Microsoft XENIX 286 BASIC Compiler

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

I have recently acquired this artifact:

It’s the Microsoft BASIC compiler for XENIX 286 Operating System. Compiler as opposed to just BASIC interpreter, it can produce executable a.out files, similar to C compiler for example.  

Carefully removed the shrink wrap. Inside were couple of 5.25″ floppies, registration card and a manual:

Interestingly the 32 year old disks read just fine on a first attempt. I need to start backing up important files to 5.25″ floppy disks as they seem to outlast everything else.

Thanks to efforts of Michal Necasek from OS/2 Museum now you can run Microsoft XENIX 286 in Virtual Box

The disks can be installed in to XENIX running on Vbox following a few simple steps:

tar xvf /dev/fd0
./msinstall /dev/fd0

Upon installation you invoke the compiler like this:

bascom demo.bas

And it produced an a.out executable which worked perfectly fine.

It’s fun to write BASIC code in vi editor, which I just realized I never done before.

Curiously the compiler also worked on the brand spanking new Xenix 2018, or rather I should call it Open Server 6, which you can download here (includes an evaluation license).

The BASIC compiler is available for download from along with the manual in pdf.

5 thoughts on “Microsoft XENIX 286 BASIC Compiler

  1. Am I intrepting this right? The whole floppy is a tape archive and not a file in a filesystem on the floppy?

    I love those old artworks like this 🙂

    How much did you pay? (if you don’t mind telling us)

  2. Hey, I think I saw this listing on eBay (I’ve got a search flag setup for xenix). Glad someone got it who was willing to upload contents! More importantly, I’m glad it wasn’t my money that had to buy it. 😛

  3. Microsoft QuickBasic 1.00 was release 1985 have simple Microsoft Basic Compiler like Microsoft Basic Compiler for Xenix 286 and IBM PC Basic Compiler. QuickBasic 1.00 is only of QuickBasic series to lack IDE Editor. QuickBasic 2.0 have IDE and Online Editor. Today it is hard to find QuickBasic 1.00 maybe ebay have it i know website named might have it but they want $500 dollars for Quickbasic 1.00 that is too much money for one little rare software, finding it on ebay is best bet. QuickBasic is world most popular BASIC Programming language start out as simple Basic Compiler was release 33 years ago.

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