Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MS-DOS Not Stolen, New Forensic Analysis Concludes

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sorry-to-disappoint-you dept.

Microsoft 286

theodp writes "Challenging earlier assertions that Bill Gates got the rewards due Gary Kildall, a forensic analysis conducted for the latest issue of IEEE Spectrum concludes that the landmark MS-DOS operating system which Bill Gates and Microsoft licensed to IBM was an original piece of work, not stolen goods. Using his company's CodeSuite forensic software, Bob Zeidman said he found no evidence that QDOS or MS-DOS was copied from or was a derivative of Gary Kildall's CP/M. So, what do you think of Microsoft expert witness (pdf) Zeidman's "if-the-codebase-doesn't-fit-you-must-acquit" arguments?"

cancel ×

286 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

meh (5, Insightful)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904161)

I think it's interesting only as a matter of curiosity at this point.

Re:meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904251)

Me too, until I noticed the part about CodeSuite, and the article being written by a guy that works for the company that makes CodeSuite.

Buy CodeSuite! It solved a thousand year old mystery. It could solve your problem too, assuming you problem is the need to show you didn't steal code.

Re:meh (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905025)

No one ever thought there was DOS code swiped from CPM.

What we KNEW is that Gates lied about having an OS ready to IBM, knowing of QDOS - and subsequently swindled QDOS from its creator, to fulfill his contract with IBM.

Re:meh (5, Insightful)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905101)

He didn't even swindle it. Microsoft paid for it outright, source code and all license rights. So it really doesn't matter if it was exactly the same. It's not Gates' fault that the other guy didn't have a buyer like IBM waiting.

that was my understanding (4, Interesting)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905571)

Gate's bought the DOS operating system and sold IBM a License. He didn't sell them the damn code.

Because of this, I have to wonder why everyone is suprised that MS Wants you to License Windows instead of buying it.

Re:meh (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904319)

So MS-DOS is to QDOS and CP/M.
As GNU/Linux is to Unix and Multics.

 

Re:meh (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904477)

I don't think so.

Microsoft did purchase Qdos, and there are direct correlations between qdos and msdos. What the article asserted was that there is no cp/m in qdos, nor is there any cp/m in msdos. There certainly is plenty of qdos in msdos.

Re:meh (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905461)

there is no UNIX code in linux or modern BSD derivatives which came from BSD 4.4

Re:meh (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904877)

I think it's interesting only as a matter of curiosity at this point.

I really doubt that NASA's computers are running IBM-DOS 1.0...

Alternatively... (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904189)

Using his company's CodeSuite forensic software,

Alternate summary: CodeSuite found not to work as forensic software!

Re:Alternatively... (5, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904245)

Using his company's CodeSuite forensic software,

Alternate summary: CodeSuite found not to work as forensic software!

Alternate headline: Microsoft acquires new research software suite

Re:Alternatively... (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904331)

Using his company's CodeSuite forensic software,

Alternate summary: CodeSuite found not to work as forensic software!

Or in other words, "If evidence disagrees with my irrational prejudice, evidence must be wrong!"

Re:Alternatively... (4, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904459)

Did Bill Gates pay $50k for QDOS? Or did he not? It's pretty simple...

If he did, it wasn't stolen, he owns it.

Re:Alternatively... (2)

fatboy (6851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904491)

That's they way I recall it being presented in Steven Levy's hackers. (But it's been like 20 years since I read that book)

Re:Alternatively... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904613)

Did Bill Gates pay $50k for QDOS? Or did he not? It's pretty simple...

If he did, it wasn't stolen, he owns it.

Yes, Microsoft did buy all rights to 86-DOS. [wikipedia.org] (formerly known as QDOS). SCP later claimed that they wouldn't have sold it as cheap if they've known about Microsofts deal with IBM and pending launch of the IBM PC (asinine claim but they got a settlement to go away)

Re:Alternatively... (-1, Flamebait)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904861)

You really should learn how to read. Nobody has ever claimed that Gates didn't buy QDOS. He did. What is claimed is that QDOS was a rip-off of CP/M. It was. The article is shameful and the "researcher" is an idiot.

