The Computer History Museum and the DigiBarn Computer Museum today released the 1978 Apple II DOS source code for non-commercial use after obtaining permission from Apple.

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., we are 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.

The Apple II, which first began shipping in 1977, came as a ready-to-use computer equipped with a keyboard, compatible with any display monitor. Priced at $1,298, it also featured color, graphics, expansion slots, game paddles, and had the BASIC programming language built-in.

appleII
The Apple II DOS source code was developed by Paul Laughton, a contract programmer from Shepardson Microsystems, who wrote DOS on punch cards over the span of seven weeks after Apple paid $13,000 for his services.

"DOS was written on punch cards. I would actually hand-write the code on 80-column punch card sheets. A guy at Shepardson named Mike Peters would take those sheets and punch the cards. The punch cards would then be read into a National Semiconductor IMP–16 and assembled, and a paper tape produced.

The paper tape was read into the Apple II by a plug-in card made by Wozniak, and I would proceed to debug it. As the project got further along and the code was all written, and it was debugging and updating, I would mark up a listing and give it to Mike Peters who would then change whatever was necessary and deliver me a paper tape and I'd start again."

The source code is downloadable directly from the Computer History Museum website, and comes with meeting minutes between Apple and Shepardson Microsystem, plus contracts and scanned lineprinter listings from 1978. The Computer History Museum also has a detailed history of the creation of Apple II DOS, which is well worth a read.

Top Rated Comments

tevion5 Avatar
104 months ago
Love seeing historic software like this being made available to the public domain. Would be great if somebody would collect virtually all of it, any 1990 and earlier and make it downloadable for all. It won't survive on 5 1/4 inch floppies forever.

Like why would any software company like apple care who has their source code for an ancient system like the Apple ii? Sounds just like the legal team being over cautious. What are they afraid samsung will suddenly release a new command line desktop computer called the GalaxyLine ii or something?

I know EA still takes down copies of SIM CITY from the early 80's on macintosh garden. Why?? You can't even get that legally if you tried.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
osx11 Avatar
104 months ago
Maybe this will help Microsoft with Windows. :D

/s
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
9000 Avatar
104 months ago
Ctrl Atl Del for login wasn't actually meant to be. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24283185)
Ha, I saw that a while ago on BBC. That's what made me think of it :)

----------

@ChrisA:

A $500 user-friendly smartphone in my pocket beats hard-to-operate computers the size of several fridges costing millions from back then. That's 'conceptual difference' for you.

The rate of progress in the computer area is simply amazing — from no matter what angle you look at it: Punchcards to SSDs. Hz to GHz. Bytes to TBs. Not connected to connected. Building-sized to pocket sized. Pixels to megapixels. No GUI to GUI. Wired to wireless. $millions to $hundreds.

We've come very far indeed.
I'm thrilled. Let's celebrate.
I'd argue that more than half of that progress went towards making programming easier for the programmers. Heavier software for faster hardware. I can't believe anyone feels justified taking 1GB of RAM for a consumer program.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
flottenheimer Avatar
104 months ago
How far we've come from the punch card days. :)
The sad fact is "not very far". There is little conceptual difference between a deck of cards and a computer text file. The cards take up more space. … Now we have text editors but we still type lines of text. The real difference is the cost is lower now.
@ChrisA:

A $500 user-friendly smartphone in my pocket beats hard-to-operate computers the size of several fridges costing millions from back then. That's 'conceptual difference' for you.

The rate of progress in the computer area is simply amazing — from no matter what angle you look at it: Punchcards to SSDs. Hz to GHz. Bytes to TBs. Not connected to connected. Building-sized to pocket sized. Pixels to megapixels. No GUI to GUI. Wired to wireless. $millions to $hundreds.

We've come very far indeed.
I'm thrilled. Let's celebrate.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
104 months ago
Oh no! What if somebody finds a security weakness and exploits it! :eek:

;)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ShinySteelRobot Avatar
104 months ago
I know EA still takes down copies of SIM CITY from the early 80's on macintosh garden. Why?? You can't even get that legally if you tried.
It's because Sim City is trademarked, and if you don't actively try to protect a trademark against infringement it can become public domain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Maintaining_rights).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
2012macpro

Apple Outlines Metal-Capable Cards Compatible With macOS Mojave on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro Models

Monday September 24, 2018 3:26 pm PDT by
Apple's new macOS Mojave update is not compatible with mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros with stock GPUs, but it is supported on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have been upgraded with graphics cards that support Metal. Apple today shared a new support document that provides a list of graphics cards that are Metal-capable, which will be useful for 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro owners who want to...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Expecting iPhone and iPad Supply Constraints in September Quarter

Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CFO Luca Maesteri said that Apple is expecting supply constraints to affect the iPhone and the iPad in the coming quarter. "The supply constraints that we've seen in the June quarter will be higher in the September quarter," said Maestri. The constraints will impact iPhone and iPad sales...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...