A Smooth Operator

Computer geeks all over the world are celebrating a significant birthday this week.  30 years ago Microsoft introduced its' first, commercial computer operating system.  When that black screen flickered with a strange series of undistinguishable letters and numbers and back-slashes and colons, we were mesmerized with MS-DOS.

The first Commodore computer you had could not do anything unless you used the “C” command and gave it instructions.  There was nothing fancy about DOS, no graphics or sounds or icons, but it was the new language of computers and we were all wondering if we could ever learn it.

What you might not know is that Microsoft did not invent MS-DOS.  It bought the operating system from a company called Seattle Computer Products.  SCP called it Q-DOS.  Now here's another secret.  Q-DOS stands for “quick and dirty operating system” but when Bill Gates bought it he changed it to MS-DOS and dubbed it the Microsoft Disk Operating System.  That's why he's a billionaire.

When computer programmers first began developing software for our home and business computers, MS-DOS was the code they had to learn and master.  We still use it.  It's loaded on most computers as a fail-safe, simple system when the rest of the more complicated systems are locked up. 

So, C:happy-birthday.exe.  Our lives would be so much different if you had not been born.



Categories: Becker’s Digital Notebook