Re:Alternatively... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40905113)

If you're so in-the-know why don't you present your own review of the situation and let us know what your evidence is, genius. I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

Re:Alternatively... (5, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904513)

More likely CodeSuite is right.

I know everyone wants to believe the story that a devious Bill Gates simply changed the copyright message on a copy of CP/M and re-released it, but there are numerous issues with the story:

- CP/M is tiny. Really, really, small. And has a well documented API. Anyone conversant in 808x assembler can put together a clone in a matter of days. This isn't an academic statement, I put together one myself for a A Level Computer Science course in the 1980s when I wrote a "CP/M emulator" for the Sinclair QL as my final project. (Appropriately the Sinclair QL's native operating system is also called QDOS. Go figure.)

- QDOS wasn't even a direct clone. The largest - or at least most complex - component of CP/M is the file system - almost everything else is an almost 1:1 call to a BIOS routine. And QDOS didn't have CP/M's file system - it used FAT, not the somewhat inefficient CP/M system which, IIRC, required scanning the entire directory to determine where the free sectors were. So even if someone had started off with a copy of CP/M and directly ported it, 90% of it or more would have had to be rewritten to produce QDOS.

The stories of Gary Kildall typing in some obscure set of keystrokes causing a copy of PC DOS to announce that it was actually CP/M - haha! - always struck me as improbable, and the fact they only appeared in dubious sources several years after this had supposedly happened makes me think the stories are outright fabrications. That doesn't mean there weren't potential copyright issues, and I suspect most of the stories of IBM somehow settling with DR over the similarities have some elements of truth - but this is because this was the early eighties, the era of Pacman lawsuits, to be followed a few years later by Apple's infamous look and feel suits against DR and Microsoft/HP.

In terms of actual code being copied however - no. It would, arguably, have taken more work to translate CP/M into 8086 assembler and then make all of the changes necessary to turn it into QDOS than it would to write QDOS from scratch. QDOS had a similar API, and a similar but not identical shell. Otherwise it wasn't remotely similar.

Re:Alternatively... (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904643)

This.

CP/M is a very simple beast. It's laughable to think that anybody would go to the effort of disassembling it to find out how it worked then rewriting it function-for-function in 8086 assembly code. changing the file system as you go.

It would be much less work to just read the CP/M docs then write your own little OS using the ideas gleaned. I doubt he even did that. There was no magic in CP/M even way back then and MS-DOS isn't all that similar to it.

Re:Alternatively... (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905473)

This.

CP/M is a very simple beast. It's laughable to think that anybody would go to the effort of disassembling it to find out how it worked then rewriting it function-for-function in 8086 assembly code. changing the file system as you go.

It would be much less work to just read the CP/M docs then write your own little OS using the ideas gleaned. I doubt he even did that. There was no magic in CP/M even way back then and MS-DOS isn't all that similar to it.

Luckily there weren't the crazy software patents of today back then.

Re:Alternatively... (5, Informative)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904917)

More likely CodeSuite is right

More likely, people haven't understood the original dispute. Did QDOS steal lines of code from CP/M? Most likely not, but nobody ever claimed it did. Was it a rip-off of CP/M? Absolutely. QDOS implemented calls identically to CP/M with the specific aim of being as close to CP/M as possible. In other words, as Patterson him self said, he read through Kildalls manual and tried to create something that functioned identically.

As you point out however, he did a much better job on the FS, which is both to be commended, and also should be added on the "it was not a rip-off" side. DOS was an interrupt handler, and not much more though. As an interrupt handler it clearly "ripped off" CP/M to the point of being almost identical. However, not by stealing code. No stealing of code would have been needed (as you say) and that has never been asserted either. Not by the parties involved.

Re:Alternatively... (4, Interesting)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905221)

Was it a rip-off of CP/M? Absolutely. QDOS implemented calls identically to CP/M with the specific aim of being as close to CP/M as possible. In other words, as Patterson him self said, he read through Kildalls manual and tried to create something that functioned identically.

And also (as finally confirmed in the Google-Oracle case) copying an API is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Re:Alternatively... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40905133)

More like that guy is an asshole "refuting" a claim that wasn't the point: Nobody involved claim{s,ed} the actual code was stolen. The rest of his claims turn out to have already been debunked before he's even made them by someone with access to much better material and a better writing hand.

