86 DOS Version 0.11 found!

86-DOS on archive.org

As of this moment, this is the oldest version of 86-DOS surviving in the wild. The prior version was 0.34. You can download a disk image over on archive.org. Thanks to F15sim for providing the uploads!

Getting this running was a little involved as I first had to build open-simh, I just used the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to build the altairz80 emulator. With the emulator built, you’ll need the BIOS 86mon.bin from schorn.ch as 86dos.zip. In the archive you’ll find 86-DOS 1.0 in the zip file. Simply editing the file 86dos and specifying the 0.11 download (I renamed it as it’s too long and too many spaces!) and you’ll be able to run 86-DOS.

86-DOS booting up on open-simh

There isn’t much on the diskette:


There is a simple chess game, although I’m not much of a player..


Choose your color (W/B): W
Ply depth (1-6): 1
e7 e5

There is no source code in this disk image, but there is some stuff on the 0.34 image.

Just a quick post in that middle of the night.

9 thoughts on “86 DOS Version 0.11 found!

  1. According to the 86-DOS Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/86-DOS#Versions
    The QDOS name was used for 0.1 and 0.11. This is agreed upon by one of the sources, which seems to be the former Tim Paterson Paterson Technology website (Currently redirects elsewhere):

    “By the end of August 1980, QDOS 0.11 worked well and was being shipped. It didn’t stay QDOS very long, and not many copies were distributed.”

    …then it jumps to 86-DOS by the time of 0.33…

    “In December 1980, Paterson and company came out with 86-DOS, 0.33, which had significant improvements over QDOS.”

    Also, the Wikipedia page mentions that EDLIN was added in 86-DOS 0.2, and your file list of 0.11 includes it.
    So, based on the known info there are a few contradictions already. Either:
    Wikipedia and Paterson Technology post are wrong in both name change timeline and version features.
    It is NOT 0.11 but instead 0.2, but the version number wasn’t updated for… reasons.

  2. “It is NOT 0.11 but instead 0.2, but the version number wasn’t updated for… reasons.” -> “Vintage Tech Wikipedia, well known to be run by shills for certain companies, is contradicted by actual binaries, but I believe Wikipedia anyway.

    The Idiot Alliance strikes again.

    • The Idiot Alliance believes in whatever source about events is not directly contradicted by other sources about the same events, which is the reason why I mentioned that two of them were not matching on the first place. But somehow in your infinite Wikipedia prejudice you completely ignored Paterson Technology post, as if a source being the developer itself wasn’t authoritative enough. Wikipedia usually links references and articles don’t pop from thin air, I suppose you know that.

      So we know from a primary source, thus almost set in stone (Than that source could be misremembering details or outright lying can also be a possibility, of course), that QDOS 0.11 was real and that it shipped. And we also know that it jumps to 86-DOS 0.33. There is no source that states that QDOS 0.11 itself was renamed to 86-DOS 0.11, just that the name change was done soon after QDOS 0.11 was released.

      What I did found, however, is that Betawiki has an article about 86-DOS 0.2 where they pretty much claim with quite a bit of references that there was an intermediate release between QDOS 0.11 and 86-DOS 0.3x that already had the name change and includes EDLIN, but, most important of all, that it is not known what the precise version number was because it was not mentioned anywhere, it was just speculated to be 0.2: https://betawiki.net/index.php?title=86-DOS_0.2&oldid=232663#Naming

      So it could be possible than that colloquially named 0.2 version does not exists but is actually this 0.11, which is NOT simply QDOS 0.11 with a name change since it has EDLIN, which was released later. I wouldn’t be surprised if this early on there was sloppy versioning and they forgot to change the version number after the renaming (Or pretend to reset versioning for 86-DOS and start from 0.1, as the disk says, and not continuing from 0.11+), which is the reason why I don’t believe in the actual binaries without an authoritative source to fill the info void 🙂

  3. This is indeed a rare find. Apart from discussions about the versioning:
    I was not able to boot the *.img in simh. (V1.00 booted). So far I could not determine the cause:
    – Corrupted image
    – *.img is different from *imd and needs different settings in the 86dos file
    Any help would be appriciated

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