With thanks to Paul Laughton, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Damer, founder and curator of the Digibarn Computer Museum, and with the permission of Apple Inc., [the Computer History Museum is] pleased to make available the 1978 source code of Apple II DOS for non-commercial use. This material is Copyright © 1978 Apple Inc., and may not be reproduced without permission from Apple.
This disk operating system has been previously decompiled and the notes published online, which you'd think would make the Computer History Museum's release unimportant. And yet it's been reported far and wide — not just the usual vintage computing sites, but Apple news sites and broader IT outlets as well. Why all the commotion over old news for a 30-year-old machine?
It's not the product, but the process, that's significant. "What is interesting is Apple's agreement to release it," said Dr. Steve Weyhrich of Apple II History. "They never release stuff like this to the world." Agreed David Schmidt: "That is the only thing that is interesting about this: Apple's actual permission to leak any kind of intellectual capital."
However, there is also some original material in this particular offering of the source code. Weyhrich continued: "The code that was released also has that advantage of being scanned from actual printouts of Paul Laughton’s work in progress, with his comments on how the different parts of the system work… I've seen some of these [documents] before, but there are some that not even David Craig has gotten his hands on over the years. Historically, it’s quite interesting, and the Museum has comments from Laughton on the process of the creation of Apple DOS that give details that I didn’t get out of him when [I interviewed him — I guess] I didn’t ask the right questions!"
Click past the jump for an index of sites that have reported the source code's release.
- A2Central.com: Apple II DOS source code released (again), but this time with Apple’s blessing… (Sean Fahey)
- Engadget: Apple II's 35-year-old operating system is now open to the public (Matt Brian)
- Gizmodo: You Can Now Download the Apple II's DOS Source Code from Back in 1978 (Jamie Condliffe)
- Cult of Mac: Check Out The Source Code For The Apple II Operating System (John Brownlee)
- 9to5Mac: Apple II DOS source code released by Computer History Museum (JordanKahn)
- Appleinsider: Historic Apple II DOS source code now available to download (staff)
- PC Magazine: Original Apple II DOS Source Code Made Public (Stephanie Mlot)
- CNET: Public at last: Apple II DOS code that launched an empire (Daniel Terdiman)
- The Verge: Computer History Museum releases Apple II's DOS source code from 1978 (Russell Brandom)
- The Register: Apple releases previously SECRET OPERATING SYSTEM SOURCE CODE (Richard Chirgwin)
- San Francisco Business Times: Apple II DOS, written in seven weeks in 1978, would take years today (Steven E.F. Brown)
- Haverzine: Computer History Museum releases source code to Apple II DOS
- Tablet News: Apple II DOS Source Code Released by Computer History Museum (Radu Iorga)
- Slashdot: Apple II DOS Source Code Released (Soulskill)
- Reddit: Apple II DOS source code released (ahandle)