Re:Alternatively... (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905163)

but this is because this was the early eighties, the era of Pacman lawsuits, to be followed a few years later by Apple's infamous look and feel suits against DR and Microsoft/HP.

Oh how the times have changed.

Re:Alternatively... (0, Troll)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905329)

You don't recall correctly. I knew Gary, and had a copy of the source - it came with the dev system for intel microprocessors we used in the beltway bandit Ensco. It used something that was later called FAT, it did NOT need to scan the whole disk to put a filesystem together - couldn't, not enough ram in things like Xerox 820s and Kaypros to do that (would have been faster, though). I know these things as I built SSD (dram) drives for those back in the day, and had to rewrite the floppy driver to deal with that. Mostly used the bios? True - so did Dos, and strangely, both used the same int to get to it, or their wrapper over it. Far too many identical API's to think anything but that DOS was heavily copied in spirit at least, from CP/M, To move from Z80 to x80 was a trivial recompilation of the ASM, fixing only a couple errors where special Z80 instructions were used - I've done it, I know. Just like DOS, CPM wasn't re-entrant and didn't support threads, though I spent hours arguing with Gary on the phone about how easy it would be to do that - think how different the world would be had he listened. The fact remains that he did die conveniently in a plane crash just after failing to come to terms with MS. Handy, that, since yes, a heck of a lot of dos was virtually line for line copied from CP/M. It had to be to implement the very same API and still be tight - Gary was a good coder (and rock-headed, sadly). DOS simply added a few more built-ins. Basically, it was the same thing. At that level, yes, it's hard to see how it would have been otherwise, it was all pretty simple, and yes, I've written better opsys than those for my embedded work, including as the poster above mentions, a filesystem that DID need to read all flash to avoid write amplification with FAT type tables in flash - but that was for a machine that had a meg of ram (TMS320C31) and plenty of rom, which only had to boot maybe every couple of years (power failure only), so the extra boot time wasn't an issue. I was there, I know what went down. Microsoft's insistence that everyone else was a pirate was pure projection (ask a psychologist if you don't know what I mean here). They dumpster-dived to help them get their original basic as well - Honeywell...all they did was rewrite a reverse engineered version. But we live in a world where entire governments are the slaves of big money - I know that too, and them with the gold makes the rules...So I don't expect any truth to matter to any outcome here.

"The smearing of a computer legend" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904193)

Literally in the process of reading a dismissal of that same analysis. [theregister.co.uk] See what you think...

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (5, Funny)

Zaelath (2588189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904275)

Andrew Orlowski is to journalism as Tammy Faye Baker is to cosmetics.

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (4, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904433)

Andrew Orlowski is to journalism as Tammy Faye Baker is to cosmetics.

So you are saying he is keeping at least 3 major publications in business?

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904955)

You think the general work is bad? Orlowski is to climate change journalism what R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was to lung cancer research.

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40905159)

I don't think I understand this analogy. Are you saying that Orlowski tattoos disturbing headlines on his face and then cries for donations on public television?

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (5, Insightful)

cnettel (836611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904299)

From your link: "What is the evidence, then, that QDOS was a derivative work – a rip-off? The answer lies in the API, which describes how software can call up the underlying operating system and make it work for the user. The first 26 system calls of MS-DOS 1.0 are identical to the first 26 system calls of CP/M."

Yeah, just like Linux and WINE are rip-offs. The need to map system calls by number and not only name was of course due to the fact that the actual calling mechanism worked by number. However, the IEEE article is still strange, since the matters described are already settled. On the other hand, the legend of DOS being stolen and not only a clone lives on, in some places.

Cloning vs. cloning (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904313)

Why is it OK to clone operating system APIs but not games [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Cloning vs. cloning (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904729)

A game is more about the creative content -- artwork and story flow. This aren't important components of an OS.

Re:Cloning vs. cloning (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905349)

[link to Tetris v. Xio]

A game is more about the creative content -- artwork and story flow.

There isn't much "artwork" or "story flow" to speak of in the game of Tetris, yet its rules were still ruled copyrightable.

Re:Cloning vs. cloning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904753)

Probably the same reason why it's okay to clone OS APIs but not, e.g. the trademarked and copyrighted icon set of a piece of business software? The API is an interface (hence the I), just like a network protocol is. It's not the product in and of itself.

