Happy Birthday, MS-DOS -- 30 candles

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - July 28, 2011.

This week sees the 30th "birthday" of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) venerable MS-DOS operating system for PCs. Initially "quick and dirty," it soon became merely dirty. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wish Bill & Co. many happy returns.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Error'd...

Tony Smith puns it up, with "Kudos to QDOS":

On 27 July 1981, Microsoft gave the name MS-DOS to the...operating system it acquired on that day from Seattle Computer Products (SCP). ... The company had planned to use Digital Research's CP/M-86 operating system, then still in development. But...SCP decided it had to create its own OS for the card.


The picture we have today is muddied by the claims that IBM originally wanted to use CP/M-86. ... IBM and DR famously failed to come to terms...and IBM turned to Microsoft for an alternative...[which paid] $25,000 for the privilege. ... By July 1981, Microsoft had sufficient understanding of IBM's plans...to consider not merely licensing 86-DOS but buying it outright from SCP, for a further $50,000...in total, $180,000...in today's money.   

   Sebastian Anthony has more history:

IBM released its Personal Computer in August 1981 running version 1.14 of...QDOS — but a few months later...MS-DOS 1.24...became the standard IBM PC operating system. In March 1983, both MS-DOS 2.0 and the IBM PC/XT were released.


MS-DOS 3.0 followed in 1984 (alongside the IBM PC/AT), and MS-DOS 4.0 with a mouse-powered, menu-driven interface arrived in 1989. It’s around this point that IBM’s PC operating system, PC-DOS, began to diverge from MS-DOS. ... It’s also around this time that developers start to feel the pinch of the 640KB...memory limit imposed by IBM’s original hardware.   

 And John Callaham charts DOS's demise:

[W]hile there were competitors that released their own...operating systems, none of them seriously competed with Microsoft's OS. Even as it launched its graphical Windows operating system in 1985, MS-DOS was still supported and updated.


The last stand alone retail version of MS-DOS was version 6.22 released in 1994. Version 7 and 8 of MS-DOS were released as part of Windows 95 and Windows Me, respectively.   

  Meanwhile, Alex Wilhelm is scared, perhaps:

What is fascinating, and perhaps scary, is that Hotmail is 15 years old. That means that from the naming day of DOS...half of the time has included Hotmail. It almost feels that innovation has slowed, doesn’t it?


...[A]fter version four Microsoft roughly wanted [DOS] to go away, and for the world to jump onto the OS/2 ship. ... Well, at least until Windows took off. ... It’s important to recall that IBM and its clones sparked what we now call the personal computer revolution.   

And Finally...
Error'd: 476371?; Untangle exactitude; forgot password; and more
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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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