Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The oldest PC DOS

The OS/2 Museum has come into possession of a 160K disk containing what may be the oldest surviving piece of software for the IBM PC. This is PC-DOS 1.0 dating from June 1981, thus predating the official v1.0 release of the IBM PC operating system by a few months. PC-DOS (and MS-DOS - the two were identical for a long time, PC-DOS just being the IBM branded version) ruled the roost in the business computer world in the 1980s and later conquered the home market.

The first PC i had was an Amstrad PC1640 which came with MS-DOS 3.2. Later i bought a copy of MS-DOS 4.0 (which i thought personally was good though it had many critics at the time) and later PCs came with v5.0. DOS was quite a limited operating system and there was a huge industry of add-ons and enhancements, software like Xtree which was highly popular.

Eventually Windows took over and people stopped caring which DOS they were running, especially after Windows 95 replaced it. I can still remember some of the commands though like dir and type.

These days i run Mac OSX however i have DOSbox installed for running old games (something i seldom do to be honest, no time to play!) I can thus open it and type those commands again. And then return to my GUI.