Set of rules (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905363)

An API is a set of rules to communicate with another system, and a game (in the abstract sense) is a set of rules for an activity. What was deemed copyrightable in Tetris v. Xio was not only the block textures (your "copyrighted icon set") but also the specifics of the game rules themselves, such as the width of the playfield, the selection of the game pieces (use of all tetrominoes and only the tetrominoes as opposed to including smaller or larger polyominoes or polyplets), and how the game pieces behave when rotated in tight spaces. Change either and all the strategies change, just as changing a protocol changes the tradeoffs in applications using that protocol. It'd be like copyrighting the game of tennis and suing anyone who made unauthorized nets and rackets.

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (3, Informative)

Teresita (982888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904439)

The first 26 system calls of MS-DOS 1.0 are identical to the first 26 system calls of CP/M.

That was for backward compatibility with existing CP/M code. By DOS 2.0 file handles replaced File Control Blocks.

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (4, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904703)

The first 26 system calls of MS-DOS 1.0 are identical to the first 26 system calls of CP/M."

So? Windows NT has a POSIX interface in it somewhere. It's done to try and tempt people to port their POSIX code to windows.

Making CP/M code easy to port to MS-DOS would have been a good idea and those functions would have been needed anyway so arranging them in the same order is no real extra effort.

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905087)

Yeah, just like Linux and WINE are rip-offs.

You may laugh, but remember that little dust-up with The SCO Group over precisely that claim? When it came time to actually show some evidence, they pointed to the identical lines in the header APIs that were part of the published Unix standards.

drinking and driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904385)

BANG
cant get over that one can ya gates

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904503)

I think both this story, the dismissal and the original claim are all bollocks, especially due to the slanted language El Reg put on matters - "derived", "derivative work", "a rip-off".

Tim Paterson and Microsoft are essentially "guilty" of the same thing Google just won a court case against Oracle/Sun for - reimplementing an API. And yet Microsoft somehow comes off worse than Google for it...

Kildall lost out, Gates prospered - that's about the sum of it. Anything else is just farting in the wind. It doesn't really matter whether QDOS was a completely brand new OS or whether it just cloned an existing one, just so long as it wasn't infringing on the copyright of CP/M (and no one other than this Zeidman has ever mentioned copyright issues).

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904901)

Damn, if what Kildall did was lose out, that's how I want to lose out too: all the way to the bank (without the dying in a bar part).

Re:"The smearing of a computer legend" (1)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905073)

Here's the good bit from The Register: However Zeidman contrives to ignore the incontrovertible evidence that MS-DOS was derived from CP/M, and instead establishes a straw man. Zeidman, who pictures himself in a deerstalker hat, asserts that he can refute the allegation that "Microsoft stole the CP/M source code" - a claim that has never been made, let alone contested.

Based on my own very limited historical knowledge, that's on-the-mark. I've heard many times over the years that MS-DOS was a clone of CP/M, but never before have I heard it suggested by anybody that Microsoft copied CP/M's code.

Original Code? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904211)

After 20 years, did M$ ever rewrite the software?

What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904215)

Challenging earlier assertions that Bill Gates got the rewards due Gary Kildall

What in the hell does that even mean? If that's standard English, then I must be missing something.

Re:What? (1)

mynamestolen (2566945) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904269)

makes sense to me. how would you rewrite?

Re:What? (3, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904349)

It means:

Challenging earlier assertions that Bill Gates got the rewards [that were] due [for/to] Gary Kildall

And yes, it's standard English.

Re:What? (1)

Huggs (864763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904465)

Here are some implied words that might help you make sense of it:

Challenging earlier assertions that Bill Gates got the rewards [which were] due Gary Kildall

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40905009)

That's very standard English.

Are you a standard tool, or a non-standard one?

Darth Vader (-1, Offtopic)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904217)

geekwire.com's algorithm served me an article about Darth Vader as an amazing project manager [geekwire.com] , that is quite telling!

Vader kicks ass, and didn't need to steal software projects or other works when he could implement things himself. Still evil, though.

