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On April 10, 1978 Bob Shepardson and Steve Jobs signed a $13,000 one-page contract for a file manager, a BASIC interface, and utilities. It specified that “Delivery will be May 15″, which was incredibly aggressive. But, amazingly, “Apple II DOS version 3.1″ was released in June 1978.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.
Paul initially provided a programmer’s interface to DOS. But Apple wanted a simpler way to access the file system from BASIC programs. Somewhat reluctantly, Paul did that too, after the first June delivery of the code. “I ended up writing the code to interface BASIC to that file management system. One of the things that always disturbed me was I had a very clean interface to the file management system. There were control blocks and places you could call to do things. It never really got published. Instead, what you saw was the BASIC interface.” That interface was released by Apple in October of 1978, and then anyone who could write in BASIC could use the disk.But APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) want to be free. “I have encountered people in my life since then who disassembled the code and figured it out. They ended up writing interfaces to it the way that I thought it should be done. These were mainly game developers.”
The version with 4K of memory cost $1298.
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