and run Basic... Now you can get the once-coveted Microsoft Basic source code... They put up a read only GW-BASIC repository, presumably to stop a flood of feature requests for GPU acceleration... From what we understand, GW-Basic was identical to IBM's BASICA, but didn't require certain IBM PC ROMs to operate. Of course, BASICA, itself, came from MBASIC, Microsoft's CP/M language that originated with Altair Basic... We did enjoy the 1975 copyright message, though: ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ON THE PDP-10 FROM FEBRUARY 9 TO APRIL 9 1975 BILL GATES WROTE A LOT OF STUFF. PAUL ALLEN WROTE A LOT OF OTHER STUFF AND FAST CODE. MONTE DAVIDOFF WROTE THE MATH PACKAGE (F4I.MAC). Bill Gates was 19 years old, Paul Allen was 22.

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