Old news - it never came close to CP/M (0)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904231)

It was a step backwards even back then. Machines like the Microbee pissed all over the PC with MSDOS is so many ways but they didn't have the market power of IBM behind them, in fact they didn't even have the money IBM spent on the Chaplin commercial behind them.

Re:Old news - it never came close to CP/M (1, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904713)

Go back to your Amiga.

Re:Old news - it never came close to CP/M (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904771)

Yet they didn't sell well. Working is only half the problem in any business.

original piece of work: but not by MS (3, Informative)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904249)

Always thought the issue was that MS did not have a license to re-license (e.g. to IBM) the product which was created by 'Seattle Computer Products'.

Re:original piece of work: but not by MS (-1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904495)

that scp dos is exactly this qdos. "In 1980, Paterson wrote the 86-DOS operating system, also known as QDOS (for Quick and Dirty Operating System)[1] over a four-month period."

basically this article means that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Computer_Products [wikipedia.org] should be rewritten.

MOD POST DOWN. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904525)

aww shit, read and remembered wrong. qdos was blamed to be copied.

Re:original piece of work: but not by MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904705)

This is exactly what I remember. CP/M is not the start - It was "Seattle Computer Products" that Bill paid the license for (50K as I recall) then turned around and licensed that code to IBM.

Re:original piece of work: but not by MS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904867)

Always thought the issue was that MS did not have a license to re-license (e.g. to IBM) the product which was created by 'Seattle Computer Products'.

MS had bought all rights to it from SCP before the launch of the IBM PC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/86-DOS#Creation_of_PC.C2.A0DOS [wikipedia.org] . This wasn't disputed by SCP, but they claim they wouldn't have sold it as cheap if they had known about the deal with IBM and pending launch of the IBM PC..

Those who were there (2)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904259)

I don't think many of us who were around at the time gave much credence to the idea that DOS was derivative of CP/M 86. Had it been, it would have been a better OS.

Re:Those who were there (4, Insightful)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904281)

Actually, it's a fairly typical Microsoft attempt at a derivative: a copy of the superficial features on top of an unholy mess that shows that they don't understand the deeper concepts.

Re:Those who were there (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904501)

Microsoft didn't code MSDOS originally. They bought it. So you're saying that Seattle Computer Products copied the features of CP/M?

Re:Those who were there (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904781)

Microsoft didn't code MSDOS originally. They bought it. So you're saying that Seattle Computer Products copied the features of CP/M?

No, we need to fit this into a narrative that matches preconceptions, yours don't, need more work.

Re:Those who were there (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904467)

I always thought the argument was that it was a rip off. I've never heard the argument that it was stolen. Two different things... a (bad) imitation vs. putting your name on someone else's work.

QDOS, not MSDOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904295)

QDOS was an original work. MSDOS 1.0 development consisted of renaming it - done.
As a matter of fact MS has never invented an operating system on their own despite being famous for it.

MSDDOS? -> bought from a one-man canadian company (QDOS)
Windows? -> copy of MacOS Classic and later on of Mac OS X.

Embrace, extend, eleminate.

Go to hell Microsoft.

Who else copied Apple? (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904329)

Windows? -> copy of MacOS Classic

Any more than Android or GNOME or KDE is a copy of Apple products?

Re:Who else copied Apple? (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905439)

No. Gnome is by Miguel who has an unholy fascination for all things Microsoft.

Re:QDOS, not MSDOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904347)

Wow, you're delusional.

Seriously? (2)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904301)

Seriously? Yes, MSDOS (and QDOS) were definitely inspired by CP/M. But it's hardly a big programming project is it? One bloke coding by himself could conceivably write a CP/M clone for Intel processors. I think that's probably the most obvious answer..

What next? Proof that the Apple II wasn't copied from the Commodore PET?

Re:Seriously? (5, Insightful)

hazydave (96747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904441)

The PET was a much better design. And back then, it was all good... in fact, Chuck Peddle (inventor of the PET and the MOS 6502) actually helped Woz on some critical issues to get the Apple I up and running. But Peddle had a whole system approach, thus, all the other chips Commodore made to support the 6502. If you look at the Apple I/][ or may of the other early personal computers, you usually see a Microprocessor, some memory chips, and a vast sea of SSI and MSI parts from the TTL databook. If you look at early Commodore machines, you find all sorts of integration.

