There's a £154K Reward if You Can You Prove Microsoft Copied the MS-DOS Source Code

By Tom Pritchard on at

For many a year rumours have circulated that Microsoft did not create the source code for MS-DOS from scratch, and some say that the code was copied from the CP/M operating system. These rumours have been put to rest many times, but you could receive $200,000 (£154,141) if you can somehow prove MS-DOS ripped off CP/M.

That bounty comes courtesy of consultant Bob Zeidman, who has analysed both systems multiple times and yes yet to find any evidence to corroborate the plagiarism rumours. But he's not willing to let it go just yet.

Zeidman has analysed MS-DOS at least twice before. In 2012 he used forensic software to analyse MS-DOS's source code, and found no evidence that MS-DOS had any code copied from CP/M. This analysis formed the basis of a paper titled 'Did Bill Gates Steal the Heart of DOS?'

Following the initial analysis, Microsoft donated a piece of MS-DOS's previously unavailable source code to the Computer History Museum in California. The same museum also released a more complete version of CP/M. Zeidman analysed the two once again, this time finding that at least 22 of MS-DOS's system calls had the same function and function number as CP/M. As damning as that might seem, it's not enough to prove the rumours of plagiarism.

So Zeidman is offering up a reward for anyone that can definitively prove the connection between the two systems. A grand total of $200,000 is available, but you'll need to do a couple of things to claim the lot.

$100,000 (£77,070) will be given to the person who can use "accepted forensic techniques" to prove that MS-DOS was copied, with another $100,000 going to the person who can find the mythical Kildall copyright function inside MS-DOS. For those of you who don't know, the Kildall copyright function can supposedly print out a copyright notice in MS-DOS featuring CP/M creator Gary Kildall’s name.

If you think you have what it takes, or you're just curious, you can find all of Zeidman's analyses and supporting documents here. [IEEE Spectrum via The Next Web]