But there's a vast difference between "inspired by" and "copied". And even then, in layers. Steve Jobs saw the Xerox Alto and got inspired. Apple didn't really copy the UI, they actually left out some of the good stuff. And of course, the OS they created was vastly inferior, and the internals had nothing to do with the Xerox system. Microsoft did actually borrow some of Apple's stuff, but they's because they actually did exchange code. Most of Windows had nothing to do with MacOS, and the OS design was not something any experienced OS designer would have some up with (eg, the OS treating an application as a series of callbacks)... and that's not even counting all of the serialization Windows did in Win32 to prevent real multitasking.

Windows NT, on the other hand, was directly inspired by VAX/VMS (via Dave Cutler), but also ran a POSIX API layer from the get-go. But that was a standard by then, so no really a "copy" of UNIX anymore.

Re:Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40905049)

> Steve Jobs saw the Xerox Alto and got inspired.

A complicated new way of presenting your data - when Apple copies it, it's "being inspired".

An age old way of framing various devices (square/rectangle) - when Samsung does it (even before Apple), they copied it from Apple.

Oh fanbois!

that's a relief (5, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904345)

"Whew!" said Mr. Kildall, from the grave. "I'm glad this slanderous attack on my programming skills has come to an end, and I have finally been exonerated."

CP/M was not even close (1)

mnooning (759721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904351)

CP/M was the OS in our computers when I got my masters degree in the mid 80s. It in no way was even close to DOS. DOS was so much different and better that I cannot imagine anyone even thinking that CP/M was used as the base for DOS. And DOS caught on because DOS was sold by MS at half the price of the closest rival. I remember thinking back then: "yeah for Microsoft".

Re:CP/M was not even close (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904977)

I cannot imagine anyone even thinking that CP/M was used as the base for DOS

It was, so, you know, you're wrong. Nobody has ever said it wasn't. Patterson specifically set out to clone the core part of CP/M when he created QDOS. So, you know, you're wrong. Very.

Re:CP/M was not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40905223)

CP/M was the basis of MSDOS only in the sense that the Model-T Ford of the 1920s was the basis of our cars today. MSDOS was that much better. Yes, of course some of the ideas behind what made CP/M great in it's day were used. The code, however, as well has the user experience, was very different. The only commonality in the user experience was that the user typed in commands at the command prompt.

Awww come on (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904361)

This is complete bullshit. Rewriting history to be favorable to someone (very) rich.

dos was a good 80% straight rip from cp/m. they didn't even bother to rewrite all of the text strings.

go back and look close at "1.0" with your eyeballs. not some software.

Stupid test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904395)

The author ran tests checking for text and binary matches. Of course, Gates wouldn't do anything that crude. But take a look at the structure of the control blocks used for system calls, a lot of that was clearly derivative of CP/M. IIRC some of the structures used in MS-DOS had no real purpose, but they were carry-overs from CP/M.

Re:Stupid test (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904993)

Gates wouldn't do anything that crude

Obviously not, since he didn't do it. He had no hand in writing MS-DOS, Patterson did. When it was QDOS.

I miss.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904411)

DR DOS!!!

Not any evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904413)

Considering Microsoft was about to lose in a court and settled this is pretty strange. Im more inclined to think CodeSuite needs to get back to the drawing board on this one. How do he know he got a pristine copy of the sources and not washed ones? It would be surprising had they not been whitewashed during or after Microsoft settled the case.

alike and different (4, Informative)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904485)

QDOS was actually quite similar to CP/M in it's structure, and CP/M86 was different in that it actually made use of the improvements offered in the 8086 processor. QDOS was written as if an 8080 to 8086 translator had been used to code it. However MS-DOS quickly moved away from this. What Microsoft sold was much polished over the original QDOS and CP/M OS's. They quickly improved the disk structure, FAT12 and FAT16 are different enough from the original CP/M disk structure. What they all STILL have in common is the use of the 0XE5 IBM uninitialized data marker in the FAT to show available space. This was a quick and dirty hack that allowed a freshly formated diskette to be used without having to initialize a directory structure on it.

Re:alike and different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904731)

In addition. Having re-purposed the system vector table in CP/M-80, for, uhm, stuff, it struck me how stretches of the system vectors in MS/DOS were structured identical to CP/M-80's. No question in my mind at the time I was looking at a direct carry-over of DNA.

No kidding (2)

mister2au (1707664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904521)

First paragraph of wikipedia entry nicely sums up why this would be the case ... that is, it was a clone that was ported to run on a different (albiet VERY similar) instruction set, a different file system and obviously different hardware support.

You'd think after that either:
- not much of the original code with survive IF it was copied and then adapted
- it was probably easier to copy the functionality and write from ground-up which is what this article implies

MS-DOS was a renamed form of 86-DOS – informally known as the Quick-and-Dirty Operating System or Q-DOS – owned by Seattle Computer Products, written by Tim Paterson.

Microsoft needed an operating system for the then-new Intel 8086 but it had none available, so it bought 86-DOS for $75,000 and licensed it as its own then released a version of it as MS-DOS 1.0. Development started in 1981, and MS-DOS 1.0 was released with the IBM PC in 1982.

86-DOS, in turn, was a clone of Digital Research's CP/M for 8080/Z80 processors ported to run on 8086 processors and with two notable differences compared to CP/M, an improved disk sector buffering logic and the introduction of FAT12 instead of the CP/M filesystem

Not Surprising (4, Interesting)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904553)

Those accusations still sound like sour grapes from Gary Kildall. The Microsoft - IBM deal was genius. Gary sounds upset he did not have the foresight to make it happen. He had his chance. Heck, MS even suggested that IBM talk to Gary and the CPM guys when they were looking for an operating system. But, Gary refused to play ball. Too bad.

So, Microsoft stepped up to the plate. They bought QDOS, worked with it and wrote MS-DOS. Sure, it was not an extraordinary operating system. But it wasn't terrible, and it worked like CP/M in a lot of ways because MS certainly took ideas from CP/M. That's perfectly OK (maybe not these days, software patents etc...) They were giving IBM and their customers what they wanted when Gary and Digital Research decided not to. That's the genius of Microsoft. Realizing the spectacular deal to be had and standing up to IBM to sign an agreement that would make them the biggest software company ever; keeping ownership of their software, regardless of how much big blue pushed them around. Sorry Gary, you missed out.

Lastly, I doubt the young Bill Gates would hypocritically allow his company to stoop to coping code after he wrote this [blinkenlights.com] and sent it to many of his future customers:

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904647)

You don't think the young Bill Gates would stoop to something after writing a long screed ranting at all the people who weren't giving him money?

Why is that, exactly? At what point would you say the stooping began? A long way before Stacker?

Re:Not Surprising (2)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905069)

I would say the stooping started.. oh I don't know 1986? When MS got big and everyone got more rich and powerfull, the morally questionable and sometimes illegal stuff started happening. Stacker happend with DOS 6.0, which was like 1992, more than a decade of profits and power tripping after the inital IBM deal.

I'm sure the guys at Cisco or Apple (or any other like company) were all geeky and cool at first two, maybe pulling a few tricks here and there but playing the game.. then well.. we all know how it goes downhill.

Meh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904577)

What dren! Anyone who was in the know about CP/M-86 and SCP's QDOS (of which MS-DOS was a licensed copy) and had used/studied them, knew that they were/are very different beasts. I and other colleagues had done extensive dis-assembling of both systems in the early 1980's, and it was quite clear that they were not based upon the same code. "Forensic anaylsys" my rear end! That's a fancy way of saying "pay me more $$ to do the obvious"...

In today's environment, it would have been. (3, Interesting)

DdJ (10790) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904663)

The system calls and lots of the design are clearly cloned. Anyone who used both CP/M and MS-DOS back in the day and who dabbled in assembly language programming on both would be able to spot it.

If the software industry had been as rife with patents (both functional and design) and other litigation tools back then as it is today, Microsoft wouldn't have gotten away with this particular way of copying.

(Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Re:In today's environment, it would have been. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904801)

If the legal environment back then had been as bad as it is now, no personal computer revolution would have *ever* taken place. There were copyrights and patents even on the CONCEPT of "playing with moving objects on a screen". Pac-Man and Donkey Kong clones were a-plenty. Fortunately there were some brain-accessorized heads who didn't fall for the copyright hell that, 30 years later, would rule the world, the wet dream the content industry collectively masturbates to while lying in a pile of their own feces. We need to go back to a saner legal environment, even if it entails screwdrivers through eyesockets and tying people to wheelchairs, pouring gasoline on them, setting them on fire and roll them down a parking lot's ramp. Yeah, I ripped off "Manhunter", now sue me bitch.

Re:In today's environment, it would have been. (1)

rnturn (11092) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905003)

``The system calls and lots of the design are clearly cloned. Anyone who used both CP/M and MS-DOS back in the day and who dabbled in assembly language programming on both would be able to spot it.''

Back when CP/M was still kicking around, I had a Columbia Data Products XT-clone. It shipped with MS-DOS and CP/M-86 and I recall reading through the programming manual and thinking ``Geez this looks a lot like DEC's RT-11.'' Remember when MS-DOS used to ask you to insert the diskette containing COMMAND.COM? That was a memory claiming trick that was part of CP/M as well. RT-11 would also overwrite part of the command interpreter when extra memory was needed -- after the OS was loaded you typically only had about 48KB or so in which to run programs unless you made heavy use of overlays -- and reload it after program execution was complete. (I cannot recall, though, ever being asked to reinsert the RT-11 OS disk.) Terminate and stay resident tricks? You could do that with IBM's CMS operating system. Imagine if the computer industry's legal teams had been as aggressive back in the early days of the PC as they are today. Once that silly suit involving spreadsheet look-and-feel came about, it was all downhill (IMHO).

History lesson? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904819)

As history tells us, he didn't steal it (or write it), he bought it. On the other hand I guess with the way it took off you could say he "stole it". :)

Stories like this are probably coming from those who think that Apple created the GUI.

But Microsoft basic was stolen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40904833)

Gates cross compiled Decsystem-10 basic to the 8080 and started his company with it.

Re:But Microsoft basic was stolen (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905411)

Actually, they claim he dumpster-dove Honeywell's basic, which was a lot leaner and meaner. Still stolen, wrong target.

Wait, what? (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40904871)

Where did this idea ever come from? "Everybody knows" that Gates bought QDOS from Kildall and nobody ever claimed that QDOS was a "copy of CP/M," not even Kildall himself. What was in dispute was whether Kildall was literally out to lunch or flying, or whatever, brushing off the meeting and selling a license for what turned out to be a pittance. That's the legend anyway, but he's not here on this planet anymore to defend himself.

FFS. Want to know where DOS came from? Just read Tim Patterson's blog. http://dosmandrivel.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

He discusses the design differences between the two and why he did what he did.

And if you're really curious and need to feed the inner nerd, go have a look at the CP/M source code.

http://www.cpm.z80.de/source.html [z80.de]

--
BMO

MS-DOS is better than CP/M (1)

nellaj (2702743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905157)

MS-DOS is actually a big improvement compared to previous microprocessor operating systems. It uses the relocation capability provided by the x86 segment registers to keep the OS separate from the application. In CP/M, the load address for the application is right above the operating system so there is actually no way to make large changes to the core OS.

Depends who you ask (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905215)

Oracle would say a re-implementation of ideas is a copy.
Apple obviously would say it is a copy.

Black and White (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905327)

It's simple, look at the source code, if you see the same functions and same structure in both pieces of software then it was a grab and go operation. If however DOS sports an entirely different layout with none of the exact same functions then it's original. It's black and white, either it's stolen or not.

Re:Black and White (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905495)

just to play devil's advocate, if a piece of software, especially primative does the same thing, there is a decent chance that it will be at least similar, even if coded by diffrent people.

microsoft stilll copied "look and feel" (1)

davydagger (2566757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905481)

MS-DOS still has the "look and feel", so in today's world they still would have been sued. (not then mind you)

How is that for irony?

never heard of claimed code copy, more of a produc (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40905487)

only heard it was a cheap product copy of the famed CP/M and hence the name Quick and Dirty Operating System.

If they want marketing time, they should run versions of NT or Windows against open source code bases like GNU/Linux and BSD or better yet UNIX. IMO

LoB
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?